As all of you know, bins are all the 'rage' in 'Hamster Real Estate' these days. These are inexpensive and easy to make if you are handy with tools, or have someone to lend a hand.
You are only limited by your imagination! Design the home of your hamster's dreams. These are easy to clean and weigh little.
Just remember to measure twice, and cut once. Also, make sure to read the end notes for tips and other useful ideas.
I also want to point out that some of the cuts in the photos provided in this guide are pics of my very first attempt and to note that the Dremel tool and RotoZip tool are difficult to handle while cutting plastic. Having the Dremel tool after all the bins have been made have made available attachments to smooth out some of these 'wobbly' cuts you see.
You can also use a GOOD utility knife to make the cuts. It works nicely and is less messy than the power tools. It also makes nice smooth lines/cuts. I want to point this out because I am NOT going to go and buy another bin to cut up without needing it for any hamster.
OK, let's get started!
Hand tool list
1- Hole saw set
2- Large tin snips
3 -3/16" drill bit
4- 1/2" drill bit
5- 3/8" open end wrench
7- Emery cloth (to smooth edges if needed)
8- Small wire nips
11-Large wire nips
1- 1/2" Washers
2- # 10 Nuts & washers
3- # 10 Machine screws
Sheetrock screws 1"
Cutting Tool List
1- Jig saw
2- RotoZip tool or Dremel tool
4- Clear packing tape
5- Heavy duty utility knife (personal preference item)
These instructions are for Sterilite brand bins with the locking tabs on the lid. The size depends only on your personal preferences. I use a 109 qt for Syrian hamsters and 66 qt for Dwarf hamsters. I like the locking lids for safety reasons. I have 2 bins with 3 dwarf hamsters in each living quite comfortably in there.
OK, let's get the lid vented
See that ridge along the edges? That's our guide. We want to cut along side the shape of that ridge. Keep the lid fastened to the bin while doing this. It gives some stability.
1- Take your 1/2" drill bit and drill a hole about 2" INSIDE the area you are going to cut out.
2- Take the jig saw and insert the blade into the hole you just made and start cutting. I use the guide on the saw to a) follow the shape of the ridge, b) it keeps a safe distance inside the ridge to keep the lid useable and sturdy.
3- continue all the way around until you have a hole cut out of the middle of the lid.
4- Make 2 holes with a 'brace' in the middle for the large bins.[K]
You can make the hole/s any size and shape you want.
Let's add the wire mesh
1- Take your wire mesh and lay it over the upside down, cut lid.
2- With the marker, mark out the size & shape of the inside of the lid opening, include any obstacles' that will need 'nipping' to make the wire fit snugly without any gaps.
3- Take the tin snips (2) & cut out the shape of the lid you just traced out on the wire. You want a tight fit with the mesh and lid so no sharp edges are sticking out. [D]
4- With the lid still upside down, lay the mesh over the lid and position the mesh in place over the opening. Take your 3/16" drill bit & drill a hole on one spot on one of the short sides of the lid.
5- Take a screw, 2 washers & 1 nut & fasten the mesh through this hole.
6- Do the same on the opposite side of the lid.
7- Now, work your way around the opposite side. This ensures a tight fit! Use the small wire nips (#9)to cut wire away from any 'obstacles' left from the original shape of the lid.
Author: Joan Walker