Hi FarmBot community,
As you may have seen by now from our newsletter or social media feeds, on Friday we announced two new FarmBots available for pre-order: Express MAX and Genesis MAX. Both of these new devices are 18m long (3x their XL counterparts) and represent the most economical FarmBots we offer when looking at the $/area metric.
If you’re interested in using FarmBot for small commercial production (such as for a farm-to-fork restaurant or larger-scale research) we think these devices will be a great fit. Or, maybe you just want to grow a truly massive home garden!
Some hardware details
Both of these kits will share nearly all of the same hardware and features as the smaller versions in their product line, though we’re still working out some kinks with the X-axis drivetrains to reliably support such long lengths. Specifically we’ve seen so far that the motors have a more difficult time pushing the cable carrier in the -X direction when the bot is in the farthest third of the bed. We’ll be able to overcome this with one or some of the following techniques, with the final design to be determined.
- Increasing the current provided to the motors by the stepper drivers (the Trinamic stepper drivers included in all kits from here on out allow software-controlled current adjustment)
- Using longer motors to provide 20% to 40% more torque
- Using smaller pulleys to provide more torque, though this also reduces the amount of tooth engagement which may increase propensity to skip
- Using gearboxes to increase torque
- Using even smaller X-axis cable carrier to reduce mass and friction
- Using a more flexible power cable with thinner outer insulation
Additionally, we are considering using upgraded GT3 timing belts for the MAX bots, as they are designed to carry larger loads, and would stretch less over such lengths.
Software to support MAX beds
In addition to making the hardware reliable, it is a top priority for us to continue building software features that make configuring a FarmBot fast and easy. The recent plant groups and grid/row planting features were a huge help in reducing tedious/repetitive tasks associated with managing hundreds of plants, and we expect to continue improving the farm designer and other built-in features to improve the experience.