3D Printed Modular Hydroponic Garden




About: I'm an agro-anarchist educating and empowering the people of the world to grow their own food.... one 3d print at a time. Download, print, and grow.

Just download, print, and grow!

My goal is the empower and educate people to grow their own food ... one 3d print at a time! With this modular hydroponic system, you can do just that. The modules are interlocking, so it can be expanded and contracted very easily. The relatively small size of the modules also allows for easy shipment, opening up the possibility for schools, organizations, and individuals to crowdsource a garden/farm.

Today we have access to highly advanced technologies. But our social and economic system has not kept up with our technological capabilities that could easily create a world of abundance, free of servitude and debt. - Jaques Fresco, TVP

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/archipelagourbanfarms/


3d printer: Creality CR-10 - https://amzn.to/2DyVO58

Filament: PLA - https://amzn.to/2W6ABXn

Reservoir: IKEA MUSKOT Vase 7 1/2" - $9.99 - https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pr...

2-inch net cups - https://amzn.to/2DxGpBW

Medium: 1.5 inch Rockwool Cubes - https://amzn.to/2IY0hSm

Timer: Kasa Smart Plug - https://amzn.to/2Pso8uH

Pump: VicTsing 80 GPH - https://amzn.to/2Ppfs86

Tubing: TotalPond Vinyl Tubing, 1/2 inch - https://amzn.to/2DyHnhg

Nutrients: General Hydroponics 3 Part System - https://amzn.to/2IDEP5x

PH Control: General Hydroponics pH Control Kit - https://amzn.to/2XKManA

Seeds: https://www.rareseeds.com/

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Step 1: Download and Print .stl Files

  1. Download all the .stl files. located within this Instructable.
  2. Drop each file into your slicer (I use Cura) and save the .gcode. (The lid.stl and vaselid.stl files should be placed upside down in order to print properly.)
  3. Print Lid.stl.stl (at 20% infill)
  4. Pint NewReservoir.stl (at 20% infill)
  5. Print Module.stl x 3 (meaning print three (3) of these at 20% infill)
  6. Print vaselid_v5.stl (at 100% infill)

Notes: I printed in white because I like the look of it. You can print in any color, just make sure it's opaque.

Step 2: Finish 3D Printed Parts

  1. Use a 1 1/4" hole saw to drill a hole in the middle of the reservoir lid.
  2. Sand the edge of the hole with sandpaper.
  3. Use a 5/32" drill bit to drill holes inside the reservoir.
  4. Drill holes above each net cup placement and inside the overflow hole.

Step 3: Setup Plumbing

Note: Keep in mind

  1. Connect the tubing to the pump.
  2. Place pump at bottom of the vase.
  3. Place lid on vase.
  4. Snake tubing and power cord through one of the holes of a module and place module on lid.
  5. Measure tubing and cut giving enough length for tubing to reach the top reservoir. (keep in mind pump listed within this Instructable only has enough lift to rise above 5 modules).
  6. Place top of tubing inside the reservoir, ensuring nutrient water reaches outer circle.

Step 4: Add Water and Nutrients

  1. Add water to vase.
  2. Add nutrients to water using the instructions on the back of any General Hydroponics bottle.
  3. Use the pH meter to ensure the pH is 6.5 plus or minus .5.

Step 5: Setup Timer

  1. Download the Kasa App.
  2. Connect the Kasa App to the Wifi Smart Plug.
  3. Add 15 minute on/off intervals on App at: 7:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 9:00p.m.
  4. Plug wifi smart plug into outlet.
  5. Make sure smart plug is off.
  6. When you're ready to start growing, plug pump into the smart plug.
  7. Turn smart plug on and ensure alignment is correct by ensuring all rockwool cubes are being soaked by the nutrient water.
  8. Manually turn smart plug off and turn on the previously set timer setting on the Kasa App.

Step 6: Start the Seeds

  1. Place the rockwool cubes in the net cups.
  2. Soak in water.
  3. Select seed.
  4. Place two seeds in each Rockwool Cube about two centimeters deep.
  5. Place seeded netcups in shade. Wait 3 days.
  6. After the seeds sprout and are about half an inch long, place net cups in the modular hydroponic system.
  7. Place system in sunny spot and turn on.
  8. Trim the least promising seedling.

Step 7: Print More Modules

Print more modules and expand your garden into a farm!!! Let me know if you have any questions. Be sure to subscribe as I will be refining the this Instructable and the system.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/archipelagourbanfarms/


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    19 Discussions


    Question 4 weeks ago

    Since I do not own a 3D printer would I be able to use pvc pipe for this?


    2 months ago

    I love this design. Have you considered drilling a hole the same size as the tubing in the center of the reservoir bottom and and running the pump tubing completely on the inside rather than going on the outside and into the hole in the cap on top? It would be easy to add the hole in the 3D model so no drilling would be needed.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks! Yes, the idea with the line being on the outside is that it is easier to expand i.e. pull the line out and just place another module on top and then put the line back in. If the line were on the inside it would probably not be as easy.


    Reply 2 months ago

    Any suggestions for smaller printers? My print bed is 170x160x145 and won't accommodate the size of these pieces.


    Reply 2 months ago


    I donwscaled the system to fit on a counter. It’s probably comparable to click and grow and the aerogarden. The entire thing can probably be printed in a day. I had trouble with the netpot model because when I scaled it down the walls were so thin the slicer wouldn’t recognize it. I hired a designer to fix it and now it looks like I have a good model. Uploading the ASAP. The fit is not as good but that’s the great thing about 3d printing. The cost of iteration is minimal. This new model would probably fit on your printer and be perfect to dip your toe in hydroponics. No pun intended. I’m an attorney by day and new dad so sometimes I don’t update/upload/respond as fast as I should if I did this full time. But this project really makes me happy and gives me a lot of meaning and so I’m going to stick with and make it better and better as long as I’m around. Not sure how often you’ll have to replenish the reservoir since it’s so much smaller. Would probably be perfect for cocktail herbs such as mint, basil, etc. That’s what I’m planning on using it for. Stay tuned.


    2 months ago

    Hello, I live in Colombia, I want to buy a 3D printer to carry out your project, it's really great. I congratulate you, more ideas like that we need in the world. Really, I thank you brother, you deserved to win the gardening contest, your project is by far the best

    1 reply

    Reply 2 months ago

    Gracias! Vivo en la Florida pero soy de Puerto Rico. Sueno de jardines hydropnicos en los techos de las casas. En Puerto Rico, todos los techos son plano por los vientos de huracanes y reciben un monton de sol. Perfecto para este sistema. Probablemente igual en Colombia. Te recomiendo el Creality CR-10. Es medio barato y hace unos prints super buenos. Dejame saber si tienes cualquier pregunta!

    Thanks! I live in Florida, but I'm originally from Puerto Rico. I dream of hydroponic gardens on roof tops. In Puerto Rico, all rooves are flat because of hurricane winds and receive tons of sun. Perfect for this system. It's probably the same in Colombia. I recommend the Creality CR-10. It's relatively cheap and makes super good prints. Let me know if you have any questions!

    See https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/027869159400145E
    I personally wouldn't make utensils out of it. Most of the plants grown using the modular hydroponic system hang in mid-air and don't really touch anything during their entire growth cycle. Also, see this article finding that lactic acid promotes plant growth. See https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00027441 Might be a positive unintended consequence from using PLA if there is in fact any leaching of lactic acid.


    2 months ago

    FYI the module.stl file is incorrect. It's for a different part than shown.

    2 replies

    Reply 2 months ago

    It depends. You could potentially make more holes and have more plants in a single piece of PVC pipe that you can purchase for less money, but I first tried to do this with PVC pipe and it was a pain in the *ss! It kinked, it stunk, it’s not uniform, it leaked, it was heavy, it couldn’t be dismantled and transported or cleaned easil, etc. The cost of a single module is about $2-$3 (and falling) in raw PLA. Moreover, since this is a uniform and modular system, the possibility of “crowdsourcing” a farm easily exists. Prints can be mailed into a single location from anywhere in a country rather cheaply or students at a school can 3dprint a module(s), bring them into their school, and assemble a hydroponic farm the next day.