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Home > Learn More  > How to make a Mounting Frame
 

How to make a Mounting Frame

You can mount your GroPockets towers with this inexpensive and easy to build frame made from standard dimensioned lumber (2x4’s) and 4” PVC pipe with tees. The details about the plumbing are covered in another document, “Irrigating GroPockets”.

Link to Download PDF of these instructions

Contents

Frame Overview

Shopping and Cut

Constructing the Two Halves

Securing the Frame to a wall or fence

Fasten the Two Halves Together

Frame Overview

You can mount your GroPockets towers with this inexpensive and easy to build frame made from standard dimensioned lumber (2x4’s) and 4” PVC pipe with tees. The details about the plumbing are covered in another document, “Irrigating GroPockets”.

Features

  • Can be located in a green house or outdoors since water path is protected
  • Painted, stained, or oiled to match the surroundings
  • Variety of mounting options
    • Fence or wall
    • Anchored to IBC Totes
    • Anchored to Grow Bed
    • Free Standing
  • Will hold 2-8 towers
  • Integrated support for irrigation system and drain pipe
  • Suspends the GroTowers above the drain water to insure no anaerobic zones
  • Insect netting or plastic covers can be easily added
  • The frame is built using 2 large identical squares made from 2x4’s connected by joining/spacer blocks as you can see in this drawing. Each frame is built separately. Then, the spacer blocks are added to one of them.

    If it is being mounted to a wall or fence, the frame (with the spacers attached) is secured to the wall or fence. Then, the other half is attached to the spacer blocks.

    If it is free standing or being anchored, the frame is completed then the legs are attached or it is anchored to the IBC Tote or Grow Bed.

    Getting Started – The Dimensions 

    Before you start cutting, you need to know the following facts about your system:

    • How many GroTowers it will have?
    • How tall is each GroTower?
    • How far from ground level is the top of the sump or reservoir?
    • If you are not using 4” S&D pipes, how wide are they?

    Frame Height (Part A)

    Reservoir / Sump Tank Height 

    In order to determine the length of the vertical pieces for the frame, you need to know how tall your reservoir or sump tank is. Murray’s videos on GroPockets show using a sump tank in an aquaponics system as the reservoir. The reservoir can also be a tank of any other size buried or not, including a five gallon bucket.

    In this design, the 4” drain pipe has to be positioned over the rim of the reservoir. Consequently, the lower the top of the reservoir, the easier it will be to access the plants at the top of the GroTowers.

    If some of the reservoir is buried, the whole frame can be lower making it easier to reach the top of the GroTowers and the plants growing in them. But, this may not fit the situation. For each frame structure you will need 4 vertical pieces, called Part A.

    - Computing Height of Frame Structure

    Reservoir/Sump Height + GroTower Height + 18” = Frame Height

    Frame Width (Part B)

    You will also need 4 horizontal pieces for each frame structure, called Part B.

    The width of the frame you are building determines the number of towers. In general, the frame needs to be 7” wide + 16" for each tower. Refer to the drawing to the right.

    If you want to round the numbers up by one, it okay, just add the extra inch when you are cutting the pipe.


    Side Spacers (Part C)

    The vertical tower frame is designed for 4” S&D drain pipe at the bottom and the 1” schedule 40 supply pipe at the top. If you use schedule 40 pipe 4” pipe or are working with international dimensional lumber you made need to adjust the size of the spacer blocks.

    Top Spacers (Part D)

    These are small blocks of wood that fill the gap at the top of the frame. They length is not critical anywhere from 4 to 6” is fine. If you have change the width of the side spacers, you will need to adjust the width of the top spacers as well.


    Shopping and Cut List

    Now that you have figured out what size your frame structure will be, you are ready to buy the lumber and screws.

    These are the most common size of framing lumber you can find. They are actually 1-5/8 x 3-5/8 instead of 2” x 4”. The easiest to find and transport are 8 feet (96”) long. You can also acquire them in 10’ and 12’, but they are harder to transport.

    The spacer blocks, parts C and D, can usually be made from cut-offs from the Part A’s and Part B’s.

    2x4 lumber is available in at least 3 ways:
    • Untreated white wood (pine, fir, unspecified)
    • Untreated cedar – more expensive, but looks nicer
    • Pressure treated to make it rot resistant

    If your GroTower frame structure will spend time outside without a cover, you should do one of the following.

    • Paint the untreated wood
    • Buy cedar or wood that is naturally rot resistant (exterior oils help with longevity & looks)
    • Buy pressure treated lumber

    Deck Screws

    To fasten the frame together, you will need a small box of 2½” deck screws or stainless steel screws (much more expensive). They need to be resistant to moisture, and if you are using pressure treated wood, the screw must be rated for pressure treated wood.

    Shopping List:

    Here is a sample shopping list and cut list for a frame which has 4 5ft towers:

    2x4 Lumber If you can transport 10’ pieces:

    • Four 2x4 x 8’ long for Part A’s
    • Two 2x4 x 10’ long for (4) Part B’s

    If you can only transport 8’ pieces:

    • Eight 2x4 x 8’ long

    Stain or paint if applicable

    Deck Screws

    •   2½” deck screws (small box)

    Cut List:

    Adjust this cut list to the size frame you are building.

    • Four 2x4 cut to Frame height  _____ (fill in from chapter 1 Part A)
    • Four 2x4 cut to Frame width  _____ (fill in from chapter 1 Part B)
    • Four 2x4 cut to 4-5/8”  _____   (Spacer blocks; same size = for all frames)
    • one 2x4 x 4” cut lengthwise (Support blocks for the irrigation plumbing on top)

    Constructing the Two Halves

    This chapter assumes that you have cut all the pieces listed in the Cut List:

    Mark all Vertical 2x4's - Part A’s

    Find a level spot which is big enough to support all the Vertical Frame Part As laying down.
    1. Lay all four Part A’s parallel to each other.
    2. Bottom of 1st Horizontal (Part B) - Measure up from the bottom the “height of the sump tank. Mark this with a square across the width of all four pieces.
    3. Bottom of 1st Side Spacer (Part C) - Measure up from the line made in Step # 3
    4. Bottom of 2nd Side Spacer (Part C) - Lay a piece of 2x4 at the top of one of the boards in the same orientation as the Part B’s will be. Measure 11” down from the bottom of the 2x4 and draw a line across all boards.

    Build Each Half Frame

    1. Attach Bottom Horizontal (Part B) - Spread the two Part As out the width of Part B and place one part B along the top of the first marked line marked in Step #3. Fasten the Part B to the surface of both parts using deck screws. This part of the frame will ultimately be on the inside supporting the pipes. 
    2. Attach Top Horizontal (Part B) - Place another Part B at the top of the Part A’s and fasten it down using the same procedure.
    3. Repeat for the other half of the frame.

    Pre-Drill if the pieces are not tight - If you find the two pieces you are screwing together don’t meet closely, remove the screw and pre-drill only the side from which the screw enters. Make the hole larger than the threads on the screw so that the screw falls completely into the hole and grabs the other piece.

    If you are going to wall mount the frame - When attaching the horizontal part b, decide on a diagonal pattern of 2 screws. On the 2nd frame opposite diagonal pattern of 2 screws to be used by the other half frame.

    If you need to paint or oil the wood – You may want to screw it together so that you don’t need the pencil lines, then take it apart, paint it and then put it back together.

    Add Side Spacers Blocks (Part C)

    If the unit is to be wall mounted be sure to attach the spacers to the side that will be mounted on the wall. The horizontal Part B’s and the spacers should be towards the outside, away from the wall.

    Install two of the Side Spacer (Part C) pieces at the bottom of the line marked in Step #4 By necessity, you are drilling into the end grain of Part C (spacer block), so pre-drill Part A and don’t over drive the screws.

    The other two Part C pieces go towards the top of Part A’s at the bottom of the line marked in step# 5 (approxi­mately 11” from the top).

    Add Top Spacer Blocks (Part D)

    Attach one Part D to the horizontal Part B on the inside of the frame at each end. Note the orientation shown.

    Securing the Frame to a wall or fence

    At this point, you have the 2 halves of the frame, one with the spacer blocks attached. So the next step is to attach the half that has the spacers to the fence or wall. In our case, we were working with a fence.

    Depending on your fence spacing you may be able to just screw the Part A vertical 2x4s into the post of the fence.

    However, the distance between the posts are not likely to match with the width of your frame. To resolve this problem, another spacer can be used. We put spacer blocks between the frame and the fence rails at one end to make the frame even with the fence post at the other end. These are shown in the picture to the right.

    First, attach the spacer block to the fence, then attach the frame to the spacer block using screws.

    Be sure to place the screws going into the fence at a different diagonal location from the screws used to attach the frame to the spacer. This will prevent running into a screw head in the spacer board when you attach the frame to the spacer. 

    Fasten the Two Halves Together

    The final step in creating the frame is to fasten the 2 halves together at each spacer block (Parts C and Parts D).

     
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