If you’ve seen my previous post (IoT Hamster Wheel Tracker) you know that we have a lovely hamster. Hamsters like to burrow, and even though he has a lot of space and quite thick layer of bedding in his cage, we wanted for him to experience a bit more natural environment.
I constructed the sandbox from a 5mm plywood, cut on laser cutter from a design I made in Fusion 360.
I made the design in Fusion 360. Make sure the dimensions are sufficient for your hamster. In case of Syrian hamsters, I recommend 24″ x 12″ – this gives us enough room to make a space for water bottle, food bowl and a small hideout.
First, all the pieces were cut using laser cutter. This can be done by hand with a saw, but it’s hard to beat the precision of a laser 😉
All the pieces were glued together using wood glue. In addition to the 5mm plywood I used about 8 feet of wooden trim pieces – those are the small elements further reinforcing the edges between adjacent surfaces. They also help ensure there are no gaps through which the sand might spill.
In retrospective, I think it would be better to use 1.5 x 1.5″ (or 2″ x 2″) square dowel instead of the trim pieces. Bigger surface for the glue would provide stronger connection, and it would even be possible to add couple screws per side for peace of mind 🙂
By not gluing the “shelf” above the line of sand and instead letting it be held in place by friction (it should fit snugly between side walls) you can easily make a small storage compartment.
After the glue dried, I sealed the wood with polyurethane. Those can be bought in spray bottles, for quick and easy application. I recommend using 2-3 layers for best finished look (with light sanding between layers, or at least before applying last one).
Make sure you allow enough time for it to dry before allowing your pet to play with it.
Then fill it with sand and done! I used about 40 pounds of play sand (available i.e. in Home Depot – just make sure it’s a “play sand” and not regular sand used to mix with cement).
Completed project with a happy hamster 🙂
I also created a short write-up on Reddit (https://redd.it/6j4o5m) and Imgur:
Would you like to make one for your pet? 🙂