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I am making a custom enclosure for small animals.

I was wondering whether non-toxic and chew proof plastic exists and what is it called?

  • Are you making an enclosure or a chew toy? – Henry Taylor Aug 24 '18 at 14:51
  • Enclosure. I have heard that hamsters are very crafty at finding thir way out of a cage and plastic material cannot keep them in. – Nadia Hristova Aug 24 '18 at 20:30
  • This question doesn't actually appear to be about arts or crafts, as defined in the help center page. – walrus Aug 27 '18 at 9:33
  • What do you mean by that? Picking the material for a project is not part of the handicraft process? Please elaborate. – Nadia Hristova Aug 28 '18 at 15:44
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    Rephrasing the question so it is more about what you are making and how to go about making it (which the answer does address well) may help avoid the issue of off topic. As it is phrased it more about rodents than crafting. – rebusB Aug 29 '18 at 15:16
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Smooth surfaces without ridges or angles for teeth to grab onto are as important to a successful design as your material choice. Think of your enclosure design from the point of view of its occupant. Any joint between two surfaces which are narrow enough to fit between its teeth will become a focus for gnawing. Good Design Practices

Air vents are also common weak points because simply drilling a hole in an otherwise flat wall leaves a right angle which hamster teeth can work with. Metal vent covers can fortify these necessary weak spots.

Manufacturing can also play a part in making an escape proof cage. 3D Printer surfaces, no matter how hard the plastic, will have ridges in them that hamster teeth can find and exploit. There are chemicals which can smooth out these ridges, but they may not be food safe.

As for plastic types, there are food safe versions of most of the hard plastics. PET or PVC would probably serve your purposes, but for absolute certainty, I would make the surfaces that need to be transparent out of glass and the rest out of sheet steel. Plastics are great for a lot of projects, but hamsters are world class escape artists and they deserve a cage that can truly test their capabilities.

Good Luck!

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  • Would that be a cage or a box when made of glass and aluminium? Plus, would aluminium be a bit soft? Would steel be better? – Chris Rogers Aug 25 '18 at 6:31
  • @ChrisRogers, Every box is a cage when you are inside and can't get out! As for choosing between aluminum and steel, if the box doesn't need to be portable (weight is not an issue) steel would have an advantage. Aluminum is a little easier to work with and comes in span form with grooves to hold a sheet of glass (which can often be salvaged from broken windows for free). – Henry Taylor Aug 25 '18 at 15:30
  • Not sure Al is the way to go... aluminum is soft enough to be vulnerable to scratching and chewing and possibly neurotoxic . I think it would really be about shape because you would need plastic as hard as steel to prevent the gnawing. Those guys can chew through copper wire. – rebusB Aug 29 '18 at 15:34
  • Didn't know about the possible neurotoxic issue. I will change my answer to sheet steel. – Henry Taylor Aug 30 '18 at 13:16

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