Introduction: Small Hydroponics at Home
The pictures show a prototype of a small Ebb & flow hydroponic system I have made as part of a school project. The project covers the development of a small water/hydroponic-table for various uses. The main purpose of this specific system was to develop a system that allows the user to use the system either as a hydroponic ebb & flow system or as an automated water table for plants potted in soil or coco etc. This opportunity makes the system unique compared to other products/guides.
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Tools
For the construction of a table like the one shown you will need some tools. The table can be made with simple tools. The essential tools will be marked with a star*. The other tools listed are tools that will make the process faster and/or easier.
Tools needed are:
· *Multitool/drill etc.
· *Drill bit
· *Hacksaw blade
· *Epoxy glue without solvents, silicone for aquariums or other non-toxic glue
· Sanding bits
· Hole saw
Step 2: Materials
The chosen materials should all be relative easy to pick up at any location. Some materials where chosen because of aesthetics, others because of use, availability etc. A few parts came from reclaimed materials. The use of recycled/reclaimed materials is highly recommended.
The materials used in this project are listed here below:
- Water pump -240 L/h
- Water reservoir - IKEA Kuggis
- Water tray - IKEA Kuggis
- 2 Lid for Kuggis - IKEA Kuggis
- 13 cm Aquarium tube - Eheim 9mm
- Funnel for tube - top from ketchup or dressing bottle etc.
- 20 cm Drain pipe - bathroom drain pipe
- Seal for drain pipe - seal for conecting 2 different sizes of drain pipe
- Aquarium filter - coarse aquarium filter
- Digital timer - 1 min interval
- 4-8 Cable ties - small
- 4*4 cm Plexiglas
- 6-8 2" Net pots
Materials note: IKEA Kuggis boxes are highly recommended for a nice and beautiful finish. It is a bit hard to work in these boxes compared to other storage boxes because of the material thickness. If you don’t care about the looks of it I would choose a softer and cheaper solution. But if you do like the looks of it it’s definitely worth it.
Step 3: Construction
Construction of the system will be divided into five parts. The picture above shows the system divided into the five construction parts. We will start from the top and work our way down.
Step 4: Making the Lid for the Water Tray
First you have to find out how many holes you want in your lid. I went with 6 holes but 8 would also work. If you want to use the system as a cloner u should consider adding more holes.
Start out by marking the holes in the position where you want them. I marked out 6 holes and cut them out with a 52 mm hole saw. then i gave it a quick finish with sanding paper.
Note: if you dont have a hole saw mark the outline of the holes and then drill with a small hole on the inside of the diameter all the way around. then cut it out with a hacksaw blade and finish with a file or grinder.
Step 5: Making the Water Tray
The water tray is the part with the most steps to finish.
- Start by trimming down your funnel until you get something with a nice groove to mount in the water tray.
- Then you mark the center of your tray. this is where you want to place you fill/drain tube.
- Drill the center hole to a diameter that fits the funnel.
- Hot glue the funnel to the watertray.
- Cut a 1 cm piece of the drain pipe and half it to make U shaped piece.
- Mount the U with glue on top of the funnel.
- 10 cm lengthwise from center hole you mark the hole for the overflow drain.
- Cut the hole to fit the outside diameter of the seal for drain pipe.
- Mount the seal for drain pipe.
- Mount Eheim 9mm tube to the funnel.
- Mount the waterpump to the Eheim tube.
- Secure the Eheim tube with cable ties.
- Cut and mount a suiting piece of aquarium filter under the u shaped holder.
- (optional) You can heat up the bottom of the water tray with a heating gun to make the material soft. then you can make sure the fill/drainpipe is the lowest part of the tray to allow complete draining.
Step 6: Making the Drain Pipe
The drain pipe is a quite simple part to make. But is also a part that needs a certain amount of precision to make it look good.
- Start by cutting your drain pipe to the desired length. with the boxes i used this was 12 cm.
- Glue a piece of squared paper to the pipe.
- Drill 3 rows of holes in every second square. first hole should be 5mm from the top last hole 15 mm from the top. Then fill out the empty squares with 2 rows of holes.
- Finish the pipe with a knife or sand paper.
- Cut and mount aquarium filter into the drain pipe.
Step 7: Making the Lid for the Water Reservoir
making the lid for the water tray is quite simple. but can be a bit time consuming. depending how nice you want it.
- You want to assemble everything as much as you can at this point.
- Cut a hole centered under the tube and drain pipe. the hole must be big enough to allow both the tube and drain to hang free in to the reservoir.
- Now you can start making the hole bigger to one of the sides wich will allow you to slide the water tray to one side without removing the lid from the reservoir.
- Mark a hole in the corner and cut it out. this hole will function as water level checking filling etc.
- In the opposite corner of your water hole you have to take of a small chip. this will allow the cord from the waterpump to exit the reservoir.
- Finsh off with sand paper
Step 8: Making the Water Reservoir
The water reservoir dont need much work. You just need to cut out a suiting piece of transparent acrylic and glue it over the hole in the side.
Step 9: Assembly
Now you are ready to assemble your hydroponics system. This guide have taken you through the steps of creating it and i am sure youalready know how to assemble the parts you have been working with.
Next thing to mount is a timer and some small netpots filled with claypebbles.
Now you are ready to grow plants in your new hydroponic system!
Step 10: Use and Share Your Experience!!!
Thank you all for reading this guide.
I hope that all of you enjoyed viewing this project. I certainly enjoyed creating it. I will be pleased for any constructive feedback regarding this project.
I hope to get back to you all with a guide for growing in this small system.