If you are like me, you love fruits and vegetables, but don’t love the increasing prices for produce, which go up seemingly every few months. It can literally cost hundreds of dollars per month to purchase enough produce to feed a family of four, especially in larger cities where space for farming and personal gardening are limited. Not everyone can have a farm in their backyard… until recently.
In fact, thanks to an initiative called 3Dponics, which utilizes 3D printing to create an innovative hydroponic system, anyone, anywhere can now have their own little garden (or big garden) in their backyard, on their porch, or even in their homes. The free 3D models to print out the parts needed for the system are available on Thingiverse, where the creators describe it as follows:
“3Dponics is a 3D-printed hydroponics system that allows you to grow your own food, follow a healthy lifestyle, support local agriculture and do something good for the environment. The system is perfect for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, microgreens, herbs, strawberries and even flowers.”
Besides the seven pieces, which can be 3D printed, in order to build the system you will also be required to obtain the following items, all of which are relatively affordable, or free:
- Three or four empty plastic bottles (2 liter bottles are recommended, but 1 liter bottles will work)
- 10 feet of aquarium air pump tubing
- 20 common zip ties
- Hagen Marina 200 quiet aquarium air pump, or one like it
The total cost to build each hydroponics system should end up being under $20, and once turned on it will only utilize 4.5 watts of electricity per hour. 3DPonics plans on launching a Kickstarter campaign shortly, which will help them fund the creation of a local food market and community, based around their hydroponic system. The community will be an online hub where 3DPonics creators can share and improve on the designs, while also offering their 3D printing services to those who do not have a 3D printer available. The food market will seek to connect individuals who have an excess of produce, so that they can sell it to those looking for fresh, naturally grown fruits and veggies.
The team behind 3DPonics has been working on this project for over two years, refining it and perfecting it so that they could share it with the community, and inspire a movement to spur individuals to take control of the food they are eating, while saving them money in the process. Let us know if you have 3D printed the components of the 3Dponics system, and how the assembly went, in the 3DPonics forum thread on 3DPB.com. Below you will find a video showing three 3DPonics systems installed on a balcony.