Grow Your Own, Part 2: Use Your Computer to Create a Grow Cabinet Design

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Editor’s Note: A grow cabinet is a great way to maximize space and create a discreet garden. If you have plenty of space to put your seedlings, you can skip this step and re-join us in the next installment.

Any lady can grow cannabis at home with the proper planning and implementation. This is the second in a series of articles detailing the entire process from seed germination to the final harvest; this installment will focus on cabinet design.

Many programs are available online which can be used to create 3D cabinet designs. SketchUp 2014 by Google is a free downloadable program that can be used for a variety of projects. It includes self-paced tutorials, getting started guides and quick reference cards and provides an easy, fun and free way to create in 3D.

A basic SketchUp cabinet design

A basic SketchUp cabinet design

Even if one has never designed anything on a computer before, this program is easy enough for a novice, has an option for a professional, and is available for both Windows and Mac users.

First, get started with the user interface of SketchUp by reviewing the program, including the title bar, menus, toolbars, drawing areas and status bars.

The next step is to choose a template. A cabinet design of 6 feet, four inches in height, 4 feet in width and 2 feet deep is a good size for a home gardener and is the template used for this series. Once the template has been chosen, you can set default measurements, in either meters or inches. The program allows a starting view from the side or the top of the design.

SketchUp is a very user friendly program, and you can make your design as simple or as fancy as you wish. We went with a very simple design.

Once the SketchUp cabinet design is complete, your should create a list of materials before hitting the local hardware store. The following list could be used to create a frame large enough for a home growers’ space:

46’x 4”6’x 4” Height Beam
644”Width Beams
416”Depth Beams
216” NotchedDepth Beams Notched
13’ 7 ⅜”Top Door Brace
11’ 3 ¾”Bottom Door Brace
18 Total Cut 2×4’s
24’ 2 ¼” X 2Top Door Half
21’ 9 ¾” X 2Bottom Door Half
22’ x 4’ x ⅜” NotchedFloor Panels
22’ x 6’ x ⅜”Side Walls
12’ x 4’ x ⅜”Top
14’ x 6’ x ⅜”Back
1 boxStructural Wood Screws
1Cordless Hand Drill

Pressure treated wood is preferable for a grow cabinet – or any other any project – that will involve water and possible humidity. For this example, nine 2’ x 4’ x 96” pieces of pressure treated lumber would be cut into four 6’4″ boards to provide the height of the cabinet. Six pieces can be cut into 3’8″ pieces to provide the width of the cabinet with six 1’4″ pieces for the depth.

The price of the lumber is not exorbitant, as these cuts can be purchased for less than $3.00 per board. Many hardware stores will do the majority of the cutting, if provided with plans. A table saw is necessary if completing the cuts at home. Remember to always practice safety first, wear goggles or glasses, watch the fingers, and use a helper.

End pieces of cabinet frame in progress

End pieces of cabinet frame in progress

Start framing by attaching one of the 6’4” height beams to a 44” width beam by drilling structural wood screws in securely. Then attach another 44” width beam with screws to the opposite end of the height beam. (This step will require assistance and using clamps can make things easier).

Use wood screws to securely attach the beams at each corner (make sure your screws are long enough to hold it together securely – the ones we used are 3″).

Complete the other side by attaching a width beam to the top and the bottom and half of the framing is complete. Creating the second half by repeated the first steps is fairly simple.

The next step is to attach the sides and center beam, along with the top and depth beams, which will result in a basic frame.

With two people working, this process to frame the cabinet should only take a couple of hours.

Next week’s article will detail how the wood is added to the frame in addition to the electronics for the lights, ballast and exhaust systems.