Introduction: EZ Cloner
This is a follow up to my Eb and flow bucket. It is a little late, but better late than never I guess. If you are into hydroponic growing, you will know an EZ Cloner from a store can cost $300-$400. That's crazy. So I made my own. If you have most of the stuff you can do it for around $50.
Its real easy to do, check it out. First you limp to the side like your leg was broken, shakin' and twitchin' kinda like you was smokin'.
No, wait, that's how to do the Humpty Dance. My bad. OK onto how to do the cloner.
Step 1: The Materials List
28 quart Cooler
Price: About $20 at Wal-Mart (I had one lying around)
1/4 inch hose
Price: $3 at Wal-Mart for about a gazillion feet. OK maybe closer to 25, but t is still way more than you will need.. (I had some lying around)
12 sprayer nozzles
Price: Local Hydroponics Store. About .50 apiece.
12 through Hose Connectors
Price: Local Hydroponics Store. About .50 apiece.
3 feet of half inch hose
Price: Local Hydroponics Store. About .50 a foot. (I had some lying around)
12 one and a half inch x half inch Foam pucks (2 inch work as well)
Price: Local Hydroponics Store. About $1 a piece.
1/2 inch barbed Tee
Price: Local Hydroponics Store. About $2.
395 GPH Submersible pump
Price: Local Hydroponics Store. About $25. It needs to be a little high pressure. Smaller ones don't work as good.(I had one lying around)
Price: Couple bucks at Wal-Mart
Price: Local Hydroponics Store. About $2 (Get a high top dome that fits a 1 foot x 2 foot tray. It should fit over your cooler but have about 3 inches on each end hanging over) (I had one lying around)
Step 2: Cut the Coolers Top Off.
On the top of the cooler I used, there is a nice line where you can clearly see to cut. There is a smooth part, and a rough part. Just cut along that line. I forgot to get a picture before, but if you look at the picture you can see where the line is to cut. I used a 3inch cut off wheel attached to an air compressor, but you could use a knife. Once you get the top cut, there are two areas under the lid that are still stuck together. Its from when the plastic was blow molded. Using a bread knife, slide it under the plastic and slide it back and forth. You will eventually cut through the plastic and separate the scrap piece from the cloner lid piece. Do not destroy the plastic scrap piece from the top, you will need it later. If you absolutely have to cut something, cut the undercarriage, not the top. Then when you drill holes later, put one of the holes where you cut the undercarriage. .
Step 3: Drill Holes in Top.
Using a 1 inch or 1 1/4 inch hole saw, drill 12 holes in the top of the cooler. If you look at the top, you can see where you can drill that's flat. You can drill more if you want, just leave about a half inch between holes. I made one, after this one, that was a 22 hole one. But I used a Bigger cooler also. But 12 is fine.
Step 4: Make Sprayer Loop.
Open the top of the cooler and lay the half inch hose in the cooler. Make a loop out of it so it covers most of the bottom. Just look at the picture. Once you figure out how big you need it cut the hose. Place both ends of the hose onto the tee. Then cut a small piece of the hose and put it on the bottom of the tee as well.
Step 5: Insert Sprayers Into Loop.
Lay the loop on a table. Using a Drywall screw, puncture the top of the hose, pull the screw out and quickly put the barbed hose connector into the hole you just made before the hole closes up. The picture is from another project I was working on, but gives a nice close up of what the connection looks like. You want each one sticking straight up, or relatively close to it. Evenly space them out so each sprayer nozzle will be about 2 or 3 inches away from each other. These little suckers spray, so you don't have to have them too close. I used about 11 of them.
Once you have all the barbed fittings in place, cut however many 1/4 inch hose sections you will need to hook up your sprayer nozzles. You will only need an inch or so for each one. You will just be using it to connect the nozzle to the fitting. You don't want any extra if you can help it. See the picture. Notice there is only about a 16th of an inch between the nozzle and the fitting. I just eyeballed one then cut the rest to that size.
Place a nozzle on each section of 1/4 inch hose then place that on each barbed fitting.
Step 6: Hook Up the Pump.
If you buy a Sunleaf brand pump, it will come with a barbed connector for 1/2 inch hose, if not you will have to get one. But most of them have one. Hook the fitting to the pump. The piece of half inch hose you have on the bottom of the tee only needs to be long enough to slip over the tee and the fitting. Kinda like the way you did with the with nozzles. The shorter the hose the less flex, the less flex, the better for you.
Step 7: Brace Up the Other Side.
Remember that part I told you not to destroy? Well here is where you use it. Using a drill bit to drill holes in the plastic. Make the holes in one of the long edges about a half inch down from the edge and about an inch or so apart. It doesn't have to be perfect. All you are doing is giving yourself something to attach the hose to.
Once you have all the holes drilled, roll the plastic up like a news paper. Make sure when you roll it up, you roll it so all the holes are on one side not in the center. You can use a hair dryer or a heat gun to help this to say where it is, but you don't have to. You only want it curled a little you don't want it round like a tube. You roll it like a newspaper and it unrolls. You just want it curved enough to not cut off water flow. and give a kind of form to the hose.
Once its rolled up, place the center of the plastic in the center of the loop opposite of the pump. Make sure the hose is on the "Outside" of the plastic. Using zip ties attach the hose to the plastic. See picture. Do not over tighten the zip ties. You want them snug enough to put a slight indent into the hose but not tight enough to restrict flow. I would attach them all first then tighten so you know you have hem right. Then just cut off the little ends with scissors.
Step 8: Seal It Up and Test It.
Now that it is assembled we will need to get the cord for the pump outside. Easiest thing to do was to pull it out of one of the end holes and put a puck around it. What I did was put a puck Around the cord. Set the puck in place and then taped the top of the puck with gorilla tape. This keeps it from moving. Close the lid and place pucks into each hole. If you got the right size ones they will fit quite snug. If they are too big they will bulge in the middle a lot. If this is the case just cut a section of pie out of the middle, so you have a Pac-man looking thing.
Unless you want water all over, the next step should be done in a tub or outside.
Fill the cloner up with water to just over the height of the pump. Plug the pump in and you should hear it start going. Once it starts going open the lid. If you did it right all of the nozzles should be spraying water everywhere.
If it isn't spraying, fix it till it is. There is a knob or switch or something on the front of the pump usually so you can adjust the flow of the pump.
Step 9: Needed for Rooting Clippings.
Solution for cloning.
These are measurements to make one gallon of usable 50% strength solution. You don not need these, you can use what you want, and it will work, this is what I use and it works great. I have used just distilled water and it worked but not as quick.
A milliliter and a cc are about the same. If you cant find a way to measure get a medical syringe or a turkey syringe. Worst case scenario get a standard shot glass. If you fill it to about a quarter inch from the top that is about 30 milliliters. With the water in the inside take a sharpie and on the outside mark where the water is at the top. Chop that into thirds and put two marks between the top of the water and the bottom of the glass indicating 10 milliliters each. Then cut each of those in half and you have a glass that will measure in 5 milliliter increments then just mix two gallons at a time. You don't need to be ultra precise. If you are within one or two Milliliters, you will be fine.
1 gallon distilled (or R.O.) water.
2.5 Milliliter Bcuzz root solution
5 milliliters hygrozyme
5 milliliters liquid karma
12.5 milliliters Flairform Grow
If you don't have these specific ones just remember, some kind of root solution at half strength, some kind of enzyme at half strength, some kind of bio-catalyst at half strength, and some kind of growth nutrient at half strength.
You will also want a cloning solution like clonex.
Extremely sharp scissors. (I got mine from a hydro store.)
Step 10: Use It.
Once everything is working you are ready to use it.
These are the steps to using it.
1.) Fill the cloner with Nutrient solution:
You can either mix the solution I gave in the previous step or use your own. What I do is start with a gallon of Distilled (or R.O.) water and put it int the cloner. Then I use the solution to fill it up the rest of the way. It will hold between two and three gallons. You want it to be about a half inch to an inch below the loop.
2.) Take a cutting:
This usually is plant specific, but the steps are the same. Find the part of the plant you want to use as the clone. Dip your scissors in alcohol and then dry them. Cut the stem at a 45 degree angle. Make sure to be swift and sure. Don't hack the plant up. Make sure to leave about a half inch of the stem on the plant so you have a piece sticking out. If you cut right next to the stem of the plant, the plant could die. . By leaving a little bit, it lets it die off on it s own and kinda gives the plant a barrier of sorts. If you use good enough clippers you can do it quick, if you don't have good ones use the razor blade.
3.) Skin the sides of the stem:
Using the side of the blade of the scissors, run them down the stem at a 90 degree angle from the stem. Basically all you are doing is removing some of the outer skin from the stem, you don't want to cut it. Just rough it up a bit. Right before the next step, cut about a half inch off the end of the stem. This way a fresh cut is going into the compound.
4.) Dip it in rooting solution:
Dip all of the area where you removed skin and the end in rooting compound.
5.) Put in puck:
Place stem in puck with leaves sticking out one side of puck and stem out other.
6.) Put puck in EZ Cloner:
Place the puck into the cloner in one of the holes. If you dry tested it before when i told you to, the puck will fit in nicely. The puck should be half inside the cloner, and half outside of the cloner, with the leaves sticking up and the stem sticking down towards the water.
Repeat until all the holes have pucks in them with a potential clone sticking out of it. If you dont need any more clones or have enough clones, make sure to fill all empty holes with empty pucks.
8.) Close lid:
Seriously this is an important step.
9.) Place dome over the top:
Using water lightly mist the dome. This makes the area humid, and keeps the clones healthier until the roots take.
10.) Turn it on:
Plug it in and let it sit there. Every two or three days, open it and check to see it you have roots growing. At first it will look like little pimples on the side of the stems, then little spikes, then roots. In the picture it is to the spike stage. This should take anywhere from one to two weeks. Sometimes they don't grow at the same rate as you can see from the picture. I have one in pimple stage, one in spike stage and one which has about 1/4 inch roots already. Once you have roots that are about 1 inch long you can transfer them to your final grow medium. They don't all have to be transferred at the same time. Wait till its ready.
What I usually do is cut a 1 and a half inch rock wool cube about halfway through, so it looks like a open book. Then I take the plant and put the roots into the center of the book and close the book. Then I put the whole rock wool cube down into the center of a 3 inch cube.
This can then be put into your clay pellets and into your hydro bubble bucket.
As a side note, you can also, instead of putting it into a 3 inch cube, put the 1 1/2 inch cube into soil and grow it in soil but where is the fun in that. Never tried just putting the roots straight into dirt, but I don't see why that wouldn't work either.
As far growing it, you are on your own. But at this point you almost have to try to kill them to kill them, so you should be fine.
Step 11: Tips.
1.) Some may say you don't have to use rooting compound, but I find I have better luck when I do. Tried it a couple times without it and wasn't exactly thrilled with the outcome. Half of them died before rooting.
2.) You don't have to skin the sides, but yet again, I have better luck when I do.
3.) You definitely want extremely sharp scissors. If you aren't scared of cutting yourself with them, then they aren't sharp enough.
4.) You don't have to cut the stem a second time, but again, I have found it helps.
5.) The first time you fill the cloner use at least one gallon of fresh. This makes your initial solution less than 50 percent. As the cloning process proceeds you will need to replenish the water. When you do need to replenish the water, use the solution from step 9. By the time you are done the solution should be pretty much a half strength solution, so when the clones are ready for transplant, you can immediately start using full strength with no issues. If you start a new batch of clones, throw the water away and start anew.
6.) Get bigger pucks than the holes you drill, this puts pressure on them and they don't pop out.
7.) The water gets warm, this is normal.
8.) Never turn off the cloner unless you are checking it, and even then its better to just let a little water to get out than to forget to turn it back on. If it turns off for more than a half hour or so you can pretty much kiss your clones goodby.
9.) You don't need a dome, but if you do use one, mist it every day or so so you can keep it humid.
10.) Don't mist your plants leaves. You want to force it to seek nutrients through its stem. by misting it you feed it through the leaves and it never tries to develop roots.
11.) You cannot clone people with this. Don't try lopping off someones finger in hopes to growing a clone. I don't think it works like that. However I have been wrong before so who knows.
12.) The tops of the clones might flop over and look wilted. This happens. I wouldn't worry about it.
13.) The leaves may die, but as long as the stem is still green and growing roots you will probably be fine. An old growers adage goes a long way here. "Its not dead till its brown and dry." If you have enough clones, be choosy, but if you have room, anything with roots, try to grow it. One of the biggest plants I ever grew started as almost dead on top, but roots on the bottom.
14.) Never use city water, it has chlorine in it that your plants won't like.
15.) If you get pucks that are too big, Cut a section out of the center. (Think of Pac-Man) Make sure when you cut the section from the middle you extend the pie piece that is missing further than center. Otherwise the center mounds up the pops out and you have a mess. Never try to trim the outside down, you never get it right and it leaks. Trimming on the inside is way easier and almost never leaks.
Well that's all I can think of. If you can think of anything else, or have questions please comment. I hope you like my Instructable and Happy Cloning.