3D printed pots?

Z_Y

Seedling
Has anyone used any 3D printed pots for carnivorous plants before?

Economically it doesn't make any sense to 3D print pots since the electricity cost/time cost would be way bigger than just getting regular pots.

However, I often can't find the pot that is just the right size. If I need a deeper pot they often come too wide. Or maybe the pot is just the wrong size for me to fit a bunch into a water tray effectively. Or maybe I want a shallower but wide pot for something like a ping. There's also room for some custom pot modifications, such as holes so I don't have to dremel air holes into my pots (which take a bit of time for a bunch of pots) or hanging attachments. Or maybe even a pot with a bunch of hollow "air pillar" tubes to add additional aeration?

There are many 3D printed pots available online, but most people are using them for regular plants which I assume don't really care about contaminants in the soil. I was worried about maybe some chemicals leeching into the soil and negatively affecting carnivorous plants.

I printed a few out of PETG to test them out. PET is used to make water bottles, which many people are using as makeshift pots already. PET never biodegrades, which may not be the best environmentally but may make an ok pot for sensitive plants. PETG is just PET with glycol added to make printing easier.

I didn't use a natural PETG color as I didn't have any on me at the moment. And I guess it's best to test the worst case scenario. Natural PETG is also kind of translucent, which may encourage algae growth in the soil behind the pot.

I made a few pots and I'm going to grind up some PETG bits to add it to my soil and grow some test plants alongside the same plants in control pots.

I have some pinguicula, capensis, and vft seeds going that I'll probably use, but anyone have any suggestions on more sensitive plants that are more picky with their soil quality? I'd imagine a capensis can just grow anywhere and pings don't have much in terms of roots.

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WillyCKH

CPSC Moderator
Staff member
I'm far from an expert but I have been printing and experimenting with 3D printed pots for a few years now. You're absolutely right about the cost and flexibility, it's easily 10x+ the cost of a vacuum formed or injection molded pot but it allows customizations and low volume production.
As far as material concern for sensitive plants like carnivorous plants... I haven't observed any ill effect, PET, PLA, ABS, you name it. Some filaments tend to fade color faster than others after exposing to UV light (the sun).

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Chen

Carnivore
Economically it doesn't make any sense to 3D print pots since the electricity cost/time cost would be way bigger than just getting regular pots.
You're absolutely right about the cost and flexibility, it's easily 10x+ the cost of a vacuum formed or injection molded pot but it allows customizations and low volume production.
I had the same conversation with a few of my acquaintances. The electricity, time, and material costs to 3D print out containers far outweigh just going out and buying vacuum or injection molded ones at a lower cost. As Willy mentioned, you would only do it for low volume and customized production but for mass production it is not feasible.
 

Z_Y

Seedling
I'm glad to know there aren't any adverse chemical effects.

I think the main benefit is to get a really custom sized pot that would fit just right in a water tray. For example, I really like the 6cm sized square pots as I can fit a whole bunch into my grow space, but they're not tall enough for cephs since I often find the roots stretching all the way to the bottom. I'd like them to be 5" tall, with air holes, but an injection molded one doesn't really exist.

Also I'd like to 3D print some support bars for droopy flytraps.
 

pitcherperfect

Carnivorous Plant Addict
I print larger basket like pots for my nepenthes sometimes and they have been working great :)
They are nicer looking than the hydroponic net pots that i usually use so for some of my larger or showier plants its nice to be able to print something a little different. I will post some pics when i get home
 
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