Boost Your DIY Hydroponics System: 3D Print It
Originally posted on the Pinshape blog.
The folks at 3Dponics know their stuff on hydroponics. Here’s their guest blog post on how you can build you own DIY Hydroponics System!
Anyone new to hydroponics might find picking out the right system parts, growth medium, nutrient solution, and making all the adjustments necessary to keep your plants alive is, well, daunting.
Fear not though, because we’ve developed not one, but three separate DIY hydroponics systems — ones you can 3D print and fully customize the parts for — that will make navigating the world of hydroponic gardening less overwhelming and more fun.
In the summer of 2014, we launched the 3Dponics drip hydroponics system on Kickstarter. After traveling across North America to spread the word on its benefits, plenty of people — teachers, students, makers and urban farmers — built it.
Since the advent of this system, and to keep up with the growing demand for 3D-printable gardening solutions, we’ve created two more systems: the 3Dponics non-circulating hydroponics system and the 3Dponics Mini. Here we’ll discuss each one and its benefits.
For starters though, you need to know where to get your 3D-printable hydroponics parts.
Download 3Dponics Digital Files
No matter which system you’re building, accessing the digital files for the 3D-printable parts will be the same process, meaning we’ve uploaded files for the drip, non-circulating and Mini system to the same 3D content sharing marketplaces online.
- Download the files from Pinshape, the next-generation 3D printing community marketplace (for free!);
- Customize the parts using the 3Dponics Customizer to better suit your indoor garden;
- and send the updated, ready-to-print digital files to your 3D printer.
Once you’ve 3D printed the parts you need for the system you want, it’s time for the dirty work (but not really, because with hydroponics there’s no soil involved — hurray!).
Really the toughest part is deciding which system you’ll build. With 3Dponics, there’s something for everyone. There’s a system for the beginner gardener and the more advanced. So let’s explore your options.
Option #1: 3Dponics Drip Hydroponics System
As previously mentioned, this totally open-source system was the first.
- Inexpensive to build (less than $20 in total)
- Fits well inside small, city apartments
- Perfect for people wanting to try their hand at 3D printing
- Gives you affordable fresh fruits and veggies in the comfort of your home
The drip hydroponics system is ideal for growing cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.
Option #2: 3Dponics Non-Circulating Hydroponics System
This system functions differently than the 3Dponics drip hydroponics system and has different 3D-printable components; however, it has a number of the same benefits. It’s inexpensive, the perfect size for city dwellers, simple to 3D print, and saves you money on produce.
- Neither an air pump nor electricity is required
Plus, it’s the go-to system for anyone hoping to successfully grow leafy greens, such as lettuce.
Option #3: 3Dponics Mini
Finally, the 3Dponics Mini is unlike the others in that it requires just one 3D-printed part. All you need is a single Bottle Connector (available in large and small). In addition to the Bottle Connector, you need just 3 empty plastic bottles, nutrient solution and growth medium.
- Neither an air pump nor electricity is required
- No wasted nutrient solution
- Fits virtually anywhere (as there’s only two hanging bottles)
- Requires little to no knowledge of indoor gardening
Because of its simplicity, the 3Dponics Mini is the best choice for beginners; however, you might find, after you’ve built it and are manually watering your plants, you need more of a challenge. In this case, you should definitely consider building either the drip or the non-circulating hydroponics system.
Note: We provide step-by-step instructions and a comprehensive list of the materials you’ll need for each system.
3D-printable Hydroponics: The Future of Urban Farming
It’s no secret that the maker movement is really having a moment, and we’re sure it’s one that will last. More and more K-12 schools are putting 3D printers inside their classrooms, and teachers are searching for practical ways to apply the technology.
At the same time, there’s a focus on horticulture and finding sustainable, innovative ways to produce food. 3D-printable hydroponics: a blend of urban farming and 3D printing is one of those ways.
If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, order 3Dponics parts online. You’ll need to shell out a few extra dollars for the service and/or shipping, but ultimately you save when you build 3Dponics.
You don’t need to spend time searching your local grow shop or hardware store high and low; you know which parts you need to get started and you can easily access them. (All other materials can be easily sourced.) What’s more, if an existing 3Dponics part does not perfectly match the one you need for your indoor garden, you can modify it so that it does.
You can follow the free-to-access detailed instructions for building the system, and you can consult the 3Dponics online community if you run into problems or have questions. Not sure what nutrient solution to buy? Just ask the people who have already built a functioning 3Dponics system. You can — easily and without paying a penny. Join today to be a part of the growing community of folks into DIY hydroponics without the fuss.