:( Using a hole saw to make the opening in the stainless bowls, even a famous name brand with a bi-metal blade, didn't work. I will have to revisit this at some point, I don't understand why. It was a little larger, but still gave very little room for air to move. Unfortunately it required an additional ring of pipe to lock the reflector.
It didn't seem worth it to add the cost of a coupler and an extra cut for so little benefit. 260Watts of True CFL lighting with DIY 10 bulb reflector! Hello everyone and welcome to my CFL cabinet grow setup. Regardless of all the literature I read about growing and the numerous videos i've watched, nothing has compared to the last 4wks of hands on experience! All you can do is take the knowledge you have from your sources and find out how to apply it to your specific situation. When reviewing other's grow setups it all seems so easy. Here I am going to show everyone what I started with and over the weeks of trial and error ended up with! So please check out my pictures and information provided and hopefully I can inspire someone to incorporate some of my ideas into their garden. To make a long story short; a fellow friend of mine was transplanting some seedlings into their pots and ran out of room for 2 of what seemed like "runts of the litter" I decided to take these babies home in some shitty organic miracle grow soil mixed with a few parts perlite. I had no plan on where to put these so I emptied this dresser below and decided this is what I would call HOME for these plants.
I had no supplies (lights, fans, or even a thermometer) so a late night run to walmart was a must. At the time the seedlings were in their 6hrs dark period, so I placed them in my closet and off I was. Having no idea what I needed to buy I did a google search from the store and grabbed the following: 1. With the above components I wired up the positive and negative wires of the lampcord to the lamp socket..taped it up with some electrical tape..and I now had a cheap efficient light source for now. I mounted this by hand screwing a hook into the top center of the dresser, using an old chain, and an old clamp I had laying around to get this below: NOTE: When using CFLs, specifically the spirals, it is much more efficient to mount the lights horizontially vs. This can be shown with any decent quality light meter. Needless to say I spent the rest of the evening online searching for more information on CFL grows and trying to figure out what I would need to keep these alive and get some hands on experience before I go out and spend $$$ on real seeds online. So..my next day consisted of more reading through forums and I put together an action plan as follows: 1. Reflective hood to re-direct the wasted light shining upwards. Reflective material for lining the box (Mylar or flat white paint) First I picked up 2 120mm PC fans from comp store. One fan was 72cfm (intake) and the other 90cfm (exhaust) I also grabbed a wired thermometer to hang sensor at canopy level for temp readings and a 6inch fan for circulation. To install the PC fans I used a 4inch whole saw bit and drilled out the bottom right corner for the intake and upper left for the exhaust. Also I decided to grab this 4 fan speed controller for $30. This eliminated the hassle of wiring up some 12v DC adapters to the fans and take up bulky space in my sockets. Fan controller is mounted with Velcro for now as the Mylar is coming up next.. I ended up starting with some mylar that a friend had leftover. Wayy to flimsly and delicate to make the precise cuts I needed for my walls in my box. I did it anyway, but half assed the doors and side walls just to direct enough lights back onto the plants. Speaking of light direction I picked up a 10.5 inch clamp light (Pic above) to house my 2 CFL bulbs which actually turned into fitting 4 lights using one Y splitter with an additional Y splitter added to each empty socket. This was hung with some small chain hanging from a hook screwed directly into the center of the box ceiling. (Mylar pic below) I kept the box like this for another few days and decided it was time to make some upgrades to the lighting along with the reflective paneling. Once again I gutted the box and began a DIY 10 CFL bulb reflective hood. For all of about 70$ (not including bulbs) I put together the fixture below. If you are interested in making one, let me know and I will take the time and write up a parts list along with steps to make your own!
Let me tell you this sucker puts out some bright light. I never thought that a simple bulb such as a CFL could put out light like this check out pics of my final product (it measures aprx 24inches wide, 16inches deep, and aprx 8inches high) Basically what you see here is the dryer vent stretched over 2 pieces of plywood cut to shape of hood with 2x4 in middle to mount lights. (NOTE: I only drilled screws for the 2x4 and plywood to check measurements. Nothing was installed at this point) Before installing anything I painted the insides of the wood all around flat white.
Testing the polarity of my wiring job before moving to the other side: Let there be light! My room prior to flipping the switch was pitch black photo was taken at 2am and it still seems like it was daylight in my room! As far as new reflective walls I went with a product called Reflectix from Lowes. Not only is this easy to cut and place, but when I put my light meter back in the canopy level and closed one of the doors the reflectivity was noticibly stronger vs the mylar.