Loading

MakerBot Print is our newest print-prepration software, which supports native CAD files and STL assemblies,
allows you to interact with all your printers via the Cloud, and many other exciting new features.

Download Now

Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!
archipelagourbanfarms

Modular Hydroponic System

by archipelagourbanfarms Jun 25, 2017
Download All Files

Thing Apps Enabled

Please Login to Comment

Hi Alex,

First of great job with the design!! I have made a small tower for now --> https://www.thingiverse.com/make:704311 ... Hopefully my seeds sprout soon, I have some starting in my Aerogarden before i transplant them. However, we are going in to winter here in the UK so it will get cold and there isn't enough light in our house for the plants to grow so I am using some grow lights. Do you have or are you aware of any designs for grow lights that are similar to the Tower Garden design? I think this would be a great addition to the design...

Look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks,
Dex.

Modular Hydroponic System
by dexpal4

When are you going to do your next vlog?! I am interesting to see how things are going.

Been meaning to upload. Sized out a solar system. Had a storm knock out power a couple of days ago and was like... yes I definitely need to go solar. Kale not doing too good right now in the Florida summer. SUPER hot. I forgot about that. Check your local region's planting calendar before you know...planting. Been loving not having to buy greens at the grocery store. The arugula is TASTY. Not sure how much longer it will handle the heat though. Will upload this week. Cheers.

-Alex

Awesome, I have been getting some great results with it as well! Thank you for all your hard work. I am finding myself filling the muskot almost every other day though. Definitely need to think of a way to extend the refill period. Wonder if it is worth looking into the larger muskot sizes above the 7 1/2.

Very welcome! Really happy that people are printing and using it. I'm looking to have a print drive in the future and have Thinigiverse users mail in modules to source a hydro farm for a school rooftop and have the students run it. Would love all the help I could get so stay tuned. Those refillings are way too frequent. Depending on how many modules you have you should only have to refill maybe every other week. Check for leaks. I have had leaks before around the lid. I may have to redesign to ensure water is not able to wick out. I have the largest Muskot sitting on my patio but haven't gotten around to designing a lid for it. :( I really need to carve out more time for this. I'm a solo attorney and new dad so my time has been limited. I've had a 12-volt battery bank w solar charge controller, inverter, and 100-watt solar panel sitting in my living room for two weeks. lol Just got the last thing I needed yesterday to make the garden go solar. We lost power during a storm last month and I was like "uh-oh." Really trying to keep updating and improving. This is a passion for me and a form of therapy so even if the updates are slow they will keep coming. I downscaled the system to fit the smallest Muskot and it makes a super nice tabletop hydro system, akin to Click and Grow and the Aerogarden, but free. :) Will post soon. Famous last words.

I'll be on the lookout for leaks, but I am pretty positive I don't have any. My tower is six modules high and I am growing a lettuce blend (https://shopugc.com/lettuce-mesclun-chefs-medley-organic/) which are a pretty water hungry. My watering schedule is 15 on/ 30 off which feels just about right, but I might be losing a lot to evaporation? (I originally had 15 on / 15 off based on what https://www.towergarden.com/shop/growing-system recommends but I found I was over watering). Anyways, I am going to try and think about what to use as a larger reservoir that you could still 3d print a lid for. I'll post here if I think of anything. I am currently thinking about something like this https://www.lowes.com/pd/MacCourt-26-in-L-x-26-in-W-Black-High-Density-Polyethylene-Pond-Liner-20-Gallon/999948250, but I am not sure how you would make a lid for it and would obviously be better if it was white.

Hmmm.. Yea, that's why I bought the 55-gallon drum. I saw what this guy did https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5tnHfikb64&t=76s and it looks like the easiest solution for water replenishment. The float valves need to be anchored to the reservoir somehow. The irrigation lines are stiff enough that a clothes-pin pinning the line to the bottom module may be able to anchor the valve in position. The Musgkot I have might be a bit too small. Haven't fully tested it yet. Will try to test it this weekend. P.S. you could probably use something less than the 55-gallon drum. That just seems easy and standard. Plus they are super cheap on FB marketplace (I bought mine at Home Depot for $100. Doh!) Amazon sells kits to add a spigot to any barrel (or any type of container). https://www.amazon.com/EarthMinded-Rain-Barrel-Diverter-Parts/dp/B005CJFBJE/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=earth+minded&qid=1563465156&s=gateway&sr=8-2 I'll let you know if the float valve works. That could be your solution right there.

Great design and amazing that you are sharing it.

I am totally new to Hydroponics but have decided to print your setup. However, I have no idea how to assemble it and where to connect everything, apart from the obvious parts shown in your pictures. Do you have a manual showing each step?

Much appreciated

kind regards
Neo

Thanks! Let me know if this helps: https://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Printed-Modular-Hydroponic-Garden/

If you still have questions go ahead and post a comment and I'll try to answer it.

This is awesome!! I've printed the tower and had some ideas for the design that I would love to design but my CAD
skills are non existent. Any possibility you could modify the reservoir file to create a new bottom that be could screw
onto a gallon pickle jar or mason jar to further up cycle and make the whole setup more counter top friendly?

CAD skills are not that good either. Try Tinkercad. There's a pickle jar lid here on Thingiverse. Maybe remix the vase lid and the pickle jar lid? You could always hire someone on Fiverr for a few bucks to make the design.

Hi Alex,

Can you help in suggesting which files to print. There are couple of lids, and funnel. Your previous video showed all the parts and the pump , can you re up that video as well. I started printing a lid and after half way realised there are several lid files

A simple pic involving assembly of various files will greatly help new comers like me

Rakesh

Rmadupu,

Thanks! Hmmm.. that print volume seems to be a little smaller than the Anet A8’s print volume and the module just barely fits on the A8. For that price point I’d probably go with the Creality Ender 3. The Ender 3 has the same volume as Anet A8, a good community, good reviews, and is at about the same price point of the printer you linked. If you can swing it, I’d suggest going with the CR-10. More pricey but a lot more you can do with the bigger volume.

Thank you so much, I got ender 3 pro and if it was not for your suggestion, i would have not got into printing effective hydroponic builts. keep uo the good work.

Awesome! Picking up a 55-gallon drum next week and using it as a reservoir to automatically supply water and nutrients to all the mini reservoirs when they hit a certain level (like a self-watering dog bowl). Will post results. Trying to make growing food as easy as humanly possible. Be sure to post your make and plants when it's up and running. Cheers.

Thank you and keep up the good work. I am working on this to give away good food to people around me and when explored commercial towers are too expensive for a non-profit initiative like mine. You really made my project alive and indirectly helped others who benefit from mine. I have been doing Kratky as starting method and results are good for my home, now with little cloud automation and other monitoring systems that I developed, it should be taken care of. Thank you

Hi there, awesome design. Anyway to get the CAD file for the bottom cone piece or request a mod? I want to make it taper into a Sanke beer keg, and be able to attach it to the keg with a clover fitting and clamp. I am planning to place my pump inside of the keg. Thanks!

grplr,

Sorry for the late response. I do not have the cad file. I made it on tinkercad. I'm an amateur designer and am not sure if I would be able to make that change. I suggest reaching out to 3d designers on Fiverr. Good work and very affordable. I've used heathcliff before. Highly recommend. https://www.fiverr.com/heathcliff

Hello archipelagourbanfarms,

I like your vertical tower hydroponic design. I just printed 2 modules and they fit easily with a twist. I tried two different 2" net cups and they both fit inside the holes. However, I find the ones with the lips made by "Cz Garden All Star" (https://www.amazon.com/inch-Pots-Heavy-Round-Design/dp/B073WJFHQH/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=2%22+net+cup&qid=1553277773&s=gateway&sr=8-3) to be a nicer fit when it fills out with plant matter. But only testing will tell how well they will hold up.

I was wondering if the some of the parts that was remixed by "Modular Hydroponic Tower Garden
by boundarycondition" would be interchangeable with yours. I could print it out to see if it fits. but it would be a waste filament on unnecessary prints if it didn't fit. Specifically if his "dispenser_Module_Internal" would fit yours. I would like to run the tubing internally and have the base sit on a 5 gallon bucket.

Which leads me to the bucket/reservoir question. I measure the diameter of a 5 gallon bucket and it measured 300 mm across. the vase lid dimension is around 240 mm. The modules wouldn't fit if i resize the Vaseline.

Would you be able to design a base that would fit a 5 gallon bucket and or in the alternative make a locking piece that we can use a regular 5 gallon lid and cut out a hole on the existing 5 gallon bucket?

Also, would you be able to design a lower end to the module where the cable from the water pump would be able to come out or in the alternative we can just cut a hole from the original 5 gallon bucket for the cable to come out. Its possible to just use one of the 3 holes from modules but just a thought to make it look neater.

Thank you in advance archipelagourbanfarms

3dprintersarehere,

Sorry for the late response.

  1. Not sure if the parts are interchangeable. Send him a dm.
  2. 5-gallon bucket lid is on the agenda.
  3. Will try and make a version with an access hole in the lid.

Welcome!

Haven't even set up my 3d printer yet (complete noob) but I do intend on coming back and printing this setup. Looks pretty solid. Will post photos once I'm finally at that point. Currently using aerogardens and kratky systems.

One question: have you compared the cost of the plastic to that of buying PVC and building a similar system? If so, what did you find?

In any case, thanks for sharing.

esseJ,

I actually started hydroponic gardening with DIY PVC tubes, I made holes in them with a hole saw and then used a heat gun to bend the PVC for the net cup to fit. Plenty of Youtube videos demonstrating this process. It was a pain in the ass. It stunk, it kinked, it leaked. They are also heavy and not easy to clean. In terms of cost it's probably cheaper, but definitely not worth the hassle. After struggling with DIY PVC tubes, I came across a product called Growpockets. It's basically a piece of plastic that holds the net cup that you can glue onto a PVC tube. A company sells the plastic pockets for $5 a pop and I was like, "hey I can just print that out on a 3d printer!" So I bought a 3d printer, designed the pocket, printed a ton out, and glued them onto the PVC tubes. It was definitely better than the DIY PVC tubes but I still had problems. The PLA did not want to stay on the PVC no matter what kind of adhesive I tried. So I said the heck with it, why don't I just make modules that interlock and print them out? No more gluing, no more leaks, no more kinks. So that's how I got to the modules above. Oh, another reason I prefer the modules is that you can start small and then expand slowly, instead of having to worry about a giant PVC tube. Anyways, that's my story with PVC tubes. You're very welcome and let me know how it goes!

Most of the pvc setups I see are setup horizontally. But in a vertical setup I can see how that would all be painful. I may end up having to involve pvc or something similar with this to make it stand on its own vs hanging. Not a big deal.

Anyway, thanks for the informative response. And thanks for going through the struggle so the rest of us don't have to, lol. Cheers!

Thank you for sharing this nice tower!

My printed modules are not snugged fit; is this normal?

Stupid question, is PLA enough to withstand the UV and heat in outdoor usage? I might need to test it myself but cannot eager more to ask this.

Awesome. Yes, that's ok. There's a slight tolerance. It was inadvertent but I think it's good because it ensures that all 3d printers can print the modules. For example, the modules off the Anet A8 interconnect pretty tightly. More of a gap with my Creality CR-10. All are fine.

That's awesome to hear because I'm new to 3d printing and thought I've done something wrong. I've been planting with normal PVC pipe for a while and seen yours to encourage me to buy 3d printer. Each module printed about 8 hours on my Creality Ender 3 and with a $8 Chinese filament.

Comments deleted.

Thank you for this thing! Thumbs up to you!

  • Posted with 3D Geeks Thingiverse Browser App
Comments deleted.

What are the dimensions of each module?

What would the watering schedule look like when using hydroton as a growing media? 15 mins every 3 hours?

Does white PLA let any light through to the inside, or is it thick enough to keep it completely dark on the inside? I want to avoid algae growth as much as possible.

Dimension: Cura says 188.9 x 170.7 x 124.4. My intention with the size was to make it as large as possible while still comfortably fitting on a 220 x 220 build volume (Anet A8).

Watering schedule for hydroton: That sounds about right. I personally don't like hydroton because I think it dries out too fast. Might try again.

Algae: Depends on the type of white PLA. Some is translucent and some is more opaque. Go with the opaque. I haven't had an algea problem. If you're worried go with a darker color. Also, give it a 10 or 20 percent infill.

-Alex

This system doesn't need an air pump? ...and thanks a ton for sharing the amazing design!

Nope! Plenty of aeration from the circulation of water during cycles. Welcome!

This is one of the best designs I've seen, thanks for sharing it.

It is slightly too big to print on my Lulzbot Mini. Would you be willing to share the original geometry in a STEP file or something similar so it's easier to remix?

Hi Ductsoup,

Only have the .stl and .obj files from tinkercad.

-Alex

Hi, I am new at 3d printer, but i love garden and vertical hydro. can you help with how to set my Tevo Tarantula 3d printer and what slicer to this tower. thanks

Hi Vuong3dprinter,

I just have the regular settings on Cura. I think for PLA I have it set at 220 degrees.

-Alex

I love this concept, and am interested in adding a vertical hydroponic component to my existing hydro system. I downloaded your models and they are ever so slightly too big to print on my Cetus3D extended (which has a 180mm x 180 mm footprint). If I scale to 95% it looks like it will fit on the platform, but I am concerned that the 2" netcups may not fit.

So my question is, is there enough extra space in the netcup receivers that I can scale the part to 95% for printing and maintain the necessary room for my existing 2" cups?

Thanks in advance! I am really excited about this!

Cathode,

Not sure but it’s a pretty snug fit. There are some printable 2 inch net cups here on Thingiverse. Maybe also scale those down to 95% and it should be a perfect fit. Let me know what you think/ if it works.

-Alex

That's a good point. Maybe I will try the existing model, and see if the 2" cups I have fit. If not, I can always print slightly smaller ones. Thanks!

Which lid fits the linked ikea vase? vaselid_v5 seems way to big for the linked vase (12cm)

seBASTARD,

Sorry about that. I think it's the 7 1/2 from the drop down according to the measurements on the page. See photos. Will fix link.

-Alex

how did you print that with an A8? Cura won't let me slice that. It's too big. What slicer did you use? will the height work?

Outsourced the vase lid to 3dhubs. $30. Might be able to section it and print it on the A8.

seBastard,

That's awesome! Looks great. Please post a follow-up once you have something growing! Let me know if you have any questions!

-Alex

Comments deleted.

Thank you for this thing! Thumbs up to you!

  • Sent from 3D Geeks: Thingiverse Browser for Android

Hi Alex, may I ask you how did you design the interlocking mechanism in tinkercad? Thanks in advance!

Hey! I was trying to print the module and my print bed was too small so I had to make the module smaller, but now I don't know how to get the other things to fit it. Do you have any suggestions?

And on the video it showed a lid with a hole at the top for the water pump's tube to go in. Do I have to make a hole?

Thanks!

Yes, you have to make the top hole with a hole saw. I tried incorporating the hole into the part, but the print would fail every time.

Hi commanderAlf,

Hmmm... You should be able to scale down all the parts the same percentage on Cura and the parts should still fit. In the beginning, I made a tiny version to see if the concept would work and all the parts fit perfectly. There have been instances where some people have printed the parts and they have not fit. Not sure if they accidentally scaled down the model in Cura or maybe the temp/type of plastic made such a difference that it prevented the parts from fitting. It may also depend on the printer. On my Anet A8 the parts fit pretty tightly. I outsourced some parts to a local printer and they fit a lot less snug. I think he has a Prusa MK2 and he printed in PLA+. But the parts look amazing.

-Alex

Hi - this is an awesome desgin, I am planning on printing this after the rainy season in India finishes in September and putting it on my terrace/balcony!

I had a few questions -

1) Do you recommend printing in a darker color to inhibit light penetration and algae growth?

2) How often have you found you need to replenish the water in the bottom reservoir?

3) Do you need to print both new reservoir and reservoir?

Thank you!

Hi Shabbirun,

  1. Definitely the darker the better to prevent algae growth.

  2. Depends on the size of the type of plants, maturity of the plants, time of year, environment, and the size of the reservoir. .

  3. No, the new reservoir is mean to prevent overflow in case of blockage or to much flow. Sort of like the overflow hole in sinks.

Cheers!

-Alex

Hi, great idea. This will be my first attempt at hydroponics. Should the water pump be running all the time? Or did you use the wifi outlet to get to turn on in intervals? If so, how much and for how long?

On another note, do you wait for the seeds to germinate before putting them there? Is that why you put them in the covered box at the end of your video?

Thank you!

Hi Roufster,

Yes, you have it on a timer that runs for a short period of time during several intervals a day. The length of time depends on the state of the plant(s) and temperature. For example, a young plant during the spring isn't going to need as much nutrient water as a mature plant during the summer. I say start with basil and experiment. Very resilient. You can probably start with 5 or 6 intervals for 10 minutes. Yes, you put the seeds in the medium (Rockwool in the video) and then under a seed starter tray. The humidity really helps with the germination. Then you can move them over to the tower once they are a couple of weeks old and have sturdy stems. There's a product I've seen called something like the "plant krutch" that can be placed around the seedlings in order to stabilize them. Seems like something that can be easily designed and printed. ;)

Very welcome!

Hi! I am really interested in this Hydroponic system (never heared about something like that :D)
Right now I am printing my first module. But I am wondering .. what are the "Lid", "module lid" and "funnel" for?

And the reservoir goes at the top of the modules, right? Is there something I can put at the bottom? Or do I need a not printed reservoir for the bottom where the pump goes in? :)

Thanks!
Greetings from germany

Techcrumb,

Yes, the lid is for the top reservoir and the funnel is to be placed at the bottom of a larger tower. I had some problems with roots clogging the funnel so you may want to not have any plants in the bottom module and have it there as a spacer. Very welcome! Sorry about the world cup loss. :( Looking forward to visit soon. Very welcome!

-Alex

Okay... got it. Funnel is for the end :D

Hi, Nice system! A couple of commnets: walls of the object are a little too thick, may be if you reduce amd make them a little thinner, ptint time will be reduce quit a lot. If you reduce them to half, they will be ok (right now the walls are more than 4mm, it is a lot, with 2 mm will be more than fine and print time will be reduced a lot). If you give me the original design files, I might be able to help you with this.
You were asking for a designer to solve something in yor model? I can help you with that, contact me in private if you still need help with that.

Thanks. I'm afraid my design skills aren't good enough to adjust the thickness of the module without effecting the holes for the net cups. Are original design files the .obj files? I used tinkercad. That and .stl is all I have. The piece I need help with is the cardboard piece in the photo below. The printer says one side is too thin. See screen cap. If anyone out there wants to be awesome and help out that would be great.

The problem you are going to have with the vase lid is the size of it. Most printer beds are not that large.

However if you split it into 4 pieces, you will lose strength if you plan on having it sit on it.

Hi. Regarding the help you need with that STL, I have fixed it (the problematic area is now 2mm thicker, I think it is enough, if not, tell me). YI have atached the file (the model is really big, an average 3d printer bed has 20X20 cms, take into account that)
About the other: go to tinkercad, and in the design configuration set it as PUBLIC, so you can then send me the link , I can copy the design in my tinkercad account and make the necesary modifications, once I finish, I will give you the corrected design back to you. Let me know how things go!

Tinchus,

I sent the design to a printer through 3dhubs. The printer is telling me there's a problem with the layers. See photos. I'm asking if he can fix it for a fee. Is it an easy solution? Anyway to fix?

I think I found the problem, here you have the corrected file. I already sliced it for printing and so far it looks ok, ready to print

No need for a fee, I will try to help you. I dont see clearly what the problem is. Wich part of the model is it> In the 2nd pic I can see like a part of the model get separated from the other? In the 1st image I see yelow lines, what do they mean?

Thanks man! Sent it to the printer and he's saying it's good.

Where can I get the net cups?
Do I have to buy them or can I print them myself?

Vir_gir you can get them on Amazon for super cheap. 2 inch net cups. There are also some printable 2 inch net cups here on Thingiverse.

Hi. Very nice design. Do you mind sharing your original design files. STL`s is very hard to change. I just want to give each hole a mesh so leca wont fall out if tilted.

They were made on Tinkercad. Do you mean .obj file? I’ve only seen the .obj and .stl download options.

Hi. Do you maybe have this in a STEP or STP file? Otherwise i can try it in .obj

Has anyone tried printing this will a 1mm nozzle? I might.

Im planing to. Just ordered mine.

Nice system (I think) :) Started to print, the module dint print very well without infill. I got layer separation. Maybe i should try with some infill. And it doesnt look watertight.

Djole, thanks. The lid and the reservoir definitely need some infill in order to print properly. The modules and funnel can be printed at 0%. Might want to play with the temp (increase in order to decrease separation).

-Alex

Than you for the fast reply, last night i printed the NewReservoir and it doesnt fit the module, the diameter is good, the parts fit into each-other but its impossible to twist the parts to lock them. Seems like the gap in the reservoir is too small. Could you please check this ? Thank you!

Djole,

The parts fit for me. Make sure any brim is fully removed.

-Alex

I have 3 towers with 6 modules in each with lids, top reservoir and bottom cone and they all fit great.

MikiCab, are we using the same version files ? Mine are downloaded recently, they are from 16. Feb 2018. The lid fits great on the reservoir and also on the module. But the top reservoir doesnt fit on the module.

Could anyone give a hydroponics noob like me some start hints? As far as I can see I need a bottom reservoir, a top reservoir and some pump (and of course nutrients, water, plants etc.). But I can't see any holes on the top reservoir in the thingview. How does the water gets to the top reservoir and then dripples down into the bottom reservoir? Am I missing something? Or are (aside from the net cups) any other printed parts needed for this system to work?
My goal for now is to build a small system with 3 or 6 plants for my kitchen.

Dereulenspigel, hi! Yes, you drill the holes post printing. You place a pump in the bottom reservoir with a tube that takes it to the top. The holes are drilled post printing. I tried to print with the holes within the design but those prints failed. I shot a little instructional video over the weekend. Putting it together and uploading ASAP. Sorry I haven't responded earlier.

-Alex

Thanks. One (hopefully last question), if i pull the hose through the middle of the system to the upper reservoir, where is the part for evenly distributing the water around the reservoir?

I'm kind of a noob... not kind of... very new to growing anything... I'm wondering if you have any pointers on how to start my own?
I do know how to google, but due to recent events in my life, I've found that I'd like to become vegetarian and start my own growing of food.
I have a 3D printer and would like to build this :). Any instructions or points on how to get this working once I get it printed?

Thank you kindly!

Hi Darth_Revan,

No problem! I’ve been meaning to make a nice short instructional video but havnt goten around to it. :/ Will do it this weekend. In the meantime, I’d suggest checking out out my some hydroponic videos on youtube. i.e. tower garden, Jeb the Gardner, DIY towers etc.

-Alex

Thanks archipelagourbanfarms! Looking forward to that! I'm starting to become a green lover! so i'm so excited!

What kind of pump is needed for the waterflow?

Hi mkongsfelt,

Depends on how tall the tower is going to be. The taller it is the more powerful the pump. Lots of good reliable pumps on Amazon. If I had to buy pumps again I’d go with an adjustable one, probably something like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01LHC8UX8/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1522839555&sr=8-4&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=hydroponic+pump&dpPl=1&dpID=51bZUWirvWL&ref=plSrch

-Alex

I use the EcoPlus 396 GPH pump. so far it seems to work well with 2 towers. I am going to add a few more towers and see how it goes. Each tower has 6 modules and are about 5 feet high for me. Bought mine from local hydroponic store.

Hi! Question from a noob looking to build a small version (just like the desk-model in the pictures). Does the pump need to run continuously, or is it switched on intermittently?

Intermittently. Just buy this smart plug, plug the pump into it, and set up a schedule with the Kasa app. https://www.amazon.com/Kasa-Smart-Wi-Fi-Plug-TP-Link/dp/B0178IC734

-Alex

Thanks! I think I will try to make a mini version for my kitchen window. :)

Hello Alex,
I got my first tower going in the backyard. I have to turn the water way down otherwise the bottom cone overfills. You must be running your water at a very slow rate. How do you run at a low flow and still get full coverage?

This clamp may also work to restrict flow. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1673030

-Alex

G-Clamp fully printable

Sweet tower dude! I pinch the tubing near the top of the tower to restrict the flow (with a zip tie). I tried printing out a hose clamp from here, but it didn't restrict the water well enough. You might have better luck. Getting an adjustable rate pump could also solve the issue. (make sure the flow is strong enough to reach the top of the tower)

https://www.amazon.com/Esky-Submersible-Adjustable-Aquariums-Fountains/dp/B01FGYRCMI

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:28447

Hose Clamp - Pinch Valve
by Tim_C

I added a little clip on top to hold the net pots in. I need to edit it so I can print it upside down. I also printed it in Nylon weedeater trimming line I found on Amazon for $39 for 5lbs. Took a could of tries to get the temp/retraction right. I will post when I get it right.

Did you get any diameter consistency from the weedeater line?!? I though it could be way off. Link that filament!

It has been working like a charm. I have to run it a big slower because it is soft and can jam. Once I slowed it down it printed ok. Still working on getting rid of the stringing.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01E13CQ7Q/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That's awesome! What temp?

I run it at 1.65mm diameter. 230C first level, Bed 30C, 245-250C the rest. Was playing around with temp. both seem good. Bed Temp 50C.
Speed is 15mm/s first level and slow down for everything. 35mm perimeters and 50mm/s infill. I was playing around with retractions but if I went too far it would jam or stop feeding. Retraction I left at standard 0.8mm at 35mm/s. Prusa MK3 and Slic3r. Was never able to get rid of all the stringing.
There is a problem with the nylon in that is a soft material. I was trying to have 6 modules per tower and the nylon does not want to hold it shape and where they connect together seem to be working their way loose. I may have to run a wire up the center to add tension to hold them together.

Using cura, it imports well off the build plate. After moving it to the build plate, it says that it's too large for the build plate. I scaled to 85% and it was still not working? Any ideas? I have a Maker Select Plus so I'm using the settings for Prusa i3 200x200.

I used Slic3r for Prusa and it worked prefect. After I did some edits to the .STL I got error is was too big but Slic3r let me shrink it back down to the proper size. I don't know much about Cura so I can't help.

Fsbell123,

That build volume might be a little small for module. I have an Anet A8 which has a build volume of 220x220x240 and it just fits. You can probably scale it down and then scale down a printable net cup the same amount.

-Alex

Hmmm. What is the outside diameter of the main "tube" of the module? 100mm or so? Any chance you can remove the "odd" grow spot? By this I mean, there are 3 places to grow but 2 are closer together than the other. I need to put them against a wall so removing that 1 grow area would allow me to do that. it would be greatly appreciated!

Will see if I can do that on Tickercad this weekend.

-Alex

How are the pieces secured together so they don't come apart?

Hi fsbell123,

It’s a modular interlocking design. You place them into each other and twist.

-Alex

What is the outside diameter of the main "tube" of the module? 100mm or so? Any chance you can remove the "odd" grow spot? By this I mean, there are 3 places to grow but 2 are closer together than the other. I need to put them against a wall (using grow lights in basement) so removing that 1 grow area would allow me (And I'm sure many others) to do that. It would be greatly appreciated!

Yup, will try this weekend.

-Alex

fsbell123,

I tried reversing some of the steps in Tinkercad to see if I could recreate the module with only two holes, but was unable to. Prior to discovering Tinkercad, I had a 3d modeler make a pocket version of the module that could be glued onto PVC. The modeling work was really good and only cost $5 fivver. His username is Heathcliff. I'm sure he could modify it for you very easily. Good luck!

-Alex

Module printed fantastic in PETG at 250c with a 3mm rim, no infill, Maker Geeks white PETG at 0.20mm it takes 11.5 hours on Prusa MK3.
Once I get it set up in the garden I will post again. The White PETG fits the Colored (Purple Brown) PLA.
More Pictures. I modified your "New Reservoir" design to act like a dripper on top of the tower. I also put a hole in the center to run a line through to hold the tower. I was not able to print this in PETG though. Every time I tried it messed up on the holes. I guess I would need to work on my settings to get it to work.

Awesome. May want to make the dripper holes a little larger as there is an inevitable algae build up that might clog those holes. The hole is to hold the tower in place? Interesting. Would love to see pics of the set-up. So you weren’t able to print in PETG? (There’s a white reservoir in your photos.) I just drill holes afterwards to ensure good first layer adhesion.

-Alex

I was able to get the PETG to finally print with the New Reservoir by slowing the print to 10mm/s for the first layer. The holes kept coming off the print bed but ones I slowed the print down it worked great. I should have the tower up this weekend. Took the kids to Six Flags last weekend so didn't get it up. I can drill the holes out if I need too. I will see how ti works in the garden before I do that. I was also thinking I could make bigger holes and just make an insert with smaller holes for water flow in I need too and just pop it out for cleaning whenever it clogs. I also bought some nylon and printed with it and it prints nice. I have a few problems but not the nylons faults so I will post those pics with I get a good one printed.

Printed the module in "transitional spool" PLA from Makergeeks. When they change production they have odd color spools so they sell them on the cheap and with 25-30% sale they are about $9kg. The white funnel is MakerGeeks PETG with 20% infill which is a tougher material less prone to breaking. The PETG should resist breaking that Alex says has happened on some of the funnels end pieces printed with PLA. Printed great at 250c. I am printing out a module in PETG and will post later. All in all great design and the PLA and PETG fit perfectly together. I am planting strawberry towers and will post when they are up. Thanks Again Alex for posting this design. I am trying to think of some upgrades to your design but I pretty much think you have refined this design pretty good. If you don't mind me asking how many design revisions to get to this one?

MikiCab,

Awesome! I think at least three or four. And that's not including DIY PVC pipe towers. What a pain in the ass those were. I can't really remember. I remember setting up my first 3d printed mini tower, turning it on, and then seeing the water start spilling out of an extra hole I had made for the pump cord and being like, "Welp, that's not going to work". lol It's all about experimenting and iterating and not stopping until it works.

You are very welcome for the design. Like the description says, my goal educate and empower people to grow their own food. From my experience this is the way to go due to its low price (about $2 per module and falling), ease of use (its almost set it and forget it), and availability. I was aware of other open source designs such as the 3d-ponics/window farms, but I prefer this design due to its ease and robustness. It's a similar design Disney uses at Living with the Land, Murray Hallman demonstrates on Youtube, and the Tower Garden incorporates.

In terms of refinements, I was looking to make a custom clip for the net pots. If the plant gets too big, it tends to want to fall out of its hole. I just use small clothes pins and they work fine. (see photos) However, I did notice that those little clips that come with slacks fit perfectly and seem ideal for printing. I couldn't seem to find them last time I searched for them on here. Not sure if that counts as a refinement.

I also saw a product on Instagram for seedlings called The Seedling Crutch or something like that. It essentialy helps the seedling grow upwards and prevents it from toppling over. Some variation of that would be great.

If you have any ideas feel free to post here so we can brainstorm.

-Alex

I was just going to start designing something similar for strawberries but you beat me to it. I see you comments about the tip of the cone breaking. If you print that in PETG that should be no problem since petg is stronger. I just bought MakerGeeks PETG and is the same cost as PLA and if you wait for sales they have it 25-30% off about once a month so your paying $15ish per Kg or less if you get their grab bag. I am going to set up and print the main part tonight and try printing the cone out of PETG tomorrow and let you know how it goes. Great design. Just what I was looking for but the lower cone is an Ah-Ha moment. Good design all around. Thanks for posting.
Got my first print out with the main module in PLA for proof of concept. Printed well at 210, brown PLA from MakerGeeks. Print time with no infill was 11.50 hours with Prusa IS MK3 printing at 0.20Fast.

MikiCab,

Thanks for the compliment! I haven't tried printing with anything other than PLA. Will give it a shot. Please let me know how the print and growing goes!

-Alex

How is the PLA in sunlight? Does it melt? thanks

Sunlight has had no negative effects on the structural integrity of the prints. The only structural problem has been the connector on the end of the cone. They have all broken off at some point. That’s more of a design issue though. The workaround for this has been to set up the towers inline. See photos for example.

I've almost got a whole set printed, just printing some net cups, then I need to print a lower lid for the bottom reservoir. I have a small pump, my question is, do I drill holes to send the water up the tube to the top reservoir, and if so where? I can't find any pictures of that part of it, but so far it is looking really cool

Hey Chrischi,

Awesome! So the irrigation tube should run from the bottom, come out of one of the bottom module holes and run on the outside and into the top reservoir. I’m in the process of making some sort of connector to connect the tube to the top reservoir but for now, duck tape should be able to secure it in place.

A few other things:

  1. You won’t need the funnel for the small set up.

  2. Make sure that the bottom reservoir is watertight. I had to bake mine in the oven. :/ I think printing in vase mode might also work.

  3. Keep in mind that you still have to drill holes in the top reservoir that line up with the module holes and in the middle to make the “overflow hole”.

Let me know if you have any more questions at all! Cheers!

Do you think I could just send the tube straight up middle right into the reservoir through a hole in the middle of it? Maybe have something like those spaceship fan attachments for the 3d printers that the tube hooks up to sitting around the top of the overflow sending the water out in six different spouts.
You are right the bottom reservoir leaked a little bit, but I am able to use a 1 gallon ziplock and it fits pretty good. I will have to see after I print a lid to make sure it still fits.

Hmm.. now that I think of it... you could totally bring the tubing up the middle. I was thinking the root system would get in the way. Try it out. See what happens! Let me know if it worked and post pics. Check your messages.

-Alex

Awesome! Keep me updated!

Hi, great idea, I'm printing it. On the other hand, a file is missing, that of the lid.

Hey Paul,

You were right. Not sure how that happened. Just uploaded it. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy growing! Cheers!

Hey Paul,

Thanks. The lid looks like it’s there. It might be mislabeled. I’ll double check in a bit. Remember to print it upside down.

Awesome idea! I'm going to print in a few days few modules. Just a few questions:

  • What diameter should the hydroponic net have?
  • How well did the PLA prints cope with water in the long term? Did they resolve a bit or leak? Also I'm concerned also all the light it will receave ('cause of the plants) will contain UV light that will degrade PLA. Would it be better to explore another filaments? As seen as here (https://www.matterhackers.com/3d-printer-filament-compare), PETG might work better.

Thank you!

Matagalls,

Thanks!

The modules fit 2-inch net cups. These are standard in the industry and there are several different models here on Thingiverse that you can print out. You can also buy them online for pretty cheap.

The PLA prints have held up perfectly. The main problem has been with the tip of the cone. It is too delicate and has broken off several times. I have now just placed each tower directly over the 5-gallon buckets and removed those hoses. See photo below.

There has also been some algae build up. The cheaper more transparent PLA has had more build up than the flat white PLA. I made some modules out of Hatchbox Wood PLA and they had absolutely no algae build up. Presumably, the darker the color the better, but I personally prefer the white futuristic look. :) I've read that you can control algae growth with hydrogen peroxide but have not experimented with that yet.

In regards to PETG over PLA, I'm not sure. I personally like PLA because it's cheap, derived from plants, and "food safe". But I might experiment with PETG and other filaments in the future. A long-term goal of mine is to turn plastic garbage into gardens by either using recycled filament and/or the Precious Plastics machines. So I might look into other filaments once I start going down that road.

Let me know how it goes!

-Alex

Great looking system! I'm going to print out a few segments and try them.

Thanks! Awesome dude! Let me know how it goes!

Does the reservoir hold water when printed or does it need to be painted? Thanks!

Hey 3dtesterm,

The bottom reservoir for the small planter did leak after I printed it. I baked it in the oven and also covered the inside with beeswax which stopped the leaking. Although, the beeswax did get grimy after a while. I was wary of using any kind of epoxy/paint to waterproof the inside because I'm a bit of a health nut. I've sort of moved on from the planter for now and am making larger towers and racks. If I had to do it again id probably just find a nice pre-made tabletop planter/container and adjust the 3d printed lid to fit that. Alternatively, you can also buy a giant glass jar and make it an aquaponic system with goldfish waste feeding the plants. I'm working on that. Just don't want to kill the fish needlessly. Check out the pics for a mock-up. Stay tuned!

P.S. You could also use the glass jar for a hydroponic setup with nutrients, but you'd have to wrap the jar in thick paper or something so as to not let any light through (in order to limit algae growth).