Four years I have followed farmbot. It’s great. I have recently seen a reprap design that’s called hanging printer. I was wondering if anybody had thoughts about making one for farmbot. 3 support posts at almost any distance steel cabling from Motors at the three posts moving the head units around and then have your Z axis AZ cabling on the head unit dropping your head down. I think the biggest drawback to it would be it would need to be out of the wind to operate correctly. But some of the positives about the system would be you could have all of your heads mounted at the same time. and when you get ready to use your water it would just offsets x y axis plus 10. When you wanted to use the weeding tool it would offset x 10 y 0 activate a solenoid to drop that tool lower.
I think this is worth thinking about because, in my estimation, the weakest ( dirt, misalignment, stalls resulting from ) part of the farmbot design is the rail system. Is this something like what you mean? https://www.appropedia.org/Clerck,_a_RepRap_3D_printer_hanging_from_the_ceiling
Cross reference to a post on the same topic
that is version 2. I think version 1 would work better for this.
I think this design would be great in a greenhouse. It would allow moving all the components up, out of the way giving more usable space and easier access.
The biggest flaw that I see with any of the designs, either concept or currently operating, is the limitations of where it can be used. I may be wrong, but I’ve never seen any FarmBot design that would be usable on bare soil. All seem to require some sort of contained, raised bed arrangement filled with either loose, sandy soil or a non-compacting compost mixture.
I think a lot of this is due the construction materials used along with the need for an economical packaging & shipping requirement. For a busy Urbanite/Suburbanite, with no or limited knowledge of gardening, wanting to grow their own fruits and vegetables, this can be a viable solution.
For me, living in a rural setting and wanting a large garden, this becomes impractical and cost prohibitive, given the price point of the currently available models.
Regardless of design, what I’d like to see is a kit model containing all the necessary electronic components, encoders, drive motors & gearboxes along with basic tools (seeder, watering head, weeding tool, etc.) and recommended structure design/size with material lists.
Sourcing these materials in bulk would reduce both cost, final purchase price, reduce shipping size & weight, and allow the end user to source their own structural materials.
As an example, for the garden size I have, it would require the Genesis Max. The kit, at around $5,500, when you add in shipping, tax, materials to make the garden bed, the end price would be in the $6,500 to $7,500 dollar range or more.
I can source all the required conventional gardening equipment, for a garden this size (or larger), new for a fraction of that cost. Granted, it would require a lot more work on my part as it would be me doing the tilling, planting, watering, and weeding vs the FarmBot.
While I (and those like me) might not be the target consumer for FarmBot, I can’t help but feel there are more of us as potential customers than the afore-mentioned Urbanites/Suburbanites. In my way of thinking, this is a potential huge, lost sales group potential.
farm bot is open source. So you could get all the parts locally and you can change it to heaver materials.
Yes, it is open source and anyone could source their own materials. The problem comes with code compatibility.
For example, if I decided to source my own wheels/rollers, this will affect the distance traveled per revolution. I haven’t found a definitive answer, but I assume the FarmBot kits use cheaper incremental encoders for position feedback driven by the wheels/rollers. Everything else being equal, just a minor difference in wheel/roller diameter will change row and plant spacing, unless one is capable of editing the code to account for the difference. Then there’s the potential for this code change to affect other parts of the operating system that would then also need editing.
While this may not be a problem for someone comfortable with reading & writing code, it becomes problematic for someone like me.
For those of us that are not as capable in code editing, the only option becomes purchasing the ready-made kits. While still an option, price point vs return on investment becomes a serious consideration.
Consider the smallest FarmBot Genesis. For a kit and all the other materials for the raised bed garden, total cost will run in the neighborhood of $3,100 to $3,500 or possibly more. How many years of food cost savings will be necessary to offset the initial investment ?
Add to that, it’s possible for me to build the same size raised garden bed and fill it with loose, sandy soil or compost, just like what seems necessary for the FarmBot to function, add a sprinkler with a timer, and I could raise a similar amount of food for a very small initial investment. Yes, I would need to prep the bed, plant the seeds, fertilize and weed myself, but at a fraction of the cost.
in the software there is a verable you change for your stepper motors. there are youtub vids showing haw to edit it. the ready made kits still need a little tweeking to.
There is a ROI calculation availabe which you might have to adopt to your needs: https://farm.bot/pages/roi
Besides of that: The FarmBot is not a cheap tool and it also needs some fiddling and maintenance. For me this is more a hobby/project. Hobby means for me to achieve a minimum result with maximum effort. But NEVER in a bad way! It brings joy and frustration, it has costs and will be time consuming. But at the end you will be more happy about the achievements than angry about the frustration. Not everything can be tagged with a price. Open source doesn’t mean that it fits all variables automatically. But open source gives YOU the ability to work on every aspect of it to get it working as you’d like. Sure there is maybe a lot of effort needed but it wouldn’t be possible with closed source products. Open source often needs some fiddling and tuning but with closed source you would end up with a pile of frustration without the possibility to adopt it to your needs.
As you explained there are ways to do it cheaper. This would be the way to go if cost and value doesn’t fit for you.
As a hobby machinist, I can totally relate to that. Machines aren’t cheap and tooling/attachments can more than double the cost of the machines.
Like I mentioned, I’m not trying to run down FarmBot. I think it’s both a wonderful idea and a useful product. I guess I just see so much more potential with just a few tweaks to the current platform.
Thanks for letting me know about the variables in the code allowing for fine tuning adjustments. I’m in the middle of a few projects and haven’t had the time to delve into the code yet. Not sure what I’ll be able understand until I do. A friend of mine has been teaching me quite a bit about open source electronic platforms and code, along with a project he’s been helping me with. We’ve been attempting to hack the protocol for some linear encoders I bought for my shop, trying to make them compatible with an App based DRO that uses an Arduino for the controller.
After that’s finished, I plan on downloading the code and start trying to read through it. I’m particularly interested in the arc/circle designs that a couple of college teams have attempted to build that employs a Polar coordinate system instead of the Cartesian system used by the rectangular models.
To me, a design that is set on a central pivot is an elegant design that should be much cheaper, simpler, and less problematic than the rectangular design. Not as scalable, but a much better solution for what I have in mind.
I think that you
might be the right person to develop a mechanically good solution for the
There could be a great outcome if you are also able to dig into the software aspect and get some support from software people.
I guess great minds do think alike. LOL
For the current design, magnetically coupled tools is an ingenious idea, but I just don’t see it holding up if used in more compact soil types.
If I can get to the point of building one, a redesigned tool attachment mod is something I’m planning on giving a try, although using magnets along with a more secure attachment method might be the way to go. Magnets for the initial attachment and alignment with some sort of securing device.
Another concept I’ve been tossing around is a merging of two different groups. As a member of a few different hobby machinist forums, I’ve seen numerous posts asking about possible money making ideas/suggestions.
I’ve often thought that if one could find a way to bring the groups together, it could be mutually beneficial for both. For instance, someone on this forum would like a tool to do “X”, some of the talented folks on the hobby machinist forums could be interested in designing and building it. This group could handle the coding to implement the tool and there are those that would jump at the chance to build and sell them.
Just imagine someone being able to come up with an idea or design that would give FarmBot more or better functionality. Toss the idea/design over to the other group for design and/or prototype build, followed by open source manufacture.
This would be especially true for those “One off” design needs that maybe only a few would like to have. Totally impractical to design, spec out, and submit to industry to manufacture. Not cost effective and too time consuming to tool up a large assembly line for just a few parts. Not that much of an issue with the hobbyist. Not to mention, a lot of those guys have CNC machines in their home shops. If there’s a larger demand, they might feel it’s worth writing up the G-code and be able to crank out parts, yet still be cost competitive.