Aug 26, 2014

DIY extruder for HDPE aquaponic plant growing strips

Extruders can be used for more than just filament extrusion. Here is a project from Web4Deb that makes growing media HDPE strips for plants in aquaponic or hydroponic systems from raw pellets. Auger based extruder is powered by windshield wiper motor and geared with bicycle gears. You could alos use it for HDPE recycling. Food from plastics ...

Extruder specs:
  • The barrel is heated with a length of Nichrome wire and and insulated with what appears to be polyimide tape.
  • The auger is a standard 3/4" wood auger bit (bought a set from Harbor Freight) and cut it down to length.
  • The auger is driven by a wind shield wiper motor which is geared down with a bicycle chain and sprocket.
  • The heating element draws around 16A at 12V (192W) from a computer power supply.
  • The temperature for the extruder barrel is controlled with a Teensy AVR micro-controller.
  • The die appears to be interchangeable.
  • The extruded HDPE is forced through a set of fan cooled rollers.
  • Two individual temperature sensors are located on the extrusion barrel.
  • The Teensy AVR micro-controller appears to be used to switch one or more relays through a transistor array.

RepRap wiki page:

Plant growing on extruded HDPE strips. It is the miracle of science :-)  

Web4Debs extruder

3d printing can be used in wide variety of aquaponic and hydroponic systems:

Happy growing!