Made great progress upgrading my tank. Some more work still needs to be done. however, I needed to get it laid out the best I could so I can see what other improvements are needed. Using 2.2mm acrylic that I bought from home depot; I made top pieces, basking area for Sammy, divider to separate Sammy and the fish, and a gravel retaining wall. Using the laser cutter from TheLab.ms (local Plano, TX makerspace) I was able to cut everything out.
On the fish side I used black gravel and planted some plants. On the turtle side I used black sand as gravel can hurt or kill a turtle if they decide to eat it (Hint: They will). I placed some larger river rocks and some fake plants. Some turtles will eat the fake plants, Sammy has been pretty good and hasn't tried to yet. The device on the right hand side is a electric flow fan to circulate the water. The fan and light are hooked up to a z-wave power strip that is controlled by my computer. Light turns on at 7:30am and turns off at 10:00pm. The fan turns on every 10 minutes for 1 minute. This is because Sammy doesn't really like it that much but I need better water circulation so we came to a compromise. Also, have a nice adjustable heater to keep the fish and Sammy warm. Just got a new SunSun HW-704B 525 GPH 5-Stage Canister Filter. I'll be hooking the new pump up shortly and run both at the same time until the new filter has a chance to build up good bacteria.
Now onto some action shots.
This is a picture of the gravel retaining wall and just on the other side two amazing bottles Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch and Zacapa 23 year Rum is hold down a 5mm x 192mm acrylic strip glued down with aquarium safe silicone. The divider seats inbetween the gap of the acrylic strip and retaining wall so it can swing out.
Close up of the fish side. (Not Sushi please don't eat)
Some close up shots of the turtle side
To build the basking area I attached each piece to each other using electric tape. Electric tape applies tension as it tries to shrink what helps keep everything tight while you weld them together using Weldon #4 Acrylic solvent
Some close up shots of the turtle basking area.
After I set up the basking area I realized the 50mm safety wall that extends out wont work well enough. I will make another cage that fits going the other direction. Until then, I placed some acrylic scraps to ensure he doesn't try to climb out.
Used the astro turf from home depot. Unfortunately its not working out well. I need to find some better quality astro turf. Sammy has been pulling the green grass off and causing a mess.
Its hard to see here but I etched Samuel L. Jackson into the acrylic divider along with two turtles. It was fun to watch the laser cutter cut all those holes.
Here is a screenshot of the design from the laser cutter software.
In person, it looks great. Just hard to take a picture through glass and water.
Some actions shots of Sammy enjoying his new tank setup.
Next, I am going to change the ramp to the basking area. Where the ramp currently ends it will extend all the way to the glass horizontally creating a platform just below the water surface and turns back onto its self with a second ramp going deeper into the water. This should give Sammy a nice safe area to sleep at night. After the ramp is made I'll be making the other side of the basking area so he can't climb out.