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


3Dponics - Open-Source Collaboration - Building the Ultimate Space Farm

by 3dprintler Jun 27, 2014
Download All Files

Thing Apps Enabled

Please Login to Comment

Cool stuff!
I may actually print a few pieces to get my old Windowfarm back up and running.
It was kind of neat being able to picka lettuce leaf now and then(You can break off single leaves and leave the rest of the plant growing) for a midday snack or for part of a salad. (I have a second story apartment, and a very small verandah, so not much growing space outdoors, but also large south-facing windows)

I do love this concept. I think the water is lifted by bubbles rising through the conduit? How would you change this for use in a zero-gravity environment?

Comments deleted.

I find it a sad commentary about the U.S. that this thinly veiled marijuana growing contraption has been built more often than robotic arms found on this same website.

Actually Hydroponics is even more used in growing Lettuce, Tomatos, Peppers and even Cucumber. It can be applied to any vegetable and helps growing them waterefficient.
It can help in regions where heat and draught are an issue and even in citiscapes where soil is an issue (ever heard of rooftopgardening?)

I find it sad about the U.S., that everyone assumes things are made for bad stuff and drugs. And that nowone tries to educate themselves, before forming an opinion...ignorant times, i gues...

This is a tool design not an agenda. Please get off my lawn.

  1. Weed is legal in a fairly large part of the US.
  2. This site is used by many non-Americans.
  3. This system is too small to effectively grow marijuana.

What do robotic arms have to do with anything? Lol

Just so you know there are detailed instructions at their website: https://www.3dponics.com/instructions/

Just wondering if ABS or PLA are considered safe for use with gardening for food? I would imagine there's some leeching, and want to make this as food-safe a build as possible. What 1.75mm filament would be best?

Just so you know, the plastics in many soda bottles deteriorate in the UV of direct sunlight and most definitely will be leaking toxins into the soil of these plants. So, I wouldn't put edibles in them, but flowers and other aesthetics would be nice.

This is nice if only there were proper instructions instead of a large number of images of plants growing. We know what this is for and that plants grow.
For instance the Silencer. Where is it fixed.? How and what does it silence. Even the page for the silencer on thingiverse shows plants growing and no instructions of how to actually fit or use it.
Visited the website and while the instructions are better there same thing with the silencer. Why mention a part and then not use it?

Also the instructions talk in inches, whereas only the US uses inches. The rest of the world uses mm. Are these models in inches or mm?

Right? Why go through all the trouble of uploading something just to cut corners when it comes to telling others how it works and goes together&*()!@

I couldn't get the air pump connector to print airtight, so I ended up buying a pump to circulate water. No problem. That's my printer not being properly calibrated etc. My plants did great until the roots got long enough to come out the spigots between bottles. Then the spigots clogged, the water backed up, and ended up going out the holes on the tops of the bottles where the strings were attached. This led to root rot and plant death. I wonder if this problem is why stacking hydroponics systems are not more popular.
I solved that problem by just suspending all four bottles over the bucket containing the nutrient mixture and running the air pump into the bucket to oxygenate. The roots were coming out of the spigots and floating free in the nutrient bath.
I would have never gotten so far with hydroponics without this system. I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned but it is a fun place to start.

What kind of water flow/pressure am I expecting to come out the top? I don't seem to have a whole lot coming up, I can provide you with video if you need. Just let me know where to send it. Thanks!

Hi @luisimomaximo,
Please send a video link to info@3dponics.com if possible.
You should expect about a drip per second. Did you see our new website http://www.3dponics.com

Sorry if already asked but is there a specifc type of 3d printer that I should or should NOT use? This is such a great advantage for budgeting. Thanks in advance!

Hi @DruBreezy
So far most of 3Dponics components print well all of the 3D printers at normal settings.
We have extensively tested it on Makerbots, Ultimakers and Formlabs here in the office. We are very excited about http://printm3d.com/themicro/

The conduit won't push water no matter what I try. Verified proper seals all the way around and no air leaks through the PLA. Still not pushing anything but air through the tubing. Any suggestions?

Hi @Fablabep
Thank you for reaching out. We received your email and responded. Based on the pictures and video you sent, you need a taller water container and you need to attach the conduit in a vertical position (we use bamboo sticks). It's also important to start the bubbler with conduit out of the water and then submerge it to create enough pressure to shoot the water along the hoze.
Looking forward to collaborate!

Could you please send a picture of your setup to info@3dponics.com
Did you try starting the air pump with conduit our of the water jug and then submerging it? This should create enough pressure to shoot up the water via the tubbing.
Hope to hear soon,

Hi Michael,

I sent a message to the e-mail you provided but never heard back. I already tried starting the bubbler before submerging with no luck. Any other advice for getting it running?

I'm going to be honest. There's no collection of instructions or an online community on your website. I don't know how many times I've tried to sign up by submitting my email.

Hi @jerodkdunn
Please check out our Instructables page - http://www.instructables.com/member/3Dponics/
We are working hard to launch full website any day now. Thank you for your help and interest in http://3Dponics.com

You seem to have multiple .thing files for the same components. Do we really need them all? If not, could you consider naming or numbering the files more clearly so we can get only the latest version of one kit? Thanks

Hi @mirgray
You are correct, we are in the process of relaunching a brand new website and will update all the current files. Thank you for your support!

So I've printed the conduit (after several failed attempts) Are the two side arms supposed to be fairly hard to blow air through?? as in if I blow into them myself the air gets through but it's a fair effort, as opposed to the main central pipe that is a lot easier?

Great project btw. My School whom I'm the computer techy at is looking at getting students to use this system :D

Hi @siimsdita
Thank you for your message. We are looking to collaborate with educational institutions and can provide you with free fertilizer and air pumps. Please send us an email to info@3dponics.com
Which 3D printer are you using as we tested our parts on many machines and it works well. Could you send us some pictures?

Comments deleted.

Hi, it is a wounderful project!
I am creating one system right now, and I was curios if you can use regular water pump with this?

Hi @neothefox
Yes, you can use regular pump, but then you need to use this part http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:379262
We recommend using an air bubler so you can run the system for under a penny a day!

Pump Connector - 3Dponics Vertical Garden

Pump I am going to use need 4.5W, just like bubler. I just fought it is needed as aeration of water.

great idea. could you share what is the brand of the pump so we can try it out too?

Ok thank you. I just ordered it so we can do more prototyping. It's only $6.99 http://www.amazon.com/Docooler-Ultra-quiet-DC12V-Brushless-Submersible/dp/B00JWJIC0K . Good find! True open-sourced system.

Hope it would be youseful!

Hey, just posted some new pictures of our strawberries flowering!

I'm still waiting for the pump to arrive, and I'm using a "generic" nutrient, but from what I read online, I should be using a nutrient specific to hydroponics?

Since I'm new to all this, do you have any advice on what should I buy to feed my plants? I have parsley and strawberries, not sure what to add next :-)

Hi @esteves, thank you for the pictures! We just shared them on our social media channels.
We recommend using General Organics fertilizer http://generalhydroponics.com/site/index.php/products/general_organics/
We use: BioThrive Grow (vegan plant food), Bio Weed (cold processed seaweed), and BioThrive Bloom (vegan plant food)
I recommend to join our community at http://3dponics.com

Thank you for the fast response!

Do you use all 3 combined? One at a time?
I assume you use grow in the growth season and bloom in the bloom season?

In our balcony system setup we used:

Initial growth stage:
Bio Weed (cold processed seaweed) + BioThrive Grow (vegan plant food)

Blooming stage:
Bio Weed (cold processed seaweed) + BioThrive Bloom (vegan plant food)

the 3dponics tags are very anoying to remove before printing they break down into a bunch of parts and do they need to be on every part why not with the one essintial part or something and you could print them but thats a waste of plastic and the idea behind this it to be green and I feel the flags are sort of counter productive

Hi @broncosis
Please take a look at all of the individual parts uploaded here http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:376158/#remixes

3Dponics - Open-Source Collaboration - Building the Ultimate Space Farm

greetings for the day
@3dprintler soo sorry for late response,I had tried as per your instructions suspecting the pump is the problem,The Marina Hagen 200.3 pump is not available in India any suggestions please

Hi @nazeemshaik
For a system with 3-5 two liter bottles we recommend using Hagen Marina 200 pump (air bubbler) or equivalent for 65 liter aquarium. Please join our community and share your knowledge and ask questions at http://3dponics.com

Just curious as to how this relates to the previous work from WindowFarms.com? Seems to be a copy of their work.

Not sure how this would be a copy. Yes it uses the same concept as the window farm system however this system is designed to be printed off on your own and uses soda bottles and lots of zip ties to hold the grow media versus the window farm columns that use injection molded parts and net cups. Both systems use bubblers as the water pumps but once again a printed part versus a commercially produced part that does the same thing but uses a different approach. As noted in their response, this system is free versus paying minimum of $179 for a single column system. I can build enough of these for $179 to feed my family with a huge surplus.

Hi @ITSourcePro.
3Dponics is a FREE 3D-printable modular hydroponics system and community of urban growers. We give you all the tools for free. Grow your own food and sell or donate extras locally. We also made http://3dponics.com Internet-enabled; we are working on an app to control it and operate a small solar panel so it's completely self sustainable and can be used anywhere around the world.
We are running a Kickstarter campaign and your help would be really appreciated https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/3dprintler/3dponics-community-for-crowdsourced-3d-printed-hyd

What an interesting way of not answering the question.

I am having trouble with the pump system. I don't seem to be getting any water up the tubing. Any suggestions?

Hey guys,
There are a number of reasons why the air pump is not working properly. Here are the most likely:

  1. Not enough water pressure: How big of a water container are you using? We recommend having at least an 8 L jug.
  2. Wrong air pump: Which air pump are you using? It could be that it's not powerful enough. We recommend the Marina Hagen 200.
  3. Crooked support column: Is the support column straight? It's extremely important the the support column is straight and that the tubing isn't wrapping or twisting around the column. This will interfere with the circulation of the water.
  4. Lastly, it's better to turn on the system before you submerge the conduit rather than after... not too sure why but I always have better luck this way.

The water was the trick. I upped to a much larger jug of water an am now getting a steady drip.

Nice ="thingiverse-09573cbfaad9678f431731e9c2087d8b:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-09573cbfaad9678f431731e9c2087d8b/Jpuer please post more pictures and register your system at http://3dponics.comhttp://3dponics.com

yes same problem with me,the air pump unable to pump water?

greetings for the day
@3dprintler soo sorry for late response,I had tried as per your instructions suspecting the pump is the problem,The Marina Hagen 200.3 pump is not available in India any suggestions please

Wish they'd come out with a guide.

Hi @Jpuer and nazeemshaik please take a look at the instructions section here. We just updated it :)
Also here is the instructional video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RClgBDI8g3M&list=UULCzIC8Xq62AGjfL2PoJR0whttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Is there a write up some where of how to setup the system? I find that I don't get a complete understanding from the linked video. I want to make this as a gift for a gardener I know but I need to be able to giver them some directions.

What you’ll need
3D-printed parts:
-4 drip nozzles
-4 empty plastic bottles
-4 plants (tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, herbs, etc.)
-hydroponics growth medium (growstones or equivalent) (pre-soaked for a couple
of days)
-aeration kit for aquariums
-vertical support column for
-air pump
-rubber tubing for an aquarium air
pump or similar
-zip ties
-support structure (coat rack or a ceiling hook recommended)
-a water jug (4 L, 8 L or 9 L recommended)
-hole puncher
-utility knife

  1. Download the 3D design files for the
    3D-printed drip nozzles, conduit and silencer from Thingiverse and start
  2. Set up the support column:
    (a) Take several bamboo sticks and fasten them together using zip ties to create
    about a 6-foot pole.
    (b) Secure the conduit to the bottom of the bamboo pole using zip ties, making
    sure that the end of the conduit sticks out a little bit from the end of the
    bamboo stick. This ensures better suction. Cut off the excess plastic from the
    zip ties.
  3. Prepare the plastic bottles:
    (a) Cut off the bottoms of the plastic bottles with a sharp knife. Discard the
    (b) Using a hole punch, make four holes along the edge of each bottle (the
    holes should be placed evenly around the bottle, one across from the other)
  4. Set up the rubber tubing
    (a) Measure how much tubing you’ll need to cover the entire length of the
    column. Ensure you have a little bit extra at the top of the column (this will
    be needed for attaching the silencer).
    (b) Attach the tube to the bamboo pole using zip ties. Cut off the excess
    plastic from the zip ties when you’re done.
    (c) At the bottom of the bamboo pole, cut the tubing in the spot where it
    connects with the conduit, and attach the two parts together, making sure to
    push the conduit into the tubing as far as it will go.
  5. Connect the tubing to the air pump
  6. Set up the vertical bottle system:
    (a) Take the 3D-printed drip nozzles and screw them onto the plastic bottles.
    (b) Turn the bottles upside-down so that the nozzles are pointing downward. Working
    with one bottle at a time, fill each bottle halfway with the pre-soaked
    growstones, add the plant (removing as much soil from the roots as possible)
    and then add some more growstones until the plant can stand up securely on its
    own without falling over.
    (c) Using zip ties, attach the first bottle to the hook at the top of the
    support column (this is why using a coat hanger is the best option—it has a
    built-in hook).
    As you finish each bottle, secure it to the support column.
    Start growing healthy and fresh vegetables, fruits or flowers.
    Please join our community, register your system on the global map at http://3dponics.comhttp://3dponics.com

My students and I got a 3d printer from Makerbot Academy last semester and I think I just found our next project! I will be sure to post pictures when we build it but this idea is great. Thank you for sharing!

="thingiverse-01f2a43623ba3d2e0c985b9c88d45a72:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-01f2a43623ba3d2e0c985b9c88d45a72/jrcarter this is really great! Please share your pictures and register your 3Dponics at http://3dponics.comhttp://3dponics.com . Become part of urban growers community!

How does the bubbler work as a water pump? Is an air pump with 2 outputs needed? Or can you block off one of the ports of the conduit?

Hi ="thingiverse-4248a5b28a2326be3d5090f8b1d5abd3:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-4248a5b28a2326be3d5090f8b1d5abd3/CptanPanic Conduit is the most important part of the 3Dponics system. With our simple 3D-printable conduit part http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:379184http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... you can easily use an aquarium air blubber and run 3D ponics system. Check out this video to see how it works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RClgBDI8g3Mhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Standard Conduit - 3Dponics Vertical Garden

What is the advantage of the bubbler vs a normal water pump?

Hi ="thingiverse-eaafe61a63a845b5240d6eafb9b3768d:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-eaafe61a63a845b5240d6eafb9b3768d/Esteves The advantages of using an air bubbler are tremendous! Main one is low electricity usage. On average it only uses 4.5 watt per hour or less (*depending on the model of the air bubbler you are using). This equates to literally pennies per day to operate it. It's also possible to just water the system manually once per day!

I really love this idea as a follower of the Bulletproof diet, and am always searching for convenient ways of getting organic product. One main idea of this diet is to reduce or even eliminate myotoxins from your food. I am curious to know if the filament is toxic to organic gardening. And if instead of using two-liters if glass would be a better option. Love the idea and has inspired me to start my own inside hydroponics garden.

If you are using PLA, make sure you choose a clear natural undyed form (slightly yellowish clear look) - while good quality PLA can be food safe, the dyes used by filament vendors probably aren't. You can buy natural undyed PLA from Faberdashery which is made from Natureworks Food Grade PLA. Faberdashery's production process might not be food grade though, but it should be great for this sort of system. Another good option is to use ColorFabb's clear "XT" filament. It isn't biodegradable and will probably last a bit longer in the sun, it's even stronger than PLA for this sort of application, and is also a foodsafe FDA approved plastic like the Natureworks undyed plastic. You shouldn't use ABS - it contains toxic chemicals, especially when heated - a really hot sunny day might be enough to release some of them. For the same reason in general, you should only print ABS in a well ventilated area - not indoors, unless you have some air removal system like a strong range hood. ABS is kind of a terrible material - there are much better options now.

Hi ="thingiverse-1c383cd30b7c298ab50293adfecb7b18:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-1c383cd30b7c298ab50293adfecb7b18/Bluebie you are absolutely right!

Hi ="thingiverse-ebaba661f1157ca24bcdff8b8d388259:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-ebaba661f1157ca24bcdff8b8d388259/argodwin. It's a really good question. If you are using PLA 3D-printing material, it is corn based and eco-friendly. Check out makerbot fillament page http://store.makerbot.com/pla-filamenthttp://store.makerbot.com/pla-...

Also I plan and using fish in my water container to provide nutrients to the plants.

this is our next step :)

Got some questions about this:

  • How are the plants getting nutrients? I assume you have to add some sort of mixture to the water?
  • Does the pump work non-stop or can you have a timer, for instance only during day/night, or 4 hours on/off
  • What would be the modifications needed to add a few fish to the bottom container and turn this in to aquaponics?

Hi ="thingiverse-eaafe61a63a845b5240d6eafb9b3768d:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-eaafe61a63a845b5240d6eafb9b3768d/Esteves
You need to use organic fertilizer such as you would use in any hydroponics system. I run my pumps non-stop because it's hot here in the summer and tomatoes consume a lot of water. But it's definitely possible to run them via a timer. Or even just water them manually one a day without a pump.

Just gotta say man, this is some really fantastic stuff. This is what 3d printing is all about. Keep it up, you're awesome.

hi ="thingiverse-7cb3dd908333c1794221f618b8be02d6:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-7cb3dd908333c1794221f618b8be02d6/vmadman thank you for your support! please post your pictures and modifications of the system. We need your feedback to maximize the yield!

What is the Wall count and fill, I am trying to find that setting in your documents here.

Hi ="thingiverse-116e268d0a91872deec1347eb675259c:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-116e268d0a91872deec1347eb675259c/thecharacterg I saw you already successfully printed the system and posted your pictures. We usually print on Makerbots and use medium print quality (0.2mm, and 10% fill, 2 shells with no supports or rafts). Only use raft setting for printing conduit part.

="thingiverse-116e268d0a91872deec1347eb675259c:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-116e268d0a91872deec1347eb675259c/thecharacterg thank you! Looking forward for pictures of your setup and plants :)

Only way to improve this would be some sort of reinforcing ring for the cut side of the soda bottles, to keep it from caving in under the weight.

="thingiverse-4da212c95f29db9f554e43e7e0fb5488:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-4da212c95f29db9f554e43e7e0fb5488/3dGringo check out the new upgrades. You can use fishing line instead of zip ties. It consists of "3Dponics bottle height adjuster" http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:385142http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... , "3Dponics inner clip" http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:386838http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... , and "3Dponics outer clip" http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:386839http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... Please let us know what you think!

Spacer - 3Dponics Vertical Garden
Spacer (Inner Clip) - 3Dponics Vertical Garden
Spacer (Outer Clip) - 3Dponics Vertical Garden

We have an upgrade just for that. About to upload it :)

I've found that cutting an extra band of length in the bottle, then fold it inside (creating a cuff of sorts) works really well for reinforcement

Nice work ="thingiverse-4d74ac1c528174c1779701efa5f3f6a3:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-4d74ac1c528174c1779701efa5f3f6a3/jakrabit could you share some pictures? Maybe we can make another upgrade?

Congrats on being featured!

Thank you everyone for all the support! This is sooo awesome!

hi there,
this is amazing project, we saw our birdfeeder placed on window :)

Thank you! We love printednest project too. Check out this video, it features another one of your nests - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evp6g5QFjaMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?...

First off, this is an awesome idea. I just printed one of the drip nozzles. It printed pretty well but the bridges took a few passes before I got complete layer. I think that if the first bridge layer didn't have a hole in the center it would print much nicer. You could just drill out the hole after you're finished printing. Anyway, just a thought. Thanks for the design!

Hi ="thingiverse-c3a896c1ea45c72ea292837c22e932d5:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-c3a896c1ea45c72ea292837c22e932d5/hiemmer Thank you for support! Could you post pictures of your system? Did you check this version of the drip nozzle http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:379054http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... ? It prints better with no overhangs.

Drip Nozzle (1/8 inch, 3 holes) - 3Dponics Vertical Garden

All I have done so far is print a drip nozzle. I am hoping to print the rest of the parts this weekend and will post my results. Thanks for the link to the alternate nozzle.

Will you post some kind of instruction or documentation? Because I'm not sure how to get the system working, right now it only blows air into water ;)

Hi @telepath Please take a look at this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RClgBDI8g3Mhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?...
We are making an animation video also which will be available shortly.
Did you manage to print the parts ok?

Only the conduit prints fine.
The water pressure was too low, I had to increase the water volume, now it works, in concept.
Now I only need some plastic bottles :D

Are you guys printing these in pla or abs? ( or something else )

hi ="thingiverse-f83aaf1660e2dc1b9204513c2aa09a23:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-f83aaf1660e2dc1b9204513c2aa09a23/bilsch we recommend printing in PLA, but it prints both in PLA and ABS. Please send pictures once you print. Cheers

the link in your instructions has a typo, the "D" is not in there. it goes to a strange place, not your site.

Hi ="thingiverse-a6cba635074a4a8418e60998c2c92223:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-a6cba635074a4a8418e60998c2c92223/peetersm . Thank you for pointing it out. Fixed now!

You licensed this as "Non-Commercial". Is that really intended? This means a 3D printing shop or professinal cannot offer to print these parts freely. Will there be another kind of (commercial) license required for this? I fear that might greatly hinder the spreading of the system.

"A commercial use is one primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation." Creative Commons - Non Commercial license. Commissioning a 3D print shop to make these parts is not primarily intended for commercial advantage, and would be fine. This license just stops 3D print shops from selling these parts as a retail product or an encouragement to order parts.

Yes, I would be totally inside the license if I commission a print shop to print the parts. However, the print shop would not.
And I would certainly be outside the license if I offer to print the parts for a fee.

Hi @mindmapper1,
thank you for your support. We are working on creating individual files and will be uploaded today.
Looking forward to hear updates and results!

Thank you I have printed all the parts successfully except the conduit which simply will not print with clear tubes to allow flow. I think I will opt for using a pump rather than the pitot system. All drip feed parts print well without raft on a heated glass with ABS.

Great news @mindmapper1
Conduit prints beautifully with PLA on Makerbot Replicator 2. We tried Replicator 2x with ABS and it came out fine also. Please share your pictures!

Can you load these as separate items, they don't fit on my platform. Thanks

Hi ="thingiverse-85200a8f134802dd452522a59edc9676:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-85200a8f134802dd452522a59edc9676/mindmapper1 just loaded all the files separately. Please post pictures when you print it!

Hi Tannius
Thank you for pointing out the mistakes. They are fixed now.
Did you try printing the system?
We are about to harvest our first ripe tomato!

Very cool concept. Replace your chemicals with a fish tank and run aquaponics and save even more money.
Also, your website needs to be spelled right. it's missing a 'd' after the 3 and takes you to the wrong site.