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FarmBot Genesis

FarmBot Genesis is the first FarmBot to be designed, prototyped, and manufactured. Genesis is designed to be a flexible FarmBot foundation for experimentation, prototyping, and hacking. The driving factors behind the design are simplicity, manufacturability, scalability, and hackability.

Genesis is a small scale FarmBot primarily constructed from V-Slot aluminum extrusions and aluminum plates and brackets. Genesis is driven by NEMA 17 stepper motors, an Arduino MEGA with a RAMPS shield, and a Raspberry Pi 3 computer. These electronics were chosen for their great availability, support, and usage in the DIY 3D printer world. Genesis can vary in size from a planting area as little as 1m2 to a maximum of 4.5m2, while accommodating a maximum plant height of about 1m. With additional hardware and modifications we anticipate the Genesis concept to be able to scale to approximately 50m2 and a maximum plant height of 1.5m.

Interested in helping develop FarmBot? Share your ideas on the FarmBot forum, the FarmBot wiki, make suggestions to these docs, or contact us at


In development Genesis is currently being developed and has undergone several versions. We encourage skimming through the older versions to understand how we arrived at the latest design iteration.

  • v1.0 - Major changes: track plate improvements, new seed injector design, larger z cable carrier, new motor housings and z motor mount, larger cross-slide and gantry plates with more v-wheels, new tool bay, new seed bin, stronger cable carrier supports, introduced cable management clips, introduced belt clip plates, significant modifications to the UTM and UTM cover, switched to button head M5 screws.
  • v0.9 - Major changes: larger plates, more v-wheels, larger gantry extrusions for added rigidity, introduced the weed suppressor tool
  • v0.8 - Major changes: all corrosion resistant design; upgrade to 5mm thick plates; improvements to the UTM, cable carrier brackets, and electronics enclosure
  • v0.7 - Major changes: removal of endstops, stronger z-axis motor mount, added z-axis cable carrier, track plates and gantry corner plates redesign, upgraded universal tool mount to support 6 liquid lines and 12 electrical connections, quick access electronics enclosure, larger cable carriers
  • v0.6 - Major changes: reliability improvements to the universal tool mount
  • v0.5 - Major changes: rotary encoders on motors, integrated water, vacuum, and liquid amendments into universal tool mount, part simplification
  • v0.4 - Major changes: electronics enclosures/housings, cable carrier cable management, magnetic universal tool mount design
  • v0.3 - Major changes: wire and trolley cable management, part simplification
  • v0.2 - Major changes: endstop integration, custom brackets and plates, universal tool mount
  • v0.1 - Focused on being a quick and easy first prototype, V0.1 was constructed from all off-the-shelf components

High Level Architecture


Tracks are one of the components that really differentiate FarmBot technology from traditional free-driving wheeled tractors. The tracks are what allow the system to have great precision in an efficient and simple manner. There are many reasons of why Tracks are superior, a few of which are listed below.

Tracks provide great precision and allow the the FarmBot to return to the same position repeatedly Any type of packing structure of plants can be created and managed Tracks take up less area than paths for tractor wheels and do not compact the soil


The Gantry is the the structural component that bridges the two Tracks and moves in the X-direction via an X-Direction Drive System. Typically, it serves as a linear guide for the Cross-Slide and a base for the Y-Direction Drive System that moves the Cross-Slide across the Gantry in the Y-direction. It can also serve as a base for mounting other tools, electronics, supplies, and/or sensors.


The Cross-Slide moves in the Y-Direction across the Gantry. This motion provides the second major degree of freedom for FarmBots and allows operations such as planting to be done anywhere in the XY plane. The Cross-Slide is moved using a Y-Direction Drive System and functions as the base for the Tool Mount and Z-Direction Drive System.


The Z-axis attaches to the Cross-Slide and provides the FarmBot with Z-Direction movement. It serves as the base for attaching the Universal Tool Mount and other Tools.

Raised Tracks vs Low Tracks

For FarmBots to properly grow taller plants, the Gantry, Cross-Slide, Z-Axis, and Tools must have adequate vertical clearance from the plants. This can generally be accomplished in two ways:

  1. Using raised tracks and a low-profile gantry
  2. Using low tracks with a tall gantry

In general, using low tracks with a tall gantry is the better design, especially for larger applications because it saves on material cost, is less of an eyesore, blocks less sunlight, and would be easier to maintenance. However, in the case of a FarmBot being installed in a greenhouse or other structure, utilizing the existing walls to support the tracks higher may be a better solution.

Design Principles

FarmBot Genesis is not your typical product. We've gone through great lengths to design the hardware to be durable, easily assembled and modified with common tools, constructed from largely off-the-shelf components, and manufactured with readily available processes and materials. Nothing about FarmBot speaks obsolescence or proprietary.

We've done this because at our core, we're makers and hackers just like you. We enjoy tearing apart our gadgets and gizmos to fix them, improve them, and make them different and unique. So that's what FarmBot Genesis is all about - empowering you to truly own FarmBot technology inside and out.

Go ahead and make your tracks longer, design a tool that electrocutes weeds, program FarmBot to spray water at the local cats, grow mushrooms, flowers, hydroponically, or on your living room wall! We can't wait to see what you do with FarmBot.

We hope you'll find our documentation useful and a great starting point for working with FarmBot and making it your own. If you ever have any questions, please head on over to the forum. Cheers!

farmbots/farmbot-genesis/home.txt · Last modified: 2016/10/12 10:13 by roryaronson