Introduction: Grow Light System PVC Frame

Picture of Grow Light System PVC Frame

This is a cost efficient alternative for an indoor grow light system, the approximate cost is $44.

I decided to do this because my wife wanted to start her plants for the garden indoors.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

PVC was the material of choice because it is light, strong, and efficient for this application.

Please wear eye protection and be safe when use the cutting tools, use good common sense.

Here is the list of tools and materials:

Pencil

Quick Square Layout Tool, regular ruler

Measuring tape

Hand saw or miter saw

PVC pipe 3/4" diameter schedule 40 approx 30' length

2 eye bolts with nuts 3/16" x 2"

8 "T" Fittings 3/4" diameter

8 90 degree Elbow Fittings 3/4" diameter

Utilitech 48-1/4-in Fluorescent Shop Light

2 x F32 T8 Fluorescent Bulb

Step 2: Cutting the PVC Pipe

Picture of Cutting the PVC Pipe

Take the PVC pipe and cut the following lengths:

2 - 43" pieces

2 - 48.5" pieces

4 - 16" pieces

4 - 18" pieces

8 - 1.5" pieces

Step 3: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Start with the bottom frame.

Take each 48.5" PVC piece and assemble an elbow at each end of the pipes.

Assemble a 1.5" PVC piece after each elbow, then assemble a "T" Fitting after the 1.5" PVC piece.

Join the "T" Fittings on each piece with 2 - 16" pieces.

Now the upper frame.

Take each 43" PVC piece and assemble a "T" Fitting at each end of the pipes.

Assemble a 1.5" PVC piece after each "T" Fitting, then assemble an elbow after the 1.5" PVC piece.

After each elbow assemble an 18" PVC piece, then join the PVC pieces with the "T" fittings on the bottom frame.

Join the "T" fittings on each piece of the upper frame with 2 - 16" PVC pieces.

With a drill, make a hole of approx 3/16" diameter in the middle point of each of the 16" PVC pieces.

Use a pliers to open the eye bolt to a hook, if necessary.

Insert the eye bolts with nuts 3/16" x 2", this will support the light fixture.

Step 4: Final Set Up

Picture of Final Set Up

Put your structure in the desired spot, attach the light fixture to the eye bolts/hooks (notice the eye bolts/hooks will give you the flexibility to vary the height of the lights), and turn it on.

Thanks for reading, happy assembly :)

Comments

I have to thank you all for your contribution to the specs of PVC, although the system described uses fluorescent lights, a step up could be led lights, neither of them bring temperatures near breaking point of the PVC structure.
Be safe, peace and gardening :D.

vonronge (author)2015-01-25

Small warning from a chemical engineer, PVC breaks down under heat, and is poisonous use clorinated pvc (cpvc) and you should be fine up to about 95°C

doogan (author)vonronge2015-03-11

Thats over 200°F! At the bulb source it might reach 190-230°F but other than that heat is never or should never be an issue with PVC or CPVC. Thanks for the information but I think we will all be fine with the setup described.

vonronge (author)doogan2015-03-11

200F for CPVC. You are using PVC. In addition, you are looking at the structural numbers, and incorrectly extrapolating. Chemical reactions do proceed at lower temperatures, just slower. You are talking about ingesting the plants.

Look, I really dont care if you give yourself Cancer, just dont go around telling other people to do it too.

Rombie (author)vonronge2015-01-26

It shouldn't be an issue.
The lights put off minimal heat, as long as your not running a halide or HPS I wouldn't worry.

Great instructable!

vonronge (author)Rombie2015-01-26

As someone who designs polymer production facilities, I will once again say that CPVC can take grow lights, PVC can not. Poison yourself if you want, I can only give you the information. Don't come crying to me later.

DeaBagger (author)vonronge2015-03-10

Not trying to be a smartass but I don't see the danger, it's not like you're growing your food in the PVC.

vonronge (author)DeaBagger2015-03-10

You are heating it, releasing dioxins, lead, Vinil Chloride, Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, and god knows what plastisizers. Very bad stuff.

doogan (author)2015-03-11

If heat is really an issue with using PVC, (Really won't have an issue), but you can use an old pallet and build a wooden framed setup similar to this. And for free.

doogan (author)2015-03-11

Use a T5 flourescent fixture and bulb setup. Most efficient sized flouro bulb with high lumen output. During the blooming/fruiting stage or even through out the entire grow try using blue and red spectrum bulbs. The blues during seedling and small vegetative growth and reds during later stages. The Kelvin output and spectrums are at both end of the light spectrum, simulating natural sunlight. Plants do not use GREEN spectrums for growth.

tgvoss (author)2015-01-26

Nice setup, I used to use T12 lights for seedlings but found them to be too dim for strong seed starts. Now I am using LED strips, plenty of light, half the power. https://www.instructables.com/id/25-DIY-LED-Strip-Grow-Light/

It is a good idea, it seems like a nice improvement, thanks for sharing

seamster (author)2015-01-21

Hey, welcome to the site. Great first instructable!

This looks like an excellent and simple lighting system. Thanks for sharing this!

Thanks Seamster, glad to be part of the contribuitors :)

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