3DPONICS - Drip Hydroponics System

Introduction: 3DPONICS - Drip Hydroponics System

About: 3D Printing Meets Hydroponics! Open-Source Gardening | Innovation through Collaboration.

The 3Dponics Drip Hydroponics System is our original 3D-printable garden! With a few 3D-printed parts and some reusable, everyday materials, you can build your own fully functioning hydroponics system, which you can set up in your kitchen, on your balcony or even in a tiny city apartment.

To build a system of your own, download the digital files for free from our website. Print the parts, follow our step-by-step instructions and start enjoying delicious, fresh food at home.

Here's why you should grow with 3Dponics:

  • You get fresh, organic and affordable produce at your fingertips.
  • No more GMOs & pesticides in your food!
  • It's eco-friendly (you can finally put those empty plastic bottles to good use).
  • It takes up very little space.
  • It costs next to nothing to operate.
  • You make use of today's hottest technology that is 3D printing.
  • You can monitor your garden remotely by connecting it to a webcam.
  • There will be fewer trips to farmers' market & grocery store.
  • There will be less waste, as you grow only what you need.

Step 1: Download the 3Dponics Digital Files.

First, you need the 3Dponics digital files for the 3D-printable parts. All the parts and upgrades are available across multiple 3D-printing marketplaces. To see the full list, visit the 3Dponics Downloads Wiki.

There are many parts and upgrades for the Drip System; however, the three most important parts you'll need are:

  • Conduit
  • Drip Nozzles (x4)
  • Silencer

The other upgrades will surely improve your growing experience but are not necessary. Even the silencer is optional (but recommended).

NOTE: The size of the Drip Nozzle you'll need depends on the size of your rubber tubing. If your tubing is 3/8 inch, then you should download the 3/8 inch Drip Nozzle.

Step 2: Collect All Other Materials.

Besides the main 3D-printable components, you will need a few more parts that are recyclable or otherwise easy to find. You'll also need some basic tools for putting the system together.

Other components:

  • 4 empty plastic bottles (we suggest 1L or 2L)
  • Aquarium air pump (Hagen Marina 200 or equivalent)
  • Aquarium air bubbler tubing (10 feet)
  • Grow medium
  • Bamboo sticks
  • Support structure (rod, pole, coat rack)
  • Reservoir (8 L plastic jug)
  • 20 zip ties
  • 4 small plants
  • Hole puncher
  • Knife
  • Scissors

Step 3: 3D Print the 3Dponics Files.

We used the Makerbot Replicator 2, the Makerbot Fifth Generation Replicator, the Formlabs Form 1 and the M3D Micro to 3D print the parts. Each one of these machines worked well!

Suggested settings:

  • Medium quality
  • 0.2 mm
  • 10% fill
  • 2 shells

If you don't have a 3D printer but really want to build 3Dponics, don't even sweat it! You can order all 3Dponics parts and upgrades on:

Step 4: Build the Support Column.

To build the support column:

(a) Take your bamboo sticks and fasten them together with zip ties to create a 6-foot pole.

(b) Again with zip ties, attach the conduit to the bottom of the bamboo pole using zip ties. (Note: the end of the conduit should stick out a bit at the bottom of the bamboo stick for stronger suction).

Feel free to snip off any excess plastic from the zip ties.

Step 5: Prepare the Plastic Bottles.

Preparing the empty plastic bottles is simple:

(a) Use a knife to cut the bottoms off the plastic bottles.

(b) Use your hole punch to punch four holes along the edges of each bottle. Make sure the holes line up nicely with each other; they should be an equal distance apart and across from one another.

Step 6: Prepare the Rubber Tubing.

(a) Determine how much tubing you will need to cover the entire length of the support column. Give yourself a little bit extra to work with.

(b) Use zip ties to secure the tubing to the bamboo pole.

(c) At the bottom of the bamboo pole, cut the tubing where it connects with the conduit, and connect the two parts by inserting the conduit into the tubing as far as it will go.

(d) Connect the tubing to the air pump.

Step 7: Attach the Bottles to the Support Column.

    (a) Screw the Drip Nozzles onto the plastic bottles.

    (b) Flip the bottles upside down (the Nozzles should be pointing downward).

    (c) Pour the pre-soaked grow medium into the first plastic bottle until it's about half full.

    (d) Gently add the first plant to the first bottle.

    (e) Add more grow medium until the plant can stand on its own without toppling over.

    (f) Use your zip ties to attach the first bottle to the hook at the top of the support column. NOTE: We suggest using a coat hanger for this, since it already has a hook.

    (g) Repeat this process for the remaining three bottles and plants.

    Step 8: Prepare the Reservoir.

    (a) Fill a large jug or bucket with water or nutrient solution and place it on the floor next to the support column.

    (b) Turn on the air pump and carefully place the Conduit into the reservoir.

    Step 9: Grow and Share!

    Congratulations on setting up your own 3Dponics system. Now you can grow fresh, organic vegetables and pretty flowers in the comfort of your own home!

    Want to create custom parts for your 3D-printed garden? Register for free on the 3Dponics website and try out our 3D Customization Tool! And remember to share your questions, comments and pictures with other 3Dponics users on our G+ community.

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      8 Discussions


      Question 1 year ago on Step 8

      How do you determine how powerful the air pump needs to be? Do you compare pump pressure rating (>0.014Mpa) with the height it needs to pump (2m)? More info on this aspect would be great.

      Tater Zoid
      Tater Zoid

      5 years ago on Introduction

      I'm proud of you for making this an open source project.


      Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

      Absolutely! Everyone should benefit from it :-). Thanks for your comment. Let us know if you set it up. We'd love for you to join the 3Dponics community!

      Tater Zoid
      Tater Zoid

      Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

      I'm not 3D printing, as of yet, but looking to create something similar.


      5 years ago on Introduction

      Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc. We encourage you to try growing various kinds of veggies! :) We have a 3Dponics experimental farm set up now, so we'll soon be reporting on what works and what doesn't, growing with 3Dponics. Stay tuned!


      5 years ago

      what kinds of produce are viable/ recommended for this kind of set up?


      Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

      So glad you think so! :) Thanks for checking us out & for your comment.