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Building a 6 inch PVC Aeroponics Tube System

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
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This is a larger variation on the Irish / Webby tube system found elsewhere in the FAQ. 6 inch tubes allow for more root space and larger plants.

Basically, I am showing how to build the root chambers, rez, and feeder lines for your system. Depending on what is available in your area, pick your own misters and pump to match. No one builds them all exactly the same.

Every system will vary to suit your own needs and space but here are the basic materials for this particular one:

* 6 inch PVC pipe (With this five-tube system, you also use 4 lengths of 1 inch PVC as feeder / pressure lines)
* 6 inch couplings, and 1 inch" couplings, along with elbows and endcaps as needed.
* Large reservoir - the larger the better for stability and maintenance.
* Pump - output and size to be determined by what misters you choose.
* Support for tubes (I used sawhorses)
* The usual array of handy tools, but youll need a hole saw to match the neptots you choose.

Main 6 inch pvc pipes

I am using schedule 40 6 inch diameter PVC pipe. You can get this at large plumbing suppliers. Just ask around at Home Depot type places, if they dont have it, they will know who does. As for cost, it varies. In Canada it was anywhere from $5 to $9 per foot. Schedule 80 is too thick and expensive.

I am also using 3.5 inch netpots, spaced 6 inches apart, therefore you will need a 3.5 inch holesaw. 3 inch or 3.5 inch pots are ideal. The mass of your roots will be in the tubes, so dont worry about the pots being too small (They are just anchors really).
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Your 6 inch tubes will be joined by rubber couplers with hose clamps. You can find these where you buy your PVC along with rubber end fittings to close the tubes off. *See last pic
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At the end of one of your tubes (or set or tubes) you will need a drain of some kind. I just made a 1 inch hole and inserted a pvc plug. This will drain into the rez. (Here is looking down)
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You also see a hole in between the netpots. This is for your sprayline. I use one sprayer in between each two pots, this seems to work just fine as they put out a 360 degree spray.

The sprayline is held in place by grommets or rubber corks with holes drilled through them. You can find something that will work in the plumbing section, or stores that sell beer/wine brewing equipment (a huge selection of rubber corks and stoppers) Choose your sprayline, misters and plugs before you begin drilling holes!
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The tubes will eventually be supported on sawhorses with the drainage end ultimately sitting right on the resevoir. Be sure that the far end of the system is higher than the rez end so that your liquid will drain back to the rez easily. There is a 2 inch height difference in this system. You dont need much. These stands are easy enough to make, you will notice also that there are cutouts for both the 6 inch tubes, and the 4, 1 inch PVC tubes that run along between them to feed the spraylines.

Since each of my tube sections is 15 feet (3, 5 foot sections joined) I needed the same amount in 1 inch PVC.

1 inch Feeder tubes

I used PVC couplings to join them on two sections and then got fancy and used a valve to join the last section. This way I can shut off water to the last section if I am not using it (like when vegging out mother plants or doing a smaller crop, you can also conveniently shut off a section if something needs repairing).
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At the end (not the rez end) the feeder tubes are capped. Oh, and USE TEFLON TAPE, PEOPLE!! Or some kind of sealant - you dont want to get it all together and find out that you have leaks!
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Along the 1 inch PVC feeder tube, I have drilled (and tapped to match the threads of my sprayer assembly) holes to mount the spray lines. One hole per sprayer (Youll know what size holes to drill once you decide on the type of sprayer you wish to use).
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Here is the big funky rez. A 300 litre / 80 gallon monster. This rez is actually a dock float - they are built to withstand great pressures and will not fail on you.
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It has 5 holes drilled in it that fit the drain spigots of the tubes. You will need to drill an access hole for nutrient access and the intake line of your pump.

You can also see the business end of the feeder tubes, they are all joined together in one common pipe that leads to the output of the pump, which will soon be sitting on the floor beside the rez.

A pressure gauge helps you figure out what youre running at and lets you know if there is some kind of problem.

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Here is the drain spigot on the tube I was talking about - it just fits into the rez. It is just a 3 inch bit of 1 inch PVC - some kind of connector I found. Use whats at hand.
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The rez end, with the 1 inch pvc joined together with various elbows and fittings. The pump is ready to be installed.

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Here is the inline filter that sits between the pump and the rest of the feeder lines. Filters are essential to prevent mister clogs.
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Here is a long view so that you can see how the big tubes and the feeder lines lie beside each other and how the spray lines are hooked up.

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Look inside! - You can see the sprayer coming in between the netpot holes.
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Here is another full shot of the whole thing. Notice that the ends of the 6 inch tubes are capped and they are joined by those black couplers and hose clamps. You can buy those wherever you get your PVC.

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Next step: fill it with netpots, rocks, water in the rez and then clones.
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s1ingblade

New Member
Everytime I look into one of these build it yourself I am amazed at how much better they all look compared to the retail ready to add water models. I can't wait to build my first 6 inch pvc setup.
 

s1ingblade

New Member
I am not sure on the price, seeing I got the tubes along time ago and can't remember the cost, sorry. As for the difficulty of reaching the center plants I guess that depends on the dimensions of the system.
 

sfttailpaul

New Member
I am not sure on the price, seeing I got the tubes along time ago and can't remember the cost, sorry. As for the difficulty of reaching the center plants I guess that depends on the dimensions of the system.

Hey AZmeds, one thought and my opinion... PVC pipe is extremely expensive especially when you get over 3" in diameter. I have built a system like this only using 5" X 5" pvc fence post. Comes in at about 1/2 that of pipe and doesn't roll on whatever stand it is built on. Can get online or H.D. or Lowes, etc. Only problem is the availability of lengths, I could only find 8 ft. but by now, they are probably selling longer getting hip to our industry. I built this several years ago. I wound up abandoning it because of the unflexibility of the plant locations but it is THE BEST system ever!
 

s1ingblade

New Member
Hey sfttailpaul, yeah I have seen some pretty sweet systems made out of the plastic fence posts. I just harvested some white widow out of a really crappy setup made from leftover rain gutter, lol I think it was way too small and probably would have doubled my yield if bigger material was used. Was so cash poor at the time I just had to use what was laying around :)
 

sfttailpaul

New Member
Hey sfttailpaul, yeah I have seen some pretty sweet systems made out of the plastic fence posts. I just harvested some white widow out of a really crappy setup made from leftover rain gutter, lol I think it was way too small and probably would have doubled my yield if bigger material was used. Was so cash poor at the time I just had to use what was laying around :)

If memory serves me correctly (usually doesn't LOL) the biggest problem I encountered with the sq. tube (fence post) was that each manufacturer offers the cap in different configurations. Some are flush with their mounting tabs on the inside (harder to seal) and they can be beveled 4 ways which makes fitting connections harder to seal (but not impossible) while others are a "cover" with the lip on the outside (much easier to seal); some are flat on the top and real easy to mount fittings there. Other than that, I remember the price more than 1/2 that of PVC pipe (most probably due to the testing/rating and supply vs demand). Fence post 'aint to critical. BUT also, being that there is no pressure in these, simple, inexpensive Silicone sealant will work nicely. I guess it all boils down to practicality vs aesthetics and dollars vs availability. I found fence post on the net, got it in the lengths I wanted (usually not to exceed 8ft. long) and it ended up costing about 1/3'rd of the price of 6" dia. pipe. They also make a 3" and 4" dia. strictly for drain pipe that is really cheap. Not perfectly round but who cares (dollars vs aesthetics this time) but the fittings for it are really cheap.
As we've both mentioned before, love to design and build my own stuff, sometimes costing me a little bit more, but getting exactly what I want and then there's the satisfaction, the need to build-create!
 

s1ingblade

New Member
I agree when possible doing it yourself is the best way to do about anything. The 6" pvc I have is green and says Sewer Pipe on it. I originally bought it and some end caps for making caches that I was going to bury. Like I said I can't remember the price other than it was pricey.
I put my pvc project on hold and built a under current based system. As of now I am babying 3 seedlings in airpots with coco/perlite. This is my 1st attempt at germinating seeds under LED's, so far so good but it does seem to grow a little slower than I am used to. Woke up late last night and it just so happened that the one hour on (GLR) was going and between that time and this morning I notice new growth, not much but hey its growing :) I am growing them to be mother plants that I can clone off of for my RDWC. I do have bigger airpots and more coco coir but am really anxious to see how my rdwc works with my led lights.
I am on day 2 of no smoke and am a little off.
 
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