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Why do I need to fill in a configuration form for "simple items" such as a rhizobox / growth pouch?
My rhizoboxes just arrived. What should I do?
BEFORE SIGNING for the package with the delivery service, please check that all parts are intact. This requires opening the package(s) and checking for any damage. Please register potentialy damages immediately with the delivery service person - as to claim damages retroactively is very difficult to impossible. Document any damage with a photo and contact us immediately. Again, please do not sign on damaged rhizoboxes!
Everything OK? So how do you assemble the rhizoboxes / splitboxes?
Find a clean table to avoid scratching the boxes during assembly. Unpack all items. Check in particular for the (small) package with screws and spacers - do not throw them away by mistake. In a simple process, please follow these building steps for assembly; the illustrating images are for splitboxes, but similar applies to all types of rootboxes:
Get a torx screwdriver / torx bit from your toolbox (size 10 or 20). We use Torx because they do not wear out. We use T10 screws for smaller root boxes and T20 (image) screws for larger root boxes. Consider using an electric screwdriver with bit if you plan to assemble many boxes, BUT work slowly in the lowest gear!
First please familiarize yourself with the individual parts. A Rhizobox / Rhizonbox usually consists of 1x front panel (transparent), 1x back panel (usually black), 2x side panels, 1x bottom (often perforated and the shortest part; all usually black), 1x spacer (metal) and 2x screws (metal) for each hole in the front panel. Splitboxes also include a center divider that is slightly shorter than the sides (see image). At the time of shipment, acrylic parts have a protective film (on both sides) to prevent scratches during manufacturing and shipping. Prepare all elements on a clean surface / table to prevent scratches during the assembly process.
Remove the protective film from both sides of the back panel.
Identify the side of the panel with the countersunk hole / recess (see figure). This countersunk side always faces the outside (i.e. front / back) of the Rootbox and is the side where the screws go in. The spacer will always be installed on the other = flat side of the front and back panel holes.
Assemble the spacers to the panel by inserting the screws from the side with the countersunk hole/small recess around the hole (which prevents the screws from protruding), and the spacer from the inside where the holes are in "flat" acrylic. The easiest way to install the spacer is to place the panel on one side, insert the screw, press down on the screw with the finger of one hand (to prevent it from turning), and then install the spacer by turning it clockwise with the other hand (see illustration). Use a screwdriver if necessary. Do this for all the drilled holes in your box, possibly turning the panel in the process. In the end, you will usually have 4 screws/spacers installed for smaller, A5 rhizoboxes, and 9 or more screws/spacers installed for larger boxes.
Next, place the assembled (back) panel on the table with the metal spacers facing up and the screw heads facing down. Identify the side panels, bottom panel, and possibly the center divider (see figure). Remove the protective film from both sides of two side panels and one bottom (and the center divider if you have a split box design). Sides and center (if splitbox) usually have different connector patterns so they cannot be installed in the wrong place; centers are also allways slightly shorter than sides. Bottom panels usually have drainage holes and are much shorter allowing for easy identification.
The side and bottom panels are symmetric, thus their orientation does usually not matter, just give it a try. Place the pegs of the bottom and side panels ("connector system") into the cutouts in the rearpanel. If you have a center divider / or several center dividers (in splitboxes with more than two compartments), place them last. You could fill the open Rhizobox with soil now (or decide to fill with soil from the top later). When you are finished, check that there is no soil on the top of the side, center or bottom panels (which will prevent closing). The filling process is facilitated by placing the box slightly angled (top upwards), e.g. using a Rhizobox manipulation stand - preventing soil falling out from the (open) top.
Finally, remove the protective film from the (transparent) front panel (both sides!!). Place the cutouts in the front panel on the pegs in the side and bottom panels (and center divider, if applicable). Make sure that the flat side of the drilled hole is facing inward (the countersunk hole is facing outward / upward - toward you). You may need to move the sides and center pieces a bit to get all the pegs to snap into the cutouts. Insert the screws from the top into the spacers (through the panel; see image) and tighten lightly. You can both use a screw driver with Torx bit, or CAREFULLY an electric drill. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN the screws as this will break the acryclic and has no advantage!
Pro tip: Before closing the front panel, consider taping the inside and top of the plant compartment to prevent light from entering (if you already know the height of the soil-free compartment above).
If you did not fill in the soil before, you can now fill in the drainage layer / soil from the top. You may want to water the boxes several times from the top to allow the substrate to settle. Place the seeds/plants. Possibly install the light shielding panel and tape (not included) on the side of the plant compartment and on top of the front panel for maximum light exclusion. Place the rhizoboxes at an angle (e.g. in rhizobox racks) with the transparent front panel facing downwards and protect the roots from light. Success!
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