Food Computer - Gipuzkoa style


#1

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,
Victor


Andrew's Custom T-slot Frame (Food Cube?)
German MVP Build Instruction / Deutsche MVP Bauanleitung
#2

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…


#3

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.

Victor


#4

aka crazy style…love it :kissing_smiling_eyes:


#5

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.


#6

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:

Pros:

  • DIY, cheap
  • Low voltage
  • Customizable

Cons:

  • 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:


#7

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.

Victor


#8

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…


#9

Hi,

Some pictures of my recent progress…

First one, how to fix LED lights inside the MVP. I want an adjustable solution and here it is.

When I turn on the lights looks pretty good:

I received recently 4 LED bars. Each one has 80W. Here is the content:

And here is the result:

I have several 3d printers in my workshop. Recently I received the amazing prusa i3 mk3. I printed the pieces included in the sd card and the quality is awesome. I will make the pieces of this project mainly with this printer. Here is an example. It has 0.2mm, without supports :

One piece to cover the fan. Be careful with the outer fan, people have sticky fingers and could be hurted if they touch the fan when is working.

A draft of my indoor farm. It’s clear for me, don’t worry :slight_smile:

The book shows several designs of aquaponic systems. I hope to update one of my MVP to cover this.

And finally a fritzing draw . It has some mistakes but I correct them in the future:

BR,
Victor


#10

More pictures…

I have finished the inner side’s covering with aluminum and past week I received the boxes that I need to content the grow media.

Unboxing and putting all in order:

All the boxes in place. All of them are food safe and I can stack them with safety. The lower boxes will content water with nutrients. The others will have the grow media: perlite mainly. The water will be pumped between them . I will use DWC and ebb&flow techniques.

In the bottom I have two big boxes. The left could be upgraded to aquaponics because will be connected with the upper beds, the right box will be an spiruline experiment (somebody have tried with Red&Blue light and spiruline? I’ll make a try :thinking: )

The front doors will be made with polycarbonate and need something to fix them in the frames. I use hinges with a 3dprinted piece, look at the picture:

I need the handles, weather strip and little details but soon will be finished.

At the other hand I’m cloning the software to several micro sd. Every frame will have a brain and wifi connectivity with the vnc software tool.

I must correct some wiring problems in the brain. When I finished and tested it, I could easily clone the brain too because I have almost all the hardware in stock.

I can’t wait to see all turned on :heart_eyes:


#11

I’m really excited to see this as well! Perhaps once you’ve got it working it might be cool to post a short video demonstration.

I’m very interested to see what you’ve got planned for growing, I love all the variations in size! What is Spain famous for? What can’t you get there? I’d be happy to help you put together a Design of Experiment or at least throw around some ideas for what you could A&B test.

Keep up the great work @VictorB - I appreciate you sharing pictures - it’s great to see.


#12

Thanks a lot @Webb.Peter !!

Sure! I will make a playlist about Food computers . The first one will be a short introduction .

In the small frames I will use greens as lettuce, arugula, basil, chive …
In the big frames I will use tomato, pepper, eggplant, pea…
In the frames with perlite and ebb&flow I want to try with leek, onion, zuccini … (is big but I could see what happens :wink: )

My aim is create a mvp workbench to grow several things at the same time, in paralel. When I finist the building I will grow these vegs and put my effort in control ph, EC, nutrients and learn growing techniques. My first test one month ago was unsuccesful but it was only a first try. I’m sure that the future test will be much more interesting.

At the moment must be confident with the growing basics. When I have more experience I will appreciate your suggestions and ideas.

I live in the Basque country, in the north of Spain. Here is the Basque Culinary Center, a R&D center of food and cuisine. Also have a degree of cuisine (come people of the whole world). In autumn I will speak with them to see if they are interested in my work .

The climate here is template, not mediterranean. A lot of cloudy and rainy days but plenty of forest and prairies with cattle. So a FC could be interesting to grow things out of season. What about pepper in December ? :laughing:

I’m member of Impact Hub Donostia. Some colleagues are involved in circular economy movement and asked me to grow mushrooms with remains of coffee . Could be interesting, that is in the queue to experiment.

Regards,
Victor


#13

More pictures of my project. My workshop is a mess, I’m sorry for that :sweat_smile:

In this picture I’m cutting pieces for a new design, based in the ikea lack table, very cheap (10eur). Adding some 3d printed pieces and some acrilic and plywood to cover the faces the cost continues quite affordable. When I finished my project I will create a BOM and more detailed information.

Here it is the lack frame almost finished, it is over a MVP that is working. One of my goals is create sturdy frames that could be stacked.

The MVP FC that is working uses DWC and a pot with mixed soil. The seeds are lettuce, arugula, basil, chive. The mixed soil contains perlite, worm compost and coconut coir. The DWC basin uses 12 holes (it has 24) because I prefer some free space. The empty holes are covered with aluminum to avoid algae growth inside the basin.

Remote connectivity works fine. I’m using VNC. A free account has 5 servers and 3 clients. My clients are my mobile, my workshop’s laptop (in the picture) and my home computer. I will have 6 MVPS, So I hope to use two accounts. Perhaps in the future I will use other system but now I am confortable with this solution. This laptop is running with linux mint.

In the brain I leave the wiring with space to make measures with an amperimetric clamp. With a LED growing lamp rated at 40W I have 0,133 amps (remember, in Europe we use 220VAC). The board has only a plug with 220AC. Contains all the voltages that we need (220VAC, 12VDC, 5VDC USB). At the moment uses two relays, following the standard MVP design, in some of my MVPs I will include a third relay to pump water because I will use the ebb&flow technique.

I am preparing the pieces to build several brains . In the picture are some of them. I use several 3d printed components to have a clear board. Some components are in thingiverse but I have designed some more. I will upload them at the end of the project.

And that’s all. I hope to finish the whole indoor farm in september.

Regards, Victor


#14

Oh my gosh! This is the same idea i had when i started my thread “Andrew’s food cube”…!! Peter Why didn’t you tag me?! :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I think we should collaborate. My first attempt at putting walls on mine did not work well, but i am going to order some white plastic soon.

I need to come back and look at how your door hinge setup is working, as i was just trying to figure out how to do that! Can you provide a better look at the door hinge? Are your CAD files Open Source and easily available? I usually upload my items on thingiverse under the user “biolumo”.


#15

Are the hinges 80/20 t-slot hinges?


#16

Hi @BioLumo !

I’m on holidays and here I have a reduced connectivity; I’m sorry for the delay to answer.

I’ll be in my workshop the next week.

Answering to your questions:

  • I use 2020 tslot
  • I buy the slots and other pieces in motedis, an european provider. They are focused to makers and have good prices.
  • The black piece of the hinge is standard and serves to connect two tslot pieces.
  • The white piece is 3dprinted and designed by me. Serves to fit the standard hinge to a piece of acrilic, polycarbonate… The door needs a hole to insert nut/bolt across that piece.
  • All my job is open source but is in progress. I’m uploading info in my github account (in spanish). Here I’m posting info in english.
  • I will upload my stl files to thingiverse and other repositories soon, be patient.
  • I will record some videos showing my indoor farm. My english is intermediate and I hope to be clear :slight_smile:

Here is a recent picture . More info soon.


#17

I have been two weeks on holidays and now restart the project.

I’m very happy because the first harvest soon will be here, look at the picture:

I have Lettuce, arugula, basil . If I turn off LEDs and open the door has this appearance:

At left a blue basin with DWC hydroponic technique, at righ a pot with a mix of perlite, coconut coir and worm compost. Must be manually irrigated.

In the next picture a detail of basil in the pot. Note the size difference with the basil that grows with DWC. They are sowed the same day, with the same light conditions.

And finally the appearance with the MVP FC up and running:

I have made some little mistakes but I will correct them in next crops.

The LED light has 40W and a fotoperiod of 14h in this crop. I took pictures with webcam but they have a poor quality because this frame is small and didn’t focus well. In bigger frames I hope a better result.

In september I will finished 2 MVPs more, in october the other 3. So I will have 6 machines up and running to test several crops at the same time.

Here a test of 50x50x100cm frame with CFL LED bulbs. The height is adjustable. I need to cut the bulb cover.

And a good notice. I will give a short workshop of Food Computer in Impact Hub Donostia the next week. Here it is a screen capture and URL of the event:

https://donostia.impacthub.net/evento/planta-tu-lechuga-en-el-food-computer/

I will have other workshop in november, in Fab Lab Leon. In october i will be in Bilbao Maker Faire and perhaps the Maker Faire Rome.


#18

A new design that I have developed. It’s similar to foam farm’s design. In this case I use polystirene (with only 6mm of thickness). It’s very light and easy to mount/dismount and transport. Reminds me to Monopoly boards. I use this design in a training course that I have made this week in Impact Hub Donostia.

More pictures of this frame … with a thickness of 6mm (polystirene) and reflective film. Light and easy to transport. All the faces are joined with velcro tape.

This -extremely simple- mvp FC is exposed in the dinning room inside Impact Hub Donostia during a month. Here I made a training course this tuesday and the frame has basil’s seeds. The people could see the progress. The course has 3 sessions. First one was the tuesday, second one in two weeks, visiting my own workshop and indoor farm. The third day will close the course here in the impact hub, and people will recover their basil to remember the power of indoor growth.

Here a detail of the frame. To reinforce the top I glued some pieces of extruded polystirene. Also serves to guide the LED panel. This model is designed to include a brain (note the two holes to move the air input/output). In this workshop only has a AC plug with timer to turn on/off the light.

Here is a picture of basil that people has sowed. Every person has a pot with a label. All the pots are inside a basin to recover the excess of water. And we raise the basin to be higher and have more light. This frame don’t have a base. It’s directly over the table. Here the people eats everyday and could be curious about this project.

This is a good solution to make training courses. Soon I will show more pictures of my workshop and how are advancing in my indoor farm. BR,


#19

Hi all,

I have been very busy this month. Here an update with more pictures:

Between september and october I made a course about Food Computer in Impact Hub Donostia, it was splitted in 3 sessions. The first one was a talk about concepts with a practice to mount an extremely cheap FC version. The people sowed basil in this practice and the picture shows that moment:

The second session was held in my own workshop, close to Impact Hub Donostia. Here I explained more in detail the designs and possibilities of this indoor farm. Two pictures here:

The indoor farm is showed in this picture:

At the moment I have 3 MVPs working, they are here:

I’m using the DWC hydroponic technique and a mixed soil to compare results. The small FCs grow arugula, basil, lettuce.

The medium FC (50x50x100cm) has cherry tomatoes, eggplants and pepper

The past weekend I took part in Bilbao Maker Faire with two projects. One of them was the Food Computer. Here it is a picture of my stand. In both projects I received the blue ribbon “maker of merit”. A lot of people was interested.

A newspaper interviewed me. This media has 98K readers more or less. I spoke about maker culture and Food Computer.

And that’s all.

BR,