Build Your Own Storm Drain Mini Demo Model

Materials Needed
Plywood         Brad nails         Hinges         Wood screws and nuts          1 foot of heavy rope or other material for the handle         1 thick rubber band          2 small strong magnets         Various examples of litter

Tools needed
Table Saw         Jig Saw         Screwdriver          Hammer         Wood glue         Super Glue

The model shown here was created using photos of a real storm drain that were printed on a large scale printer and then glued to the plywood. If you have the opportunity to do this, it is easier than painting it.

The measurements given were scaled to the printed images, they can be adjusted to fit your needs. All measurements are in inches.

Body of Model:
Bottom Panel - 13 x 20.5
Back Panel - 5 x 20.5 (Handle will go here)
Main Side Panels - 4.75 x 13 (x2)
Front Panel - 4.75 x 20.5
Top Panel - 9.5 x 20.5 (This will be the grate and will need further work)

Upper Portion:
Flip-Up Side Panels - 2.75 x 3 (x2)
Back Panel - 2.5 x 20.5
Top Panel - 3 x 20.5
Front Panel - 2.25 x 20.5 (This panel will need further work)

I used a doorknob drill to open holes on the side and front panels to allow in more light. This is not needed.

Take a 20 minute nature break.

The basic shape is a box on top of a box.

Before assembly you should cut two small holes about 6 inches apart in the center of the back panel. This is where the handle fits. You can tie a knot in one end of the rope and thread it through the holes, then tie off the other end as seen in the picture to the right. If you have an old handle from a package or luggage, reuse that.

Glue and nail the side panels, front panel and back panel onto the bottom panel, creating a simple box without a top.

The upper back panel can now be attached to the main back panel. Use 2 or more small hinges or one section of a piano hinge to secure the panels. Note that the main back panel is slightly higher that the others, this will allow the hinged panels to fall flat when folded.

Now secure the upper top panel to the upper back panel in the same manner.

The upper front panel shape is dependent on what type of storm drain you want to represent. I have the older style here with a paper panel that fits onto it that features the newer design. Whatever shape you choose, it should be secured to the upper top panel in the same manner as well. (Click HERE to open a photo of the newer design.)

This design will allow all three to fold forward into a rectangular shape when the top and front are bent at 90 degrees, or fold flat when the back is folded down.

The upper side panels are attached with hinges to the rear of the main side panels and act as supports for the upper section when bent up, enclosing the upper section.

Take another 20 minute nature break.

There are many ways to have the grate open, you can hinge the whole top - be sure to secure it with something so that it stays closed when not being used, or cut out a smaller portion.

I used a coping saw to cut each of the openings in the grate, but there are other ways to do it. Be sure to sand down all the edges to protect little hands.

I cut out the center portion of the grate, just large enough for my hand to easily move around in. I then glued small pieces of wood under the edges for the removed portion to sit on when replaced.

I secured one side of the removed grate to the main grate by gluing small strips of rubber bands to the bottom allowing the section to swing up freely. I then superglued 2 strong magnets to the other end to lock it in place when closed.

I inserted a picture of leaves, but you do not have too, however, it is less messy than filling the bottom with real leaves.

Be sure to include a "Drains To Waterway" label!

If you chose to, paint it any way you want to. To maintain its integrity I gave it multiple coats of enamel sealant and waterproofing spray.

Show it off to your students/classmates to spread the word about stormwater stewardship.

Contact me by email if you have any questions, comments or suggestions on how to improve this design. (And please send me pictures of your model!)

Below are a few more photos if needed.