Farmbot++ combining Farmbot and PFC


#1

Hi,
I want to build and enhance the farmbot https://farmbot.io/ and combine it with the PFC.
In the first step I want to build a prototype for indoor scientific usage.
After several discussions with http://www.alchemia-nova.net
I came to the following setup:
Plant area: 1m x 2m.
Maximum plant height 50cm.
Depth of the bed: 20cm to 30cm.
18 plants per bed
Distance between plants: 30cm
Ideal temperature between 21degree celsius and 25degree celsius
Wind simulation: Using fans (how many?)
LED Light: TBD
Water reservoir: ~80 litre per m2 in a month
Irrigation: TBD (drip irrigation?)
Sensors: TBD
3D machine vision system producing big data for machine learning
Additional features:
Worm castings?
Grey water usage?

Questions

  • The PFC is designed for hydroponics.
    Would it also work with aeroponics?
    Would it also work with soil?
  • Which compents of the PFC v2 are affected (how) by expanding the growth
    chamber to my design setting?
    • Air Cooler?
    • Air heater?
    • Humidifier?
    • Air circulation fan(s)?
    • Fresh air valve(s)?
    • Water circulation pump?
    • Peristaltic liquid pumps -> number?
    • Size of liquid bottles?
    • Sensors?
    • anything else?
  • Additional questions will be posted in other categories

many thanks
Leopold


#2

Love this. I am currently configuring a FarmBot for the St. Louis Science Center as a volunteer. They’ve got it in their aquaponics greenhouse.

I also am working with them to install the MVP software on the greenhouse to control and optimize temperature. In a way, we’re doing something very similar by combining them.

Have you built a FarmBot or ordered a kit yet?

I would encourage you to first think of your goals. Otherwise, you might spend a year designing an extremely complicated device that really doesn’t satisfy your needs. That being said, there’s a huge opportunity to do some really cool stuff. For example: if you could develop an imaging system that could create a 3D image of the plant using FarmBots CNC, THAT would be a value-add. I guess my question here is: what do you want to accomplish?

All of the elements you mentioned will be affected by changing the size, especially on the V2. Your questions are very broad so it’s hard for me to answer. I would encourage you to read these:

OpenAg MIT V2 Food Computer Paper
OpenAg STL V2 Food Computer Build

FarmBot Whitepaper
FarmBot Forum Thread on Integrating Food Computer


#3

Thank you Peter!

Have you built a FarmBot or ordered a kit yet?
No, I want to redesign it a little bit so that it is more scalable but my
skills are in software and electronics not in mechanics.

I will be back to your comments soon.

Leopold


#4

They just came out with XL last week, it’s much larger if you’re interested:


#5

+1 Awesome! Would love to hear more about this. And i would love to hear more discussions from the farmbot community here in general. I know this forum sort of started because of @Caleb and is mostly geared toward PFC innovation, but the name “OpenAg” sounds more inclusive and so i personally would like to have more varied discussions even without PFC technologies or hydroponic systems, or even without technology at all. But maybe that’s just me.

What varieties of crops are you using? Are they tailored to farmbot or your environment?


#6

Hi,
I discussed the Farmbot concept and the PFC with
http://www.alchemia-nova.net
They have a lot of scientific experience with plants.
We came to the conclusion that the Farmbot using soil and the hydroponic approach of the PFC are different systems. Nevertheless since I want to build farmbot++ (an advanced version of the farmbot) and a bigger version of the PFC I am looking which parts and which electronic could be the same. Since there are good reasons to move from 8bit to 32bit on the Arduino we currently are thinking to design a modular RAMP like board which can be used in several devices (3D printer, CNC machine, Farmbots,…). The PFC is a little bit different because you dont need stepper motors but in both cases there are sensors and actuators.
What would be feature requests for a next generation signal board?
Leopold


#7

Well, i do not have a PFC yet, but i think i am a bit out of the norm as i do not really plan to have mine use hydroponics as i prefer soil at this point, i also want to experiment with a PFC climate for breeding crops to survive on mars, and so hydroponic would not be useful for me as i would be working with a regolith substitute soil.

So i would not necessarily say your conclusion will be entirely accurate as my future PFC may not be hydroponic at all. Though i am experimenting with such systems or plan to. Though as a community it seems 99% of people are trying to replicate the PFC with exactness and are going the hydro route. But that does not necessarily be the case for everyone.

Yeah, i’m sure electronics could be the same. Though a PFC may not use stepper motors, it very well could if one was using a DIY (can even be 3d printed) stepper controlled peristaltic pump. Though i guess peristaltic pumps are more useful for hydroponic systems for automatically controlling nutrient solutions and PH by computer / microcontroller instead of manually. I saw one in Digital Machinist Magazine awhile back.

This is cool for the controlling of the peristaltic pumps. Something similar could be done for automatic hydroponic controlling of PH balance and nutrients.