3 ways 3D Printing can help your crops this fall
With the fall season quickly approaching, many farmers, gardeners, and hobbyists are looking forward to their fall harvest. And while there are many traditional methods which are still being used, many are turning to newer technologies to optimise the output of their gardens and harvests. Here are three ways in which utilising 3D Printing can help you increase output.
Building the Equipment
One of the biggest issues that any gardener or farmer will face is the equipment that is used to get the soil ready for the seed, and then for harvesting, may develop a problem. This is especially true if the person is using equipment that is older and outdated. Some companies, which were leaders in farm and agricultural equipment 20 years ago, might be out of business. Even if the business is still flourishing, if the equipment is outdated, the odds are high that the equipment’s replacement pieces will be either non-available or highly expensive.
Using a Commercial 3D Printer can help you to make the parts that are needed for the repair. All you need to do is have the DWG, DXF or the STL file of the part (as these are the formats commonly used in 3D Printing). If you are not computer savvy, do not worry. You can still utilise new technology at possibly a fraction of the price that it would cost to have your part fabricated, flat pattern designed, bended, and shipped to you. Most companies have the DWG files, but even if they do not, hiring a CAD Designer may be substantially cheaper than the alternative.
Farms.com reports that using 3D Printing for farm parts is the future of farming. The article points out that the time in which to build and replace parts is reduced, meaning that the margin in which negative effects on harvests due to “down” time is reduced. And as innovation has always been a factor when it comes to farming equipment and garden/harvesting sustainability, being able to prototype equipment ideas is possible when using 3D Printing.
When needed, parts can be fabricated from metals. Generally, the Desktop 3D Printer is not enough to use such materials. However, using an Industrial 3D Printer, or outsourcing to a commercial 3D Printing shop, will allow you to make the parts needed just as if you ordered them directly from the manufacturer.
Gardening in an environment which requires an enclosure and temperature control? This is not a problem. The development of full 3D Printing in architectural situations is not new. Therefore, it should not be surprising that greenhouses and other such enclosures are available for 3D Printing. An exquisite example of such a greenhouse would be the Cabinet of Future Fossils found at the American Philosophical Society’s garden.
Apart from the unique creative freedom that such greenhouses provide, using a 3D Printer is far more economically friendly than the emissions and the toxins which may be released in metal fabrication, burning and cutting plexiglass, and even lumber fabrication. Please note that some plans may require you to outsource your 3D Printing while other plans may require the use of PVC piping, aluminium foil, and a Desktop 3D Printer.
Aesthetics and Supplemental Parts to your Garden/Farm
While the functionality of the garden or farm is essential to a high yielding crop, the aesthetics and the supplemental aspects of the garden or the harvest are also important. Scarecrows, garden posts, bird houses, lighting fixtures, pathways, and even (if you are one of those who like them) the garden gnome. By themselves, these parts to the garden may not cost too much. However, when you start to combine the various supporting and aesthetic elements of your garden, the cost can quickly reach into the hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.
Those wishing to keep with the current fads and pop culture may wish to use 3D Printing to incorporate such trends. For example, a printable Pokémon planter (which would help showcase one’s enthusiasm for the Pokémon Go game/genre) can be downloaded from yeggi.
As with the farm equipment, another benefit of the 3D Printer is replacement and/or repair of certain aesthetic/supplemental parts of the garden. For example, say that you have an antique piece of garden furniture. The frame is iron, but the seat was made from braided wicker. At some point the wicker dry rotted and you have a hole in the seat. You could seek out someone to restore the original (which would be expensive). Yet, with the 3D Printer you could just measure the dimensions for the garden furniture seat, keep the existing frame, and then print in sections the part needed (adhering it to the original iron frame as you see fit).
For the eccentric gardener, the creativity allowed with 3D Printing allows you to make gardening furnishing and other aesthetic pieces which are unavailable on the market.