Any of the pictures below can be clicked on for a larger version.
Here’s my latest progress on my solar collector. in order to build supports for the copper, I took some wood strips, drilled some 1/2" holes and ripped them in half. The frame of the collector is a couple 2x4s, planed down a bit, mitered biscuited, and glued. I also drilled some larger holes in the sides to access the copper. I used 1 1/4" bit to drill those. The back of the panel is a 2’x4′ piece of OSB, rabbeted and stapled to the back with my 1/4" crown stapler. (I would add the my stapler is one of the most used tools in my shop. If you have a compressor, you need to take a trip down to the local Harbor Freight and get one of their $20 staplers. I also like using the staples with the adhesive coating on them. Driving them causes heat which causes the adhesive to melt a bit and make for staples that don’t want to come out.
Here you see, I spray painted the collector plates black. I used about a half can of matt black rustoleum enamel. I also painted the grove on the other side to somewhat insulate the galvanized from the copper.
To finish off, I cut a small groove down each side of the frame to create plastic top. I seriously doubt that that plastic will last. In fast, I expect it to sag and melt, but first I wanted to see how the whole system works. As you can see in the pictures, I am using the cord used to make screen doors to attach cheap painters plastic to the top. Pushing down into the groove stretches it out a bit. Notice that I added some staples to keep them in place.
Now we just need some sunshine!