looking for plans for a make-it-yourself light stand; please help

kawaiineko_gardener(5a)February 9, 2013

I am in the process of planning to make a grow light stand. I've found the lights to use for it, and I found where I can get shop lights that are what I'm looking for at a decent price.

NOTE: I did look for plans online and via this forum but the forum with the link the link was broken. The only plans I found online were one tier grow light shelves which isn't what I'm looking for.

I plan to do a 4-tiered light stand. I found a 4 tier shelf with each shelf being 48" long (the shelves have to be that long, as this is how long my lights are). It's $79.

I am debating making a grow light stand myself from PVC pipe. HOwever my question is which would be the cheaper way to go? Building the stand from pvc pipe or buying the already constructed 4 tier shelf?

Here is a link that gives a picture of what I'd like for it to look like. Here is the materials needed and how they constructed it (excerpt it listed below)


The stand is six feet tall, four feet long and two feet wide, and consists of 57 sections of pipe, 50 joints, 4 plywood shelves, 16 bolts, 4 shop lights and 8 fluorescent bulbs. Cost: $151.69. Cost in aggravation: $8 million, which included five journeys to three big-box stores at a time when hordes were fighting over the last snow shovel on the Eastern Seaboard.

I won't bore you with all the snags in the assembly, except to say that I had to make close to 200 pipe cuts using a miter box and a hacksaw. One of the biggest challenges was anchoring the plywood shelves. They were labeled 48-by-24 inches but as is customary, they were less than that and too small to rest on the frames of pipe for each deck. My initial, harebrained solution was to insert T-joints that would have connected additional supporting pipes beneath the plywood. No good. My second scheme was to drill holes in some of the joints so I could weave a web of supporting string underneath each plank. It looked like a dream catcher, which later seemed oddly appropriate. The solution was to reduce the width of the whole apparatus by an inch so the plywood could be bolted to the frame.

I am looking for instructions similar to this but a little bit more specific and preferably with pictures to go along with each step.

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I dont see any reason to have to spend that much. I just put one together with 2 lights so far for $50. Thats $20 for the shelving unit, and $15 each light. You can get the T12 lights for about $10 each tho. But I read T8 was better so got them. The shelf I bought was supposed to be more, but due to their error I got the shelf ( a 5 shelf unit rather than the 4 shelf unit I wanted) cheaper.As for the width, since the chain attaches about 6" in from each end, the shelf really doesnt have to be 4'. Mine were 36". You can read more below.

Here is a link that might be useful: My shelf

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:34PM
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This is my first year to do all my own seedlings.

So I too looked into DIY shelves and all the different shelves offered at stores and online.

Finally decided to buy the sturdiest 4' x 2' shelf available, since I'll be using it for hopefully the next 3 decades.

Had it delivered, great quality, best price I could find.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 3:01PM
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Hi kawaiineko_gardener,

The problem with PVC pipe shelves is that PVC pipe isn't very strong and it will bend and buckle under load. Steel is much stronger than plastic. Your idea of buying steel wire shelves is much more practical and, in the long run, economical.

The 18-inch deep chrome wire shelves are very cost effective, but the 24-inch deep chrome wire shelves are more useful, because each shelf has room for four standard 22 x 11 plant trays. The 18-inch shelves have room for only two standard 22 x 11 plant trays.

My units were based on shelves similar to this item:

Chrome Steel Heavy Duty Adjustable Wire Shelving, 3200 lbs Capacity, 48" Width x 74" Height x 24" Depth, 4 Shelves

No plastic or PVC pipe shelves could handle 3200 pounds. That might be slight overkill for plant starting, but larger pots of plants, well watered, can be quite heavy. The shelves I got were a different brand, and included casters, which are very handy. This is an example of my shelving units.

That picture was taken a few years ago. I have since added several more shelving units for my indoor plant growing use.

(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:16PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions and ideas with this, I really appreciate it.

You said that pvc grow light shelves tend to buckle under the weight.

The only things I'd be growing on the shelves would be flats/starter pots for starting seedling transplants indoors.

I'd be usng small cups (plastic the solo ones) ranging in size from 3 oz with the smallest and when the seedlings are repotted 9 to 16 oz. solo cups at the largest.

I might do greens in the winter in small pots (lettuce endive spinach asian greens etc.) When I say 'small pots' I mean the ones about 6" to 10" in diameter the plastic round planters you typically grow flowers in, basically flower pots (no it wouldn't be made of 'heavy material' like ceramic or stone)

For my purposes would the pvc shelving unit suffice or would it still not be able to hold the weight.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 7:15PM
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