Building the PVC Stand

prolific mini garden

   Build a Small Hydroponics Drip System
   Part 2: Cutting the PVC Stand

If you have just arrived at this website looking for a hydroponics drip system, you might want to go back to page one of this mini-farm plan.

NOW, carry on building this baby!

First cut and assemble the PVC stand. Please follow instructions carefully in the order suggested.

Surely we don't need to remind you to use safety goggles and take care when cutting. And never forget: alcohol and power tools do not mix. Trust me, I know!

cutting PVC pipe

Cutting schedule for hydroponics drip system unit

1. Cut pieces of the 1½” schedule 40 PVC pipe to the following lengths. Lightly file or sand the cut edges to remove burrs:

  • 1 pc 31” long
  • 1 pc 35-¼” long
  • 1 pc 18” long                   
  • 1 pc 17-½” long
  • 1 pc 16-½” long
  • 1 pc 16” long
  • 2 pcs. 5” long
  • 1 pc. 6” long
  • 1 pc 2” long

2. Next, a word about PVC cement. You will apply a nice coat of glue to each PVC piece before pushing them together. Once you attach them together, you have all of 5 seconds to get it seated properly before a permanent and unbreakable bond is set.

If you screw it up, throw in the trash and start over. (Hence the advice to buy a couple extra elbows and t-piece).

You are going to assemble and glue up the back drain pipe first. This is by far the trickiest part of the whole operation. Listen carefully to avoid a trip back to Home Depot.

To form the back drain rail, you will need the 31” pipe, the 2” pipe, and the “T” piece. This pipe is what will collect the drainage from your pots, and so it needs to be sealed off on both ends so the fluids won't run down into the legs of your stand. (This will also make more sense to you once you start putting things together).

First study the drawing below. See how you need to block off the inside of the tube at the elbow and “t” piece (at the RED STOPS) so there is only one small restricted chamber for fluid drainage?

top drip set up diagram

Do not use household silicone, it has chemicals you don't want to feed your plants.

So you will need to insert a waterproof “block” at the elbow on the left and the outside port of the “T” piece. You can use whatever inert (plastic) material you can find and seal it off with aquarium grade silicone sealant.

We blocked ours off with 2” wide styrofoam circles cut from building insulation. You could cut 2” circles from an old Styrofoam ice chest, or whatever works! See photos below.

Next, push one styro block into one elbow piece and do the same for one end of the “T” piece. Push in far enough so you leave enough room for the straight pipe to fit in there later.

Apply a thick coat of silicone sealant on top of the block, and around the sides of it. Allow it to set up, then apply a second coat. The idea is, you want it totally blocked off so no moisture can get through.

Tip: do not use PVC cement for this. It melts the styrofoam. You can trust me on this one, too  ;)

silicone block in PVC elbow
working with PVC fittings

Okay, time to glue up the back rail. For this, use the 31” & 2” pieces of straight pipe, and the “T” piece with the “block” glued in one side. Do not put the elbows on at this time. Make sure you put the T-piece on with the “block side” towards the outside, the 2” piece. This is how it should be assembled:


Return From Hydroponics Drip System to Mini Farms


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