If you are big fan of Star Wars and Darth Vader, follow the instructable below to make a fancy Darth Vader Planter..
As part of the steps below you have two options, as shown in the videos below
- Simple Darth Vader Planter which include STL files to 3D print in black filament and use a plant which in my case is a fancy cacti. In addition, if you have an Arduino Pro Mini/Micro handy you can use it with some kind of sensor like a sound sensor to trigger LED's to light up , here I choose to use NeoPixels for the LEDs.
- Darth Vader Planter with -room temperature and humidity monitoring using DHT11 sensor, for this you will also need a 8x8 LED matrix to display the temperature and humidity.
Step 1: Collect the Things You'll Need to Complete the Build
Collect buy the components for the build.Click on the link below the buy the components from where I purchased them from/or feel free to mix and match.
- Arduino Pro Mini
- NeoPixels - at-least 4
- Sound sensor
- FTDI cable to upload code to the Arduino Pro Mini
- Jumper wire
- Tiny Breadboard
- Wire to solder to the NeoPixels
- Micro USB connector
As part of the second part of the instructable , add the following components to keep time and print the temperature and humidity of your living room.
- DHT11 - Temperature and Humidity Sensor
- 8X8 Matrix with I2C backpack
- DS1307 Real time Clock
- Black PLA filament
- Transparent PLA filament for NeoPixel light diffusion
- And since this is a planter! you will also need a plant , here I would suggest a Cacti or a plant that you dont need to water much.
Tools you'll need
- Soldering Iron
- Glue for the 3D printed parts together
- 3D Printer
- Garden soil to add the plan to the 3D printed cone shaped plant
- Hot glue gun
- Xacto Knife/sand paper to cleaning the 3D prints
Step 2: Create the Cuircuit
As part of the circuit solder header pins to the Arduino Pro Mini , so that you can add it to a Tiny bread board as shown in the picture above
Then solder 4 NeoPixels together and make note of the direction that you are soldering wire on the data line, here I am using 30AWG wire which is more flexible than regular breadboarding wire,
In addition solder small pieces of breadboarding wire so that you can insert the ends in the breadboard.Cover the open connection with heat shrink tubing.
Using the same method cut the grove connector at the end and solder bread boarding wire.
Now connect the Grove sound sensor to pin A0
And the NeoPixel data IN to pin 6
Step 3: Upload Code to the Arduino Pro Mini - for NeoPixel Diffusion Based on Sound
Download the ino file attached and open it using your Arduino IDE.
Select Arduino Pro Mini from Tools boards section of the IDE as shown in the picture above
Now using the FDI cable connect the Arudino Pro Mini and you laptop and upload the code to the Pro Mini
Once done open the Serial monitor and here you will have to decide on SOUNDTHRESHOLD value you need to set , depending on the sensitivity of the sensor select a value. Here a good idea is to check the value of the sound sensor when you clap your hands
Note : Before you upload the code you will also need the NeoPixel library. Go through the setup steps mentioned on the Adafruit's Learning system
Step 4: 3D Printed Darth Vader Parts
Download the STL files attached and using 3D printing software slice and 3D print the files.If you don't have a 3D printer handy you can use one at your local maker club or library or use a 3D printing service like 3D hubs.
In my case, I printed the VaderMouthBase.stl file using the Printrbot Simple metal and 1.75 mm black PLA to print. In addition for slicing I am using Cura with the layer height set to 0.3mm and fill density to 25 %.
To print the larger parts like the VanderbottomLights.stl , I used the Flashforge creator pro a Slic3r to slice the file with layer height set to 0.2mm and fill density to 25 %.
Printing all the STL files above could take about 5 to 6 hours depending on you printer settings.
Black 1.75 mm Filament Used - http://digitmakers.ca/shop/3d-printers/filament/3d-printer-filaments-pla-black/
Step 5: 3D Print the Transparent Part Used for NeoPixel Diffusion
Download the STL files attached and using 3D printing software slice and 3D print the files.
Here you can add both the STL files to your 3D printing software as shown in the Cura screen shot above, and use transparent PLA to print, basically this is from where you will have NeoPixel diffusion to give it that awesome look.
Set the layer height to 0.2 mm and fill density to 25 %
In addition also set the platform adhesion to Brim , so that the part stick to the build plate.
Once done 3D print which should take about 15-20 mins , use an xacto knife to get the brims of.
Step 6: 3D Print the Planter and the Planter Holder
Now since this is a planter , we will need something to pot the plant , here download the Cone shaped pot STL which snug fits in the parts printed before.
Print the file with 0.2mm layer height and 25% fill density.
A suggestion while choosing the plant will be to choose something which you don't have to water regularly , but if you choose otherwise , 3D print the WateringStand.stl file.
To print the stand set your layer height to 0.3 mm and fill density to 45 %.
Step 7: Potting the Plant
Potting the plant is pretty simple place the cone on the stand, and add a couple of pebbles to cover the hole at bottom of the cone.
Add some garden soil and pot your plant as shown in the picture above.
Now if you have choose a plant which needs watering constantly water the plant and leave it on the stand for couple of hour till all the water drains out.
Step 8: Putting It All Together
To put the 3D printed parts together sand the edges using sand paper and user super glue to stick the parts to each other.
Add the transparent PLA part to the back part and insert the NeoPixels.
Add the breadboard with the Arduino Pro Mini to the bottom.
Using super glue/hot glue secure the top half of Vader to the bottom.
Now plug in USB cable to the power outlet and you should see the NeoPixels glow when sound is detected.Change to code if you prefer a different sequence of color.
If most of your water is drained out , add the planter to the base.
Step 9: 3D Print the Darth Vader's Mouth Piece to Hold the 8x8 Matrix
Now if you plan on monitoring the temperature and humidity of you living room at home using DHT11 sensor, download the STL file attached and 3D print it.
Here you can set your layer height to 0.3 mm and fill density to 25 %, printing the part should take about 45 mins to a hour.
Step 10: Create Circuit to Monitor Temperature at Home - Using DHT11 and 8x8 Matrix
As part of this step we will enhance the circuit create as part of step 2
Here connect the data marked as D (data)on the 8x8 matrix back pack to pin A4(SDA) on the Arduino pro mini
And connect the C (clock) on the 8x8 matrix back pack to pin A5(SCL) on the pro mini.
For more details and to solder the 8X8 matrix to the I2C LED backpack refer to Adafruits learning system at
Now connect the DHT 11 to the pin 2 of the pro min, for more info refer to link below to read about the DHT11 sensor
Step 11: Upload Code for DHT11 and 8x8 Matrix to Arduino Pro Mini
Download the .ino file attached and open it in the Arduino IDE
Before you upload the code to the Arduino you will have to download the DHT11 library from github or use the link below
And you will also need the Arduino library for the 8x8 matrix, which you can get from
Now restart you Arduino IDE , select the Arduino Pro or Arduino Pro Mini as you board as shown in the screen shot above , connect the FTDI cable to the pro mini and upload the code.
As part of the code as we did in step 3 , you will have to make a note of SOUNDTHRESHOLD value, which in my case I set to 300 as you see in the video below
Step 12: Putting It All Together
Now to put every thing together , attach the DHT11 to some male to female jumper cable , or you can make this more permanent by soldering wire to the DHT11 and then add heat shrink tubing.
Add the breadboard to the mouthpiece and hot glue the 8x8 matrix.
Hot glue the DHT11 and sound sensor the back.
Using super glue secure the mouth piece to the top and add the planter.
Congratulation you are done and hope you had fun making the Darth Vader planter, now find a spot at home to place your awesome Star Wars creation ...