Please keep in mind that this instructable is not the only way to do this. You can build a frame from wood or PVC pipes or anything else of which your imagination can think! Your only limitations are the space your Hydroshack may occupy and the skills you bring to the project. If you are unfamiliar with welding, please use another construction technique.
Uses NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) - Nutrient solution flows along the bottom of the troughs and washes over the plants roots.
Very dense plant arrangement to accommodate 150 students in a 5' x 2' footprint
Counter top unit that breaks down to be stored above the cupboards in the classroom
Easy access to replenish and clean the nutrient tanks.
Flexible controls to allow for differing conditions: nutrient flow, nutrient solutions, lighting etc... in each trough.
The Hydroshack will be used to teach the students the "Scientific Method" (formal experimental procedures) and also be used in the genetics portion of the class. It is designed for hands on learning and assuming all goes well, will stay in production well past the completion of these units and throughout the semester.
Parameters of this Instructable:
This Instructable will feature the construction of this unit. It is not a primer for hydroponic growing. While my wife and I have done considerable research in order to design The Hydroshack to be as efficient as possible, we are not authorities on the subject. I will be making references to the process of hydroponic growing throughout this instructable, but only as a reference as to why some of the elements have been designed this way.
The numbers in each step correspond to the position of the pictures in each step. I will be presenting the construction in the most logical order, not the order in which the parts were fabricated. If you see daytime in the first picture, then it gets dark, and then returns to daylight, just run with it! :-)
Also, I had to redesign the control panel. The double gang box that was originally used did not allow us to use both timers and instead of trying to cobble together adapters and extension cords, I figured on doing it right. The sharp eyed folks out there will catch glimpses of the original control panel as the revision was made after painting.