World’s first fully 3D-printed vertical farm debuts

The world’s first fully 3D-printed irrigated green wall made its debut in June 2019. 

The Banyan Eco Wall is a vertical farm with a seamless sculptural design. Unlike other 3D-printed structures, its functionality — the irrigation and drainage system — is embedded inside. The eco wall was printed with a BigRep One V3, which is considered one of the most advanced large-scale industrial 3D printers in the world. 

Mirek Claßen, Tobias Storz and Lindsay Lawson of NowLab, BigRep’s research and innovation program, designed the project. 

“Similar vertical farm structures have required channels to be manually embedded into the design in a complicated process after manufacturing with metal piping and a variety of other parts,” BigRep said in a statement. “The Banyan, on the other hand, is 3D-printed with internal channels included in the design.” 

That means consumers won’t have to figure out how to create and install a plumbing system on their own once the vertical farm is installed. Thus, it’s cheaper and more user-friendly than its predecessors — which is also demonstrated by its irrigation system’s ability to self-regulate. The Banyan disperses water in the form of “micro-showers” at controlled intervals to meet each plant’s needs.

Not only is it functional, but it’s also aesthetically beautiful. The white wall consists of interlocking, organic shapes that resemble the curves of tree branches. 

The Banyan is 6.5 x 6.5 x 2 feet and printed in four modular parts that snap together. It is printed with PETG, a form of plastic used in 3D printing that can be 100 percent recyclable. 

“Systems such as this inspire interior designers and architects developing a greener future — from home or workspace plant walls and green facades to vertical gardens and other forms of urban farming,” the statement said.

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