Food Computer - Gipuzkoa style


Hi all,

I presented myself in Where are you building your Food Computer? and open this thread in advice of @Webb.Peter to describe my FC MVP project more in detail.

Gipuzkoa is the name of the provincial council where I live, in the Basque Country (Spain). And the project “Food Computer a la guipuzcoana” is a spanish pun that seems a cooking recipe. Here the cookery is almost a religion , the people (and tourist too) appreciate a lot a good meal. And I thought that FC could be very interesting in that context.

But my real interest is how to cultivate in almost every place, the @Caleb 's serendipity in Fukushima was a big influence for me. I developed in December a successful crowdfunding campaign to develop the project and now I’m in the run.

I have some goals in the context of this project:

  • Try to work only with 12V DC to have possibilities in an off-grid context.
  • Use of ormus, sea-crop or similar and biofertilisers instead of A+B solution and chemicals. They could be produced locally at low scale.
  • Search an adequate mix of spirulina, vegs and worm composting to create an almost closed device.
  • The Array of modules must be enclosed in 2x0,5x2 m3 .
  • 2 MVP kits and 2 MVP kits with workshop will be rewards for some people that contribute in the campaign.
  • A complete FC 2.0 with the experience achieved building and growing with MVPs.
  • Perhaps make a try with a little aquaponics module.

My main goal is make easier to build, distribute and use of FCs in all kind of context: R&D, education, cookery, farms, cities… I think that FC concept is quite hard and MVP is more realistic. So, I start with MVPs and try to raise the bar step by step.

Thanks a lot,


Here it is a draft of my workshop. I work in several areas, not only FC or MVP. In the draft are labelled all of them. The Food Computer area is in the upper corner near the window, and labels describe briefly each module. All the modules will be MVPs with several sizes, and at least one of them will be scaled up to FC 2.0.

Here is a picture of the current state of the workshop. The Modules are builded with aluminum 2020 tslot and is pending the coverage of faces. I have also one MVP made of white carboard, this works but is only a model that I presented in Bilbao Maker Faire (December 17). Also I have one operational MVP of 50x50x50cm in tslot. It is in the workbench, not in this picture, because I’m making tests to improve it. When I finished I’ll replicate this improvements in the other ones.

Here is a picture of LED COB lights that I’m testing to evaluate how to dissipate the heat in the chamber. I’m trying with 12V light but I reduce voltage to 9V to enlarge the endurance. I’m in proccess with this issue.

At the same time I’ve started with the first round of seeds: I’m using 5 vegs: 2 lettuces, basil, rucula and chive.

Here it is a picture of the little nests that I will use. Some of them are 3dprinted. Could you know what they are? :rofl:

In the first batch I will use hydroponics with two methods : DWC and Kratky method. And some with a solid substrate of vermiculite and worm compost.

Work in progress…


Some pictures of the first attempt that I made the past year (november 2017).

In that time I wanted mainly a proof of concept to show during the crowdfunding campaign. So I made the frame with a white cardboard box. The size was 60x40x40cm.

All the edges were reinforced with duct tape. Inside the box was covered with a very cheap mylar blanket. In the right side I attached the control board. In the top and front had two windows covered with a thin acrylic plastic. The two windows are covered with the piece of cardboard previously cutted. They are joined with tape to the frame.

Here we see the front window and the carboard’s door. The tape serves as hinge and the door has little pieces of velcro tape to attach and detach.

The control board was 3dprinted with two colours and had the holes to fit the pieces in their place. In that time I didn’t have clear the branding issues with openag and wrote this text . The board had space for R-Pi, relay board and exhaust fan. Also some holes to pass wires ans camera USB cable. And some little holes to zip tie the wires. As you can see is unfinished, this was the first prototype. I’m trying to use only 12VDC in all the system.

I installed the MVP software but in that time I had problems with couchdb. In the next picture could see the mvp in my stand in Maker Faire Bilbao (december 2017). The top and front window were opened, the inner LED light turned on and a little screen conected to raspberry. Inside I had a cheap hydroponic box but it was empty, without plants, because this was only a proof of concept.

And the last picture, my stand with several devices, at left the MVP Food Computer that received the blue ribbon “maker of merit” :star_struck:

That’s all, my next step was a MVP made with aluminum 2020 tslot that I finished in February. In the next post I’ll show you more pictures.



aka crazy style…love it :kissing_smiling_eyes:


Next chapter … Feb’18 … My First MVP that works, made in aluminum 2020 tslot. Look at the picture…

It’s a cube of 50x50x50cm made with 12 aluminum tslots (one more in the top). I bought the pieces precutted at 2€ each piece. They are joined with 3d printed brackets in white pla, nuts and bolts (5x8).

The slots have a groove of 6mm. In that place I insert the panels, made of two layers:

  • Outer layer of 3mm dm plywood covered in white plastic.
  • inner layer of 3mm polystirene covered in reflective aluminum.

I join the two layers with double-faced tape and insert in the groove. I made this with left-right-rear panels. This panels have a good isolation with reflective properties.

The top is made with two pieces of polycarbonate. Good isolation and transparent, it’s posible to use with daylight if you like.

The bottom needs to be resistant, I use a DM board of 1cm, covered with the reflective polystirene.

The front has a weather strip. The door is made with a piece of acrylic (4mm). The inner side has a layer of tint film (semireflective). The edges are covered with aluminum tape. Two hinges, a handle and a magnet to close the door and it’s done.

Here it is the inner board. It’s a piece of DM with a 8cm fan, temperature & humidity sensor, led strip and two LED cob. All works with 12VDC, but the LED strip and fan always have 12V and LED cob works with a relay and not 12V, they use a DC-DC source with 7-9V to reduce heat. The board could be attached and detached of the frame because is fixed to the upper tslot.

I put the fan oriented to LED to dissipate heat, but is not enough. This is a bad design, LED COB needs much more dissipation. Anyway it works because I use low voltage, but is not reccomended. The next picture shows in detail this board and the brain board:

At right the board with LED COB (10W each one), fan, led strip and some reflective tape . This board has space to allocate more LED COB but is for testing purposes.

At left the brain board with R-Pi, relay board, DC-DC regulator, 12VDC plug and connectors. It’s not the definitive distribution. With this board I realized that DC-DC board don’t have power to drive 2 LED COB, when you increase voltage the intensity drops. In theory could drive 2A (limit to 3A in short peaks). The LED COB needs 0.9 A. So it must be fine, but this is only a theory…

And finally here it is, the unit turned on. The screen shows some charts. In this case I had problems installing Raspbian Strech and Jessie, but finally solve the problems and install the MVP sw, and works fine.

In that time (end of February) I stopped because I moved my equipment to other site. I’m working again but I want test several light sources before to start growing. Soon I’ll have more pictures.

The frame looks beautiful, and the red&blue light is mesmerizing.


I have been testing several LED sources to see the best choice.

I bought several LED COB with 12VDC in Blue+Red color, also warm white color.

They come without driver or heat sink. Look at this picture:

They are 2 Blue+Red LED COB, each one has 10W and 0.9amps at 12VDC. Each piece has a matrix with 9 1W LED inside. In the next picture we see them turned off:

I holded them with double tape (with thermal properties) in an aluminum “U” profile. And then holded in a Tslot 2020 aluminum profile. The tape is bigger than COB, so the solderings can’t touch the aluminum. The wires are crossed because components are crossed too. In the center we see two 12DC–>9DC converters. At this way we have less heat and lighting is almost the same. In the rear we have a 12VDC fan.

This module has 20cm of lenght. The idea is attach this module to other 50cm tslot . We have space to hold several modules like this and increase or decrease lighting. Also we could move up and down this tslot inside the chamber, look in this picture:


  • DIY, cheap
  • Low voltage
  • Customizable


  • Components with low quality and easy to burn
  • Risk of shortcircuit in solderings

In this picture we see a module with warm light LED:

I will continue testing this aproach but also I bought several LED modules to see the difference.

In this case is a double kit with 40W each one. They need 220VAC and the driver output has 30VDC. I like them because are cheap (20eur each one) and very thin.

Here is turned on. I see comething similar in @melanieshimano 's pictures. I suppose the result will be similar, I must test them .

Finally a powerful LED panel with 300W (85eur). With a big heat sink and 3 fan inside. But weights more of 3kg :scream:

Here it is turned on:

Soon I will build the complete array of MVPs and see what happens. Crossing my fingers… :thinking:


I have been one week on holidays with my family, a good moment to read books related with food computing:

Now I’m finishing the array of MVPs of my indoor farm, look at the picture:

This is a MVP with aluminum frame and 50x50x100cm. I have other one with 50x50x50cm and I’m building other one with 100x50x100cm.

In the bottom is an industrial rack with 220x50x100cm:

To fill the rear, left and right sides I’m using extruded polystirene. In the inner side they have a reflective aluminum layer. In the outside a white plastic layer. The front door is a work in progress.

Inner side:

Outer side:


I hope to build all the frames and organize them this month. In August I will install electronics and LED lights and start to grow several things at the same time to see the differences.



Here it is a draft with the distribution of my MVPs, how are made, size and light type in every frame.

Here it is a picture, some hours ago:

Work in progress…