Welcome to the FarmBot Warehouse

FarmBot supporters and customers, check out this short video to get an inside look at our warehouse and see what it takes to do the final packaging of the v1.2 FarmBot Genesis kits!

Shipping update

All domestic orders have been shipped to those who have verified their address with us. International orders have started shipping, though the exporting and customs paperwork required for each shipment and country has been slowing down the process. We appreciate your continued patience as our small team works through these logistics to deliver everyone’s FarmBot. Once your FarmBot packages are scanned in by the mail carrier, you will receive an automated email with the tracking information.

We’re all sold out! (sort of)

On January 7th we pre-sold the last FarmBot Genesis Kit as part of our first production run. That means that any pre-orders placed now and into the future will be part of our second production run and ship in July. Pre-order your FarmBot.

Mountains of FarmBots are heading out the door

Over the last three weeks we’ve been working hard in the FarmBot warehouse to do the final QA checks and packaging for all 350 FarmBot kits. While the process has taken longer than we hoped for, we’re certain it will be worth the wait for everyone. By Monday, we will have shipped out all of the US orders for those who have verified their address with us. If you haven’t yet verified your address, please respond to this email.

International orders have started to ship out too, though the exporting and customs paperwork required for each country has been slowing down the process. We appreciate your continued patience as we work through these logistics. Once your FarmBot hits the mailstream, you will receive an automated email with the tracking information.

Check out our assembly line

Here are just some of the parts that we counted out and put into little bags. You can see how 350 FarmBots worth of packing could take quite a while!

This assembly line was used to make one of the top-level kit bags.

About 150 completed bags from the above assembly line.

The top-level assembly line includes: the hardware kit, plate kit, motor kit, cable bags, cable carriers, electronics boxes, power supply, miscellaneous bag, getting started guide, thank-you card, and stickers. Phew!

Completed FarmBot kits with shipping labels applied.

Dozens of FarmBots on their way to you!

We’re all sold out! (sort of)

On January 7th we pre-sold the last FarmBot Genesis Kit as part of our first production run. That means that any pre-orders placed now and into the future will be part of our second production run and ship later. We’re still working out the timeline for the second run, but a conservative ship date is in July. Pre-order your FarmBot.

March Software Update

Check out what’s new with the FarmBot software stack since last month:

We now have over 70 awesome crop icons made for common garden vegetables. Simply drag and drop plants into the farm designer to see for yourself! Have a favorite crop that you want an icon for? Just respond to this email with the crop name and we’ll add it to our list.

We’ve introduced the concept of Farmware: software plugins that you can install on your FarmBot to extend its functionality. So far we have a few 1st-party farmwares in the works for taking photos, calibrating the camera, and identifying weeds. Once the farmware infrastructure stabilizes, we’ll document how you can create 3rd-party farmwares of your own!

We’ve added new Sequence builder commands for running farmwares and taking photos. Coming soon is the ability to run any farmware you have installed from your sequences.

Camera calibration and weed detection farmwares are now in beta and have their own widget on the web app. With camera calibration, you can calibrate your camera so that pixels in the photos are converted to coordinates in the FarmBot system. And with weed detection, you can use the camera to identify weeds. Over the next few weeks these features will come out of beta and come built-in to the app and OS.

Other important software updates

Starting with v3.0.8 of FarmBot OS, the Arduino firmware will be bundled into the OS so there are never compatibility problems between the two codebases.

Shipping update

We’re continuing to do QA checks and ship out devices as fast as we can. Once your FarmBot hits the mail stream, you will receive an automated email with tracking information. Please be patient as we have many orders to process.

We’re all sold out! (sort of)

On January 7th we pre-sold the last FarmBot Genesis Kit as part of our first production run. That means that any pre-orders placed now and into the future will be part of our second production run and ship later. We’re still working out the timeline for the second run, but a conservative ship date is in July. Pre-order your FarmBot.

Erlang Factory 2017

We sent our core FarmBot OS software engineer, Connor Rigby, to the Erlang Factory 2017 conference in San Francisco. Here’s what he had to say about the experience:

Erlang and Elixir factory was the first time they included “Elixir” in the title, so it’s only fit that this was the first Erlang/Elixir conference I attended. As an Elixir developer by trade, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t completely fit in with the Erlang crowd. It turns out there was nothing to worry about. The entire community has more or less merged as one. Elixir developers are learning some Erlang, and Erlang developers are learning some Elixir. I don’t know of any other developer conferences that can focus on more than one one language, and make both communities feel at home. That being said, being the first Erlang Factory that “officially” included Elixir, there was definitely far more talks geared toward Erlang.

Some talks preferred one language over the other. Garrett Smith titled his talk accordingly: “Building a web app in Erlang, that’s Right Erlang! (Not Elixir)”, converse to Ari Lerner focused on Elixir with “How Elixir Made Us Better Programmers”. The most amazing part is that both communities were attending talks of the others background. On the other hand though, there were many talks that focused primarily upon The Beam (the virtual machine underlying both languages).

Chris Cote’s talk was title “Instrumenting the World with the Beam” where he talked how the Beam VM is perfect for embedded systems (regardless of language preference). Similarly, there was a presentation from Peer Stritzinger who is building a hardware platform to run Erlang in hard real time. This reflects on one of the most interesting observations from the Elixir and Erlang communities. While we have a thriving web developer community, there is a huge number of developers flocking back to the embedded world.

A Shift Back to Embedded

As primarily an embedded systems engineer, I don’t get very much love in the way of development tools. I spend days reading mailing lists from the early 2000’s looking for the solution to a compiler issue, I lose hours browsing various old, inactive forums looking for a driver, that sort of thing. Elixir and the Nerves Project are really changing the mindset that embedded software is only something that the most hardened developers can do. Everyone forgets that Erlang (and by extension Elixir) was originally built for Embedded Systems so it only makes sense that with the influx of “the internet of things” we take another look at how embedded-systems are designed, developed, and maintained.

After meeting up with Justin Schneck (one of the original Nerves-Project founders) at Erlang and Elixir Factory, we talked to many interested developers about embedded systems with Nerves. I got so many comments along the lines of “FarmBot is such a cool project! I had no idea it was written in Elixir/Erlang, how can I help?”. I’ve been part of the Elixir community for about two years now, and I’ve always lived in the embedded world. It was so weird to go from being in such a small niche, to being someone that people actually know because the community is growing so large.

Prototype to Production

When I first started at FarmBot, our embedded software stack was written primarily in Ruby. It worked, but definitely had some pitfalls, the main one being deployment. We had no system of pushing updates and no system of installation. We had really well put together docs, but it was just a little complex. In just under a month I was able to recreate the Ruby project as an Elixir/Nerves Project. This shows just how fast you can prototype something with Elixir. Justin Schneck (whose official title is “Pan-galactic Nerves Overlord”) let me come up on stage with him to show off the scale FarmBot (which we call FarmBot Jr.). Unfortunately after disassembling it, hauling it for 5 hours on the freeway in a sports car, and reassembling it in a haste, the bot didn’t operate 100% correctly, but it still made a decent display, and was able to move around its plane pretty well for the demonstration.

Communities Coming Together

It’s so refreshing to see so many communities coming together in the world of software development. I don’t know of any other place in the world where you can get such a diverse group of developers in the same building. People like Joe Armstrong – one of the co-inventor of Erlang, and Dave Thomas – author of “Programming Ruby” and “Programming Elixir”. There is no one obvious background other than a shared love for this relatively small community of developers. People are coming from around the globe just to meet up for a couple days and talk about coding and language, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Be a part of the FarmBot mini documentary series!

NOTE: This newsletter was sent to our first production batch customers only. It is cross-posted here for posterity.

Dear Early FarmBot Adopters,

We would like to invite you to become a part of FarmBot history, featuring your story in one of our upcoming mini documentaries!

To grow our FarmBot movement, we want to show the world the outstanding people, places, and plants in our new community. So we’ve hired a filmmaker who will be travelling to visit some of our early adopers and help tell the story of FarmBot. How will you be using your FarmBot? What excites you about the technology? What are your plans for the future?

If you are interested in participating, please click the button below to fill out our brief survey and we will be in touch with more information!

Take the documentary participant survey

About the Filmmaker

To help document and share these stories, we’re excited to bring aboard our newest team member: Tristan Copley-Smith! Tristan is an accomplished film maker and staunch advocate of open-source technologies and ideology. He has founded and been a part of several high profile projects including Open Source Beehives, Aker Kits, and Open Source Ecology.

We’ve started shipping!

Dear FarmBot supporters,

Today, the final day of February, we are incredibly excited to let you know that we started shipping out the first batch of 350 FarmBot Genesis kits! This moment has been three and a half years in the making for us, and I am very proud of our small team for what we have accomplished. Huge thank you to Gabriel, Connor, Chris, Rick, and Tim for working so hard to develop this technology, and to Jacky and Jason (our primary manufacturing partners) for helping us to bring FarmBot into the real world.

And of course, thank you to all of our earliest backers for believing in this vision and trusting our company to deliver. Below is a photo of the first shipment on its way to our very first customer, my Mom!

What’s next

More shipping
Over the next few weeks we will continue to do final QA checks, packaging, and shipping. This process will take some time because it is only Gabriel and I working in the warehouse and we want to ensure each kit is in good order before we send it out. As soon as we create a shipping label for your FarmBot and pass it off to the carrier, you will receive an automated email with tracking information. Please be patient as we have a lot of orders to get through! If you have not yet verified your shipping address, please do so as soon as possible.

Production documentation and CAD release
We are still putting the finishing touches on the v1.2 documentation that everyone will use to assemble their kits. This will be the most comprehensive collection of guides we’ve published yet, and we’re sure it will ease your assembly process. We’re also preparing the production CAD files for public consumption, replication, and modification for all the people out there who want to build their own kit from scratch or dive deep into modifying their device. Both of these resources will be announced in a coming newsletter.

Here are some photos showing the final deliveries arriving at our warehouse:
Boxes upon boxes of FarmBot parts!
Extrusion pyramid
Final packaging boxes
The first fully packaged FarmBot!

We’re all sold out! (sort of)

On January 7th we pre-sold the last FarmBot Genesis Kit as part of our first production run. That means that any pre-orders placed now and into the future will be part of our second production run and ship later. We’re still working out the timeline for the second run, but a conservative ship date is in July. Pre-order your FarmBot.

Please verify your shipping address

NOTE: This blog post was sent as an email newsletter to all of our 1st batch customers only. We have cross-posted it here for posterity.

Hi FarmBot supporter,

As mentioned in our general newsletter a few hours ago, we expect to receive the final FarmBot parts this week, at which point we will be ready for the final QA checks, packaging, and shipping!

But before we can ship you your FarmBot, you must first verify your shipping address with us to ensure we send everything to the right place.

Please reply directly to this email (contact @162.243.153.223) with your full shipping address and any special instructions. For example, some people have requested we ship their FarmBot at a later date because they will be traveling.

Thank you for your timely cooperation!

February Hardware Update 2

Over the last few weeks our warehouse has started to fill up. We’ve added large work tables, push carts, packaging materials, and several tons worth of FarmBot parts! Just today we received all of the metal plates, plastic pieces, motors, and wiring harnesses.

By the end of the week we expect to receive the remaining parts, at which point we will do the final QA checks, packaging, and shipping!

However, before we ship any FarmBots out, we will be reaching out to each of our customers individually to verify shipping addresses. Customers: be on the lookout for another email from us soon.

In the meantime, check out the difference just a few weeks has made in our warehouse! This photo was taken on February 4th:

What the warehouse looks like today, February 20th:

Pallets of plate kits!

Work tables and packaging supplies at the ready:

We’re all sold out! (sort of)

On January 7th we pre-sold the last FarmBot Genesis Kit as part of our first production run. That means that any pre-orders placed now and into the future will be part of our second production run and ship later. We’re still working out the timeline for the second run, but a conservative ship date is in July. Pre-order your FarmBot today.

February Hardware Update

Over the last few weeks all sorts of FarmBot parts have started shipping to us! Some have come by plane, others by boat or truck. We’ve received a few pallets worth so far but we anticipate another 15 pallets worth to arrive in the next two weeks!

As a result, our small R&D space (above) has become overrun, signaling the time for us to expand. So last week we began renting an 800 square foot warehouse just across the parking lot from our existing office. Check it out!

And check out some of the production parts!

So what you all probably want to hear is this: All of this progress indicates that at this time we’re still on-track to receive all the FarmBot parts around the 20th, leaving us just enough time to do the final Q/A checks, packaging, and ship all of the first 350 units out by the end of the month. Hooray!