Mary Jane in
, Grow Guide
February 1st, 2010 |
How do you build an Aeroponic System?
Aeroponic systems are a great way to grow marijuana, cannabis, or weed because they offer a very simple theory of operation and can be built to be very compact. The downfall to the automated system is that if there is a power failure and you don’t catch it soon enough your plants can die. Also, if they are poorly constructed you are just setting yourself up for failure. That being said, take your time, build your system with care, think it through, and I wouldn’t build it without a fail safe for the power at least. The following is a guide to help you make an Aeroponic grow system, you will most likely have to adapt it to your application.
Materials Needed to make a Aeroponic System
- 30 feet of PVC Pipe, 1 1/4″ outside diameter is adequate, make sure the sidewalls are at least 1/4″ thick, or close, for strength.
- 5 gallon bucket w/lid, Home Depot sells them brand new for like 6 bucks.
- 8 tri-elbow joint connectors that fit the PVC pipe.
- 2 elbow connectors
- Sand Paper, 60 Grit
- 1/4″ Drill Bit
- 3/4″ Drill Bit
- Key Hole Saw
- Hack Saw
- Pipe Cement
- Silicone w/caulking gun
- Fish Tank Air Pump w/oxygen stones
- Submersible electric water pump. I’m using a pump with an adjustable output so as my plants develop i can just turn the water volume up or down as needed.
- Tubing to fit the exits on each of your pumps, make sure the tubing for your water pump fits the misters/foggers too, or at least can be adapted to them.
- 2 Vinyl Rain Gutter Drain Angles
- 3 feet of Vinyl Rain Gutter w/end caps
- 6, 360 degree misters/foggers.
- 2 Electric Plug Timers
- Optional, but highly recommend, a battery back up they sell for computers. That way if you lose power you have a greater margin of time to restore power.
- 1 six foot long, 5″x5″ blank vinyl fence post with 4 end caps.
- 6, 4″ netted pots.
- 1/2 sheet of ply wood.
This list is for this particular scenario, adjust quantities as needed.
Steps to build an Aeroponic System
Remember, clean and sterilize all tools, equipment, and work space before you start.
- Cut the following lengths from the PVC: 30″x2, 33″x2, 36″x4, 20″x4, these pieces will be put together to form the base of the Aeroponic system. Using the pipe cement, connect the PVC you just cut with the tri-elbow connectors. I have included a picture to make it easier to understand.
- I’m sure you will notice that one side of this base is lower than the other by 3 inches, this is to ensure that all of the water drains off between mistings. Make sure the base remains square while drying, you don’t want it to dry leaning to one side and have to grow on an uneven base. Plus it looks mediocre.
- Using the hack saw, cut the blank vinyl fence post directly in half.
- Using the silicone, attach the end caps to both of the post halves. The silicone will ensure a water tight fit.
- Make a tray out of the ply wood, cut a piece that measures the surface area of the top of your base, in this case it would be 20″x36″
- Center the ply wood over the base and run some screws through the wood into the PVC to secure the wood. This will give us a good area for our channels to sit on.
- Mount the channels to their respective outside edge, leaving a half inch margin down the side. I don’t actually attach the channels, for two reasons, the first is that if you need to modify something later it is easier, and the second being that it is bad to run screws or something into the area that your plants food will contact. So I just put them in the desired location on the ply wood and snuggly drive screws on each side of the four corners, being sure to leave an inch of the screw up. This keeps the channels in place without penetrating the channel and possibly contaminating the plants. I made this base 20″ wide for a reason, because I intended on growing with the Sea of Green Method, so the plants need to have a square foot each of space. The rest is simple math, 2 5″x5″ post halves with 10″ between them would give me 14″ center to center on the channels. (Leaving a half inch margin on the outside.) That was all to explain why I am mounting the channels at this distance, like I said before, you will have to adapt to your application.
- Cut out the holes for your netted pots, make sure you make them the proper size so that the pots lay flush with the surface, but don’t fall through the holes. For this application I will start 6″ from the end and then cut a hole every 12″. I use a drill with 2″ bit to start the holes, then a key hole saw to complete the hole to the desired size.
- On the drainage side (the low side) of the channels drill a 2″ diameter hole on the bottom of each channel. Make the hole as close to the end as possible without it interfering with the end cap.
- Using the sand paper, scuff up the area around the holes you just drilled for drainage. Scuff the drainage angles too, you only need to do it around the top where it will meet the channel.
- Using the epoxy, attach the drainage angles to the underside of the channels. Clean the area well first and make sure to thoroughly mix the epoxy. Seal with silicone once dry.
- Cut out the area of plywood for the drainage angles to hang through.
- Cut a piece of the vinyl rain gutter 20″ long, this will join the two drainage angles to act as a collector for the draining solution. Cut out holes on each end of the section to allow the drainage angels to slip into the collector. Once you get the fit good, scuff the application area with sand paper, clean, and attach with epoxy. Use Silicone to seal it once the epoxy has dried.
- Attach the gutter cap to one side of the collector and seal with silicone.
- On the other end of the collector attach a length of vinyl rain gutter that will be able to reach down far enough to penetrate the rim of the reservoir, for this application 15″ will work. Adjust as necessary. Remember to seal with silicone once the epoxy has dried.
- Using a drill with a 1/4″ bit, drill 3 sets of 4 holes down the left side of the channels. Space the holes 3/8″ apart for the vertical spacing and 3/4″ lateral spacing. Put each grouping near a hole for the netted pots. Center the groupings from top to bottom along the wall.
- Drill one hole on each channel for the mister line entry. I like to drill mine right near the top of the drainage side that way my lines go straight from the reservoir to into the channels, eliminating any extra mister line that isn’t needed.
- Run a line into each channel, you need just enough to reach an inch past your farthest grouping of holes in the sidewall. The line should be able to reach from your farthest grouping to the reservoir without any kinks or tension on the line whatsoever.
- Attach the misters to the line where the groupings are located. Depending on the product you use there are different attachment methods, but if you made it this far you will surely figure out how to attach the little misters to your line. Don’t forget to cap the end after your last mister.
- Once the misters are securely fastened to the line inside the channels, use the zip ties to mount them to the side wall. Careful not to over tighten the zip ties or you could pinch off the water supply. One zip tie on each side of the grouping with the mister in the middle.
- Attach your mister lines to your water pumps out put, fill your reservoir and test system. Run it long enough to expose any leaks, correct any leaks that may be present. You may want to cover those holes for the pots.
- Once you have fixed any leaks that may have been there, you can setup any extras like your battery back up or your plug timers. Test any additional systems you put in place.
- After everything is done, clean and sterilize the entire system.
- Cut the lid of the reservoir so that it accommodates the mister line, pump cord, drainage gutter, etc. when it is in place. This will help you avoid contamination to your reservoir.
- Once sterilization is complete, put your solution in the reservoir, put your pumps in their locations, set your timers, and grow some marijuana.
A good starting point would be to have the timers set to mist for 15 min, every half hour. You will just have to keep a close eye on the entire system until you get use to its characteristics.
Lighting schedule/practices are the same as normal for marijuana, cannabis, or weed.
A good compliment to this would be a Co2 Enriched Growing system.