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Marjory’s 3d Printer Adventure

This is a very hopeful thing so I hope you keep reading the article all the way through.

Mike Adams (the Health Ranger) has developed an urban growing box for producing food or medicine.  Of course we here at the [Grow] Network have to test it out…  Is this thing really good, or what?  I asked Michael (our [Grow] Network editor) to see if we could get six of them to start and I really wanted a dozen.  I thought we could give some to our most active Backyard Researchers in the membership area.  We could all write or video about out experiences and compare notes.

Then Michael got back to me that they cost about $100 per unit.  I don’t know what I thought it would cost, but uh, we might have to scale that whole idea back a bit.

But I was kind of bummed because it is more fun to have a bunch of people working on it.

Near the bottom of his website, I read that The Health Ranger was giving away the plans for his Grow Box for printing on 3d printers.

Hmmmm.

But now skip to another track.

In Austin, there is a company called “Tech Shop” I’ve got to tell you about. It’s a very new business with about 8 or 9 locations in major cities across the US.  You can build pretty much anything you can imagine at Tech Shop.  Prototypes featured on Shark Tank have been made at Tech Shops.  They have a full woodworking shop, metal shop, paint and powder coat area, welding, sewing, vinyl press and cutting, electronics and electrical areas, computers, meeting rooms, and 3d printers.

Just recently, my husband and our teenage son and daughter went to take a class on how to operate 3d printers.  Marjory at tech shop 3d printer copy

How cool is that?  Plus – and perhaps this is more interesting – there are several excellent Indian food restaurants nearby.  So we had dinner in town with exotic tastes we don’t get very often.

So yes, right after we took the class we started comparison shopping online for a home model.

And if I can ever get a turn to print something (I am in line behind my kids and husband) I plan on cranking out some of the Food Rising parts.  Want to join in on this and do some of your own backyard research?  Let’s discuss in the comments section below.

Whoot, whoot!

Marjory

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COMMENTS(0)

  • Cindy Pickles says:

    Would love to buy just the float made with 3d printer and be able to put put the rest of the box together myself.

  • Kathleen O'Meal says:

    Marjorie,
    one thing that makes Mike Adams totes expensive are the containers…
    and FYI this is not a new technique….been around awhile….you do not need the 3d print things and you do not need to purchase the nutritive items to use this method….rugged tote at Lowes is less expensive and is a safe enough plastic….there are fine nutritive things out there or you can put this together yourself for less…I agree…. too pricey and also not self sustaining…but very very wonderful

    1. Hi Kathleen, yes I really do need to spend more time looking into Mike Admas system. Gotta tell you I was so delighted to see my kids so excited about the 3d printer. They now want to take programming classes (which I am booking the family for). For me, the power of the 3d printer is that it facilitates expression of creativity and small scale solutions – which we really need right now.

      These printers are like the internet back in its early days. They are a game changer for so many industries.

  • Ed says:

    I skipped the float valve part of Mike Adams grow box and used a gravity fed system like the kind you see in bird-feeders and cat bowl water-feeders. The 3D printed parts are nice but hardly seem practical in a grid down or third world environment. I used one of those jugs they sell with a faucet for keeping drinks in a refrigerator for the water tank. I ran fish tank hoses from the jug to the grow boxes. Except for the jug ($7) I used all scrap pieces to build a window greenhouse unit 8″ deep and 21″ wide by 36″ high. I used twin walled polycarbonate for the walls and scrap 1″ X 2″s for the frame. It has four shelves that hold four grow pots that hold about four to five pots each. The unit is portable so I can move it anywhere.

  • Steve says:

    Hi – I bought one of the kits. Sure it was a little more than I wanted to pay, but he was using the proceeds from the sales to donate 250 kits to schools for educational purposes. Paying it forward. I just put the unit in service and planted lettuce seeds. I’m using the 3D printed float and I didn’t secure the float end of the drainage tube and the water in my reserve bucket drained out. In the instructional video Mike warns this may happen. I just re-secured the tube and applied the clamp appropriately, and no more trouble. Then I mixed the fertilizer. I’ll use his design and make my kits out of cheaper materials. He advocates making as many as you can support. I’ll re-post and post a picture in a few weeks after it gets growing. Take care, and happy gardening. Steve

  • Faithe says:

    Got one of Mike Adam’s boxes the first week they were available. Already have lettuce ready to eat. Looking forward to the adapter to grow root veggies that comes out next week.

  • Dharmananda says:

    Marjory – You can buy bins for $10.50 with a minimum quantity of 6, at http://www.globalindustrial.com/product/itemKey/31013478. Then all you have to do is get a float valve, a hole saw for drilling the holes, a hose and fittings, minerals, seeds, and net pots.

  • Alan F says:

    I work at Tech Shop San Jose and find the job fulfilling and the consultants and clients totally cool. Many of us woke up and decided to exit the high tech corporate environment. We are still waiting for HP or Epson to come out with a low cost metal 3-D printer for the average home. 🙂

  • Hank B says:

    I would be very interested in testing the 3d printed grow boxes. Currently using mainly Earth boxes for container experiments. Looking forward to hearing more details and cost figures.

  • Jim says:

    Hi – I had purchased some containers over the winter planning on growing all I could in our spare room. Well now the only thing growing in there is my 41 year old son. And the engine on our tiller stops as soon as it’s shifted into gear so that’s done but it doesn’t really matter I guess – at least not for this year. I’m getting this hernia fixed on the 14th and the Doc says at my age and condition I need to plan for gardening again next year and forget this one. Oh Happy Day. Well they can’t stop my dreams no matter how bad this thing is – I’ll still get around where I can smell the earth and hear the birds. You all hang in there and keep posting. I’ll dream that I’m out there with you. Jim

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