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STL File for 3D Printing Microgreen Kit

stl file for 3d printing

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Microgreens and 3D-printing are both getting more and more popular. Why not combine them? Here is how you use your 3D-printer to make a Microgreen Kit to start growing your own superfood at home. I will cover how I started 3D-printing, how I discovered the delicious plants for myself and eventually how it turned into a Microgreens Kit to print at home. So if you want to start with Microgreens this blog post will give you the essentials you need.

STL stands for Standard Triangle Language. These files describe only the surface of a three-dimensional object. If you have some Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, that is one of the latest versions, it will probably allow you to export native file format into STL. Then the process called ‘slicing’ is used to translate the 3D model into machine language and finally you are at the point of printing the 3D model.

How I started 3D-printing and Microgreens

I recently got into 3D-printing and since I started I forgot how to live without it. Your imagination is basically the limit of what you can do with a 3D-printer. Like most of the 3D-printing beginners I also started with a Benchy and some test prints to get used to the technology. Still the reason I bought it was to create my own designs and prints. Make something useful, that will enhance your everyday life. If you want to start making your own designs you will have to get your hands on a 3D modeling program and I decided to go with a CAD program for my designs. There are many out there which are both: free and powerful.

And that is where the problems started. What should I design? There is everything already available, right? Then I got in contact with Microgreens.

I was used to hydroponics and how to grow plants with nutrients in water. For me at that time the approach of only making small sprouts out of basically everything was completely new and caught my attention. Without any knowledge of how you actually have to grow Microgreens I bought a package of Red Radish seeds and when they arrived I did not know how to properly grow them.

stl file for 3d printing

Full 3D-printed Microgreen Kit with Red Radish. It contains a Microgreen tray, water tray, cover box, popping pressure plate, sowing mesh and sowing funnel.

Understanding how Microgreens grow

A spoiler at the start: Just throwing your Microgreen seeds into the soil and water them is not giving you the best results. I learned that the hard way by exactly doing this. This is when I realized that growing them is going to require some research. I watched some videos and read blog posts about Microgreens, I even joined a community online to get the information I need and have my Red Radish growing properly. Fortunately Microgreen growers are incredibly nice folks and I got all the help I needed to understand the superfood a little bit better. The quintessence I took from all the great advice is the following:

  • You can grow Microgreens in almost any substrate (or without any substrate at all sometimes)
    • If you use soil, you can skip the nutrient solution
  • Microgreens like to be watered twice a day
    • Water the roots
  • Microgreens like to work under pressure – They need something that pushes them down when sprouting
    • Most Microgreens also like it dark before in the beginning

Many of the growers who are active in the community and explained how to grow Microgreens properly do it professionally as their main job. The tray sizes are quite large and for me the threshold to get my hands onto all these different parts was quite high. With their guides you could easily make enough Microgreens for restaurants and sell them. I just wanted something to put on my window sill and add to my meals. Fortunately I had something to make this happen: My 3D-printer.

The Design

Now that I am set with all the information what my Microgreens expect from the growing environment I started with the 3D design. First I checked the dimensions of my printbed to see how big I can make the tray and still have a reasonable printing time, but at the same time enough growing space to make it usable. I ended up with something around 180x80mm. Basically because this allows me to place the first three pieces I wanted to print on one printbed. And those pieces were:

  • The Microgreens tray
  • The water tray
  • The cover box

stl files for 3d printing

3D printed water tray(left) and Microgreens tray (right). Printed in PETG.

Before I could start the print I had to choose a filament type. The most common one is PLA, in my opinion followed by PETG. I have not made any bad experiences with PLA so far, but I decided to go with PETG for the Microgreen Kit, because PETG absorbs very little water. Better safe than sorry I guess.

From my understanding the very essentials were having a tray with holes to give the roots the chance to come out and below that a water tray that would allow for watering from the bottom once the roots are out. Secondly, since Red Radish germinates in the dark I made a cover box to block the light (also if you are interested in light safety of 3D prints check out this video). I used soil as a growing medium and just started. For a first try I believe it was not too bad.

Unfortunately I underestimated the importance of pressure on the seeds and most of my Microgreens just fell over. While the taste was delicious I wanted to optimize the growth. Hence I designed additional parts:

  • A „popping“ pressure plate
  • A sowing mesh
  • A sowing funnel

I designed the pressure plate in a way that the Microgreens could push the plate up and eventually make it pop, hence I named it a „popping plate“. With the sowing mesh distributing the seeds almost perfectly on the tray and the popping plate on top the real Microgreens deal started. The funnel made it easier to have the seeds fall through the mesh. The roots were able to grow nicely into the soil and come out at the bottom, thanks to the popping plate adding the pressure needed. Eventually I added the cover box again to keep the Microgreens in the dark for another 1-2 days. The results were perfect Red Radish Microgreens just waiting to be harvested.

stl file for 3d printing

Red Radish waiting to be harvested in the 3D printed Microgreens Kit.

Conclusion

There are some major takeaways for me from this project that I would like to share with you.

  • First of all, Microgreens are a delicious ingredient and they make almost every dish look like a Michelin Star Chef cooked it.
  • The second takeaway for me is: A 3D printer is a perfect tool to design things that improve your everyday life. Just design it and print it.
  • And lastly: Take your time to research and ask people who are already in the topic. It was helpful to have professional Microgreen growers explain the process, to get to know what the Microgreens need and then to find a design that matches these criteria. I like the „customer based design“ approach and considered the Microgreen to be my customer, that I need to design a new home for.

Conclusion

There are some major takeaways for me from this project that I would like to share with you.

  • First of all, Microgreens are a delicious ingredient and they make almost every dish look like a Michelin Star Chef cooked it.
  • The second takeaway for me is: A 3D printer is a perfect tool to design things that improve your everyday life. Just design it and print it.
  • And lastly: Take your time to research and ask people who are already in the topic. It was helpful to have professional Microgreen growers explain the process, to get to know what the Microgreens need and then to find a design that matches these criteria. I like the „customer based design“ approach and considered the Microgreen to be my customer, that I need to design a new home for.

I got hooked on the superfood and have bought some different seeds like Broccoli, Sunflower and Red Beet and I cannot wait to grow and harvest them.

The STL files to print the Microgreen Starter Kit yourself can be found on Etsy: https://tidd.ly/3msmj1e.

To see the Microgreen Kit in action I recommend this video for you: https://youtu.be/vecp9p3dvmE

Want to learn more?

If you have any questions about the information cited in this post or about microgreens in general, please leave a comment below or reach out to us via email hello@reactgreens.com.

Leaving a comment or writing to the provided e-mail does not add your e-mail address to any mailing or marketing list.

Disclaimer: Some of the products may contain an affiliate link and we may make a commission if you click on it at no additional costs to you.

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