It took me a while to try an aero-cloner because they tend to cost more then other methods.
Aero-cloners come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges.
I settled with the most popular (at the time) “Botanicare Clone Machine - 25 Site”. It ran about $200 (get one now for $125).
I was able to get a 100% success rate using the Clone Machine and plain water (RO filtered). No plant food, hormone or any other additive made a bit of difference to the success rate and total clone time.
JUST ADD WATER!
So simple, yet people like to complicate even a basic process.
Inside the Clone Machine I found nothing but a pond pump and a few microjet sprayers screwed into a small bit of PVC. Nothing magic or high tech at all.
HELL WE CAN DO THAT!
Before we get started, you may want to consider buying a ready made clone machine. I found some as low as $65. The one we are about to make will cost you about that. But our home-made version will work a lot better and will be a fun project (I hope). I saved some money on this build because I had lots of the components left over from other projects (like a bucket and lid). The bucket we are building today is only a seven plant clone-bucket. You can add more holes and baskets if you require more clones, but I will keep it simple for this build.
Here are the parts you will need:
- 1 Five gallon bucket and lid (any 2 gallon or more container with lid will work).
- 7 Two inch net pots (more if you need more clone sites).
- 7 Two inch neoprene inserts.
- 3-feet of 1/2" PVC pipe SCH-40.
- 1 Tee 1/2" PVC SCH-40.
- 4 Slip 90 Degree 1/2" PVC Elbow SCH-40.
- 2 Caps, slip 1/2" PVC SCH-40.
- 1 Male Adapter (threaded male end, slip female end) 1/2" PVC.
- 1 Roll of Teflon tape (pipe thread sealer).
- 1 Can of PVC pipe cement.
- 18 Ez Clone sprayers ( also sold as DIG Fan Spray Jet - 360°)
- 1 ViaAqua 1300 submersible pond pump
List Of Tools:
- Power drill
- Phillips screwdriver
- Hacksaw or PVC pipe cutter
- 1-7/8" Forstner Bit or any 1-7/8" hole saw
- #22 Drill bit or any bit between .150" to .160" (#21 or 5/32")
- Tape measure or a ruler (a compass for making circles can help)
- Sharpie or felt pen (a sharp nail will work)
- Dremel hand grinder or razor knife
- A few shop towels
- One number 10 wood screw 3/4" long (any self tapping #10 screw will work)
Lets Start Building
Get your 3' of PVC pipe. Measure and mark out the following cuts:
- Two lengths of 5 3/4" (5.750)
- One length at 3 1/2" (3.500)
- Two lengths of 2 3/4" (2.750)
- Two lengths of 1 3/4" (1.750)
The picture below is still missing the 3 1/2" cut. I had to get another bit of PVC to finish.
Now get your cutter or saw and cut on your lines. It would be better to cut the parts short rather then longer. My finished mister base just fit the bucket.
You should end up with a pile of parts that look like this:
Now fit them together to make sure they all fit nice. Doing this will also familiarize you with the pattern:
Ok get your PVC glue and a few rags. I will let you decide what parts to glue together first. Just make sure you put glue on the pipe and on the inside of the fittings:
Now get your Sharpie/marking pen and mark out the locations for your misters. 17 holes about 1.5" apart (I said about). Just mark out 17 or so holes (between 10 and 18 will be fine) so they are evenly spaced:
Now get your number 22 drill bit (or a good substitute) and attach it to your drill motor. Drill out the marked spots but don't go all the way through the whole pipe (you don't need a hole on the bottom of the pipe, trust me):
We need to tap the hole with a matching thread to your mister heads. The EZ-Clone sprayer heads have about the same threads as a number 10 wood screw. It is one of the reasons we are using that brand. If you use a mister head from Lowes, Homedepot or any other hardware store, you may need to find another way to tap that hole correct.
Screw the number 10 wood screw into the drilled holes. Make sure you don’t poke through to the bottom of the pipe. A 3/4" screw is perfect, it wont go through the bottom and makes a nice thread.
Install the screw into each hole and then remove it. It will leave the hole with a slight thread:
It is important to wash out all the plastic bits from inside the pipe. The misters tend to clog real easy, so lets get rid of any junk left behind before installing them:
Screw in your EZ Clone sprayers. They can be a bitch and may require strong fingers. Its ok if they go in and keep spinning (never locking down). It will work fine as long as they are in all the way.
Wrap a bit of Teflon tape around the threads of the male adapter. I am not sure if you even need to do this step.
Finished mister base:
Screw it on to your pump. It does not have to be tight:
Stick the whole thing in a clean empty bucket. Check the fit. Mine seemed to warp the bucket a bit (no big deal). I told you to make your cuts a bit short:D:
Lets put a few gallons of water in the bucket and test this bad boy!
Make sure to stand bare-foot on a steel plate with a light bulb in your mouth when you plug it in for the first time. Just kidding:
Now the hard part
The lid gives me the most trouble. You can make as many holes as you wish. I have seen some retail buckets with 18 holes. I like the holes to be nice and evenly spaced (even though it makes no difference). So a bit of math and measuring skills help. For my seven hole design, I drill a pilot hole (use the #22 drill bit I used for the sprayers) in the center of the lid, then measure out 3.5" and put in another pilot hole. Then I space all the pilot holes 3.5" apart. Get that? Just look at the pictures!
Now get your 1-7/8" Forstner Bit or any 1-7/8" hole saw and drill out the pilot holes:
We need to have a place for the power cord to exit the lid. A small slice on the outside of one of the holes is all we need. Get a razor knife or a Dremel hand grinder and put in a 3/4" long x 1/16 wide slice on the outside edge of any hole (just one):
Get your two inch net pots and cut the bottom half off. It is a pain to get your roots out of the pot if you don't cut the bottoms out:
With pure water (RO or distilled), fill your bucket up to the bottom of your mister base. Don't fill above the sprayers please:
Put your lid on the bucket. Place the neoprene inserts into your net pots, then place the assembled pots in your lid:
Ok now stand back and marvel at your genius.
Lets make a few clones.
You can read up on one of the several hundred "how to clone" posts, or I can show you real quick.
Get a plate, scissors and a clean razor:
Try to select a top or the end of a branch with a long stem and few leaves. Use what you got if nothing matches my wonderful description:
Place your cutting on your plate. Now cut the very end off at about 45 degrees:
Place your cutting into your neoprene insert. Install the insert into your net pot.
I noticed the new inserts I bought seemed to fit the net-pots real tight. It caused a super tight hold around the stem when installed. It needs to be a loose fit around the stem or it will slow down the process. Run your drill (#22 will work) through the center of the neoprene insert if you think it might be a bit tight. Not all inserts I bought needed to have this done. This is the first time I have seen this.
Years ago I read that it's good to trim your cutting's leafs in half. I'm not sure why I do this, but it seems to work well:
Install your net pots into your clone machine and turn it on:
Place your bucket under a CFL or florescent light bar. They don't require much light at this point. I place mine one foot below my light bar. Try and keep temps around 80ºF to 85ºF (a bit warm). I can get it to clone at 95ºF, but it takes an extra week or two. I have trouble when it drops below 75ºF. If it does I will place a small aquarium heater inside the clone machine set at 80ºF. I vent my clone/mother room but I won't run the small oscillating fan until I get roots (it tends to dry the cuttings out). No spray bottle or misting is required at all. I never mist them:
In around five minutes you will see roots growing all over the damn place..... Ok, that won't happen. I can't tell you when you will see roots. It depends on your plant and the cutting you took. My White Widow takes 10 to 14 days to show roots. I had some Master Kush that took 21 days. After a week or so, a few leaves may start to yellow and die. This is normal and no cause for alarm.
Some clones after ten days. This is the right size roots if your going into soil:
If by chance you go over 14 days, then change your water out. Fresh water will help things along and keep other stuff from growing inside your clone machine. It is not normal for them to wilt or fall over. I have seen this when folks take real big cuttings or the machine runs out of water. So keep your cuttings small and check the level now and then.
This was a lot of typing, but I needed to make a clone machine for my close friend “Slacker”. Slacker has patiently endured my constant barrage of strange ideas for the last ten years. So when he needed a clone machine, I decided it would be a great opportunity to do another "step by step" build here on Grass City.
Best of luck, R.
Edited by Rumpleforeskin, 28 January 2010 - 09:18 AM.