I wanna build a bigger Farmbot! Possible? Pellet injector?


#1

Hi there, I wanna give many thanks to Rory, the founder of the Farmbot forum, for putting all these works open-source.

Currently, I have a single span tunnel greenhouse. The plantation area is about 8m X 120m - 960m2.

I want to create a bigger Farmbot version in my greenhouse to grow baby spinach organically. In addition to the existing component on the Farmbot, I wish to develop a “pellet injector” that could fertilize chicken manure in pellet form, and a adaptor tool that could work compatibly with my existing spinach harvester.

I will need the height of the Farmbot to be over 1.8m as I need to run my bobcat in for regular tillage and bed making.

My questions are should I consider making multiple smaller Farmbots, or should I build one bigger unit? What is efficiency of one control arm? Could one single unit handle all the tasks?

I will try to blog everything that I do with the Farmbot. Let me know if anyone could help me with the initial planning like the materials for the rail system in a bigger system.

Jonathan


#2

Hi!

Have you considered mounting your FarmBot to the ceiling of your greenhouse? It’s a recommended approach if you already have the supporting infrastructure in place.

They explain why they chose for a low rails + tall gantry system over high rails + flat gantry on this page.


#3

Hi there, that sounds like an awesome project! As @mdingena mentioned, if your greenhouse is sturdy enough you could mount the tracks on the side walls of the greenhouse, that way you can keep the height down (better rigidity) and have the gantry move all the way to the end for when the bobcat needs to come in.

As for the size, the main challenge will be in the length because you have to pull and manage all the extra cabling, tubing, and cable carriers along such a far distance. Another design you could consider is the cable/trolley system:

That could be hung from the ceiling of your greenhouse or along a side wall and prove to work better. We may be using this system on our larger devices slated for next year as well.

Feel free to track and share your progress here!


#4

Oh also, regarding the multiple bots vs one big one - you’ll need to calculate how many plants you have, estimate how much time it will take for the FarmBot to do the tasks for each plant, and then how many plants one bot can support at once. Because FarmBot takes care of plants individually, it may not be able to scale to your desired size and still take care of everything.

At that point you have two options:

  1. Build multiple independent devices
  2. Put two (or more) tool heads onto one z-axis so that FarmBot tends to two (or more) plants at the same time. The plants would have to be the same, but if you’re just growing spinach then it shouldn’t be a problem.

#5

Why don’t you just send the farmbot all the way to one end when you need to get the bobcat in there?

I’m interested in doing the same thing.

Will probably leave the width at 3m, but like 40m long… wonder if it can manage that size…


#6

Howdy,

I’m interested in what was your experience. With your experience on this effort, given the opportunity, would you consider the same aproach to a ~3000m2 ( 40 x 90 ) area?
Did this evolve? How did it develop?