Germinate Seeds With a 3D Printed Container

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Hey, This is Ben and I Code Your Venture Free. Actually, I am kind of obsessed with tidying and minimalism. Therefore, when I grow my microgreens, I also want to keep them neat and tidy. As a hacker, here’s my solution to solve the “Growing Chaos” problem. Design a 3D printed grid pattern container for the microgreens.

Step 1: Measure the Size of the Seeds

In this experiment, I am going to use the broccoli microgreen as a tester. First and foremost, I use the digital ruler to measure the size of the broccoli seed. It’s around 3-5 mm.

Step 2: Design the Grid Container With AutoDesk Fusion 360

Base on the size of the seed, I use fusion 360 to design a grid pattern system which can hold the seed and let it germinate. Since my 3D printer is not that accurate, after several trial and error, I finally figure out a grid holder that can place my seed.

In each of the grid, you can see that there is a little hole at the bottom. The purpose of the hole is to let the water drain out and create a space for the root system.

Step 3: Design the Water Container Underneath

I also design another container to hold the water underneath. This design will guide the development of the root system to the boom. This is very similar to a hydronic kit. After several trails. Here’s the design that I finally come up.

Step 4: Broccoli Seeds Start to Germinate

I start to plant some broccoli microgreens. I put 1-3 seeds in each of the grid in order to see the differences later on. After several days, the seeds start to germinate and the root system developed to the bottom as I expected. If you want to know the growing progress of these microgreens, please feel free to check out my Instagram later on.

Step 5: Improvements

There are definitely some improvements to the design.

Instead of PLA, PETG is a better material for this project because it is food safe. ABS or PLA filament is generally considered unsafe to use with anything that will comes into contact with food. That's because ABS contains evil toxic chemicals which can contaminate your food and then.

Another problem is the oversized water container without any drainage. This provides a favorite environment for fruit fries. This time, I just simply use some plastic tape to cover up the container. In the long term, I will probably design a better water container that is the best fit to the grid system.

Step 6: Conclusion

So this is the quick wrap up of the microgreens project. Thanks for checking out my weekend project. Have fun!

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    5 Discussions

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    RobPaige

    4 months ago

    Am I correct in thinking these microgreens are meant to be eaten, like alfalfa sprouts? If that is the case, then yeah, PET-G is probably going to be a better bet, but those layer lines are still going to be a haven for bacteria. I also wonder if this could also be used as a container to start chili pepper seeds for transplanting, and if that's the case, I don't think material would matter.

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    JohnC430RobPaige

    Reply 4 months ago

    when things grow in soil they are covered with bacteria.... seems like the plants filter out the bacteria.

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    JohnC430

    4 months ago

    I made it with the egg cartons. took 10 minutes. then it took more than half an hour to break the shells of the peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines... I had a large Aluminum tray and cut up two egg cartons put a bunch of seeds (peaches, nectarines, plums, red bell pepper, lemon, oranges and grapefruit, ROSES, and last but not least some seeds i got from acorns, oh and a few seeds from the local oak trees LOL) into the cartons and watered the tray. Everything got soaked. wonderful way to grow stuff... Now I am waiting for something to sprout.
    I dont have a warm place for the tray so perhaps i will try and make a heater of some kind, maybe with some 12 Volt car light bulbs or even buy some heater pads (except that I dont want to spend any money) so i will have to find a way to heat the tray from below. perhaps 10 Watts/120VAC; big job... 67 resistors, 22 Ohms, 0.15W dissipation on each to give a total of 9.8 Watts. all soldered in one long string connected to 120 VAC and insulated from each other and from the tray... Uggghhhhhhh... PITA project. gotta find another way... perhaps with a light bulb(?)... or even electrify the tray itself(?)... if i find a way I will post more info.
    Maybe I will steal the heating pad my wife uses for her back(?) that will work great, but i risk getting caught and then she wont cook for me for a month!!! darn... seemed like a good idea but the risk involved is too great... ok forget that!!!

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    Rain123

    Question 4 months ago

    Hi Ben,
    I liked your instructable and video's :-)
    Would it be possible to get your Fushion 360 design?
    I would love to use that as a starting point, and add a lid or even LED lighting etc.

    Regards,
    Rein

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    JohnC430

    4 months ago

    Your idea is great!!! Did you use any kind of UV lighting to help the growth? These look like they grew very quickly.
    Long ago I used egg cartons to germinate seeds. I put a little dirt in each "cup" and watered the seeds. However after some time they would die because I would forget to water them. I dont have a 3D printer but i will go back to the egg cartons and this time without dirt. Make a small hole in the bottom of each cup and add a couple of seeds.and let the carton sit in a disposable Aluminum basin that is used for cooking. Add water and REMEMBER to water once a week!!!