Design Review 2 – COVID Update

My plan for this project as of a couple of days ago was to make an automated mixed-drink dispenser. Unfortunately, considering unforeseen events I have made the decision to pivot. Many of the parts that I had ordered and was expecting to receive weeks ago, have been further delayed or canceled, and I also don’t think I am going to have the ability to accomplish the large-scale project I was anticipating.

My focus has instead pivoted to hydroponics. Hydroponics is a farming technique in which no soil is used. Plants can grow up to 100% faster and use about 1/10th the amount of water as normal plants. The technology has been around for decades, but is just now growing in popularity due to Elon Musk’s brother starting his company in Boston; Square Roots.

I grew up gardening with my family, and I’ve always wanted to start a garden here in Boulder. Unfortunately the seasons here are a lot less forgiving than those back in California. So with this project, I plan on constructing a hydroponics system that I can put in my living room.

Ive researched a number of DIY hydroponics systems, but I wouldn’t want any of these contraptions in my house.

One design that I found aesthetically pleasing was this one:

But that wouldn’t fit in my living room, so I plan on making a modified version. I like the simplicity of the PVC tubes, and aligning them vertically allows more plants to grow in a smaller floor space. Therefore, Im going to flatten this design and make it able to be mounted on my wall. Here is the plan:

There will be 4 4″ PVC tubes that are mounted horizontally on my wall. The tubes will have 3″ holes drilled in the top at 4″ spacing, and in those holes we will put cups that contain the plants. The water will be in a basin at the bottom, and will be pumped up to the top and trickle down, back into the basin.

Schedule wise, I don’t think this project will be incredibly complicated, and I think it is very reasonable to complete in less than a month. Here is what I currently plan:

I don’t expect most of these to take more than an hour or two.

The benefit of this project is that I can get everything I need from either Home Depot or amazon, and I don’t have to wait on 3rd party providers. I can complete this entire project from my home and without too much help. I am much more hopeful about completing this project than I was about the drink maker, and I’m ready to get going on it.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Brooke Shade
    May 3, 2020 5:02 pm

    Statement of Meaning: I think part of the amazing part of this project is your background with gardening and the research you did to make this possible. Not only does it serve a purpose, but it was designed and created with such intentionality.

    Do you intend to make variations of this design for different types of plants that need more or less water?

  • Benjamin Robles
    April 3, 2020 12:48 pm

    Hey Davis,

    This is my in-depth critique.

    It is great to see that you were able to pivot your project into something you will be proud of and something you can do during this time. I think growing plants inside is a fantastic idea and me and my wife have begun to do so ourselves. One thing I noticed is that we needed a lot of plants to sustain a few of the produces we eat but didn’t have enough space for them. This idea that this planter can go on the wall it is fantastic!!

    I do have a couple of questions.

    How is it that the plants don’t need soil? I thought soil has nutrients they need to grow.

    And also, what is the “aesthetic” (in terms of the class) that you are going for here? I don’t believe you mentioned it.

    Your timeline seems very appropriate, and the project not too complicated.

    I also really like that this is something that bring you, back to your “roots” since you grew up gardening.

    Best of luck!


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