My interest in Mycology and Tissue culture started long back which led me to collect few laboratory equipment like Petri dishes, test tubes, weighing equipment, measuring glasses and also chemicals like Hydrogen Peroxide, Agar-agar and Potassium Permanganate. One equipment I wanted most but beyond my reach was a Laminar Flow Hood.

A Laminar Flow Hood provides a small sterile work area, where you can carry out all your culture works without the risk of contamination, simply by flowing completely purified air at a specified rate. However, the cost of the simplest form of the equipment is very prohibitive... the one with the very lowest specifications costs more than one thousand US Dollars... large corporations, universities, and research institutions can afford this but individual  hobbyists like me can not.

The alternative...? Construct your own equipment...

There are two main types of Laminar Flow Hoods : Horizontal Airflow and Vertical Airflow. In a horizontal type, the purified air is blown from the back and moves towards the front of the working area. In a vertical type, the air is blown from the top over the working area and moves out through the base

I have carried out extensive study and came out with a design for constructing a Horizontal type Laminar Flow Hood, making use of a vacuum cleaner for the blower and press board / Plexiglas for the hood body thus reducing the cost considerably.

This Instructable will provide you step-by-step instructions on how to build your own portable Laminar Flow Hood without any compromise on standard specifications.

Step 1: Vacuum Cleaner as Blower for a Flow Hood...?

Are Vacuum Cleaners Suitable for Laminar Flow Hoods as blowers...?

I have used Euroclean Star model vacuum cleaner to be used as blower in the flow hood. Let us check out the facts for its suitability for quality and effectiveness for being used in a flow hood.


The model I used consists of unique five stage filtration process and the air coming out after filtration is pure and fresh...

The first stage involves the incoming air to pass through a special particle, anti-microbial, biocide treated paper filter which has been treated for protection against bacteria, fungus and yeast. This paper bag is replaceable and can be used for up to five times. However, for better results, we can use fresh bag whenever we use the laminar flow hood. This air then passes through a cloth bag, which filters out any particle which escapes through the paper bag. This bag can be removed, cleaned and then placed again in position. The next three stages involve the air to pass through specially designed built-in electric filters with carbon which blows out completely pure fresh air.

I have removed the outer-most filter and provided a cheaper version of High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter between the air chamber and the work area. I have also added a pre-filter to remove any heavier particles before the air is sucked into the vacuum cleaner.

Work area provided by the blower

Laminar flow hoods are designed to provide an air-flow of about 0.5 meters per second in the working area. The blower efficiency of the model I have used is 20 liters per second, that is 0.020 cubic meters per second including all filters. I have removed the outer most filter from the outlet for connecting the outlet pipe, and used the HEPA filter instead.

With 0.020 cubic meter of air per second, let us see how much work area it can cover

Air flow provided by the blower = width of HEPA filter x height of HEPA filter x air speed required

Work area (width x height) = air flow / air speed
                                            = 0.020 / 0.50
                                            = 0.04 square meter

Now, if we provide HEPA filter area of 0.27 meter width x 0.15 meter height, the available work area will be 0.04 square meters, which is sufficient for the effective functioning of the flow hood. I have provided the filter dimensions of 0.29 meters width by 0.15 meters height, considering the size of HEPA filter I could lay my hands on.

Advantages of using a Vacuum Cleaner as blower

There are some advantages in using vacuum cleaners, which may not be provided in a Laminar Flow Hood

  • The air input level can be adjusted using a slider provided with the vacuum cleaner as per our requirement. Not all blowers in the laminar flow hoods are provided with adjustable air flow.
  • There is also an option to heat the input air, which will be helpful in sterilizing the air chamber and back side of the HEPA filter which can not be normally accessed.
  • What is more, you can vacuum clean the air-tight Air chamber by reversing the airflow by the vacuum cleaner unit.
  • The vacuum cleaner unit can be separated from the Laminar Flow Hood, which is not at all possible with a normal unit.
The only disadvantage of using a vacuum cleaner is its limited airflow which limits the size of the sterile work area.

I think a suitable vacuum cleaner will serve the purpose of blower in a small Laminar Flow Hood for hobbyists, thus reducing the cost as well as the weight of the flow hood considerably.
<p>This is a fantastic DIY project. Could you please send me the instructions to andresabin@gmail.com?</p><p>You will make a group of DIY bio enthusiasts in Seattle, WA very happy :)</p>
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<p>great work, really just what I was looking for. would you send me the instructions aswell... My adress is rasta.intention@gmail.com</p>
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<p>Fantastic project!</p><p>Could you please send me the instructions to: ibzlearning@gmail.com</p><p>Many thanks.</p>
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<p>Thank you very much indeed.</p>
<p>&iexcl;muchas gracias por su generocidad al compartirnos esto! &iquest;puede enviarme las instrucciones por e-mail?</p><p>Thank you very much for your generosity to share with us this! Can you send the instruction to lacuerpa@riseup.net mail?</p>
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<p>Can you please email me the instruction via email at sujeetpandey@gmail.com</p>
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<p>Awesome project man! really cool that your sharing this</p><p>Please send a copy of the detailed instructions to my email: mateomilmo@gmail.com </p><p>Thanks so much</p>
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Simply Genius! Also like that you are emailing your instructable instructions. Please email me a copy too! damon.alverson@gmail.com
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<p>Nice work! Could you please sent me the instruction files to prestond15@gmail.com? Thanks.</p>
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<p>Please send detailed instructions to my email! nlabservives@gmail.com</p><p>Thank you for creating this.</p>
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<p>Nice work! Please send your instructions to stumblingpiper@gmail.com</p>
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<p>Excelent work! Please send instructions to my email jotaceuy@gmail.com. Thank you!!</p>
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<p>Please send detailed instructions to my email! Doguehouseinc@gmail.com</p><p>Thank you for creating this.</p>
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<p>I have been contemplating using a vacuum cleaner for a while, I have been assembling parts and I want to use one very badly for simplicity and cost. Everywhere, I read to use a blower from 400-600 CFM which seems like an overkill. Your vacuum is 42 CFM (20 LPS). My question is simply, does it work? Have you been contaminate free? </p><p>Awesome build man! You broke some rules, your a guy of my own heart. :-)</p>
<p>Why not...? For the hobbyist who need only a small sterile space to carry out his experiments, this is sufficient. The laminar flow hood should provide a clean work area with purified air blowing at the rate of 0.5 mtrs per second which we are getting through the vacuum cleaner. More over the air passing through the vacuum cleaner is pre-filtered and almost clean. Please see Step 1 where I made some calculations. If you already have a vacuum cleaner, restrict the hepa filter area matching with the air flow of your vacuum cleaner. 400-600 CFM airflow is for larger hoods used in laboratories.</p><p>Lastly, thank you for your appreciation...</p>
I am starting my build, I will keep you posted. Its gotta be kinda neat for you to see how you inspired a microbiologist halfway around the world in Ohio, U.S.<br><br>Thank you for the inspiration.
<p>this is incredible! can you email the instructions via email at smxles@gmail.com</p>
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<p>Its a great invention! Can you please email me the instruction via email at m.fikri@outlook.my</p>
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<p>Thank you for sharing! Will you please share your instructions via email with me as well? 2013.utest@gmail.com</p><p>Thank you!</p>
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<p>Aloha,</p><p>Would you be able to send me the copy of instructions as well? My email is devin.frederciicksen@gmail.com. Thank you so much</p>
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Thank you for your response, however, I misspelled my email. It is devin.fredericksen@gmail.com. Would you mind sending the instructions again? Thank you
<p>ok, I have resent the files</p>
<p>such a great invetion sir, could you sent me the copy of instruction? these my email iqbalskeleton@gmail.com Thank you</p>
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<p>Hi Antoniraj,</p><p>I interested in this. Could you please email instructions to jsxventure@comcast.net<br><br>Thanks you!</p>
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<p>Hi antoniraj,</p><p>very interested in your work.</p><p>Could you send me the instructions as well?!</p><p>Thank you!</p><p>homopue[at]gmail[dot]com</p>
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<p>Could you send me the instructions? evanarchiejames@gmail.com</p>
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Hi antoniraj..could you please send me plans for the flowhood? Did you have success with growing mycillium using the unit you made?
please give me your mail id, I will send the construction details to you. I have not tried it as I got busy with other projects but you can use this for growing mycillium
<p>Thanks for this great instructable. Can you please send the instructions to nouri.ramy@gmail.com? Thank you very much</p>

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Bio: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan ... More »
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