Midwest Custom Aquarium is not a part-time or on-the-side garage shop. We are a full-time manufacturer with many years of experience and thousands of tanks out the door operating under full warranty. This page is simply to show some of the capabilities that other manufacturers may not have or cannot offer. If there is something we cannot currently do, we welcome the challenge to learn something new so that we can. More often than not, it is the random odd request that has encouraged us to learn more about something we had limited knowledge of previously. We do not farm things out or outsource our products, almost all of them are custom built right here under one roof so that all components work together perfectly. Some examples of what we can do here in our shop are listed below.
Museum Quality Seams. A “Museum Quality” seam is a loosely used term that really has no definition and can mean different things to different people and manufacturers. In general it is a seam that simply looks better than standard. To us it would be a seam bonded with a 2–part adhesive either mitered or butt joined and then sanded and hand polished to a high luster. The picture here is of a mitered seam, which will have the same look from either face. Higher-end joints can have a small interior radius, which are a bit easier to clean and look more like a single piece of material was used.
CNC Machining. We have our own CNC mill with a 5×10 bed in which we can machine parts with. Most tank tops are machined using the CNC, so we can vary the size and shape of access holes easily and accurately. We can easily add the important radius to the access holes, add feed holes, cut bulkhead holes, etc.
We do most of our cutting with our CNC machine. It is extremely accurate and allows us to cut complicated parts that would be nearly impossible to do any other way. It assures all parts are square and accurate in dimension. Aquarium tops are machined using the CNC, so we can vary the size and shape of access holes easily and accurately. We can easily add the important radius to the access holes, add feed holes, cut bulkhead holes, etc. Any other odd requests are usually made possible via the CNC.
Thermoforming. We have a large custom built high powered oven which allows us to build anything with a bend or curve to it. In combination with the CNC, we can accurately build a form with any radius to fit a specific curve.
Line Bends. Straight line bends in acrylic are no problem. Keep in mind that the thicker the material is the greater the distortion will be surrounding the bend. A miter in thicker material is generally a cleaner, neater look. For reference the material here is ½”.
Fabrication of Thick Material.We routinely work with thicker materials which have different and more difficult bonding requirements than thinner materials. Pictures here are examples of a butt joint and a mitered joint in 2” thick acrylic.
Edge Bonding. Some larger tanks and some custom shapes require bonding of sheets edge-to-edge. Such would be the case with a seamed cylinder, double bullnose, or 20 foot long tank. The sheets do not come long enough to build a 20 foot long tank from a single sheet. Therefore, more than one needs to be bonded together to get to the desired length. We can produce those seams and make them nearly invisible.
Mitered Seams.We are not limited to 90 degree angles and can fabricate mitered seams which means we can produce any angle possible. This allows for more options when building custom aquariums. The examples here are of mitered seams on a simple hexagon.