Working through failures when making things
I've been working on building a DIY hydroponics system for the past two weeks, and have inevitably run into a number of issues already.
I bought two clear containers that I spray painted to prevent light from entering the container. Light could cause algae growth in the nutrient inside the containers. The first problem that cropped up was that spray painting can be very time consuming. The actual painting part is relatively quick, but you then have to wait around 20 to 60 minutes between coats, and at least 24 hours for the paint to fully dry. If you don't have a covered area to do the painting, rain delays progress even further.
As I didn't use a primer, the paint start cracking off as soon as the plastic started flexing. Flexing can happen when filling the container with water, or when drilling holes for piping.
As such, I'd recommend not spray painting plastic containers if you can avoid it. I ended up going to IKEA and buying two opaque TROFAST storage boxes instead.
As the fittings for ebb-and-flood systems are pretty expensive in the UK (£13 vs $6 in the US), I thought I'd 3D print them. The full print took about 13 hours, which is still faster than next-day delivery. They worked great until I switched to the new containers, when one of the fittings broke off completely.
I printed them in ABS, which is maybe not the greatest option for functional parts. I've now ordered some PETG filament from Prusa which should result in sturdier parts.
The kale seeds I planted in the propagator only took a day or two to start sprouting. They started stretching very quickly due to lack of natural light, even though the propagator was placed on a windowsill. My Spider-Farmer SF1000 grow light arrived yesterday, so this morning I planted some new seeds and placed the propagator under the grow light immediately.
It has not been smooth sailing so far, but if you don't fail, you don't learn.
I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com.