DIY Grow Box
Introduction: DIY Grow Box
Prompted by my daughters middle school project, might as well try to build a mini grow box. I have seen similar kits for hundreds of dollars online so how cheap could I make it and for it to do about the same thing.
As the first attempt, some corners were cut and I think now I would use LED red/blue lights instead of the HE lights I happen to have had around the house. The lights I used did fit into an acceptable light spectrum and only used a total of 45w when on but working out the kinks on that part now.
Total cost was minimal as the most expensive single part was the cooling fans and thermostat and I think I got them on sale for about $35. The rest for the most part was salvaged parts from prior projects around the house. However, if bought new I would estimate about $50 total cost.
Step 1: Materials
Materials will depend on what size you want the box to be. In this case, the box was 33″ tall x 18.5″ wide x 18″ deep to house starter plants and those that will reach a max height of about 24″. Of course, if you wish to build bigger, add to the below supplies. No special tools needed, just a drill, circular saw, knife, square, and a tape measure. A multi-meter would be helpful if your kind of new to electrical stuff.
Common 1/4 plywood (1 x sheet)
Cooling fans (x2)
Thermostat & Speed Controller (1)
about 8′ of 1″ x 2″ for the basic frame
Wood Screws .25″ (6) for Hinges
Wood Screws 1″ estimate (30)
Underfloor Heating Foil / Foil Tape / Simply Aluminum Foil
1-1.25″ Deep Handy Utility Box (3)
24″ Red 14 Guage electrical Wire
24″ Black 14 Guage Electrical Wire
24″ Green/White 14 Guage Electrical Wire
Wire nuts, a couple
Electrical Wire 3 prong (I used one from an old appliance I had but I am sure Lowes has them cheap)
1″ x 2″ x 6′ (1) not needed but I did use it to cover seams between cuts like on top and above the door
Electrical outlet (1)
Plus and minus using basic creativity.
Step 2: Step Two: Frame It Out
I did not take pictures along the way but I think it is easy enough to figure this one out.
Depening on how big you want it, frame out a cube basically. I braced up the corners to prevent any swaying when moving.
The top back of the box I framed out the part that will hold the electrical switches and sealed it away from the grow area below.
Step 3: Step Three: Add the Sides, Door, Top and Bottom.
I simply measured what was needed and cut. I screwed on the left, right, back, and bottom.
The front contained the door so one single cut along the top, added the hinges, and door done.
The top has two removable parts, one allowing a viewing area and light adjustment in the front and the other access to the power switches.
Step 4: Step Four: Reflective Material
Using whatever you determine is best or you happen to have around the house, now is a good time to add it. I used some Underfloor Heating Foil I had and applied it everywhere I could to contain heat, reflect light, and seal up the inside of the box from moisture. Eventually I ran out and used Aluminum Foil for the inside of the door.
Step 5: Step Five: Fans Holes
For the fans, I used some common fans used in entertainment centers to keep ones X-Box and such cool. I bought a kit with two fans and one thermostat that I could program to come on and shut off at predetermined temperatures. The particular kit I used was simply a plug and play using a USB with no wiring required but I did find out the wires ran a little short thus some wires are seen inside of the box when my original plan was to run all wires on the outside.
Simple enough, how ever big the fans are make a round hole on the bottom back corner of one side about 6″ from the bottom to serve as the cool air intake. Create the second hole in the opposite side in the top front of the box to serve as the warm air exhaust.
Step 6: Step Six: Sand/Stain
Of course you can do this when ever you wish but now prior to putting wires in and your fans, it may make better sense to sand and stain now. I was not going for looks here as you may see but I do think some water resistance would be a good idea.
Step 7: Step Seven: Electrical
Actually, this was not as hard as some may think.
Fans: Install the fans, intake fan on the bottom should be facing in allowing it to suck in outside air and push it into the box. Exhaust fan should be facing out pulling air out of the box.
Box 1, Light Switch: In this project I used the light switch as the master control for the whole unit.
Box 2, Junction Box and Power Supply: All wires centralized here and this is where I hooked up the power cable.
Box 3, Outlet: Simple enough, a power outlet for my Thermostat and an extra outlet for a secondary light or whatever.
I will not give detailed instructions on how to wire things because I am not a electrician and I do not want to give bad advice and someone shock themselves but youtube is a great resource for this one.
Temperature Probe: With the thermostat there is a small probe connected to it. I drilled a small hole in the floor of the electrical box and inserted the probe. You can adjust where the probe rest in the box by tiring it off in the electrical box.
Lights: I drilled a small hole in the front of the box to allow the power supply for the lights to come out at the highest point so I can adjust them up and down accordingly. In this case, I used two lag bolts to tie off the power supply for the lights to adjust their height. I used a three outlet light socket for three HE lights that use about 45w of power well below the estimated max of the box. Again, LED grow lights are a little costly but I think worth the price given the reward and they burn a little cooler if heat becomes a problem.
Settings: Once you figure out the plant you want to put in there and required temperature ranges, program the thermostat and you are all done.
Step 8: Step Eight: Final Touches and Grow
Door Lock: I found a little hook and made it work as in the picture.
Plants, so far this seems to work best for already developed small plants and lighting seems to be responsible for 99% of my problems with plants getting leggy.
I have had no problems with being too hot or too cool. The lights warm the box up and once they hit my programed temperature, the fans kick on blow some cool air, move the plants around a little and about a minute later the fans cut off.
I have had issues with drying out. I have found the fans pick up the water and take it away so this system will likely be best with some type of drip irrigation system, frequent checks (daily or every other day), or hydroponic system. In the near future I am gong to insert LED lights and use a homemade hydro system and test that out.
DIY Grow Box: Prompted by my daughters middle school project, might as well try to build a mini grow box. I have seen similar kits for hundreds of dollars online so how cheap could I make it and for it to do about the same thing. As the first attempt, some corn…
Building an Ultra Stealthy Grow Cabinet
This article comes courtesy of the good folks at seattlecannabisjournal.com, and was re-edited for clarity and ease of reading. Click Here to view the original article in all its glory!
The day I got a recommendation for medicinal Cannabis was a relief. This was followed by the knowledge and urgency that I needed to get some plants in the ground immediately.
This had been a long-time dream of mine, and I fondly imagined my first harvest, curing my flowers to perfection, and collecting their resin for concentrates. I saw myself carefully journaling their progress, and eventually becoming an expert caretaker of myself and my marijuana garden.
Then reality set in: I have a small space, in a small house, in a crowded neighborhood.
Momentarily discouraged, I quickly scrapped the idea of a dedicated room filled to the brim. I began with getting clear about my intentions; I wanted to inconspicuously and autonomously produce my medicine. This was a much more respectable and realistic goal, and one that I could embrace.
After months pouring over cannabis related text and furrowing my brow at various nooks throughout my home, I saw through the problem. I would build a stealthy grow cabinet!
On Craigslist I found a cabinet kit still in the box for only $35. It came in at 24″ L x 30″ W x 70″ H. Next, I purchased a 6″ inline fan for another $100. The fan combined with a 400 watt light and Cool Tube from a previous grow gave me something to design around.
My sights set, I loaded Google’s 3D rendering freeware, Google SketchUp, and got to work.
Sirius: Google SketchUp can be pretty tough to use without training, especially if you’ve never used it and you just want to design one thing. Rest assured: some paper, a pencil, a little math, and careful planning will work just as well!
The first thing to deal with was the Intake and exhaust – a clean environment and fresh air for my plants.
A rule with any grow space is to have the intake’s opening twice the open area of the exhaust’s.
Important: The opening for your intake hole should be about twice the size of your exhaust hole.
My inline fan with had 6″ opening (28 square inches) so I would need 56 square inch opening. I went with two louvered grills that were 5″ x 8″ which gave me 80 square inches – 30% for the louvers = 56 square inches. Perfect!
Sirius: This is a great point! In any enclosed grow area such as a tent or grow cabinet, it’s important to have a larger opening for intake than for exhaust. This will maximize the efficiency of your fan in addition to keeping it working for longer. Plus, this will keep tents from “bowing” in, reducing your grow space.
Of course I wanted to filter the intake air to keep out dust, pet hair, pollen, mold and the like.
Next, I faced the issue of providing my plants their light.
I chose a High Pressure Sodium bulb. Since these produce more light from the side(the long side as opposed to the plug and tip of the bulb), light coverage could be maximized by positioning them front to back. Some creativity was required to install the Cool Tube to keep my HPS bulb from becoming too hot.
We learned above that the cabinet is 24″ deep. Now this Cool Tube was 20″, hardly enough room to attach two 6″ flex ducts for ventilation without having to keep a door open.
Keeping a door open is not a viable option for the stealthy gardener like me! I decided to use some creativity.
The solution I came up with was to place the duct work outside of the cabinet.
I built and installed 4″ x 10″ x 48″ wooden housing for the duct work for the exhaust of the Cool Tube (picture 3rd down). Next, three 6″ duct flanges into the back wall of the cabinet leading into the duct work spaced vertically 9″ apart.
This allowed three different height settings for the light. The unused two positions are capped off. Take a look…
I installed a sealed fan room to house the 6″ inline fan mentioned above. This sat in the top inside of the cabinet, pictured below.
Now that my fan room was set up, I allowed the exhaust to escape upward into a carbon filter. I mounted the filter inside a Rubbermaid tote to make the whole setup more discrete.
A fan speed controller and light timer are mounted on the outside of the fan room.
Next to the fan room is space for other more technical things. Here we find the ballast and command switching station.
Also, I installed a “Kill-a-Watt” device to monitor my electrical usage so I can easily calculate the total extra cost to my electricity bill each month.
I vented this area with a 4″ opening that opened into the fan room.
When all was said and done I harvested 264 grams (9.3 ounces).
Final Harvest Weight: 264 grams (9.3 Ounces)
The final bounty boasted nine ounces of dried and cured cannabis flowers.
After the initial investment, $1.64 was my total cost per gram when I factored electricity, carbon filter, and nutrients.
Affordable medicine is a right, and medicinal Cannabis sets a standard for patient autonomy. Enjoy producing your own medicine.
Sirius: This is definitely an advanced method of creating a grow box, but he makes sure to include a lot of things one needs to consider when creating one, such as ventilation and making sure to leave room for everything you need. Do you have a better/more practical/more efficient design? Let us know so we can share with the world!
See Another Stealth Grow Cabinet in Action and Build Your Own!
Was the cabinet in the above article a little too much for your sensibilities? Then check out these pics by one of our awesome readers!
Make sure to click each one to see the full size picture.
These pictures were sent in by one of our readers who has taken a far more simple/easy approach to making a grow cabinet than G.D. Bud. Here’s what he had to say about it:
“1st time grower. Plants are 1 month old, and 12″ tall now. Set up for less than $250. Used cab.w/4 bulb, 24″ T5’s, 4″ elec exhaust, Thanx for great info.”
Use the following items to make a stealthy grow cabinet just like his:
- Old cabinet
- Line inside of cabinet with mylar (reflective material)
- Hang T5 grow light to inside-top of cabinet with rope rachets
- Cut 12″ hole in back (near bottom) for cool air intake
- Attach air filter to your intake hole if the outside air is dusty (and to protect your grow cabinet from any stray bugs)
- Cut 4″ hole out the top to use as an exhaust hole (cut a bigger exhaust hole for a bigger cabinet, or if you’re going to intall more/bigger/hotter lights)
- A 4″ exhaust hole uses 4″ ducting with fan to pull out hot air (drawing in cool air in through your intake).
Remember, fan should be pointed up, to pull hot air out of your cabinet!
- Now you just add plants!
See how one grower built his own stealthy grow cabinet (in pictures), then learn how to build your own!