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Building an Ultra Stealthy Grow Cabinet

This article comes courtesy of the good folks at seattlecannabisjournal.com, and was re-edited for clarity and ease of reading. Click Here to view the original article in all its glory!

The day I got a recommendation for medicinal Cannabis was a relief. This was followed by the knowledge and urgency that I needed to get some plants in the ground immediately.

This had been a long-time dream of mine, and I fondly imagined my first harvest, curing my flowers to perfection, and collecting their resin for concentrates. I saw myself carefully journaling their progress, and eventually becoming an expert caretaker of myself and my marijuana garden.

Then reality set in: I have a small space, in a small house, in a crowded neighborhood.

Momentarily discouraged, I quickly scrapped the idea of a dedicated room filled to the brim. I began with getting clear about my intentions; I wanted to inconspicuously and autonomously produce my medicine. This was a much more respectable and realistic goal, and one that I could embrace.

After months pouring over cannabis related text and furrowing my brow at various nooks throughout my home, I saw through the problem. I would build a stealthy grow cabinet!

On Craigslist I found a cabinet kit still in the box for only $35. It came in at 24″ L x 30″ W x 70″ H. Next, I purchased a 6″ inline fan for another $100. The fan combined with a 400 watt light and Cool Tube from a previous grow gave me something to design around.

My sights set, I loaded Google’s 3D rendering freeware, Google SketchUp, and got to work.

Sirius: Google SketchUp can be pretty tough to use without training, especially if you’ve never used it and you just want to design one thing. Rest assured: some paper, a pencil, a little math, and careful planning will work just as well!

The first thing to deal with was the Intake and exhaust – a clean environment and fresh air for my plants.

A rule with any grow space is to have the intake’s opening twice the open area of the exhaust’s.

Important: The opening for your intake hole should be about twice the size of your exhaust hole.

My inline fan with had 6″ opening (28 square inches) so I would need 56 square inch opening. I went with two louvered grills that were 5″ x 8″ which gave me 80 square inches – 30% for the louvers = 56 square inches. Perfect!

Sirius: This is a great point! In any enclosed grow area such as a tent or grow cabinet, it’s important to have a larger opening for intake than for exhaust. This will maximize the efficiency of your fan in addition to keeping it working for longer. Plus, this will keep tents from “bowing” in, reducing your grow space.

Of course I wanted to filter the intake air to keep out dust, pet hair, pollen, mold and the like.

Next, I faced the issue of providing my plants their light.

I chose a High Pressure Sodium bulb. Since these produce more light from the side(the long side as opposed to the plug and tip of the bulb), light coverage could be maximized by positioning them front to back. Some creativity was required to install the Cool Tube to keep my HPS bulb from becoming too hot.

We learned above that the cabinet is 24″ deep. Now this Cool Tube was 20″, hardly enough room to attach two 6″ flex ducts for ventilation without having to keep a door open.

Keeping a door open is not a viable option for the stealthy gardener like me! I decided to use some creativity.

The solution I came up with was to place the duct work outside of the cabinet.

I built and installed 4″ x 10″ x 48″ wooden housing for the duct work for the exhaust of the Cool Tube (picture 3rd down). Next, three 6″ duct flanges into the back wall of the cabinet leading into the duct work spaced vertically 9″ apart.

This allowed three different height settings for the light. The unused two positions are capped off. Take a look…

I installed a sealed fan room to house the 6″ inline fan mentioned above. This sat in the top inside of the cabinet, pictured below.

Now that my fan room was set up, I allowed the exhaust to escape upward into a carbon filter. I mounted the filter inside a Rubbermaid tote to make the whole setup more discrete.

A fan speed controller and light timer are mounted on the outside of the fan room.

Next to the fan room is space for other more technical things. Here we find the ballast and command switching station.

Also, I installed a “Kill-a-Watt” device to monitor my electrical usage so I can easily calculate the total extra cost to my electricity bill each month.

I vented this area with a 4″ opening that opened into the fan room.

When all was said and done I harvested 264 grams (9.3 ounces).

Final Harvest Weight: 264 grams (9.3 Ounces)

Cost: $1.64/gram

The final bounty boasted nine ounces of dried and cured cannabis flowers.

After the initial investment, $1.64 was my total cost per gram when I factored electricity, carbon filter, and nutrients.

Affordable medicine is a right, and medicinal Cannabis sets a standard for patient autonomy. Enjoy producing your own medicine.

Sirius: This is definitely an advanced method of creating a grow box, but he makes sure to include a lot of things one needs to consider when creating one, such as ventilation and making sure to leave room for everything you need. Do you have a better/more practical/more efficient design? Let us know so we can share with the world!

See Another Stealth Grow Cabinet in Action and Build Your Own!

Was the cabinet in the above article a little too much for your sensibilities? Then check out these pics by one of our awesome readers!

Make sure to click each one to see the full size picture.

These pictures were sent in by one of our readers who has taken a far more simple/easy approach to making a grow cabinet than G.D. Bud. Here’s what he had to say about it:

“1st time grower. Plants are 1 month old, and 12″ tall now. Set up for less than $250. Used cab.w/4 bulb, 24″ T5’s, 4″ elec exhaust, Thanx for great info.”

Use the following items to make a stealthy grow cabinet just like his:

  • Old cabinet
  • Line inside of cabinet with mylar (reflective material)
  • Hang T5 grow light to inside-top of cabinet with rope rachets
  • Cut 12″ hole in back (near bottom) for cool air intake
  • Attach air filter to your intake hole if the outside air is dusty (and to protect your grow cabinet from any stray bugs)
  • Cut 4″ hole out the top to use as an exhaust hole (cut a bigger exhaust hole for a bigger cabinet, or if you’re going to intall more/bigger/hotter lights)
  • A 4″ exhaust hole uses 4″ ducting with fan to pull out hot air (drawing in cool air in through your intake).
    Remember, fan should be pointed up, to pull hot air out of your cabinet!
  • Now you just add plants!

See how one grower built his own stealthy grow cabinet (in pictures), then learn how to build your own!

How To Build A DIY Cannabis Grow Tent In Just 3 Steps!

Want to grow your own weed? DIY grow tents are easy to build and give you complete control over your plants’ growing environment so you can produce top-tier bud!

Looking for a simple, cost-effective setup for growing your own weed? Below, we’ll walk you through the simple process of building your own grow tent for a fraction of the price of a store-bought tent/box.

WHY BUILD A DIY GROW TENT?

Growing your own weed is a great experience. Germinating your seeds and watching them grow into healthy plants with big, aromatic buds is a great way to develop a deeper connection with this ancient plant. Not to mention, you’ll likely end up with a far superior product than what you’re able to score elsewhere.

Unfortunately, not everyone has enough space to grow plants outdoors under the sun. That’s where a DIY grow tent comes in; for many people, a homemade grow tent proves to be the most cost-effective and efficient setup. While small grow tents are pretty cheap, you can build your own tent for next-to-nothing if you take the time to hunt around for supplies. Plus, they allow you complete control over your plants’ growing environment and produce a great harvest every time!

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR DIY GROW TENT

Before you start looking around for building materials, take a few minutes to reflect on these important considerations for your tent:

LIGHTPROOF

Cannabis plants need well-defined light and dark periods in order to flower properly. Light leaks during dark hours can stress photoperiod strains, stunting their growth, interrupting their flowering, or even triggering hermaphroditism. Even autoflowering strains are believed to rely on consistent dark hours for respiration, photosynthesis, and more. Hence, your DIY tent must be lightproof.

WATERPROOF

Cannabis needs regular watering and feeding. Make sure your tent is waterproof so runoff or spills don’t cause any damage to the area around your tent.

AIRFLOW

Cannabis plants need proper airflow to grow properly. Poor airflow, on the other hand, can create hot spots in your tent that trap heat and humidity, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and attracting pests. Your tent needs to be well-ventilated to prevent these problems.

The size of your grow tent will vary depending on the amount of space you have available, your budget, and how many plants you plan on growing. A 1 x 1m tent is arguably the most common size used by hobby growers, but you can go bigger or smaller than that based on your needs. Just know that if you want your plants to reach their full potential, your tent will need to be at least 1.5–2m tall to give them enough space to grow and prevent them from getting too close to your lights.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BUILD A DIY GROW TENT?

Building your own tent is surprisingly simple. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need:

MATERIALS

19mm PVC pipes are sturdy, cheap, and ideal for creating the frame of your tent. You’ll need:

• 16x straight pipes for the verticals and horizontals (the length of pipe will vary depending on how large you want your tent to be)
• 8x 90-degree corner fittings
• 4x t-fittings
• 1x cross fittings

PANDA FILM

Panda Film works great as the walls of your tent. Remember to use the black side of the film on the outside to absorb light, and the white side on the inside to reflect it.

LED GROW LIGHT

There are many different grow lights on the market, but we recommend LEDs for their energy efficiency and durability. HID lights are cheaper than LEDs and can produce great results, but they’ll need replacing after two harvests and use a lot of energy.

There are plenty of fans on the market. If you’re building a large tent for big harvests, we recommend using a fan and carbon filter to eliminate the odour from your plants. If you’re building a tent to grow just a few plants, a regular wall fan will do fine.

TOOLS

Once you’ve got your materials, you’ll need the following tools for the assembly of your tent:

• Duct tape (to create the Panda Film covering for your tent)
• Hand saw (in case you need to cut any of your PVC pipes to size)
• Velcro (for the opening of your tent)

HOW TO SET UP YOUR DIY GROW TENT

Now that you’ve got your materials and tools, follow these steps to build your very own cannabis grow tent in less than a day:

STEP 1: ASSEMBLING THE FRAME

If you weren’t able to buy your PVC in the size you need, cut it to size using a hand saw. Whatever size tent you’re building, you’ll need 16 straight pieces of pipe; 4 for the verticals (which should be at least 1.5m long), 4 for the base, and 8 for the roof of your tent.

Once you’ve got your straight pieces of pipe cut to size, use the fittings to connect them and build the frame of your tent. Keep in mind that your roof should have a cross fitting in the middle for extra stability to hold your light, fan, etc.

STEP 2: COVERING YOUR TENT

You’ll need to cover your tent twice; once with the white panda film for the inside of the tent, and again with black film for the outside.

The easiest way to do this is to start with the walls; tightly wrap a single piece of film around 3 of the 4 walls (the 4th will be the opening of the tent). Secure the film to the PVC pipes where your opening will be.

Next, cover the roof of your tent with another piece of film. Make sure there’s at least 3–5cm of overlap on every wall, and stick the sides down with duct tape. Step inside your tent, look for light leaks, and cover them using duct tape from the outside.

Finally, for the opening of your tent, cut a piece of film long enough to run from the middle of the roof to the floor. Secure it to the roof of your tent using duct tape and to the PVC frame on the side and bottom using Velcro.

STEP 3: INSTALLING YOUR LIGHT AND FAN

Install your grow light to the top of your tent according to the instructions that came from the manufacturer. Remember to pull the power cord out through a small opening in the roof and seal the sides with duct tape to avoid light leakage.

Finally, sit your fan on the floor, and you’re done!

TIME TO START GROWING CANNABIS!

Now that you’ve got your DIY tent built, it’s time to get growing. Make sure to read our post on indoor cannabis growing equipment for a complete list of all the gadgets you’ll need to grow your plants, and don’t forget to order your seeds directly from our web store to ensure a great harvest. Happy growing!

Want to grow weed on a budget? Click here for simple instructions on how to build your own grow tent from scratch. It's easier than you might think!