Seedling System

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About: After a degree in micro-engineering in Switzerland, I moved to Russia to discover new landscapes

Nature is abundant! And this year I also wanted to be abundant with my seedlings. But seedling is time consuming so I designed this tool to streamline the process. In fact this project is a script. The beauty of scripting rather than drawing is that you enter the parameters (seed size, spacing etc.) and in one click all the parts are generated.

In FabLab Moscow ( http://fablab77.ru/#/ ) we are imagining tomorrow's agriculture. Some people are exploring hydroponic systems and I want to try something like agroecology. This is why I want to make a lot of plants and finally release them in my backward. I was inspired by this guy ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgwGVbxZBSg&t=724s ) who use the paperpot system ( http://paper-pot.com/# ) and I adapted this tool for my needs.

Step 1: Tools and Material

All you need is :

  • A laser cutter
  • Waterproof glue (epoxy, cyanoacrylate)
  • Plywood or plastic sheet

As always, I guess that you do not have a laser cutter at home but you can look for a Maker-space, FabLab, Hacker-space or a firm that have one around your home!

I did my test with plywood but now that I am happy with the design, I will build the next box out of plastic for more longevity.

I used FreeCAD to design the part because it is free and easy to script. (I just installed Fusion360 so if you are enough wanting to have a Fusion version, write me and I will see what I can do.)

Step 2: Make Your Model

The beauty of this project is that you make the parts specially adapted for your plant size in one click!

  • Install FreeCAD
  • Download the scripts (3 files)
  • Press the script button on the top right of your screen
  • Select "makeBox" and press "edit"
  • Set the parameters you want
  • Click the run button
  • Select the face and export the shape in the desired format (.dxf)
  • Edit and run "seedDispenser" and "splitter" with the same N, L, h parameters (number of cells, length and height)

Step 3: Cut and Assemble the Box

For the box, you need to cut :

  • 1 bottom
  • 4 sides

Then glue them together like in the images. (Do not use white glue (PVA) because it is not waterproof) If you do not have clamps use tape and heavy stuff to secure the parts. It is important to clean the excess of glue and it is easier when the glue is still soft (cf. image).

Step 4: Make the Seed Dispenser

For the seed dispenser you need to cut :

  • 1 plate with small holes
  • 1 plate with big holes (sliding plate)
  • 2 sides without big slot
  • 2 sides with the big slot

To facilitate the mechanism you can make a chamfer on each side of the handle (cf. first image) and wax (I used a candle) the edges of the sliding plate (the one with big holes). Then :

  • Glue the three sides to the fixed plate (the one with small holes)
  • Clean the excess of glue after assembly and wait that it dries
  • Add the sliding plate in its slot (do not glue!)
  • Glue the last side but avoid gluing the sliding plate side

Step 5: Add the Splitters

The spitters are not glued to the box. So they can be removed, swapped or adapted each time.

There is two types of splitters: the regular ones and the ones with opposed slots at the ends. Here is the procedure:

  • Put two regular splitters vertically in the box
  • Secure them with one opposed splitter in the middle
  • Complete all the opposed horizontal splitters
  • Add all the regular vertical splitters

The number of regular and opposed splitters are always equal to the N parameter.

Step 6: Make the Seedlings

  • Add soil in the cells
  • Put your seeds in the dispenser
  • Place the dispenser on the box
  • Open the holes and close them
  • Add more soil or special mulch

Make a lot of seedlings!

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