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By Jeeper
Location: 
Posts:  403
Joined:  Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:47 am
#344686
So due to some encouragement from some people, who will remain anonymous, and the fact that my plant room is already maxed out after only living here for 2 months, I'm taking over the unfinished basement!

I'm starting with a highland grow chamber for heliamphora and orchids. I know, I know, it's not Australian plants! Hey, what can I say, sometimes diversity is a good thing... My basement, with the furnace off but dehumidifier on stays at 63-64°f and about 53% humidity, I will monitor this as we get into the colder months and I finally let the wife turn the furnace on. I may also adjust the dehumidifier to increase ambient humidity slightly.

Below are the pictures and steps to the first part of the project, the rough build.

Part 1 - Rough build

I started by taking my lumber to school and having one of the woods classes cut it to the approximate dimensions I mention below. I build the table top/tray bottom out of convenience.
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The table top/tray bottom is made out of 2x4 lumber with the supports spaced every 20". The total size is 5ft by 3ft.
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The legs are made from 4x4 treated lumber since they will be in contact with the floor. They were cut to 32". I'm 6'3" so you can cut these shorter if you wanted.
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The sides of the tray will be made from 2x6 lumber and cut to 36".
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The front and back of the tray will be 2x6 lumber cut to 63".
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Build the platform and place is too down on floor. Place legs in corner of 2x4 frame and secure with 4" screws. It is best to pre-drill the 2x4s to prevent splitting and cracking. Try and make sure the cuts are as straight as possible and the legs as perpendicular to the table as possible.
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Make sure legs are parallel to each other. I may add some 2x4 reinforcement runners in the future, but I don't anticipate this setup weighing enough to be a concern.
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Tada! A table! But wait, there's more...
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Assemble the tray sides using 3.5" screws to make a box. You may find it easier to leave the back side off until the rest is secured if you don't have a perfectly square top... (Student work is free, but not always accurate, haha)
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The tray sides are 2x6 which means the board is 5.5" wide. I measured down approximately 1 3/8" on each side of the table and made a mark.
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Take a 4" screw and install it on your 4 marks, two on each side of the table. You can now place your tray sides on these screws to hold it while you attach the tray to the table.
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Using 3.5" screws attach the tray sides to the table. Make sure the screws are going into the 2x4 frame and not the 1/2" plywood! I would also recommend pre-drilling the holes to prevent cracking.
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The inside measurements of the tray are 3ft x 5ft x ~4in.
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Pick your favorite flavor of pond liner and place in the tray. I happen to get this piece free from a co-worker who had it laying around. Hopefully it doesn't have any holes...
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By Jeeper
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Posts:  403
Joined:  Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:47 am
#344687
Next is the enclosure itself. I'm using 3/4" PVC pipe and fittings for the framework. You may need to order fittings online if you can't find them locally.
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The PVC pipe comes in thin wall and thick wall. If you plan on setting your lights or equipment directly on the enclosure you'd probably want to go with thick wall. I am building shelving into the frame and hanging the lights so I opted to save a little money and use thin wall.
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I'm building the enclosure in the exact footprint of the tray. I found the PVC will actually hold the pond liner quite well, but I will eventually trim and attach the liner once I'm happy with the overall design.
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The enclosure will be ~39" tall as that's what looked good while I was standing there building it. This height may change depending on how my shelving idea turns out and the lighting I finally decide to go with. (Suggestions on lighting for this enclosure welcomed!!)
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That's it for now, I am open to ideas on lighting as well as how to drain the tray as I'm working on the rest of the enclosure yet....
By mcgrumpers
Posts:  243
Joined:  Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:39 am
#344694
Cool! PVC pipes are amazing, aren't they? So much versatility.

My most recent LED setup uses these LED strips. I haven't been using them for long so I have no results to show yet, but its spectrum is good for plants and the PPFD measurements I took are great. The distribution of light is really nice and even, and they're really efficient in terms of power in vs. usable light out.The downside is that you have to buy a power source, wire things up, and build an assembly or enclosure yourself, but you can clearly DIY so that wouldn't be an issue.
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By Jeeper
Location: 
Posts:  403
Joined:  Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:47 am
#345603
Slow goings, I've had to get this, new to us, house weather tight for the coming winter, 1-3in of snow supposedly coming tonight. But i had some time to work on the shelving, picture attached.

I'm also pretty set on using a misting for the humidity and 'dew'. I haven't settled on lighting yet... Also undecided on how I'm going to create airflow. I'm not too worried about temperatures as this is in my basement that averages 50-60% RH and 59-63°f.
Enclosure.jpg
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By Jeeper
Location: 
Posts:  403
Joined:  Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:47 am
#345978
Plant Light came, still need to mess with the height, probably need to cut the legs on the table shorter as I'm running out of overhead room...

"2000w" light (4) 50w COB chips with 90 degree lenses, 101 dual-chip LEDs consisting of Red, Blue, IR, and UV.
Plant Light.jpg
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By optique
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Posts:  555
Joined:  Fri May 24, 2019 11:15 pm
#345984
This looks really nice, puts my seed sprouting shelf to shame. You said you were unsure about air flow i suggest the cheap 12vDC fans made for PC's. Easy to find any size and replace, a wall plug - USB adapter would power and many as you want. The low profile would be easy to hide under the shelves.

I really like the "Fractal Design - Fluid Dynamic Bearing" fans, long lasting and quiet. But at lower speeds most fans are not loud. Not saying this is best fan out just it what i picked and works well.
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By Jeeper
Location: 
Posts:  403
Joined:  Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:47 am
#346006
optique wrote:This looks really nice, puts my seed sprouting shelf to shame. You said you were unsure about air flow i suggest the cheap 12vDC fans made for PC's. Easy to find any size and replace, a wall plug - USB adapter would power and many as you want. The low profile would be easy to hide under the shelves.

I really like the "Fractal Design - Fluid Dynamic Bearing" fans, long lasting and quiet. But at lower speeds most fans are not loud. Not saying this is best fan out just it what i picked and works well.
Tried quoting the other day by my phone freak d out, and I refuse to use Tapatalk...

I did order 1 '5 inch' metal (aluminum) CPU fan with wall cord that will be here today or tomorrow. I figured I'd start with one and add another if I need to. I plan on the fan 'pulling' air out of the enclosure and if I add one it will 'push' air in.

Pretty sure I will place the fan at the top of the enclosure to pull the warmest air out.
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By Jeeper
Location: 
Posts:  403
Joined:  Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:47 am
#348135
Well...

Lots has happened!

Completed the frame and the shelving using various pvc unions. Lots of pvc, lots of unions, but I like how it turned out. The exterior walls are the twin wall plastic board you can find at DIY stores or even smaller sheets at Walmart in craft section. This is waterproof and will reflect light. It also auto seals itself as you mount it.
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Side walls on, the 5in exhaust fan will be installed on the right aide, near the top center of the side to remove warm air from the enclosure.
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Fan installed, the plastic wall is easy to poke a hole through and then force the blots through. Snugged the nut up and the fan is sealed against the wall.
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The top and front of the enclosure are 8mil clear vinyl used for long term sealing of windows and doors. I placed the 2-sides tape along the top of the pvc frame and rolled the vinyl across the top. I then drapped it down over the front of the enclosure. The front of the side frame has Velcro stuck to it and the reverse was put on the vinyl. I had planned to only use this temporarily, however it's been working fine since November...
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The first plants! My order of heliamphora from BCP showed up and there was "no room in the inn" upstairs for them so, trial by fire, I put them in the enclosure. I did keep the dome on the trays as I was still monitoring the conditions...
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Fast forward to the beginning of January and I finally installed a MistKing system. If you have an enclosure and don't have one of these, get it, thank me later! One nozzle on the upper corner on each side aimed in and a double nozzle on the back wall aiming out, 100% coverage. Fully programmable, I have it go off 4 times a day, from 15seconds up to 1 minute depending on the time. Currently the conditions are 99% humidity all day, up to 66°f during the day and down to 55° at night.
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I'm still monitoring and tweaking as I need to, but it's really become a self sufficient system. I do foresee some temperature issues come summer-time, basement may get up into the 70s, but I'll tackle that hurdle when we get there...
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By DesertPat
Posts:  295
Joined:  Mon May 20, 2013 10:42 pm
#348138
Not exactly pertinent to this thread but I like that DeWalt drill you've got there, I have the same one myself. Nice looking enclosure you've got there too, PVC is awesome for building things like that.

Patrick
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By Jeeper
Location: 
Posts:  403
Joined:  Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:47 am
#348155
jpappy789 wrote:Very nice! Really like the tiered approach
Thanks! I did that so, in the long run, smaller plants will be up top and larger plants will be down below. I will also have PNG and other cool-growing, high-moisture orchids hanging from the walls.

Thank you to the supplier and the seed manager.

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