Folding Garden Canopy

Living where we do, I have difficulty keeping some of my herbs (plants) alive through the winters. But I have found protecting them from the winter elements using a cover is extremely effective in getting them into the spring in good shape. So I created a folding canopy structure using 1/2 PVC pipe and a polycarbonate roof panel. Everything is off the shelf except I need to create two 3D-printed parts to make it all come together…

My goal was a small structure that I could deploy in the fall and put in storage in the spring. I also wanted to use as many low-cost off-the-shelf materials as I could to make it affordable and convenient to build.

Figure 1: Pipe to Roof Snap-on Connector
Figure 2: Pipe to Pipe End Snap-on Connector

The resulting design requires only two printed parts (shown in the images as green (Figure 1) and red (Figure 2) parts). The green part is a PVC pipe to roof closure connector (6 required). And, the red part is PVC tube end to PVC tube connector (4 required).

Figure 3: Image of deployed structure showing the printed parts in green and red
Figure 4: Image of folded structure showing 3D printed parts in red and green

The standard 1/2″ PVC tubing and its standard fittings provide most of the structure. However, I needed the two parts I designed so that I could attach the roof and also so that the entire structure could be easily assembled and folded for storage.

To make one of these structures requires 1/3 of an 8-foot roof panel and two 10-foot lengths of 1/2″ PVC. Also, the roof panel closures came in a set of 6. So I used one roof panel and one set of closures to make 3 structures.

Figure 5: Assembled diagram with parts labelled

Bill of Materials (Part labels referenced in figures 5 and 6):

Printed Parts
[A] 3D printed 1/2″ pipe-to-roof snap-on connector, 6 required.
[B] 3D printed pipe-to-pipe end snap-on connector, 4 required.

Building Supply Sourced Parts
[C] 1/2″ PVC corners, 8 required (you can use T connectors also for the back frame if you have them).
[D] 2 PVC Closures for roof panel [E], sold as a 6-piece set.
[E] 1/3 of an 8-foot Polycarbonate roof panel, 1 required

Two 10-foot lengths of 1/2 PVC Pipe Cut as follows:
[F] 6 pieces, 52cm (20.5″) for entire front frame and front-to-back connectors.
[G] 2 pieces, 72cm (29.5″) for back frame uprights.
[H] 2 pieces, 59cm (23.25″) for back frame cross members.

[I] 6 stainless steel screws, I used #6 5/8″ because that was what I had laying around. Pretty much anything close to that will do.

Figure 6: Exploded image showing all parts

Because the front frame is slightly narrower than the back frame, the front frame can nest inside the back frame allowing the structure to fold down quite compactly.

The only fasteners I used are the 6 screws (part [I]) to connect the roof panel and closures to the pipe-to-roof connector (part [A]). I did not need to use any solvents (adhesives) on any of the PVC connectors. They seem to have a pretty good friction fit.

The pipe-to-roof connector (part [A]) snaps onto the PVC pipe so it can be removed as needed. The pipe-to-pipe end connector (part [B]) snaps onto both pipes and can be readily removed as needed also.


Material: I choose to use PETG for its durability and flexibility. I suspect you could make these parts with PLA as well but they may not last too many winters.

My Settings:
Layer height = 0.2mm
Line width – 0.4mm
Wall count = 4 (1.6mm)
Infill = 40%, but it is irrelevant as max wall thickness is 2mm.
Support = Designed to print without supports.

Orientation: As shown in the screenshots.

Where to Get My STL Files

I am now posting all of my new designs on and plan to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Some of my older designs may not have been migrated over yet so if they are not available on please check on Thingiverse.

Use, Licensing, Comments and Feedback

My primary distribution site for my design files is is, in my opinion, leading the way in promoting designers and competition amongst designers which in turn fuels the growth of high-quality 3d printable designs for the benefit of our entire community. However, as a result, some of my designs are only available for free for 1 week from when first posted, so please download them when you see a new file available that you are interested in. Also, please like and save to help me with the competitions.

I do not permit the use of my designs for commercial purposes (i.e. you can not sell my design(s) or products printed from my design(s)) without first acquiring a commercial license from me. On I offer membership accounts for access to all my design files as well as a membership for commercial licensing which allows subscribers to sell printed products using my designs.

I welcome comments and feedback as we as requests for customization of designs. I will do my best to accommodate those requests.


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