Glowing Snow Guage




About: I like medium light, being watered twice a day (room temperature water only!), and fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Living in a snowy climate and wanting a cool, water resistant, and straight up bizarre way of measuring snow depth, I turned to plasticy materials and LEDs.

Want a durable and different way of measuring the snow depth yourself? Read on!

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Step 1: Parts

What you need:

  • 8'x5.5"x1" Trex Composite Decking cut into 16" lengths
  • Screws
  • Superglue
  • 1/4" Threaded Insert
  • 1/4" Screw
  • 3 feet of 3/4" PVC Pipe
  • 6" of 1/2" PVC Pipe
  • 2 - 3/4" PVC End Cap
  • 1 - 3/4" PVC Coupling
  • LED strip
  • 12 vdc Power Supply
  • Switch I used RadioShack SKU: 275-1537

Step 2: Build Base

I chose Trex because it's made to be outside, it's heavy, and doesn't need to be treated at all.

Take your 6 boards that were cut to 16" each and screw them together. Make sure that they are square with each other. Shave the smallest board down on the sides with your table saw so that your bottom boards don't stick out from underneath your top boards. Sand the rough edges.

Step 3: Clean PVC Pipe

Take the 3' length of PVC and sand smooth.

Step 4: PVC Pipe Bracket

Create the bracket for the PVC Pipe. Follow the pictures.

Step 5: Threaded Insert

Follow directions for the size of hole and hex key to use.

Step 6: Measure and Mark Depth

Using a square or ruler attach PVC pipe and mark depth.

Step 7: Drill Hole for Power

Route power through the boards.

Step 8: LED Time

Shave a piece of 1/2" PVC pipe into a wedge to hold the LED strip on the top and bottom.

Drill holes through the bottom plug and thread through the wires.

Solder wires and trim plug.

Step 9: Stencil Depth

Stencil numbers. I used sharpies. Time will tell if it fades or not.

Step 10: Build Mount

Build something to put your snow gauge on. I originally built this shelf but later chose to turn it into a table 6" tall. See intro pictures.

Step 11: Wire

What cooler switch is there than a knife switch!?!?

Choose where you want your switch and how you want to get power to the snow gauge.

Simple as that! Flip your switch and laugh like a mad scientist bringing his creation to life!

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    11 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Great project. I have to try one. One question: Where do you get the led strip?


    2 replies

    I had some generic LED strip lying around that I got from my brother (not waterproof or anything). If you are buying some, I'd recommend that you get the waterproof stuff just to be safe. You can get it from RadioShack, Amazon or Ebay Im sure.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! Painting the pipe with glow in the dark paint before adding the markings may be another option that would remove the power requirement.

    2 replies

    So true. That's actually something that I thought about as well. However I wanted to use the LED strip because if it snowed late at night I still wanted to used the "glowing feature" of the depth gauge.

    Its a good point just remember LED do make heat, so dont leave it on Just turn it on for the time you need to check and back off.

    They do make Glow in dark paint now that glows 24 hours. they use it for EXIT signs and stuff incase eletric goes out. But the LED thing is nice.


    4 years ago

    I want to make me one. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah and it will add to my yard. thank you for the design. Mitch

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Clever! Nice instructable, great photos and great step-by-step. Nice work!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great job!

    Knife Switches scare me, as their connections are open and are prone to sparks.

    1 reply

    Oh I completly understand. And if I was running anything other than 12 volts at 1 amp I wouldn't use it at all. It's completely safe as long as no one licks it. :)