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Thread: The "How To Guide" Leading To DIY Enthusiasm's

  1. #51
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    the new reflectors are not on the tank yet. i have to wait until tomorrow, today your time, to pick up the ballasts for the 250s. they are going in these bad boys, im hoping to find a few more reflectors to build some for the 400s, so i can use them on a future build.
    did you notice how small the area of light is under these bad boys ?? they REALLY focus more light into the tank, rather than it leaking out into Vspace.
    lReef lKeeper (Bobby) Admin and Reefer

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    www.lmas.org





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  2. #52
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    4 tiles my friend. or was that lino?

    its up there with the frankenskimmer



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  3. #53
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    Weíve decided to create this thread series to address the need for greater understanding. Greater understandings of elements that can be taken for granted, a greater understanding on how something is made & applied, & hopefully, enable a greater understanding for you to apply it yourself. So in order to address and minimise some blank faces, letís start at the beginning shall we.
    Everyone is encouraged to comment & contribute.

    Weight. Ēfor what?Ē No, weight=mass! ďOh, now I get youĒ.

    Weight is a universal constant. Itís often a component thatís easily overlooked in our hobby.
    The weight of water as a simple indicator you donít have to think to hard about has a ratio of 1:1.
    Thatís 1lts = 1kg (33ounce = 2.2lb)

    The true science behind it makes for some variations in that ratio, temperature & density specifically; however for our simple purpose of average factoring, itís not overly critical.
    What may surprise many, is that temp has the most noticeable effect compared to salinity. The colder a liquid gets, the denser it will become. Atom distances in relation to each other decrease, so they become more compacted so to speak.
    Then on top of that you factor in the weight of the dissolved salinity content.
    As a simple experiment of this, you can clearly notice this effect if your adding cold saltwater at a higher S/Gravity to your tank, It would sink & become visible like shimmering pool on the bottom until it equalised with the environment.
    Just in case youíre wondering, the average weight differences of fresh water vs salt water is 1000kg/m3 vs 1027kg/m3.

    So how does this relate to our projects, simple, the weight in volume has to be taken into account just like everything else!.
    You have the weight of the stand, the glass/acrylic housing, the water volume, displacement volume in the tank with rockwork ect, the hoods, the lights, the animals and the list goes on...... all adding to the total weight calculation. That adds up quite quickly actually.
    As a safe average to working out your total weight footprint of everything, id suggest X (times) your total weigh by 10 (ten) based on your volume.
    So 30gal would be 30*10= 300lbs, 60gal*10=600lbs
    If your floor or stand cannot withstand higher pressures, you in for some serious trouble.

    There are millions of online calculators on the web that work out your volume. This is one of them.
    Tank Volume Calculator


    Volume tends to distribute its weight evenly, however due to the nature of our tank & stands, the main weight actually translating to the floor will generally follow the trailing edges on the structure.
    I believe it then falls under PSF (pounds per square foot) or KG/M2 (kgs per meter square)?
    If your trying to work out this rating, which is important for people that live in multi story dwellings, or have wooden floor boards , you have to multiply your tank volume rating by the factor of 10, then divide that value by the floor space to achieve your PSF answer.
    Someone else can fill those blanks in greater detail, as I've had little dealings with such calculation due to always being on cement. Iím also unaware of the regulations or ratings for domestic beam structures. I would assume different countries also have different regulations.
    However its pretty logical anyways, as we just worked out as above ,a rough calculation of total weights. As a side note, larger foot prints will always spread loads more effectively than say short narrow ones.
    If you have cement under foot, then youíre pretty safe regardless.

    Ok so chapter 2, lets bring the stands into focus.



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    Chapter 2- Stands

    We can revisit any topic in any chapter too guys, so if you've got a question, theory or input, feel free to throw it up! as in write & post it..lol


    Ok so chapter 2 - Stands




    This can be a massive broad ranging topic, so i hope your ready.

    Stands, It boils down only a handful of initial choices. Do i Buy one, or do i make one.
    If your buying one, the initial driving force for you to consider spending your hard earn $$ will be design. Cause without it, you properly wouldn't have looked at it. The second thing you should be looking at is definitively the most important - will it hold the weight??

    Second round question are usually a multiple choice as well, do i go wood or metal. Both can be used quite effectively in projects. As do other materials currently available you can add to the mix.

    Lets focus on the use of wood first though. Its as good a place as any to begin & would take the biggest slice of the DIY pie anyways.

    Considering your in a DIY forum, lets also scuttle the buying ideal & look at whats needed to build one.

    Tools.


    Every person interested in DIY, cant get around the fact you need tools to start the job, let alone complete it.

    For most of us, its a slow progression that expands the toolbox over time. It usually expands when we actually need it to perform the task at hand. Having the likes of online low costings sales & expanded contacts never hurts ether. And im assuming most have family, partners & friends that we can always con or sweet talk into lending some temporary for awhile.
    However you procure them doesn't matter, just as long as you have them for the project.


    Standard listing of Tools are as follows. (If you plan to add any, a picture & its uses is recommended. If possible, a picture of it in action would sell the shot).

    Circular saw




    Circular Saws are used to cut timber or sheeting to required lengths or sizes.




    Besides marking your own lines, Most have guides as well that allow for a straight cut. Assuming the line your using as the guide is straight of course.
    The newer ones come with lasers, however you will find the more bells & whistles a product has, the more expensive it becomes.


    The alternatives & generally the standard progression over standard power saws generally fall into two classes, The drop saw & the table saw.



    This is a Drop Saw.

    They have a solid base, that usually has the ability to swivel to cut angles.

    Very effective & great for straight cuts in any volume. Not to mention a permanent fixture with dust extraction abilities. With the switch of the saw blades, these units can often be used to cut steel as well.








    The second is a Table Saw. As you can see, a more stable & precise option for cutting.





    Depending on your circular saw design or manufacturer, it may or may-not be usable in this configuration. Its essentially the circular saw upside down & fixed to the base of a saw table.

    As you can imagine, prices for these unit are considerably higher than stand alone saws. They are by no means classified as necessary items, they just perform a more precise role, especially when your dealing in larger projects & have the space available to set one up.



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    Jig Saws



    Jig saws are a great multi-purpose tool. The interchangeable blade ranges alone can cut almost anything you can think up to cut. They are far more nimble than circular saws & you generally find people some-what timid of power saws can carve it up with ease when handling a jig saw.


    Jig saws serve a purpose though, they called them jig saws after the pieces they were deployed to cut. - able to trace lines & cut with ease due to the sizing of the blade. You would use a jig saw on the more intricate cuts, or rounded angles that you would later plane and sand to a smooth finish.
    They are not intended as a replacement for power saws if you latched onto my previous statements above.


    Screw Drivers & Alan Keys

    These are pretty self explanatory, They come in a variety of end assortments needed to tighten or loosen a fastening mechanism or item.
    Most common are flat head & phillips head in the screw driver range.
    The below are fixed handle type


    These are interchangeable attachment types that are placed at the ends of the driver. More common now than they ever were.

    Power Drills

    Power drills would be classified by many as the essential tool to own.
    They take the hassle out of any job.

    Drills fall under two headings, power drill, being linked via cable to power, & cordless drill, which would entice captain obvious. Although you could call it a cordless power drill & no-one would even look at you strangely.



    Cordless require rechargeable battery packs that are slotted into the base. These days the running duration is quite good, the more load you place the drill under dictates how quickly it will run out. Ive gotten a few months out of a single battery when using it sporadically, yet when building something of significance ive been known to go through 2 batteries per job.

    When the battery does go flat, i try to further empty or flatten as much as i can in free spin in order to give it a complete fresh charge. When i could be bothered, Ive even been known to attach metal terminal wires to a small bulb and run it completely flat.
    It may be an unnecessary carry over from the early days, however i still believe short charging a battery decreases its overall life.

    You will notice on the cordless drills, they have a voltage number, the higher this voltage number,the more powerful the drill.
    Drills are able to accommodate a massive range of attachments, & some are even self tightening &/or quick release. So you dont have to do it manually.
    All in all, a very handy tool to own.


    Hammers.

    Hammers come in many forms. The most useful of course is the claw hammer. Solid & versatile, able to remove nails & anything else that slots into the claws at the other end. Holding it at different lengths give greater leverages. Is usually pretty balanced considering its unusual design.



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    Tape Measures



    Tape measures come in a massive assortment, ether Imperial or metric, & at vastly different lengths.
    For ever project, they should be within arms reach at all times. We try as the saying goes, measure twice, cut once.

    Tape measures have not been immune to advancements though.
    As you can see, this one uses a level spirit & laser to aid in another.


    and units like this one dispenses with a coil of measuring tape all together.



    Level Spirits or Spirit Levels


    Talking of level spirits, they are also a fantastic tool to own, often extremely cheap to purchase as well.
    As the name suggests, they are a very straight & very simple bar length tool that is used to determine if your angles are correct. Most these day will have 2+ sets of glass vials for both horizontal & vertical plush lines.


    There uses are not just restricted to wood working, they are often deployed in almost every facet of life in one way or another without you realising it.
    Simple example is below.



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    Pencils and other alternatives to marking.


    No explanation needed, its a must have


    Where it differs is what else you can use, everything from coloured magic markers, permanent ink, non permanent ink, engineers chalk all the way to wax pens as per below. The choice is yours & often tailored to the job at hand



    Carpenter's Square



    Carpenters squares are right angled squares of metal that are used for both measuring & determining if your project is square. Some specific designs even have level spirits on them also. By looking at the above picture, if you were to place the unit against the bottom & the side legs, you could indeed be able to tell is the legs were straight & 90deg.

    If you look at the bottom picture, You will also see its used for measurement, with a focus on a straight & true line by dipping the angle slightly to flush it against the straight edge near his left hand.


    Many are marked, once again, in ether Imperial, Metric, or both.



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    Square Clamps

    Square clamps are extremely useful, using them for our projects like stands & hoods your likely to use them every time if you have them available.
    They not only provide a guide for your correct angles, they clamp them so they can free your hands so you can perform other tasks with ease.


    They are also usually pretty reasonably priced in the hardware sections. Regardless on design, they all perform the same duties, however it still falls under the "get what you pay for" setup, as their quality are not all created equal.

    This type of tool is not a required tool, more of an advancement on the humble carpenters squares.


    I personally use both, as the ones shown are not restricted and can be taken anywhere within the project for square checking.


    Clamps

    Without a doubt one of the most useful, & often used tool in any given set.
    You will find the need to use for the entire spectrum, whether is just like a third hand, or to deploy it strategically. The more exposure you have with clamps, the easier it is for your mind to see its usefulness.
    They come is so many different varieties its enough to make your head spin. C clamps, F clamps, G clamps, quick release, angle clamps, multi clamps and on and on.....

    A few examples as follows.









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    Clamps Continued












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    Routers

    Routers are another power tool often used to create the more fancy end product. They deploy a vertical drive shaft that spins at high velocity.


    Router attachments or profiles as their called, ultimately dictate the design, shape and finish that is produced. They too are another vast product range thats available.




    A router by its very definition is a rather simple piece of equipment, however its one of these tools that can be made as simple or as complex as one chooses to deploy it.

    As with saws, the can be deployed free hand, with straight line fences or as part of tables.







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    Routers Continued

    Router finishes generally always look fantastic. Its only limited to your mind what can be achieved.

    From the mild, to the wild...














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    Rasps & Files

    Rasps are usually alot more course in grade than files. They are used for taking off rough edges or rounding surfaces by hand.




    They generally come in only a handful of grades, ranging from course to fine.

    Files do the exact same. although generally they are classified as the finishers of the bunch.


    Both have also been know to stray from the projects & re-sharpen an edge or two.




    Sandpaper

    Sandpaper comes in a plenora of different shapes, sizes, grit types ect, all to achieve the job at hand. It is basically an abrasive medium that's glued or bonded to a paper backing & fits into a controlled grit class that's regulated.
    The actual product that define the grit grains are completely different from each-other, all specificly geared to sand a particular surface or producing a certain kind of finish.

    The courser grades are used to remove rough surfaces all the way through to the finest grades used to prep for paintwork. They fall firstly into afew categories depending on its point of sale or countries of origin.
    Basically there is collaboration of sorts to unify standards. So they generally only fall into a few different baskets.

    The Unified Abrasives Manufacturers Association (including the USA) &
    The Federation of European Producers of Abrasives.

    The grades themselves fit between two distinct classes regardless of assignments or letter before the numbers


    • Macro class
    • Micro class

    Macro encompasses 12- 200 and Micro is from 240 -1500.



    The machines that can drive sand paper are also plenty, we can visit that another time if anyone wants to explore it further.



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    ok, so thats more than enough tool talk from me for the moment. As i said, if others have anything they want to display, the floor is open.

    Sooooo, lets get into this whole stand concept thing shall we.




    Rule Number 1

    When building anything for our aquatic animals, determine what height you want the tank to be at, then....subtract the tank height.

    That will give you your stand height. The most important factor that will make or break a good tank you'll have max interest in!!!


    Rule Number 2

    When building anything for our aquatic animals, be sure youve done a your homework, Firstly a design with a breakdown of pieces with lengths & widths, and secondly the calculations for both weight & dimensions.

    Dimensions on the room, firstly to ensure you have the room for what your planning, & dimensions of the tank.
    Always, & i cant stress this enough, if your building from scratch, always build around your existing equipment.
    Even though tanks are some-what cheaper, the general rule of thumb is, Tanks generally dont change shape or design, your stand, skins or canopies can.

    Dont get caught out like i was this week, having an 8ft stand with a supposed 8ft tank with 2inch of over hang.
    Never assume, measure it, then measure it again.


    Rule Number 3

    Always define your working area. ensure that its clean & clear of obstacles.
    Note your power sockets & have your expected equipment lined up, tested and ready to go before you start a project.
    If you create mess as you go, ensure you at least attempt to maintain it in some sort of cleanliness order. I personally have a vacuum cleaner empty & ready somewhere close by every single time.

    All important, Insure you have proper lighting, a towel for wiping your hands & face, & a seal-able drink bottle. Its the little things, that make DIY working a pleasure.









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    When creating anything, unless your exceptionally talented or creative by nature, it can be hard sometimes to sit down and come up with ideas of building plans of any sort.

    To limit this sort of blocking, i suggest you do as i do, start a projects file on your computer, in it create a concept folder that you add pictures of anything & everything that tickles your fancy.

    It maybe a building concept in Switzerland, the latest lighting designs in Malian, or even tanks youve come across in your internet travels. What ever, it doesn't matter the material, because its all conceptual & visual.

    You will be surprised at how an idea quickly turns from nothing into a run away train after trolling your own files. Combine this sort of creativity seeking with a free subscription or two from an online source, say.... Wood Design & Building Mag coupled with Yanko Design and your on a winner.

    Consider that abit of V-Spec Inside Track Scope


    Ok so lets have a better look at wood shall we.

    Wood is ....or in our case, was... a living entity. It contained cellulose strand & cells that would pile on top of each other to grow up & out.
    It transported water much like our own bodies & topped up its storage capacity as much as the cell could contain for those ....not so rainy days.
    Through the use of photosynthesis it fed itself & was kind enough to process my exhales so my next breath was nice & fresh. Then i did what all men would do, chop the b@st@rd down to make me something lol

    So in knowing this piece of timber was alive, You know the biggest thing i took away from that feel good story....was that it contained water.

    Now if it contains water, & ive cut & hacked & spliced it up into 2x4 beams, then its going to shrink as it dries out. Timber yards i would assume the world over, at least try to some degree to factor this shrinkage in when they are cutting it for the rest of us. However take notice, nothings perfect. measure it & dont just assume its correct by negated its "supposed to be widths" from your own calculations on paper.



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    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    Wow, V! Those were very informative posts!
    Carmie


    Only disasters happen fast!





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    Quote Originally Posted by CarmieJo View Post
    Wow, V! Those were very informative posts!
    Hopefully carmie, This is what its here for, Although it was becoming clear that it needed a kick down to get things into perspective.



    So whats next....Designs, Designs.

    The real beauty of tanks is they are pretty flat, & if we're talking traditionally here, they fall into two categories.

    Ether square, or rectangle.

    Both are just as easy to make, as are the stands that fit them, & the plus is there is no real differences or advantage when making it. Well maybe, the fact that its longer & cost you more in materials, but we can overlook that for the sake of saving face....my own..lol

    Its time we looked at this conceptually.


    4 main structural components exist.



    1. The base
    2. The top
    3. Vertical supports
    4. Horizontal supports


    Thats pretty much it. I shall now demonstrate using other peoples builds. The misses is asleep still, so if i go banging in the back rooms to dig out my nano concept as an example she'd prob kill me.

    Step 1
    First we take the base, rectangle in this example.

    You cut your timber lengths to match the tank lengths.
    You then negate the width of the timber, so that when your lining up your width sections of timber, it will give the correct depth calculations.
    Going back to the previous posts, you would use an angle clamp on each corner to ensure its plumb & true.

    This allows you to glue & drill holes to affix the timbers together.
    You would ensure its uniform drilling, no random acts here, it the top picture, its always the piece of timber that overlapping the first. So where you see that blue bit on the timber at the very bottom, thats the face your drilling.

    same principle applies to the horizontal supports.



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    Step 2

    We put the base section leaning up against a wall for a sec, Then we do the exact same thing over again to complete a top section. presto, two tv dinners for the price of one!

    Step 3

    All we're doing now is switching it up, & adding vertical legs, & oh, would you look at that, a roof the same size!


    Ok so stay with me, dont get two excited by that photo just yet, it didn't properly explain the steps in the middle.

    The second section we just built becomes the base, as its already lying on a flat floor right! , this is now where our previous calculations come in.

    We know the stand height because we already worked out where we want the tank height to be ....correct - so we've negated the actual tank height & whats left over was the stands highest level. In order to make it easier, lets throw in some real world examples.

    I know i want my tank to be around eye level, so ive gone for a total height of 1061cm high. the tank is 61cm high, so if i negate that, im left with 1000cm high. That is my stand height.


    Now when working with timber, i know im using timber beams, they all have a length, width & depth just like my tank dimension.

    Look at this picture again..


    If you look at this side, you see it has a timber base & top thats on its edge.
    I use that width X2, & what ever the short fall from 1000 to work out the lengths of my vertical supports.

    Or real word example, the timber widths at the base is 50cm, i times that by 2 to include top & bottom, which leaves me with 900cm to make the logical height of the legs.


    In this example, i would lay down the bottom section, place the four support legs & however many vertical middle support legs & clamp them, then place the top on, clamp those, then drill the top using my cordless drill whilst ensuring the legs are straight using my carpenters angle & angle clamps.

    Then all you got to do is flip it, & do the same.


    The Pictures follow suit for adding a main "extra" vertical support legs. This is a simple as cutting it to the desired height, then drilling them on. Its also showing a ply wood base , roof & sides. all pretty simple stuff once you jump in & get your hands dirty.









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    Just as a side note, your building equipment & tools needed to fasten them together are constantly moving. I know it sounds like alot of equipment, but once your confident your lines are straight & true, or more simply, making a nice square box or rectangle, you remove any clamps ect ect, & move on the the next one.


    The widths of the timber can also come into effect when building. In many cases, i would cheat & use a nail gun once my legs a lined up, then i can screw them at my leisure, or if the timber is too thick to drill through, you can drill a screw on an angle from the side into your respective piece. Or modify the way the support legs afix to the structure

    Once you start building, items of this nature, very quickly come to your attention. In most case, you just have to contemplate for a minute on what the most logical solution you can deploy to achieve it or get around the issue.



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    Thanks V, those post will help out a bunch. I love modern cabinet making its so fun seriously.
    Ray or Raymond
    There is no elevator to success in marine tanks. You have to take the stairs.


    Raymond's 30 gallon tank
    Raymond's 60 gallon tank


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  20. #70
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    i haven't finish on that example yet bud, still abit more to go, im just tired and hungry, & currently scoffing down bacon & eggs .... & french toast whilst typing this with my toes.

    Might finish up later......................or will I



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    Yea I know I just like posting early so I don't have to later. LOL

    I cant wait for more.
    Ray or Raymond
    There is no elevator to success in marine tanks. You have to take the stairs.


    Raymond's 30 gallon tank
    Raymond's 60 gallon tank


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  22. #72
    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    Since the focus of this thread has expanded I moved it to the DIY forum.
    Carmie


    Only disasters happen fast!





    Carmie's 54 Corner Tank
    Carmie's Cube


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  23. #73
    Our Brotha Down Unda
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    ok so just so we're all clear, any advice i do give out, humor me, but never, i repeat, NEVER follow my lead. It will only turn into an ozzie copy cat loonie.

    Ive seen better ideas floating past the sewer treatment plants intake lanes..lol



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  24. #74
    Our Brotha Down Unda
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    actually, thats pretty much it for structural, the rest is cosmetic.

    I'll post the series shots anyways so you can see it built.
    This was for a 520G shark tank by the way.





    exact same principles, flush "capping" sections top & bottom, the vertical sections were then made from the remaining calculations.





    Bit of fancy smancy stuff added to the outer skin & bobs your uncle.
    im assuming that's all router work being performed. it doesn't actually say whether he diy that himself im afraid.






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  25. #75
    Our Brotha Down Unda
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    Doors were hinged , unit stained & the tank was placed on top ready for an RO treatment that takes over a week to fill





    .

    untill we get to this, the eventuality of some dudes dedication & hard work.


    so anyways, alittle bit anti climatic from an explanation build point of view on my translation behalf, sorry about that, however Steve77 @the reef tank, feel special, cause i just showed your handy work in some random drive-by explanation.lol


    So, the question is, did everyone follow that basic concept, or are you going to force me to build something & document it myself?



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