Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Indoor Plumbing, take 2*

Months ago, I promised to post the plans and progress photos from when we built our second hanging cage/flush system. I'm finally getting around to it now, even though it has been in use for 4 months now.

It would be a bit tricky to post plans, but I'll try to at least give you an idea of what we did. Of course, these plans assume that you are buying/building cages that are the same size as ours, which are 24"w x 16"d x 12"h.

It seems a little backwards, but start with the height of the bucket that you plan to use on the bottom, and work your way up. Our bucket was 13" tall, so I wanted the bottom of the lower gutter to be just over 13" from the floor. The gutter is 3" deep, so the left end was secured at 16" from the bottom. It slants up 2", so that the right end is 18" from the bottom. Below is a picture of the right hand end without flashing or cages, for reference.
Next comes the supports for the flashing. They are electrical conduit, running the width of the frame and are attached to the frame horizontally with 1/2" brackets. The one in front is 20 1/2 inches from the bottom (on center), and the one in back is at 24" (on center). This gives the flashing a 6" slope from back to front. The lower row of cages is hung using conduit bars running the depth of the frame through the same type of 1/2" brackets from a support that is 41" (top edge) from the bottom of the unit.

For the upper level, we did our math from the top down. The cages are suspended from the bottom side of the supports at the top. The back piece of conduit is 17" down (on center), and the front piece of conduit is 21 1/2" down (on center. The top edge right end of the gutter sits just below the front conduit, at 22". It slopes down to the left 2", so the left end is secured at 24" from the top.

There is also a center support, and horizontal supports on each end (at 36" down from the top).

Now for plans, to try to make sense of it all. From someone who can't draw...this should be good.

The left end will mirror the right end, with one difference. Each gutter will be secured 2" lower than it's opposite end. So, the bottom will be at 16" (measuring up), and the top will be at 24" (measuring down).
The entire wood unit is 72" tall and 9'9" wide, to accommodate 10' gutters. This left plenty of space for a center support, as well as space between each cage and at both ends. It is 21" deep, including the width of the 2x4's on front and back. This unit is 2" deeper than the first one that we built, and I like it better.

 End supports

 Middle of back, with angle supports to prevent twisting

 Close up of right side, back--we had to add pieces to the legs in order to secure the angle braces on the same depth as the top and middle.

Front of completed wood frame

 Conduit, gutter, and support for flashing in place--I recycled some pieces of corrugated plastic, and zip tied it in place to help support the flashing.

Vinyl flashing in place--once the cages were hung, I secured the flashing to the back of the cages with a couple of zip ties also.

My favorite tool for cleaning now is a 2 gallon pump garden sprayer. It's like having a mini power washer to hose the flashing and gutters off, even daily if I want to do so.

If this makes no sense at all, please let me know. Construction was months ago, and I'm afraid the process is a bit fuzzy in my brain now.
*Do you know how tempting it was to be naughty with the title of this post?


  1. Nice post. I have fully read the post. Thanks for sharing it.

    Plumber South Yarra

  2. Are you still using this setup? Any changes you would make? This is really great and just what I think we need. We use larger cages, so we will adjust the measurements. It seems this would solve our problem of swinging cages (when hung by chains) and stacking without built-in trays. Thank you for taking the time to post photos and your plans. If you have any "hindsight is 20/20" tips, I would love to hear about them!

    1. I am still using this setup. The only change is that on the bigger frames, the vinyl flashing wasn't available in a size wide enough, so I use Plastek showerboard. $16 a 4x8 sheet at Menards, and you can cut it with scissors. It's stiffer, so you don't have to support it underneath. Quarterly, I put everybunny in carriers and clean the flashing and gutters with the Works toilet bowl cleaner and it looks like new. Just make sure you have really great ventilation, if you do that.

    2. I should mention that there are two kinds of the shower bored. One of them is really smooth and works best. The other almost feels like sandpaper if you scratch it with your fingernails. Sometimes only one side is smooth. The smooth stuff is so much easier to keep clean and does not build up urine scale as fast.

  3. Thank you so much for responding about this & so quickly! I am impressed that you are still using it years later~~ that shows what a great design it is. Thanks for the tips on cleaning and the shower board. I cannot wait to get started on this for our rabbits :)