While 3D printing technologies remain under constant heavy development, we continue to see more and more applications that free humanity from the limitations of the past, offering new opportunities and possibilities both to mass users and the more specialized and demanding fields of space exploration and colonisation. All of this is driven by a passion for innovation and sustainable solutions that will, hopefully. change the way we produce our tools, food, and appliances.
FoodRising.org Inventor Mike Adams has developed a 3D printable mini-farm grow box that allows home growers to enjoy a fully open-source, compact food production system that can be operated at almost no cost whatsoever. The box design and operation principle is in full accordance with the “constant bottom feeding non-circulation hydroponics” technique that was widely used in Taiwan and is taught by professor Bernard Kratky of the Hawaii University.
As a food activist, Mike Adams experimented with a wide variety of hydroponic and aquaponic arrangements, until he decided that this particular approach would be the most suitable for widespread adoption, stating: “This method is so cheap that it remained in obscurity for decades, as there’s basically nothing to sell.” The self-watering float valve that is required by the system can be 3D printed using recycled plastic filaments, while other tools and parts of the mini-farm can be made from common things available in every home, like a pencil eraser, a garden hose, and a vitamin bottle.
Mike has prepared comprehensive DIY videos that explain how to use common materials to build the mini-farm system and growbox farmers can also download the 3D printable files from Food Rising download page and start printing their own food production systems. All components include detailed 3D printing instructions, including extrusion temperature, nozzle sizes, ideal layer size, and speed. FoodRising suggests using Taulman T-Glase filament in any color and Cura as the slicing software. Detailed assembly instructions are also offered. For those that don’t own a 3D printer, you can also order a mini-farm box kit for only $99.
The advantages of these mini-farms are many and important. First of all, you can reuse them as many times as you want. Secondly, they are completely free of electromagnetic pulse devices or electric circuits, allowing the plants to grow naturally with minimum mutation rates. They are very efficient in terms of soil area per plant and they use only 5% of the water needed in conventional soil agriculture. There is no need for weeding, use of pesticides, or special lighting, and you can basically plant whatever you want (fruits, vegetables, herbs etc). Lastly, they produce very tasty and highly nutritious food as the non-circulation hydroponics provide maximum mineral density and absorption rates.
So, no matter where you live or whether your house has a garden in front of it or not, these little boxes can produce food that is beyond comparison in terms of both the cost of production and the nutritious value. If you already have a 3D printer, this is a great way to utilize it for your health benefit, or even for poor people in your area that can’t afford to grow their own food. If you don’t yet own a 3D printer, then here’s another great reason to go out and buy one!