Introduction: Desktop Gardening, Plantbot Beta

This project is a continuation of Plantbot Alpha.

The goal here was to build a desktop garden similar to the AeroGarden that MiracleGrow markets but with more compute power and light power. Using a laser cut wood structure, LED lights, and Raspberry Pi, I created this system to take care of my plants. This is Plantbot!

Step 1: Source Materials


The laser cut wood structure can be found in MG_Assembly.SLDASM.

LED lighting

Power supply Mouser #:919-RACD20-500 Mfr. #:RACD20-500 Desc.:LED Power Supplies 20W AC/DC LED PW SUP REG ($26.92 ea.)

LEDs Mouser #:941-CXA13040C00A20E8 Mfr. #:CXA1304-0000-000C00A20E8 Desc.:High Power LEDs - WhiteWarm White, 2700K 368lm, 400mA, 80CRI 8 ($1.84 ea.)


I wire these bad boys in parallel AFTER using the right glue to glue them to a heat sink. This is critical, running the LEDs without a heat sink may fry them. These LEDs are ony $1.78 but larger LEDs can be $50 ea. ! Raspberry Pi + Wifi USB Dongle

I got this on Amazon along with a case for like $75


I laser cut the structure after they were created in Solid Works.

Step 2: Assembly the Structure, Mount the Hardware


Wood Parts: 13 Total

Material: Plywood Specified

Thickness: .25”

Actual Thickness: .20”

Fabrication Process: Laser Cut


(a collection of learnings from assembling the first laser cut plantbot)
1. Order for assembling plantbot housing

a. The best way to assemble the housing is to mount all of the horizontal panels to one of the side panels. Once all horizontal panels are mounted then you can capture them with the other side panel and attach the rest of the hardware.

Solution: Create detailed instructions

2. Wood Pieces are directional

a. The horizontal back panel (Back Cover DF) can only be mounted in one direction. The RECOM has opposing diagonal mounting holes and because of this can only be mounted properly to one side of the wooden panel.

Solution*: Etch the panels where electric components are mounted and include detailed instructions for assembly.

b. The inside back panel (MG_BackTopPannel) can only be mounted in one direction in order for the mounting plate to fit on it properly.

Solution: Etching

3. Fit:

a. The pieces fit together loosely. The original design intent called for a tighter fit. This is due to the material thickness which is below what was specified. Solution: Size and model panels to account for the actual material thickness.

b. The panel located in the top front portion of the housing between the two side panels (MG_FTPanel-2) is note secure.

Solution: Design the front panel with two teeth to create more stability.

4. Electronics

a. The thread forming screws are tiny and difficult to handle especially if panels are mounted already.

Solution: Provide detailed instructions so the end user mounts these components prior to mounting the panels.*

b. The RECOM (power supply) cannot easily be wired once it is secured in place.

Solution: With the current Phase 2 component configuration the solutions are as follows. - Leave the mounting bolts loose to allow for easy removal of the RECOM while assembling.

-Wire everything associated with to the RECOM before mounting

-Provide a detailed set of instructions

c. The location of the relay is not ideal and is mounted in the wrong orientation. The relay should be rotated 180 degrees so that the connectors going to the PI are closer to their end position. The relay is also too close to the edge of the interior housing wall.

Solution: Move and rotate the relay in the model to utilize space. Provide a detailed set of instructions for the end user.

d. The RECOM and terminal block hardware are not easily accessible once in the built position.

Solution: Assemble components prior to assembling the complete housing. Provided a detailed set of instructions.02

e. The cord length is too short. Solution: Specify a cord that is at least 8’ long to give the end user flexibility.

f. The other DC power supplies mounting orientation affects the location of the LED.

Solution: Provide a detailed set of instructions so that the DC power supply is mounted properly with the LED point up.

g. The removable back panel (MG_BackCover) is not easy to remove*

Step 3: Marvel at the Result

Once assembled, you're ready to start growing stuff! :)

Home Hacks Challenge

Participated in the
Home Hacks Challenge

Robotics Contest 2016

Participated in the
Robotics Contest 2016

Urban Farming Contest

Participated in the
Urban Farming Contest