No announcement yet.

Mr Micro Presents : The Nanomachine

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Mr Micro Presents : The Nanomachine

    What is The Nanomachine?

    In short, I believe it to be the world's smallest 100% stealth and 100% portable single plant growing machine.
    It's the result of about 2 months of hard work, research, planning, building, a lot of sweat, a little blood, and about half a dozen revisions.
    Standing only 14" tall, 7" wide, and 15" long it is a growbox that can truly be used anywhere and everywhere to grow a small crop of cannabis. Completely light proof, completely smell proof, no strange cords or fans, and absolutely nothing that would give it away as a growbox.

    That said, let me take you on a quick picture tour of my latest and greatest invention in micro growing technology...

    First off, let's take a look at the outside of this stealth growing machine! As you can see it happens to be a computer case! I decided that for ease of design and stealth that a Micro ATX computer case would probably be my best option for stealth. Since computers normally weigh a signifigant ammount and also have fans built in that generate a fair ammount of noise it seemed that a computer case was the logical choice for a completely stealth design.
    You will also notice that this particular computer also has a standard CD-Rom drive, 3.5" floppy drive, audio, USB, and firewire ports in the front, and all the appropriate ports and a fan in the back. Nothing strange looking at all and the only cord that runs out of the case is the power cord, which comes out exactly where it should come out!

    Now lets see whats inside...

    Now thats what I call a good use of modern technology!
    Let's take a closer look...

    The guts have been stripped out, the inside is lined with Reflectix reflective insulation, a wall has been installed that partitions the case into two sections, and the seams where any light or air might escape have all been filled in with black calk. Vaseline was applied to the door while the calk set so that the caulk would only stick to the parts I wanted to when it dried and would not stick to anything with vaseline on it.

    The growing chamber of this micro computer case measures 14" tall, 9" long, and 6.75" wide. This equates to about 0.4 square feet of growing space. It is believed that the appropriate ammount of lighting to grow good plants is approximately 50 watts per square foot. All the lighting in this case is supplied by a single 42 watt CFL (A 6500k spectrum bulb for veg that is switched out to 2700k spectrum bulb for flowering). So 42 watts in about 0.4 square feet works out to 100 watts per square foot!

    You can also see in this picture that in the rear electrical chamber of the cab there is a power strip mounted to the wall, a simple timer to control the light on the floor of the cab, and a 55 cfm exhaust fan placed directly infront of 12v DC adapters that power the two fans, but more on this later...

    Here we see the right hand side of the growing chamber. It has a temperature and humidity gauge mounted into the wall and you can see the intake at the bottom of the chamber. This intake measures about 5.5" wide and 3.5" tall. I constructed a simple light trap for it that functions similar to a darkroom louver and allows it to take in air through the conveniently placed grating in the front of the case but without letting any light esacpe in the process.

    On the left side of the case you can now see the 55 cfm exhaust fan that ventilates the growing section of this cab. This fan has a small removable piece of window screen material attached to the front to prevent any stray buds or leaves from getting caught in the fan.
    Now would probably be a good time to talk about the ScrOG screen too! This removable screen is placed exactly 6.75" high in the case, and when used with 3.5" tall growing containers it will allow the plant's stem to grow 3.25" tall before being trained into the screen. This screen will be removed for vegging so I can get the plants closer to the light and then attached to the mounting brackets once I determine the sex of the plants and figure out which one I'm keeping. By this I mean that I will start with 2 plants and hopefully get 1 good female to work with out of them. After that the plant's buds will have 4" of space between the top of the screen and the bottom of the 42 watt CFL to grow and create a nice nano sized canopy. Obviously to do a grow on this small of a scale I will be going 12/12 straight from seed every time and growing in soil or a soiless mix, since this micro ATX PC case is just too small to support a hydro grow.

    Next up we see a view of the inside of the case with the back wall pannel removed. From here you can get a good look at motherboard that was cut down to just the rear serial ports in the pannel on the back of the case, which gives it the appearence of being a real computer. You can also see that the exhaust fan that blows air out of the growing chamber is hooked up to a miniature carbon filter!

    The design of this filter is based off of Suga Bear's micro carbon filter design, but I took it a step further by hacking up a small ziplock storage tub, epoxying the base of the tub over the rear of the exhaust fan, and epoxying the carbon filter itself to the lid of the tub. This way the carbon filter can easily be removed and the carbon can be changed without having to tear a ton of a duct tape off the fan and the filter. I thought this quick detach system was a pretty neat idea. The carbon filter also serves to nicely light proof the exhaust fan.

    But as we all know, a carbon filter (even one this ingeniously designed) does restrict airflow quite a bit when hooked up to PC fans. And this is why I have a two stage exhaust system! In a picture further up I pointed out that the fan in the back of the PC case that exhausts air out of the electrical chamber. Well, since I was able to make the electrical chamber air tight and completely sealed off from the growing chamber, the fan in the very back of the case that exhausts air out all helps to pull air in from the growing chamber and through the carbon filter! So while the 55 CFM fan in the growing chamber pushes air through the carbon filter, the 55 CFM fan in the back of the PC case helps pull air through the carbon filter and ultimately exhausts the scrubbed air out the back of the case along with any heat generated by the 12 volt DC adapters from the fans.

    And while I'm talking about ventilation, it's worth noting that this ventilation system keeps the case quite cool! The case never gets over 12*F above ambient room temperature and usually stays around 7 or 8* above ambient room temperature. So it's always a pleasent 77* to 85* inside the case.

    Now what are you looking at in this picture? You are looking at this stealth PC case running in a completely pitch black room! The only light in the picture is coming from a clock sitting on the floor in the backround, so as you can see this PC case is 100% light proof. I spent hours and hours light proofing every tiny little seam and crack so that not a single speck of light escapes the case even when it's running in a pitch black room!

    In these last few pictures you can see a size comparison between a Xbox 360 and my Nanomachine. As you can see from the pics, The Nanomachine isn't all that much larger than a modern home video game console and measures only 14" tall! It also uses extremely little power, so it's quite energy effiecent and earth friendly.

    So what now?
    Well, now I'm gonna pick this case up under my arm, set it up on my desk, and grow some bud right on my desktop! I've got some Sensi Seeds Northern Lights germinating as I type and as soon as they are germinated they'll be planted in some starter plugs and head into The Nanomachine for it's inaugural grow.

    And from here on out I'm going to use this thread as grow diary for the first grow in what I believe to be the world's smallest 100% stealth growbox! I'll be posting some pics in a few days after the seeds have germinated and the seedlings have sprouted so stay tuned my friends, this should be one heck of a show.

    And a big "thank you!" to everyone who took the time to give me advice on the lighting and ventilation for this creation and to everyone who might have taken the time to read this incredibly long post or even just took the time to look at some of the pictures. You guys (and gals) are truly awesome.

    Stay safe, grow smart, and I'll see you when the sprouts pop up!
    Last edited by Mr_Micro; 05-27-2007, 09:50.
    PC Case Growers Club

    The Nanomachine

    Mr. Micro's Dual PC Case Hydro HPS/CFL 3 Strain Grow

    wow, awesome stuff mr. micro. the whole post is a good read for those with the attention span. i saw you opted not to remote the cfl ballast, but your temps are good anyway. also, do you think you could give a more detailed schematic of how exactly the carbon scrubber is put together?

    im glad i got the first seat on this one


      excellent design, can tell alot of hardwork and thought went into that!
      -old skool OG refugee

      Thought I heard that KC whistle
      Moaning sweet and low
      Thought I heard that KC when she blow

      Gratefully Deadicated.


        wow i am not going to lie i kinda want one now Very Nice work


          Tight little design.

          How did you construct the light traps?


            That's freaking awesome, good work man.

            You've inspired me to create a grow box as small as yours. Definitely keep a grow diary, it should prove to be useful.

            Dude, where'd you get the ScrOG screen?
            Last edited by TheGreenWizard; 05-27-2007, 22:31. Reason: Added question.


              wow. very nice design you got there. cant wait to see it full o' buds
              word og

              another line in the field of time

              i got a window washers eye for an untuckable sky

              Let it grow, let it grow,
              Let it blossom, let it flow.
              In the sun and in the snow


                Holy crap this is amazing. How much bud can one expect from a setup like this? Im bookmarking this so i can try and set up something exactly like this when i get my apt. I cant wait to see your diary please keep us updated =)


                  have you ever though about putting a circular metal small screen around the bulb, so you can let you plant gro up and around the light..wouldnt have to worry about the bulb burning the plant? i dunno


                    Firstly, let me state that I am VERY impressed with all the time and effort you put into not only the construction and design of your aptly-titled Nanomachine, but also the thoroughness of your presentation. You have provided me with MANY great ideas that I hope to incorporate into my stealth grow box. I'm not quite sure what size I want to go with, but if I end up choosing a PC case you can bet I'll be checking over this thread many more times.
                    Originally posted by dude06version
                    have you ever though about putting a circular metal small screen around the bulb, so you can let you plant gro up and around the light..wouldnt have to worry about the bulb burning the plant? i dunno
                    He's using a method call Screen of Green, where you train the buds to cover the entire screen, thus maximizing the surface area of the plant exposed to light. This method, as I understand it, usually results in larger yields than untrained plants in growing conditions such as this. Therefore, it is unnecessary to shield the light with a screen since the plant will not be in relative close proximity to the bulb.

           of luck with your grow, hope all goes well (no reason it shouldn't - you seem to know what you're doing). The only question I have has already been asked, what kind of yield do you expect to get? My guess would be around 1/2 - 3/4 of an ounce but that's an extremely uneducated stab in the dark.
                    Last edited by crazed; 05-28-2007, 07:15.


                      yea man i know what a scrog is.. i meant after the plant has been scroged and is budding.. like those 1cmx1cm metal screens.. turn it into a tube and place it over the bulb, like a cage for the bulb.. then just let the buds form around the cfl ..even with heavy lst and scrog its still gonna be a challenge. just a thought.figured it would keep bud about an inch from the bulb out of harms way.and would prevent any accidental grow spurts into the bulb...


                        Originally posted by dude06version
                        yea man i know what a scrog is.. i meant after the plant has been scroged and is budding.. like those 1cmx1cm metal screens.. turn it into a tube and place it over the bulb, like a cage for the bulb.. then just let the buds form around the cfl ..even with heavy lst and scrog its still gonna be a challenge. just a thought.figured it would keep bud about an inch from the bulb out of harms way.and would prevent any accidental grow spurts into the bulb...
                        Oh, sorry about that, I misinterpreted your post. I was under the impression that you had overlooked the screen entirely.


                          Thanks for all the great responses guys!

                          Rkone - Thanks man! Yeah, I ultimately decided to just keep it simple and leave the CFL the way it was. But it's the weirdest thing... I originally had sockets for two CFLs in there (one on the right and one on the left side of the dividing wall) and when I only ran 1 bulb at a time the temps were crazy high. But when I removed the two sockets and re-installed one of them to the very middle of the wall, which placed the CFL ballast almost directly above the fan, temps dropped like crazy and now the cab stays perfectly cool all the time.
                          As far as the carbon filter goes, all I did was take Suga Bear's carbon filter design and epoxy the rim of the 4" net cup to the lid of a ziplock storage tub with a hole cut in it big enough to just barely fit the 4" net cup through. After that I just sealed up all the cracks with a little more epoxy and some black duct tape.
                          And to create the mounting bracket for the carbon filter I took the ziplock storage tub (the one I stole the lid from to make the mount for the carbon filter) and cut the entire bottom off of the storage tub so I was left with only the rim. Then I just epoxy'd and duct taped the rim of the storage tub to the wall around the fan. So now I could quickly and easily detach and re-attach the carbon filter while still maintaing an airtight seal. Pretty neat I think!

                          RedGreenery - Thank you very much Red! Your post in my thread about ultra micro scale lighting was really appreciated when it came down to re-designing the lighting system in the case for better temperature control. And I know, my lighting is still way overkill, but I can always drop it down to a lower wattage bulb if I decide I need less.
                          The light trap was actually constructed just like a darkroom louver. I took the design of the midget louver I had on hand (that wasn't providing good enough airflow) and constructed a larger version of it out of various sheets of plastic, wooden dowels, and lots of black duct tape. It uses a two stage light blocking system that draws air between two small walls placed behind the intake, one with an opening at the bottom (the one behind the wire mesh grating thats built into the front of the PC case) and one with an opening at the top (the one thats just behind the intake inside of the case). Each of these openings in the two walls are about 5" wide x 2" tall x 1" deep, so the airflow is still pretty good. It was pretty much the biggest I could make the intake while still keeping it light proofed and also able to fit inside the front of the case's facade.
                          Hopefully that made sense, but if not just let me know and I'll try to get some pictures of the light trap up tomorrow.

                          Clorox - Thanks man! It certainly was a lot of work... but it was fun work ya know? And I know it will be all worth it when I see that ScrOG screen start to fill in with some big beautiful buds (okay... probably not "big" buds, but good buds none the less! LOL)

                          TheGreenWizard - The ScrOG screen was actually a towel rack that I purchased at Target and cut it down to the right size to fit my growbox. Once it was cut down it fits absolutely perfectly for my space and I think it's gonna work really well!

                          Bongasaurus - Thanks man! I can't wait to get a grow going in this thing too!

                          Bob Labla - I'm hoping for a yield of about half an ounce, but theres really no telling how much I'll pull until I actually do a grow in it. All my previous grows have been hydro so it's going to be intresting to see how my yeilds fare with soil, especially in such a small space. But I'd guestimate I'll probably pull a half ounce or so, any more than that and I'll be totally thrilled. And if you too decide to construct a nano-cab of your own please post a thread for it! I'd love to see how yours turns out!

                          Dude06version - Hey man! I did think about some alternative designs for keeping the plant from getting burned and then I realized something... my last grow I had some Skunk #1 buds actually touching a 42 watt CFL during the last few weeks of the grow and none of them ever even came close to burning. Infact, I could probably sit here for half an hour holding the lit CFL in my fingers and I wouldn't get burned by it. These bulbs run exceptionally cool so theres really no need for any complex screen system around the bulb I think.

                          Crazed - Thank you very much man! I'm really glad that the design of this box could inspire people with some ideas for building their own stealth cabs! Because I honestly believe that there is no point in growing at all if it poses the risk of getting you busted... and especially when you live in an apartment or flat! So maximum stealth and simple functionality was really the utmost priority in this design. As far as the yield goes, like I said to Bob Labla I'm really not too sure since this is going to be one of my first real soil grows. I've always done hydro in the past and gotten great results, so based on my hydro experiance I'm aiming for half an ounce. Anymore than a half and I'll be really stoked, but I'm guessing I should be able to pull a half an ounce or so from a single plant.
                          PC Case Growers Club

                          The Nanomachine

                          Mr. Micro's Dual PC Case Hydro HPS/CFL 3 Strain Grow


                            That's great that I could contribute to your design!

                            I'd like to see how you did the light traps. Gotta be better than kleenex boxes!!!


                              is that a 40 watt cfl or somewhere close? I always wondered what one of those could do. I have 2 that look similar to what you have 43 watts and 2 32 watts and those brighten my little space unbeleivably. Cant wait!

                              Good vibes people