Part 1:
Build Your Own
Hydroponics System

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Build Your Own Hydroponics System with these simple to follow instructions. Our do it yourself hydroponics system plans will have you on your way quickly.


It's been a long time coming, but I'm pleased to announce that the new home made hydroponics is ready for the world.

For a long time now, I've been building hydroponic systems for my own use. This design is intended to be inexpensive, reusable, and easy to build. Believe it or not, it was inspired by an eggplant. That's right. Eggplant.

We had an eggplant that grew much larger than expected. It was living in a 14-site aeroponic unit, and it became a bad neighbor to the other plants surrounding it. Its canopy grew so large that it eventually ruined all the surrounding plants. This caused me to have an interesting thought...

I wondered if anyone manufactured a single-site aeroponic unit. I wanted a unit designed for one big plant. I discovered that all of the commercially manufactured units are multi-site. I couldn't find any that were designed for just one plant. That's when I said, "Build Your Own Hydroponics System."

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Here's How to Do It Yourself

I spent a long time looking for the right materials to build my new aero. I wanted it to be as simple and inexpensive as possible. Additionally, I wanted it to be as easy as possible to maintain.

The container used is an Ikea Sortera (Part #600.763.65). It has a unique shape (and unique lid) that makes it ideal for a reservoir or aeroponic system.The lid is both flat and hinged, which makes it ideal for holding the net pots. More on that later. Here's a photo of an unmodified Sortera:

Free Hydroponics Plans

We will be making some modifications to the Sortera, but the overall look will not change all that much. Here's a quick look at what we'll be building:

Free Hydroponics Plans

Materials Required To Build Your Own Hydroponics System

Let's start with our lists of requirements for building it. The items required for the build are all pretty inexpensive, especially if you've priced hydroponic equipment.

  • (1) Ikea Sortera, Part #600.763.65, Approximate Price $13
  • (1) ActiveAqua PU250 Pump, Approximate Price $15
  • (1) General Hydroponics 6" Net Pot, Part #96016 (Get this from a hydroponics shop)
  • (1) 1" OD Rubber Electrical Grommet
  • (2) Micro Jet Sprayers (Get these from a hydroponics shop)
  • (1) 1/2" PVC Tee
  • (2) 1/2" PVC Elbows
  • (2) 1/2" PVC Caps
  • (4) 1/2" PVC Couplings (for joining 1/2" PVC pipe)
  • (1) 1/2" PVC Male Thread Adapter (adapts 1/2" PVC to 1/2" male pipe thread)
  • (1) 1/2" PVC Cross (4-way)
  • (4) 3" Long Pieces of 1/2" PVC
  • (5) 4" Long Pieces of 1/2" PVC
  • (2) Electrical Ties

Here is an overview of all the PVC parts that you will need. All of these parts are listed above. This photo is just to help you identify them when shopping at the hardware store:

Free Hydroponics Plans

Tools Needed To Build Your Own Hydroponics System:

  • Drill / Drill Bits (specifically: 5/32", 1/4", and 1" spade or 1" hole saw)
  • Either 4 3/4" Hole Saw or Jig Saw (for cutting large hole for net pot). I'd recommend the jig saw, as I doubt you'll ever use the expensive 4 3/4" Hole Saw for anything else, ever, in your entire life. If you want to work on the cheap, you can use a manual Coping Saw, but it will take longer.
  • A Compass, for drawing circles
  • Tape Measure
  • 10-32 Tap (for threading holes)
  • PVC Cleaner / PVC Glue
  • Teflon Thread Tape
  • Sand Paper (a small sanding drum for your drill is even better)

Step-By-Step Directions To Build Your Own Hydroponics System:

1. Startwith the lid of your Sortera. Use your compass to draw a circle starting in the center of the lid (you can use the molding mark as your center). Draw a circle that is 4 3/4" inch in diameter. The final finished size that you will want will be 4 7/8", but you'll want to make sure your hole is true and clean as you approach your final diameter. You need to carefully cut out the hole, most likely using your jig saw. Once you have cut out the circle, carefully sand the hole smooth using your sand paper or drum sander. Repeatedly fit your pot into the hole. The fit should be tight, so no water can sneak past. Take your time. This is the only tedious cut in our entirefree hydroponics plans.

Free Hydroponics Plans

2. Once you've completed the large hole that will hold the net pot, you'll want to make a smaller hole that will eventually allow the pump's cord to exit the reservoir. If you have a 1" hole saw, feel free to use it. If you need to buy it just for this project, buy a 1" spade bit; as it will be less expensive. This hole needs to be 1" diameter, so that the pump's plug can pass through it.

Free Hydroponics Plans

3. Although you don't need to do it just yet, you'll be using an electrical grommet on the 1" hole in the lid. This will provide a slightly better seal, and will make your project look more clean and finished. Here's how the 1" hole will look with the grommet in place:

Free Hydroponics Plans

4. I would strongly recommend cutting the grommet. It will allow you to pass the cord "into" the grommet much more easily. Additionally, it will make it much easier to fit into the 1" hole. Put the lid aside for the moment. Turn your attention to your ActiveAqua PU250 pump.

Free Hydroponics Plans

You will note that the package contains several adapters for different sizes of tubing. You won't need any of them. Personally, I save them, they might be helpful the next time you build your own hydroponics system.

Free Hydroponics Plans

5. You will notice that the PU250 has a base on it, which contains four suction cups. Remove the base from the PU250 (you'll need to take off the filter first). Remove the four suction cups from the base. We'll need these. It's very kind of ActiveAqua to provide them for us. You'll see why this is important in the upcoming steps.

Free Hydroponics Plans

6. Take your four 1/2" PVC couplings. Drill a 1/4" hole in each one at approximately 1/4" from the end of the fitting. You will be inserting the suction cups into the holes that you drill. The following photo shows where to drill the hole, and how the parts will look with the suction cup inserted. I used a small screwdriver to push the suction cup into place.

Free Hydroponics Plans

Build Your Own Hydroponics System
Part 2


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