@wsnook I agree with you that we aren't going to make an entire kit work for everyone, I think though that some products are going to be more generally available than others. I want to start with a plant (lettuce) then use a guide (cornell, other sources) to write the recipe. I plan to start with the needs of the plant and then based upon those requirements, and the defined criteria we're talking (non CNC, hardware store parts), provide a product that can execute that recipe. I hope to be as transparent as possible about the reasons for decisions on the system design (hence this post and the discussion before just building).
In my head, a "recipe" is a set of requirements by a plant, whether or not an automated "Food Computer" carry's out that recipe is another story. For the MVP we can design it so that many of the tasks that are automated with the V2 PFC are done manually, not only does this save us money but it provides an opportunity to learn about what the plant needs to succeed. I would love for the UI to incorporate curriculum and be more of a walkthrough that reminds you to check PH, gives you information about what's happening to the plant (germination, when to harvest, etc.).
@Poitrast I agree with you that 80/20 is an incredible material and standard from which to prototype. I appreciate you taking the time to figure out the cost. In my personal opinion, I think that it's a bit overkill for what we need and is pretty expensive compared to alternatives (PVC).
It seems like you have experience with LED design based upon your other forum post. I would love to get your input designing the lights for this MVP. We have been talking about trying to do off-the-shelf lights that wouldn't require a separate driver. I know the V2 lights are adjustable by intensity and spectrum, I don't think the MVP needs that flexibility. Instead what we need is 200 μmol m-2 s-1 of light over a 24" area. I have been considering and plan to test using 3-4 10W equivalent LED bulbs at 3000-4000k (this MVP is leafy green only). We could install them directly onto the plywood using regular lighting fixtures.
@yusuf.khan.su Your prototype looks very slick! I'm curious how you sourced the ABS/PETG materials and had them cut. I appreciate your feedback on the Mylar, from what I understand car sun reflectors are the exact same material and can definitely be used as a substitute. For clarity, are you suggesting that we use wood because it's readily available? I agree that you are correct, my only concern is again with reflectivity. Lastly, would you be willing to share pictures of your aeroponic pump system/chamber? I think it would be very cool to build a High Pressure Aeroponic reservoir that can be used with a Bus Tub, do you think that is realistic or would it be too shallow?
- I agree that a "window" is a great feature for showing off the PFC and getting a peak at the inside. That being said, one of the things the MVP will have is a camera, so you could also view plants from a tablet/phone easily. When considering something like an acrylic panel on the front I always get stuck on a few issues. The first is that of cost, that this will add another raw material purchase to the BOM. Do you have another material or idea for a transparent panel?
- Good to know, please continue to let me know if you can/cannot source parts we're talking about.
- That "Reflectix" looks like it would work great. Would this count as an "imported" item, or would it be affordable?
@jimbell @drewthomas89 Thanks for answering questions! I really appreciate everyone's feedback, the more of us that contribute, the better the end product.