Introduction: Magnetic Levitating Flower Pot
Last year, I was perusing Instructables and came across user ananords awesome levitating plant project. I knew right away that I wanted to order a magnetic levitation DIY module for myself in order to create something just as awesome. He has a couple great instructables on how he made his levitating plants and the hyperlink to his creations are above. For my design however, I chose to incorporate the LED lights that came with my magnetic levitation module as well as utilize some beautiful spalted wood that I picked up from my local woodshop. As I was designing this and thinking of a way to incorporate the LED's as well as keep the base to a relatively small size, I came up with the idea of using a scroll saw to cut the magnetic levitation module outline into the wood. I then 3D printed an insert that covers everything except for the 4 corners where the LED's are located. Finally, I designed a dodechahedron as my flower pot and the print came out looking fantastic. Once put together, I couldn't be happier with how the project turned out! The color scheme of the brown/black spalted wood contrasts nicely with the white flower pot, and the blue shine of the LED's adds an extra element that I am very pleased with. If you would like to make something similar, follow along!
- Clear Acrylic Sheet
- Wood Stain
- One Coat Polyurethane
- PLA: white and black (optional)
- Hot glue gun
- Clamping Squares (optional)
- Miter Saw
- Scroll Saw
- Wood Glue
- 3D printer (optional)
- CAD software: I used Fusion 360 (optional)
Step 1: Magnetic Levitation Module and Testing
I purchased my magnetic levitation module through amazon and it came in great condition, however it lacked instructions. While the setup seemed intuitive (just plug in and place the magnet above the coils) it proved to be somewhat of a challenge for me. I could not seem to get the magnet to levitate at first. I soon found out that the LED's appear to play a role in stabilizing the magnet. If the magnet is off center, the LED's will blink which I believe alerts the user to position the magnet closer to those LED's. All 4 LED's will then shine and the device begins to calibrate to the magnet. After about 15-20 seconds of holding the magnet above the module, it stabilizes itself and the magnet levitates. This was my first indication that the LED's would be useful to keep in my final design. Additionally, I just liked how they looked.
The second thing that I noticed with this specific module was that after calibration, the magnet itself had roughly a ~30 degree angle to it. In other words, the base module would lie flat and the magnet, which should levitate in the air perfectly level, would not. There are two potentiometers on the device that I tried adjusting but nothing seemed to help that degree of angulation. Rather than send it back, I chose to work through the problem. By elevating a corner of the base by ~30 degrees on one side, the magnet would right itself to be level in the air. I show a preview of how I elevated one side in the image above but it will make more sense in the next step. Obviously, if your module does not encounter this issue, there is no need to elevate one corner of the base.
Step 2: Creating the Spalted Wood Base
As I mentioned in the intro, I found this gorgeous spalted wood in my local woodshop that I thought would work well for this project. I cut the wood down into ~30in x ~1.75in long piece. I then used the miter saw to cut 45 degree angles in the wood so that I now had 4 pieces that would fit together in a square. I chose one of the pieces to drill a ~3/4in hole into that would fit the DC jack. I then used wood glue and clamping squares to hold the base together.
Once dry, I then placed the magnetic levitation module over the wood base ensuring that the LED's lined up with the corners of the base. I used a pencil and traced the outline of the device onto the wood. I then used a scroll saw to cut out that tracing (my scroll saw skills could use some work :p). Nonetheless, I tested to ensure the magnetic module could fit into my newly cut base and it did.
I sanded the wood going from a low to high grit and then applied multiple coats of a wood stain per their instructions. Once dry, I opted to use a fast dry polyurethane as a final touch. I could not be happier with how the stain and polyurethane brought out the black in the spalted wood.
I then obtained my clear acrylic sheet, placed my finished wood base on top of it, and traced out an approximate size. I cut out the acrylic and glued it to the bottom of my wood base.
Optional: (Pending your magnetic levitation module)
As mentioned in the last step, my module required some elevation on one side in order to create a level floating magnet. (I am not sure if this was an issue with my specific device or if others have encountered the same issue) Regardless, I searched through various things in my workroom that could work and ended up going with some mosaic tiles that I had lying around. I stacked two on one corner and one in the adjacent corner and it seemed just right for my device (refer to images). I glued those in place and that finalized my wood base!
Step 3: 3D Printing the Flower Pot and Insert
I wanted to create a unique flower pot and went to Thingiverse.com for inspiration. User Okimi created a Dodecahedron flower pot and I immediately knew that was the pot that I wanted for my project. However, I needed to ensure that I could size my flower pot appropriately as well as fit the magnet into the base of the pot. Because of this, I ended up CAD'ing my own design using Fusion 360 and referred to this Youtube tutorial for guidance. It is fairly simple to create any polyhedron should you choose to go with a different shaped flower pot for your design! I use Cura as my slicing software and the specs are printed below. Following the print, I pressed the magnet into the bottom of the pot. You may need to wrap a layer of tape around the magnet in order to get a tighter fit.
- My Printer: Maker Select Printer V2
- Nozzle: 0.4mm
- Filament: Black and White PLA filament 1.75mm
- Printing Temp/Build Plate Temp: 215C / 60C
- Print Speed: 60 mm/s
- Infill: 20%
- Enable Support: Yes, everywhere
- Build Plate Adhesion: Brim
I wanted to create a cover for the wood base to accomplish two tasks: 1) I wanted to hide the magnet module and 2) I wanted to keep the corners open so the LED's could shine through both for calibration purposes as well as for looks. In order to do this I took a perpendicular image of the wood base and loaded it into Fusion 360. I then traced the cut out area while leaving the corners exposed using the fit point spline tool and extruded the shape to 2mm. I again used Cura as my slicing software and printed the insert out and again. The same printer settings were used for this insert.
Note: I will attach my .stl and .gcode file of my insert but it will largely depend on your own cutout of your wood base should you choose to go that route. It would be best to follow these instructions and print out your own insert that is specific to your design. Additionally, there are plenty of other options to cover the magnet should you not want to design and print your own insert. For example, you could make a wood cutout or even an acrylic cutout in place of the 3D printed plastic.
Step 4: Adding the Flowers and Final Touches
I purchased preserved moss, the fake flower stems, and a foam square from my local Hobby Lobby. I cut the foam square to be just below the height of the bottom pentagons in the dodecahedron and hot glued it into place. I then stuck a couple flower stems into the foam block so they would stick out above the pot. Finally, I used a good amount of the preserved moss to cover the foam square, stem, and bottom of the flower pot.
All that is left to do know is plug in the wood base, set the flower pot on top, and wait for the magnet module to calibrate! And there you have it, my version of the levitating flower pot! I really enjoyed this project and was happy with how it turned out. I have noticed that there is a slight oscillation of the flower pot the longer I have the device plugged in and I like it (check out the video). From afar, it may not appear to be floating but with the oscillation it is definitely apparent! I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and happy making!
Runner Up in the
Indoor Plants Challenge