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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 Grow Room

If you’ve ever thought about growing cannabis indoors, you may have been faced with a tricky question; should I buy a grow tent or set up a grow room? If you’ve decided to go with the latter, we’re going to go over the basic things you’re going to need to turn a normal room into an indoor grow set up without needing to spend a ridiculous amount of money. Read on to find out exactly how to build a grow room for your cannabis plants.

It generally costs more to turn a full room into a grow room rather than simply buying a grow tent; you need to prepare the entire room so that it can efficiently hold and keep cannabis plants alive. Although it may cost a bit more, it’s definitely a much comfier way to grow cannabis. You can get larger yields, grow larger plants and have enough space to get everything done in the one room, which can be difficult in grow tents.

In order to set your grow room up properly, we’ve decided to cover it in this post; we’re going to go over the absolute basic materials needed to set up an indoor grow room. Get everything set up without needing to spend too much money.

Disinfecting and Hygiene

One of the first steps of any grow step is making sure that everything is properly clean. This is done when growing using both grow tents and growing in a room – you need to clean the room and disinfect it before you can start growing your cannabis. We recommend using a product called Purolyt to clean your grow room.

If you clean your room thoroughly before you start growing, you’ll be able to keep insect and fungi infestations at bay for much longer, which is incredibly important – if your indoor grow room becomes infected it can be quite hard to get rid of it for your next grow.

How to Build a Grow Room | Deciding your set-up

When growing in a wide open area such as a grow room, you’ll need to know how many grow lights you’re planning on using. In this case, we’re going to use two 600w HPS grow lights in a 2 x 2 x 2.2m room. If you want to follow this method, you can also use three 315w LEC lights for similar results.

The amount of lights and their wattage has a direct impact on the strength of your extraction fan and inline fan.

Grow Room Reflective Sheeting

You need to block any and all light from getting into your grow room. You’ll also need to get proper reflective sheeting in order to cover the walls, floor and ceiling of your grow room. You can cover the walls to about a meter and a half if you want to save on materials. We recommend using a stapler to attach it to the walls and ceiling, as double-sided tape can easily come unstuck once the room heats up.

How to Build a Grow Room | Setting up your ventilation system

Once you’ve covered the room with reflective sheeting, you’ll need to prepare your air intake and extraction system. First, make sure nothing can be seen from outside your apartment through the window.

Many people think that the best way to set this up is by placing the extraction duct at the top of the window and the inline duct at the bottom. This is a major mistake – most likely you’ll end up taking in the exact same air that you’re trying to ventilate out of the room. One of the most simple ways to do this is to use the window to extract air and then make a grid on the door to the room. This is called passive intake and doesn’t require any sort of inline fan.

You may have other options though, depending on the size and set-up of your grow room. Most rooms used for growing only have one window, although if your room has a different set up, feel free to make your own extraction system, this is just the simplest set up.

Ventilation System

Once you know where you’re going to be setting up your ventilation system and how you’re going to be supplying fresh air, you’ll need to install the extractor fan and inline fan, if you’re using one.

Extractors can be noisy and cause vibrations that can travel through the wall and floor, which can be heard from other rooms and floors. You’ll need to use a soundproofed box in order to avoid this. It’ll have to be attached to the ceiling, and you can use a frame designed for this purpose or a chain system using rubber rings which stop vibrations from travelling up through the ceiling.

When it comes to the inline fan, if you’re going to use one instead of just using a passive intake vent, it’ll need to be on the other side of the room in comparison to the extraction fan. You’ll need to place it down low. If possible try and use some sort of cushioned base to avoid the vibrations travelling through the floor.

Carbon Filter

Once you’ve set up your ventilation system and everything is in its place, you’ll need to add a carbon filter. You can do this when preparing the grow room or wait until your plants are flowering. It’s much easier to set it up at the start, although you’ll be using it more than you need to. If you wait until the flowering period the filter will last much longer.

In order to attach it to the ceiling you’ll need to use rope and eyebolts. You’ll also need flexible aluminum ducting in order to connect the filter to your extraction fan. If you want the best possible ventilation, try and center the filter as much as possible.

How to Build a Grow Room | Connecting your Aluminum Ducting

Like we said before, you’ll need to connect the filter and extraction fan in order for them to work correctly. Use clamps to attach the ducting to your filter, and do the same with the other end to the extractor fan. Try and keep the ducting as straight as possible to keep the airflow strong. Lastly, you need to connect your extractor to wherever you’re planning on extracting hot air.

If you have an inline fan it’s not that hard to attach the ducting, the difference is the size of the intake fan, which is usually smaller than the extractor. You can also do this using clamps to make it easier.

Lighting Kit

Once you have your extraction system, intake and filtering system installed and you’ve covered the walls in reflective sheeting, it’s time to start installing your lighting kit.

The best way to do this is to keep your ballast outside of the grow room due to the amount of heat that they generate. However, this may be an added benefit when it comes to growing during colder months, although during the springtime and hotter months it’s not a good idea. If you can’t keep it outside of your grow room, you’ll need to place it on a wooden shelf up high and as far away as possible from your plants.

In order to hang your lights correctly, you’ll need to measure out how much space each light is going to cover and find the exact center of the bulb in order to make the right hole in the ceiling for your plants.

Fans

Although you have a ventilation system, you’ll still need a way to move air around your room. We recommend using standing fans or clip-on fans on the wall if you have the space, although the choice is yours. You’ll need to place them strategically in order to help distribute any new air you’re taking in so that you don’t end up with stagnant air pockets. Cannabis plants need constant fresh air to survive.

Timing System

Growing indoors requires quite a lot of electric devices that need to be turned on and off at specific times; you’ll need to use a timer system in order to keep them working properly. The best way to do this is to get a full controller system that allows you to program everything on the one system.

You should try and place it somewhere that you can get to easily while also keeping all of the cables in order. We recommend installing a fire extinguisher above the controller in case of emergencies.

Thermo-hygrometer

Once you’ve set up everything else in your grow room that you need to successfully grow cannabis, you’ll need to check that everything is working correctly so that you can germinate your cannabis seeds. Before doing this, you should place a thermos-hygrometer between your lighting systems in order to check the parameters that you’ll be growing at.

You might have just the right temperature for growing cannabis, although humidity levels will probably be much too low for cannabis plants to grow properly during their first few weeks. This is due to the fact that you’re growing in a large room; it can be complicated to maintain the temperature and humidity at the right levels when compared to growing in a grow tent.

Humidifier

When working in such a large space you’ll need to add humidity to the air somehow, and the best ways to do this is by using a humidifier, or maybe even a few. During your plants’ first few weeks, relative humidity needs to be a bit higher than usual – if it’s not, your plants may not grow to be the best that they can be.

For the best results, you should place the humidifier in the middle of the room alongside a fan, which helps to distribute humidity evenly. If you can, try and move it to the other side of your plants after a few hours in order to avoid the plants closest to it getting a bit too much humidity, which can end up causing fungi.

How to Build a grow Room | Conclusion

When it comes to growing cannabis indoors, setting up an entire grow room can be a bit more complicated and costly than a simple grow tent.

The most important things to keep in mind are that nothing should be seen from outside the room and your extraction system and filter should be working properly; if not, you may get in trouble.

This particular post is designed for those that are going to be growing using two 600w lights and only details the basic materials needed. If you have a better set up or use more advanced methods, that’s great! This is simply a basic guide for an affordable indoor grow set-up for those that have never grown in a room before.

If you want to grow cannabis indoors but don't know how to build a grow room, don't worry! We've designed a guide to show you what you need & how to use it