Articles ~ How to - Make an ADA Style Light Stand with Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Light StandI recently picked up an ADA 75p from my friends at ADG. It was time to get back to work and create another ADA Style Aquarium Stand and light stand. Even though I have had a lot of success in the past with making electrical conduit light stands, it became clear that a smaller tank was going to require something different; the diameter of the conduit and the radius of the bends became more pronounced than I would have liked on the 75p.  ADA offers some very nice stainless steel light stands, but to me the premium price is not worth the product that you receive.  With all of this in mind, I decided to make an attempt at creating an ADA style light stand with stainless steel.

After some research on the internet and a review of some stainless steel samples, I decided on 3/8” solid square bar.  This diameter gave me the appropriate strength and size for the style I hoped to achieve.  Please note if I was using a tank any wider than 30", I would choose a thickness of ½” for added stability. I ordered 3 pieces of cut-to-size stainless steel from an online vendor.  Two of the pieces will be used for the sides.  I chose them to be 68” in length, giving me plenty of space to hang my pendant.  The last piece will be used as the top.  Considering that the tank is 30” and knowing that I want ¼” of space on each side,  I ordered the last piece to be cut at 31¼” (3/8 + 3/8 + ¼ + ¼  + 30 = 31¼”).



-(2) 68" long x 3/8" diameter solid stainless steel square bar
-(1) 31¼" long x 3/8" diameter solid stainless steel square bar
-Scotch-Brite Paint and Varnish Stripping Pad
-Aluminum to make bracket (Titanium is not necessary, but super cool!!)
-6 machine screws
-4 wood screws
-4 black spacers


-Drill press
-Tap and die kit

Total Cost: $85


The stainless steel arrived in a large packing tube.  I unpacked it and got to work. The pen in the pictures is there to show size.


The steel was very dirty to start.

Stainless Steel Light Stand


I used a Scotch-Brite Paint and Varnish Stripping Pad to clean it.  I was sure to use the pad in the same direction, creating a brushed metal look.  Sanded metal is very dirty; latex gloves helped.

Stainless Steel Light Stand


I needed a way to connect the top piece and the two side pieces.  I devised a bracket that attaches to the back corners of the stand.  Stainless steel is not easy to cut or drill; I suggest a drill press for this task.  If you do not have one, try to find a local machine shop that can help.  Luckily for me, I work for a company that deals with titanium and stainless products.  Special thanks to Eric for drilling and tapping the holes and quickly fabricating two brackets out of scrap titanium (obviously more strength than necessary, but how cool is titanium?!).  With brackets on the top two corners of the stand, the top piece was securely fastened.

Stainless Steel Light Stand


To fasten the stainless to the side of the tank, I simply used wood screws and black spacers.

Stainless Steel Light Stand


I hung the ADA Solar I to complete the stand.

Stainless Steel Light Stand


Here is a bird's eye view of the light stand, tank, and the ADA Style Aquarium Stand.

Stainless Steel Light Stand


Now I am ready to start a beautiful planted aquarium.

Stainless Steel Light Stand



If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to Help me continue helping everyone.

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