Instructables

3D Printing a Cabbage Moth / Butterfly Decoy to Save Your Cabbage

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Perhaps you’re a gardener and have seen these white little butterflies (Cabbage Moth / Cabbage Butterfly Plutella xylostella, Pieris rapae) that lay eggs on cabbage, then the hatched caterpillars devour your vegetables.  It is referred to as both a moth and butterfly. It turns out these little delicate insects are highly territorial and wont go into a garden area where another is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabbage_butterfly

Old remedies were to spray tons of chemicals all over everything, spread egg shells in your garden, or place white paper butterfly decoys - but now we have 3D printing.

So I designed a 3D cabbage butterfly in AutoCAD and used STLOUT or 3DPRINT command to generate a STL file for use by 3D printers. I could also have easily designed the 3D Butterfly and generated an STL 3D Print export using the free Autodesk 123D solid modeling software. I then printed it on my MakerBot Replicator and then affixed it with fishing line to some 1/8” copper wire.

It will now fend off any other cabbage butterflies in the garden.
 
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Step 1: Materials Required

Picture of Materials Required
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A CAD software than can create 3D and then create a 3D solid part in STL format like AutoCAD, Inventor Fusion, or the free Autodesk 123D.

Acetone to smooth the completed ABS plastic or chemically weld the antennae to body of butterfly (optional) You could also use a hot glue gun as an alternative.

Black magic marker to add black dots to the final 3D printed butterfly

3 feet of 1/8 inch copper wire available at Home Depot and other home supply stores.

8 inches of fine fishing line

Step 2: Draw a butterfly in 2D to build the 3D Print

Picture of Draw a butterfly in 2D to build the 3D Print
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I inserted an image of the cabbage butterfly in AutoCAD to make sure I created an accurate representation of this butterfly even the size which is roughly one inch. I then use splines to trace the shape and then mirror it as there is no logical reason to draw two sides of something that is symmetrical.
Now that's a clever idea. I wonder if a hawk or owl version would work some how against other birds and maybe even squirrels? Of course it would have to have some kind of movement to seem alive and be sturdy.
ShaanHurley (author)  Treasure Tabby2 years ago
I want to make a Mother in Law deterrent version. ;-)
Love it!
Can I buy some? Don't have any of that equipment and I could finish them myself.
FrozenIce2 years ago
Does it... work? Any results so far?
ShaanHurley (author)  FrozenIce2 years ago
It seemed to work as I did not have a problem sith the moths this year.
techraptor2 years ago
Thats a pretty nice idea.. but.. that is one ugly looking butterfly.. bet others just get scared by it's ugliness lol :P. BTW what is best resolution u got on ur 3D printer.. I'm jealous of it :).
ShaanHurley (author)  techraptor2 years ago
Yes it was crude, but fast and worked. The MakerBot Replicator is a 100micron resolution ABS printer.
ToolboxGuy2 years ago
Great idea! Those loopers are a pain as well.

Since I don't own a cool 3D printer, I would mass produce these using paper and scissors, then laminate them. You could make a dozen in the matter of minutes - two sided, in full rendering.

Of course, find a small child (or many of them!) to do the cutting. I am sure it doesn't have to be perfect to fool these guys, but it helps the kids get practice. Not sure if they even need antennae...






That is an amazing smart idea! Has this been successfully trial runned? Has it been found to be effective in keeping the cabbage moths away?
ShaanHurley (author)  CartridgeJames2 years ago
It seems to have worked as I have yet to see one of those pesky butterflys within 100 feet of my decoys.