Choosing hardware material


HI, I have some questions on the choices that were made for particular construction material. I was able able to find almost all of the goods for the motherboard but ran across some challenges to find specific hardware here in the Netherlands.

  1. Tuff-R is hard to get over here. What are the reasons for choosing this material ? Is it the high isolation value or is heat resistance of more importance ? Can polyurethane be used instead ?
  2. The plastic box that covers the foam box is that just for the looks ? or is it really functional ? If so, please let me know what this box is for.
    3)The PVC sheet for the bottom and walls. Is it an option to use laminated wood panels instead ?
  3. The steel frame: is there a good reason not to use a wooden structure ( lighter and cheaper) or aluminium profiles ?

Thank you for sharing your insights!


I think the Tuff-R was used for Reflective property and insulation factor. I have to say it is a bit difficult to “hot glue” the insulation together to make sure the walls go perfectly straight.

Plastic box is just corrugated plastic sheet and is cosmetic. no real function accept to make the box not look like a big hack.

The PVC sheet acts as a baseboard, standoffs, motherboard mount wall, motherboard, and a few shim blocks for sensors. You could probably use wood. I have seen other designs that are using wood.

Steel frame… its expensive, and a pain. I made half in steel and the outside the grow box in wood. up to you.


Hey Josh

saw your blog - great post. Was wondering where you get the documentations to get started - the frame, the electronics, etc. And because I am a still a student, how much are you estimating the cost of building this?

Also, I have no previous experience in embedded systems, but very keen to learn - is it a steep learning curve?


Everything about building a food computer can be found up on Openag’s Github right [Here] ( Be sure to check out the gro-hardware section.


Cheers ToeSmack!

I shall do some reading!


Hud, agreed, go to Github to review the documents. Note its not cheap. right now I think my build is around $800 US dollars, and I have yet to even start buying the “wet” lab ingredients.


OK, I have come to some conclusions for my own build:
To me, the mechanical build of the food computer seems to be a bit of ‘overkill’ both in construction and in cost price. Maybe pricing is different in the US than here in Europe but I have made to following changes:
I replace the the PVC sheet for the base board and motherboard paner for laminated particle board.
All the steel profiles will be changed for aluminun profiles and I drill holes were needed to bold (or glue) the together and to the particle board.
I replace the Tuff-R sheets for Styrofoam boards (extruded polystyrene) which are less toxic and better biodigradable than PIR where the Tuff-R is made of.
I will cover the isolated box on the outside with 5mm foam board (laminated styrofoam) for better looks and on the inside I add reflective damp foil to protect it against moist. I gues that should do it. I made some drawings in Google Sketchup. I hope you are able to open them when I post them.
I will make pictures and keep you posted.


Saw this on amazon. Looks like its begging for a Food Computer to be added to it.


Had an additional thought on this… if you put the food computer inside an ATX computer case, and re-used the ATX supply for your 12V and 5V sources… you could set that right next to this grow tent.


Same conclusions here in Brussels. The Pink Foam is not for sale around. Replacing with standard expanded polystyrene (white).
I also would like to double or triple the size of the box for more crop. Reason why I need to take some distance from the original concept.


Jsut FYI , I used some PU board from BRICO. Works fine. In Brussels you can find also the aluminium reflectant in shop in Ixelles.


Hi @JoshSinykin.

I also noticed the hotglue issue. Hardens too fast and is too hard as a glue. Used and elastic glue that looks and feels like standard silicone that use in bathrooms. Takes a day to harden and hardens to a elastic state. Can also be used to seal gaps like the standard silicone.