FarmBot Wiki

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Current Status - Farmbot construction is 90% complete. Tool holders need to be mounted, Vacuum and water inputs need to be hooked up. Farmbot is alive and moving. Controllable from laptop access.

Wiring documentation available. Scroll down! Any questions about this build please contact us!

Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College's (NWTC) Capstone courses will be building at least 3 Farmbot units in the next few years. These bots will be used to create a partnership between very different fields of study on campus. These fields include, but are by no means limited to Automation Engineering Technology, Electromechanical Engineering Technology, Agricultural Studies, Prototype and Design Studies, CNC, Machine Fabrication, Electronics, and Sustainable Energy.

For our first build, we will be using open source materials to create a standard 1.5m by 3m Farmbot on a lumber sub-assembly that can be transported to a final destination when complete. Future plans involve building and donating Farmbots to The Farmory in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Farmory uses aquaponics to produce quality fresh foods for people of low income communities.

This page will be updated throughout the Fall semester, 2016 and then handed off to the next class if they wish to continue documentation.

We meet once a week for 6 hours for this Capstone course. We do work on other things in addition to the Farmbot, but most of our time is devoted to this project.

Day 1: September 1st, 2016

  • Turned the bill of materials (BOM) into a spreadsheet on excel and saved to the folder
  • Created this Wiki page
  • Sent the BOM to the person who does the ordering of parts for NWTC

Day 2: September 8th, 2016

  • Emailed the files for the 3D prints to our prototype and design program on campus.
  • Emailed the CAD information for the plates that we need to have fabricated.
  • Constructed the 1.5m x 3m garden bed

Day 3: September 15th, 2016

  • Put garden bed onto raised bed
  • Did the fabrication of the aluminum plates on the water jet we have in house
  • Some plates were too small and fell through the slots on the water jet so we had to remake them-we changed the design on the computer so it didn't cut through all the way. Then we cut them the rest of the way ourselves after we removed them from the water jet

* Drill pressed the holes on the plates since the water jet did not cut them in a complete circle motion and it left a little sliver that prevented the screws from fitting through

  • Assembled the V wheels
  • Assembled the tracks onto the garden bed

Day 4: September 22nd, 2016

*The main BOM didnt list all parts needed-instead they were in “fine print” saying they go with parts listed on the main BOM. So we had to go through the sub assemblies and make sure we had all the extra stuff. Found that part names were different. Documentation on Farmbot page lacks consistency with naming.

  • Assembled the gantry
  • Assembled the Electronics to the mount
  • Researched what software will be needed for Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

Day 5: September 29th, 2016

* Electronic mount did not fit in the electrical box once the electronics were mounted-had to make the screw holes into slots to allow us to move the electronics over as needed to make it fit.

Day 6: October 6th, 2016

  • Worked on budget spreadsheet Farmbot opensource cost vs. actual cost
  • Spoke with prototype and design department on campus about 3D parts
  • Assembled 3D parts on Farmbot
  • Worked on getting the Operating system on the Raspberry Pi

Day 7: October 13th, 2016

  • Talked about encoders and how they pertain to the Farmbot project
  • We ended up not using the motors specified from Farmbot and instead purchased dual ended motors that we could mount the encoders to. We modified the face plate of the smaller shaft by tapping it to allow encoder mounting.

Day 9: October 27th, 2016

  • Worked on more sub assemblies
  • Raspberry Pi would not work after putting the OS on it - not sure why. Ordered a new one.
  • Started researching wiring for the raspberry PI, Arduino and motors.
  • Will provide wiring information.
  • Terminated some of the wires needed for assembly

Day 10: November 3rd, 2016

  • Received new Raspberry Pi, put OS onto it but having issues with connecting to local wi-fi due to firewall. Had IT department come in to help us get connected.
  • Mounted the encoders to stepper motors
  • Installed the stepper motors on the Farmbot (3 in total)
  • Ordered new driveshaft because the one we had was too short to reach across the y-axis. Drive shaft length specified on Farmbot BOM was incorrect, and material we received had a nominal diameter that prevented the bearings from being mounted.
  • Assembled the tracks on the x-axis
  • Assembled the timing belt

Day 11: November 10th, 2016

  • Cut new driveshaft to proper length
  • Put the assembled the driveshaft on the y-axis

Day 12: November 17th, 2016

  • Still had issues with Raspberry Pi connecting
  • Worked on z-axis assembly
  • Completed some wiring
  • More assembling of brackets

Day 13: December 1st, 2016

  • What still need to be completed: UTM assembly, some of the wiring, some of the 3D parts assembly, vacuum and water installations, tidying up.

Documentation will be uploaded as we tidy up the project.


Stepper Motors - We used Dual Shafted stepper motors and tapped the plate on the shorter shaft end to hold the encoders. Below is the basic wiring for the power connections. No wiring diagram yet available for the encoders, as we have not figured it out yet.

Power Wiring - GNL is wired to a household plug in. G - Green (Ground). N - White (Neutral). L - Black (Line).

Wiring Photos

farmbots/northeastern-wisconsin-technical-college-farmbot.txt · Last modified: 2016/12/15 17:10 by mgrimmett