So far I have built two flight cages. The first flight cage I built is constructed of a 3/4" PVC piping frame with 1/2" aluminum hardware cloth attached. I constructed it in panels for ease in disassembly. With a little imagination, it could be constructed in one piece and thus save on material cost. The joints on each panel were glued together and the hardware cloth attached on the outside (except for the bottom panel) with plastic tie-wraps. On the bottom panel, I placed the harware cloth on the inside of the cage so that it would rest on the PVC piping rather than hang from it. It too was attached with tie-wraps. I sanded with 100 grit paper both the edge of the hardware cloth and where the tie-wrap had been clipped to clear away sharp edges. If you missed any sharp edges, you will find them someday when you are cleaning it. The panels were connected with bolts, washers, and nuts. When bolting the PVC together, you need to be careful not to go too tight. It will crack. Since the doors provide no structural support for the assembly, I made a slit into their framework for inserting the hardware cloth. A razor and straight edge work well for making a slit down the PVC pipe. A slit was also made into the PVC that make up the frame around the door opening. The door was attached using piano hinge, nuts, washers, bolts, and patients. I say patients, because trying to work the nut through the PVC slit with needle nose pliers and holding onto the bolt on the other end requires a bit of luck since you cannot see what you are doing. Other methods of hinging can be used to save money.
I have never seen a flight cage made of PVC and aluminum hardware cloth but I took this route for a couple of reasons. PVC is relatively inexpensive, easy to clean, indestructible by the feathered species, light, attractive, and easy to work with (all you really need is a tape measure, hacksaw, sandpaper, and a razor).
Other incidentals needed for this project are plywood to go between the upper and lower cages, light fixtures for the lower cage, tie-wraps, piano hinge, springs, "S" hooks, and various nuts, bolts, and washers. I could not find much selection for hardware cloth. It was either aluminum or galvanized. I would have preferred stainless but could not find any locally.
As of 1996, the cost breakdown for this project is as follows:
This flight cage has been in use for almost a year. My assessment of it is as follows: