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How to Setup a Vision Rack System (step by step)

By Snake Discovery on

Emily: Hey, guys. We recently ran into an issue. We ran out of baby bibs for our baby snakes that we hatched this summer because we hatched so many more than we were expecting but thankfully, Custom Cages reached out to us and asked if we wanted to try out their vision rack system that's where Ted comes into play

Ted: Hello.

Emily: Ted Judy is the social media manager for Custom Cages and custom aquariums and today we are going to build this vision rack together.


Emily: This is everything that we have to put together. It came in like what? 10 boxes. I hope they're not too hard to put together, are they?

Ted: No, they're not hard to put together.

Emily: Okay, good. So what's that?

Ted: Those are nameplates and also locks to keep bins from coming out. You got the casters right in front of you, those are heat cables that's how you maintain temperatures in the shelves. Those are called stops, they keep the tubs from sliding out of the rack and those are the poles. That's what's going to make it tall and give it support and then those are all spacers which go in between the shelves to create the space for the tubs and the shelves themselves over there.

Emily: Wow, we have a lot of work to do.

Ted: Okay, step one is pretty simple. All we're going to do is take the casters and put them on the bottom of each pole. These particular racks for building there are not super tall racks. All the poles that we have on these are the same size. If you got a double-height rack you've got two different kinds of poles. Today our job's a little bit easier because we only have one type of pole, doesn't matter which end we put the casters on.

Emily: It's a race.

Ted: All right. This is a test then.

Emily: Are you right-handed?

Ted: I'm right-handed [crosstalk]. On your marks, set, go.

Emily: Go. You're spinning it. [crosstalk]

Ted: [crosstalk] Dang it.

Emily: Queen of the caster wheels.

Ted: Right, you're hired. Vision racks only have one shelf, they're all the same. It is how the tubs are oriented in the shelf to determine how many shelves can fit in the bin. On the half swing rack, this will be where the front of the tubs are. This side over here is going to be the front of the rack. If you were using the really big bins like the V70 tub. This would be the front of the rack because the bin slides in this way. When you are building this for the first time that the first decision you have to make is where are the locking casters going to go because you only have two and you want them where they're going to be easily accessible to your foot once you push that with the rack into place.

This will be the front edge of the shelf. You want your casters on the front corners. The flat side of the shelf is actually the underside of the shelf. The side that has got the indentation and all these little clips. These little clips where the heat cables go is going to be on top of each shelf and the tubs are going to slide on top of this. There's an air gap underneath the tubs and you have the heat cable under it. Now notice, Emily, that you've got a bunch of clips that go this way and you've got a whole bunch of network of clips here. When you're thinking about your hatchling rack, you're going to have a bunch of tubs going this way. You're going to want your heat cable coming all the way across so that each of them have heat cable under it.

The next question is do you want the heat cable at the backside of the tub or at the front side of the tub?

Emily: I do the back.

Ted: Okay, now we want to turn this around this way so that this is the front corners of your rack so that when you put the heating cable in all of the heat cables are going to be back here.

Emily: These are here in case you have a larger tub that slides in from the other side-

Ted: Sure, yes.

Emily: - you can have that whole side here.

Ted: You can orient so that the heat's on the front or you orient so the heat's on the back. All depends on what you want to do. So keeping that orientation this way, this is that front edge. This is where the casters need to go.


Ted: All right now we just set this up, there we go. Now, we are looking at this rack from you at the front. This will be your front edge where your bin slide in and this will be the back end. Now, we've got our basic construction. The next level that goes in here are the spacer. We need six of those spacers.

Emily: I don't know where's that. I choose the variety pack.

Ted: Just take each of these three and a half-inch spacers and they go on every single.


Ted: Now, we're ready to put on another shelf. The one thing you have to watch out for here is one very common mistake that people make whenever they are building these things is they forget the orientation of their heat wire pegs on the next shelf. You just want to make sure they're oriented the same way and this where it gets a little bit tricky because of plastic. Yes, just tap lightly, jiggle it all the way down.


Ted: All right, it's logical, what comes next?

Emily: More spacers.

Ted: More spacers in another shelf.

Emily: Do it all over again and you just repeat these steps for the rest of the shelves, right?

Ted: Yes.

Emily: All right.


Ted: This is likes peed demon building racks. For 20 years, Vision sent these things out with no instructions whatsoever. People would get these boxes of stuff and they'd have to figure it out. Luckily it's logical, but a whole lot of people built them and then realize that the pins were the wrong way. One of my jobs for Custom Cages was to actually write this nice set of instructions that's three pages long. You're welcome.

Emily: Now they'll have a video of it too.

Ted: That's right.


Emily: Ted found our fly gun. He is on the side of that planter seeing the sunlight where it curves inward?

Ted: Yes, okay.

Emily: Okay, get him. Yes, you got him.

Ted: I want you to know that I do see a lot of carcasses lying around here. You're a good hunter. [crosstalk] all they're dead. A good hunter does not leave it in the field

Emily: I leave it for other things to scavenge. Victory. [chuckles]

Ted: Okay, now how these things hold together? The only piece of hardware that's in it is a tightening bolt. It's just a bolt with a washer and all you're going to do is rotate those all the way down until they're just finger tight and then we'll talk about how you tighten these things so let's put those on.


Ted: What Emily ordered for her hatchlings are all these B15 tubs. These are the V18 tubs. This is the B15 arrangement where there'd be six of these across the front. This is the V18 arrangement in which there are two of these across the front. You can just mix and match so long as the tubs can fit in the height of the shelf you can mix and match the tubs.

Emily: I do like that they are the same height so you can just switch them out like when this snake outgrows the bin you can just give them a V17 or 18.

Ted: Right

Emily: That's the 18?

Ted: That's the 18

Emily: Okay.

Ted: While we've got the tubs in here what we want to do is we want to tighten the rack. Maybe you don't want the tub sliding this loose then all we do is rotate the [crosstalk].

Emily: It's a really old range that came out of our garage.

Ted: That's okay and all I'm going to do is I'm going to start by just turning them about one half turn all the way around and so once you turn it for half a turn, slide again and if it's still really loose, you tighten it some more. Really the best time to tighten it is when everything else is in and then you can just load it up with bins all the way up and down and then tighten it to the tightness you want and then it's ready to go. Now you notice these just go all the way through. Get back there and catch this.

Emily: Yes, I do.

Ted: That's not good. We're going to install some stops inside the shelves to keep that from happening.

Emily: I'll get the stops. Okay, Ted is now going to show us how to install the stops or guides here.

Ted: Right. Okay, these are the flat guides and you'll have two sides of a perfectly flat side. This is the side that's going to go up against the bottom of the shelf so from the underside of it the kind of the concave side we're just going to put these little rivets all the way through just like that.

Emily: Again just two for each guide.

Ted: Yes, just two for each guide even though there's four holes you don't need all four and then there are holes on the backside and on the sides and in the middle of the shelves. From underneath right down here, this is going to snap in just like that

Emily: You need them for the back and the shorter ones on the side. That's where our six-incher is going to go.

Ted: There's that and then we have one more for the middle.

Emily: Yes, otherwise the bins might slide into each other. Put one in the middle right there too.

Ted: There, all right. Now they're not going to move left and right, they're not going to move further back. How do you keep them from coming out this way and that is where your nameplate slides come in. The only thing I don't like about the nameplate slides on these [unintelligible 00:09:25] racks is you do need three of them to block that. Some people find a different way of doing it

Emily: I know a lot of people who don't even put stops in the front

Ted: Right. You can actually put a name, put a sticker so the hero within the bin, but if you ever want to get to where this one comes out you're going to have to go that way with this so you can pull it out but if you ever want to get like the middle one you're going to have to slide them both far enough, but they don't come off. It's not like you're going to forget which one's which. So [crosstalk] play a little Tetris.

Emily: I think what I might do is I might put a post-it note here because it'll stick up there and then I can put the feeding chart of each baby on each post-it note.

Ted: Good idea. All right. At this point what we're doing with this rack is just finishing putting these guides and stops all the way up and down it.


Emily: We have finished putting the guides in, and that was the exciting part where you get to see the whole thing come together by adding the bins. All I'm going to do-- Oh, heat cable, don't we?

Ted: Oh, yes, let's do heat cable first.

Emily: Just kidding, we're going to do heat cable first.

Ted: This is a typical heat cable, it's a really long one. When you buy the kits, the heat cable is included, or you can get them a la carte and you can actually get the racks without the heat cables. The thing to keep in mind is now, Emily, picture in your head where this is going to go and where's the plug in the wall compared to where this is going to go.

Emily: Should you start on the bottom then? Because the place is going to--

Ted: Yes. Typically, if the plug in the wall is over there, then you want to start at the bottom shelf and have this hanging out of the rack far enough that you can plug into the wall, or have it not hanging out where it's far enough and then use an extension cord. Now there is the other trick to doing it too. Now we're starting with the cord in. This is a relatively short tub, I mean, rack. Why don't we do this? Why don't we start at the top, and then if we start here--

Emily: We're going to start the cord on this end.

Ted: We'll start here.

Emily: We're going to push it into the prongs all the way down and then all the way back.

Ted: This is a little tedious, but the tubs will slide over the heat cable, so you're not going to have to worry about the heat cable coming up while you're pulling the bins in and out. Really once the heat cables in, it's in. One thing you're doing the heat cable to think about is heat rises as you go from the bottom of the rack to the top of the rack, so every level is going to have heat cable in it.

Really what we should do is reconsider whether we're going to have two runs of heat here, because every shelf from the bottom up is going to- heats going to radiate up. Sometimes you put more heat cable under at the bottom and less heat cable up at the top. Let's just leave it at two. Then if once you start using it if you discover that the ones in the top of the rack are staying warmer than you want, then all you need to do is redo the heat cable.

The only other thing that I suggest that people do is make sure that you give yourself a little bit of slack, like don't pull it really tight, because when you pull it tight, things tend to pop out. Give yourself a little bit of slack and start the next row. I'm actually going to change it a little bit so that the cord ends up coming out on the far side of the rack. Cords in here, I've got my cord all spaghetti junctioned.

Emily: Oh, no.


Ted: You're running out of cord?

Emily: [laughs] I knotted it up. I didn't mean to.

Ted: Yes, there is a knot in it.

Emily: Oh, my gosh, how did this happen? Through here, then you go through it there. Oh no, this is just getting worse. Yes, I think I got it.

Ted: [laughs]

Emily: Oh.


Emily: That's awesome. I really like it. It's really slick. I like how smoothly the bins slide out and the stops on the sides. That's a great idea too.


Emily: Well, now that we're done with the hatchling rack, we're going to move this out of the way and actually build a second rack from Vision altogether. It's more of a custom rack with different size bins that are meant for different sizes of snakes.

All right, we are ready to plan the quarantine rack.

Ted: The shelving that goes with a Vision rack is always the same, it's this basic shelf. But now, instead of having just one type of tub like we use the V-15s the last rack, now we have four different tubs that we can use on this rack. Notice that these tubs aren't the same height. This is a V-35 tub, it uses a six-inch tube spacer. These are those V-18s and V-15s that use the three and a half inch.

Emily: Those two we have in the hatchling rack, and these two larger ones are a bit deeper.

Ted: Right. You cannot have this two size on the same shelf. Really what you're looking at is you're going to have shelves that have two of these side-by-side, that access from this side over here. If you want to use these big V-70s, you got to be careful, because the only way that these 70s go in is this way. The other thing to think about you remember those heat cables. Notice that we have all this network of pegs here. That's really designed for this one so that if this was coming in from this end, you can put lots of heat this end of the bin.


Ted: On this particular rack we have this little gap here. If we try to use this as a tightener, it's not going to be down on top of the rack to tighten it like it was on the other one. We actually have to use these tightening spacers. Now just stick these here like this, and now when we put the tightening bolt in, this washer will sit down pull down on here and will tighten it. The tightening is always just this knot that's pushing down on the washer, that's pushing down on the spacers.

Emily: As you'll see, this rack is more of a custom-build, it was a custom order of ours. It has room for the larger bin at the bottom, the medium bins in those three shelves, and then some smaller bins in the top two levels. That way we can have multiple sizes of snakes in the same rack.

Ted: In the last rack we installed these on the underside of the bends here, but with these big three 35s, that particular size bin, for them to fit, this thing cannot go under that, so you can't use this stop with that. Instead, we have this kind of stop. All it does is it wedges into the side like this and now it's being stopped from coming out, but it comes a little further back so that you on the front--

Emily: It gives just a little bit more room.

Ted: - on the front, you're flush up here.


Emily: Here we go, our quarantine bin is done. We have little bins for the small snakes up top, and if we buy medium snakes or have medium-sized rescues, they can go there and we have one big bin at the bottom. That's awesome.

Ted: I have a question for you. Do you raise rodents?

Emily: Yes. We actually do breed rodents now for our snakes.

Ted: We have a new product that I want to share with you.

Emily: What?

Ted: I'll leave these here with you. I have a couple of these for you. This is our new rodent system. It's our rodent lid, and the rodent lid is all stamped, one-piece stainless steel. All the mesh is one piece cut out so you're not going to have welds that are going to fall apart. It's got your place for your food. It's got a place for water, but the water is solid so the animals can't actually get to the water bottle. Here's an example of a water bottle that just sits in here like this-

Emily: Oh, cool.

Ted: - but the water bottle itself is a cool thing too. If you've got a typical bottle top cap, we're going to be producing it. This is brand new, Emily, you're the first person to see this.

Emily: What? Really? I feel so special. [laughs]

Ted: These stoppers are soft plastic and they're designed to fit the standard bottleneck. Take that same bottle cap and drill a hole in it, slip it over the top, and then you can crank it down onto the threads of the bottle with that same bottle cap locking it on the threads never going to come out.

Emily: Wow, that's a really cool idea, because then you can reuse and recycle your own bottles.

Ted: Right.

Emily: Nice.

Ted: The back end of this pack is clipped so it doesn't come off the back of the tub, and then the front uses an alligator clip. This is the easiest option for pulling the front down. That's our new rodent system.

Emily: Thank you so much. You didn't have to bring that for me. I'm going to have to find-- I have a couple of pregnant females mice. I have to put them in here and we can test it out.


Emily: Well, there you have it, two new racks for our snakes, one new baby rack, so now we will have room for all of our baby snakes, and one new quarantine rack for our new rescues, because we're always taking in rescues. That's awesome.

Ted: If you're interested in a Vision rack or a Vision cage or any of the Custom Cages product line, the best place to go is We do want to point out that Emily ordered this very special rack. You can't go to our website and order up just by clicking boxes a rack that's got different size shelves and different size bins. You'll need to contact customer service directly and talk to Stacy, she's a very nice person, she'll only bite your head off a little bit. I'm just kidding, she's really nice. Talk to her about getting a multilevel rack.

Emily: They can do it. Even though you don't see it on the website, you can get a custom level, custom size rack.

Ted: Yes.

Emily: It can happen. Thank you, everybody, for watching today's video. Of course, thank you to our Patreon supporters for backing this channel. One more thanks to Ted. Thank you for helping me set this up. I'm so glad to have had your help today.

Ted: You're welcome. It's always enjoyable to come and visit people and help set up our products. Thank you for using our products.

Emily: Of course. We'll see you guys next time. All right, we have the baby rack set up, at least the first three levels of it. We're still working on filling the rest. It will be a project. We absolutely, or I at least, absolutely love this rack. It's working out really well so far. The bin slide out really smoothly, which I like. We've never worked with heat cable before, but that seems to be working really well with this rack. We just have it hooked up to just a thermostat to maintain the temperature. I don't have the name tags on right now because I want to be able to pull out the bins and show you some of the babies we have inside.

We did replace the third level from the three small bins to two somewhat larger bins because these are what we're going to put baby bull snakes in. The only feedback I have so far are two very minor things. First, I think this one's empty. Yes, this one's empty. The small hatchling bins are pretty thin, which is a style that works really well for hatchlings, don't get me wrong. However, we're unable to fit our little caves in the back. We'll just have to find some caves that fit the bins better.

I'm sorry that they're kind of bare right now. In the meantime, I'm getting creative with other tubes and things to keep them occupied with. The other thing that I noticed is that I wouldn't recommend putting very small species of baby snakes in this rack because of the holes on top of the bins. Baby garter snakes might be able to get out of those. Again, that's being very nitpicky. How many people have baby garter snakes that they're putting in a rack system?

It's a really nice rack. Those are literally the only two things I could think of to just mention here. Let me show you what we have in these bins. We'll start with the bull snakes down here. Let's see, we've got a couple of albino babies in here. These bins since the water, I can fit the cave in the back along with the other tubes and enrichment. Hi, cutie. You're so pretty. That's the albino bull snake that we're going to hold on to from our mystery dad clutch. That was an interesting clutch to hatch.

We have the possible albino in this bin. She's going to go to her new home soon. Andrew, this is your baby. She's getting shipped out next week to you. Anyway, we also have in here, this one is the ghost, I believe. I'm going without the name tag so hang on, bear with me. Ghost, are you in this one? You're not in your cave, of course. Are you in your tube? You are in your tube. You're so cute. Look at your little face. Do you like your tube? You're so cute. All right, I'll set her back down in there. Going to close this.

The last bin in this row houses our little baby red bullsnake, come here. Man, she is looking so pretty. I think she's really liking your new digs in here, too. Up here, and again, it's empty because we need to get new caves. We have some of our scaleless rat corns in here. They like their tubes in the meantime. Let's see, are they all- they're all going to be in their tubes, of course.

There, this is a really pretty scaleless corn. I like the black outlining around the blotches there. Another scaleless rat corn is in here. Yes, I'm still working on filling these up. That'll be a project in the works for a little bit here. Here, we've got mama mouse with her babies. Hi, you haven't been in there for terribly long, so we're still kind of looking at everything, but the babies seem to be doing great.

She decided to make a nest out of this little round of cardboard that I thought would just be a chew toy but it makes a nice nest too, doesn't it, girl? Yes, it does. Aren't you cute? No, you got to stay in there. Nope, nope, nope, we're staying in there. Don't abandon your babies. Okay. There, all right. Let's check out the quarantine rack. Here's our beautiful quarantine rack. I'm really happy with how this turned out, guys. Although Ed couldn't keep it empty. He already has a pair of new snakes in there. He didn't tell me about this but I approve of it. Check it out. Here's a sneak peek. We're going to feature these in a video coming up. Don't be- are you in strike pose? You probably are. There you are. Ha. This guy is a Vietnamese blue beauty snake.

I've never owned beauty snakes before. I've always found them really fascinating. This will make a beautiful display animal. We're going to have to get a nice enclosure for it. Of course, in quarantine, the setup is much more basic. Here's the other one. There we go. Now you can really see its colors and pattern. Beautiful snakes. I can't wait. They're in kind of a smaller bin right now. We're going to move them into a larger enclosure once they're out of quarantine, but for now, that should work just fine.

This actually reminds me, the one piece of feedback I have about the quarantine rack is, I love it. I absolutely love this rack. It's fantastic. I really am enjoying it. The snakes, even with the bolts tightened, we found that the snakes are able to push open these bins. That's why they come with these name tape holders, is to also hold the bins in place. I just recommend to use them. Definitely take advantage of them because they also help keep those bins in. Yes, it's a fantastic rack. I'm really glad that we bought this and now we can house more rescued snakes to foster for our local rescue until they find a new home or we can quarantine new acquisitions to Snake Discovery because who knows what we'll be getting next.


Emily: There.

Ted: How's my hair?

Emily: Beautiful.

Ted: Other than long.


Emily: That's smarter, twist by the fall. I was twisting by the base here.


Ted: It's a race.

Emily: It's a race.


Ted: It's how the bins are oracle.


Emily: No, this will be the bottom we're pushing.

Ted: We just made the first mistake.

Emily: Did we put it in upside-down?

Ted: We did. [laughs]


Emily: I think I have to pull all of that. Then you go through it there.


Emily: Through here?

Ted: Yes.

Emily: No, this is just getting worse.


Emily: Yes, that is what I wanted to do. Okay, sweet. Now I can finish this thing.

Ted: Okay.


Emily: Sweet. They even came with free rodent dirtsnake hides.


[00:26:52] [END OF AUDIO]

About Snake Discovery

"I have always had a passion for exotic pets. I was hardcore into parrots throughout college, and after I achieved my Bachelor's degree in Fisheries & Wildlife, I dove into the world of reptiles and pursued a career in exotic animal education.

I started by working as a Naturalist for the Department of Natural Resources, where my job was to create educational programs about wildlife, trees and plants, insects, geology, etc. Naturally, my favorite programs were the ones that incorporated wildlife, especially reptiles and amphibians.

After my temporary position with the DNR ended, I wanted to continue it on my own! So, I started up a small business for which I travel teaching people about reptiles. Now I go to schools, libraries, scouts, and more, to share my love of these often misunderstood animals.

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