Introduction: USB Plant Shelf, the Perfect Office Companion
original post; The Plant Shelf, a form of live art.
Why? because plants make anywhere a lovely place to live, clean the air and give off positive energy. we can have walls covered with these shelves with different sizes and shapes. what if paintings weren't the only form of art to hang on a wall ?! people work in office spaces with zero sunlight and no live plants anywhere, what if we changed that for the common good.
last sunday was my friend mimi's birthday. and i have decided to make my first ever plant shelf gift ! i must admit that this was a lot of fun, i am probably going to just give these away as gifts from now on. we are actually going to keep this one at work, our office has no sunlight. I work at a kitchen, and I figured we can grow some oregano or thyme maybe.
please read the original plant shelf post above to get familiar with my work.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
1x wooden plank cut to size, 4x4x0.5" inches for my design - free
1x perforated metal hanger, about 20" inches for my design - about $0.45cents
2x small screws - free
2x L hangers - free
3x nuts&bolts, small enough to go thru the holes on perforated metal hanger. - free
1x 22" gauge cable, about 20" inches for my design, radioshack - free
1x usb male port, ebay or local thrift store - free
1x usb female port, ebay or local thrift store - free
2x 1W high power leds, 660nm in my design - ebay - about $0.50cents
1x led driver/recycled cell phone charger, ebay or local thrift store - free or about $1.00-5.00
2x wine corks - free
1x electrical tape - free
total; $6.00, i had all the parts laying around in the house, so it was actually free for me.
screwdriver, drill, plyers, heavyduty scissors, wrench, metal epoxy/heatsink glue, hot glue gun, soldering iron
Step 2: Skeleton
picture 1: I first made the baseboard by attaching the two L brackets on each corner (screw them in tightly so they won't turn around).
picture 2: I added the plant arm.
picture 3: this is where we are at right now, no electronics yet. you can now use your plant shelf either on the wall or on your desk. i'm sure not everyone will be needing the lights.
Step 3: Lights Attachment
i decided to keep this shelf small and portable, taking no space on the desk or the wall.
i have also decided to do a personal mixture of glues. the small white tube is heat sink compound I found at radioshack, i believe it is to attach heatsinks to cpus. i did an inner circle of this stuff and for the outside i used my trusty old metal epoxy. the reason i wanted to do this was to help with heat build-up. the arm has plenty of metal to cool the two 1W 660nm high power leds. i just need to make sure the heat travels freely.
you can see my finished work in great detail here. you don't have to follow my exact design when it comes to the shape/looks just be creative, the goal is;
1. to make sure the arm doesn't fall around and stays upright
2. the plant can easily be put on/off the shelf
3. a flat surface for those who don't want to hang it on the wall
Step 4: USB Ports
i love converting my power sources to usb ports. the advantages of this technology are limitless.
this is the best time to read my "usb power source hack" post to see how exactly i go about doing this connection.
there is a usb port inside of every office in the world. the two 1W 660nm high power led.s when connected in series add up perfectly to 5V. this is what the usb 2.0 port provides.
one thing to remember here when hacking the usb for power, when looking at the usb and seeing the 4 little metal slots. the one on your right is always the " positive + " and the left one is always " negative - " - you can get rid off the two inner metals if you wish. those are for data send/receive.
Step 5: Conclusion
my future gifts/products will be offering cool/warm white leds. i have ordered over 150 led beads from ebay with drivers. i want to be able to stock enough materials to be able to make a few of these shelves per request. i will post about these soon. to read/learn more about my plant shelf ideas, please check out the original post.
2 x 1W high power leds in series totaling to 5V @ 350mA.
2 power options;
USB- every office in the world has a usb port. so powering this thing at work is not an issue at all. according to my research on usb ports, they adjust to the asked mA. and they can supply up to 5V @ 500mA. although the newer usb 3.0 ports can go up to 1000 maybe 2000 mA. this will open up a huge number of new product possibilities in the near future powered via the usb. to learn more in depth you can read on wikipedia, usb.
AC/DC phone charger- the power of the thrift stores. i found an amazing used phone charger that supplies; 5V @ 250mA. notice that the supplied mA here is much lower, by a 100. this will assure a safer working plant light. for my future designs i will be using drivers made for led lights. i have actually ordered a bunch of them, just haven't arrived yet for this project.
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