Introduction: Night Flight
Hi! We are Justin Cao and Albert Kim and we made this rocket planter as part of a year-long project in our Principles of Engineering class. This is our first time working with engineering tools, and our teacher, Ms. Berbawy, helped us a lot throughout the process with her numerous resources and tools at her disposal.
Special Thanks to Simon Rob’s Rocket Planter, which was the inspiration for this project!
- Copper Wires
- Two 1.5V Batteries
- Battery Holder
- 14x Clear LED Light Emitting Diodes Bulb
- ⅛ Inch Acrylic
- Toggle Switch
- Heat Shrink Tubing
- Spray Paint (white, black, red, blue)
- Soldering Iron
- 3D Printer *We used the Prusa Mini and Prusa MK3S
- Filament *We used ABS
- Super Glue
- Masking Tape
- Laser Printer
- Adobe Illustrator
- Prusa Slicer
Step 1: Features
There is a pot that can hold anything from pencils to even plants! The box has see-through walls and the light can illuminate through the entire unit! Pretty customizable!
Step 2: The Rocket Parts
We used OnShape to make 3D models of our rocket parts. This was actually our first time using 3D modeling software, but after we took the Onshape Fundamentals: CAD course, found in the Onshape learning center, we quickly got used to most of the features that Onshape offers. All the parts were designed by us but we took a lot of inspiration from the original Rocket Planter. Our files can be found in this link! Feel free to check it out!
Step 3: 3-D Printing the Rocket
We printed all of our parts on our Prusa Mini Printer. For all of our prints, we used the print settings pictured.
Print Time: For one rocket it takes around a full day if you use 2 printers and if you can place all of the pieces on the print surfaces. Otherwise, it might take extra time. :)
- We used 0.10mm DETAIL for the detail settings because of the letters we wanted to print on the side, if your letters are more basic you can use thicker layers.
- For some parts of the build, you may need to use spiral printing for parts such as the exhausts or the pots, this will get rid of some irregularities in the print that are caused by the nozzle moving on the print. But, it might take longer because you can only print the pieces one by one.
Step 4: Fixing Blemishes
After printing the parts of the model, you will want to use a Dremel or sandpaper to cleanly scrape off the excess filament from the parts. You will probably need to use pliers to pull the supports off of the prints since they might be pretty stuck on the print, especially for the base.
Step 5: Spray Painting
We chose a Red, White, and Blue design for one rocket, and a Sakura (Pink and White) look for the other, and used some spray paint we bought at Home Depot. Design your look however you want, but be sure to let your parts rest for an hour or so before touching them again so they can dry fully and you won't put fingerprints on them. This is a video of our spray-painted parts.
Step 6: The Box
To store our wires and batteries, we used an acrylic box. We chose acrylic because it made our rocket look pretty sharp and clean.
We laser cut our box out of ⅛ inch acrylic. The sides are cut of out P95 so the light kind of shines through, and the top is clear so that all of the electronics are visible. We used Adobe Illustrator to create our box, which has
We laser-cut a 3mm radius circle in the middle of the top surface for the wires to go through the middle exhaust as well as another hole near one of the edges of for the switch.
*Fingers give the box more stability and make it easier to put together.
*If you want to personalize this project, you can also put your name on it!
*When done laser cutting your box, wrap it with plastic wrap to protect it from scratches. Acrylic scratches very easily.
Step 7: The Wiring
This step is the hardest! We had almost no experience with soldering before this. But after some practice with random strips of wires, we got somewhat used to it. Make sure you have a good enough soldering iron that will get hot enough, otherwise you’ll have a pretty hard time (speaking from experience).
We only put one LED in each of the exhausts, but you can add more if you want: this will complicate the wiring even more though.
First, you need to designate your positive and negative wire colors. We used blue copper wire and red copper wire: blue for positive, and red for negative.
The picture above is an example of the parts you should solder to create a functional LED.
Step 8: Connecting the Wires
You need to solder 5 individual LEDs to their wires, one for each exhaust.
After you attach each wire to an LED, you need to thread them through the base and solder them together at the top. Solder the red wires with the red wires and the blue wires with blue wires. This is a picture of only 3 LEDs soldered at the top for simplicity, but imagine if wires are coming through the other two holes.
*Again Blue with Blue wires and Red with Red wires.
Step 9: Extending the Wires
After you have wired the 5 LEDs together at the top you need to be able to connect the wires to the battery, so you need to extend a red and blue wire through the base to the inside of the box.
Our prototype used three LEDs per exhaust so this looks a lot more complicated than our final build was, but the general idea is to connect the LEDs in series.
Step 10: Extending the Wires Pt.2
After we soldered the wires onto the LED ring we put heat shrink tubing around the wires to insulate them.
Pictures above ^^.
Step 11: The Battery
For this, we used 2 1.5 volt batteries to power our blue and green LEDs. Blue and Green LEDs roughly need around 2.7 to 3.2 volts, but other colors vary in required voltage so using 2 1.5 volt batteries might not work.
To easily change out batteries when they run out, we put the batteries in a battery holder and attached it to the box with velcro.
The pictures above show a pretty simple depiction of how it works!
Step 12: The Switch
Since we wanted to turn the lights on and off from the outside, we included a switch.
All you need to do is connect a negative wire from the battery holder to one side of the switch and the negative wire from the rocket to the other side. Basically completing the circuit.
The picture above shows how it is done!
Step 13: Assembly
First, you want to superglue the sides together, we only superglued 3 of the sides because the last one needs to be able to be taken off so that we can change out batteries.
Then, you want to superglue the 5 exhausts to the body base; after that, you want to superglue that part (body base + 5 exhausts) onto the acrylic top.
Finally, you can superglue the body to the body base.
Here are some images and a video of how all the pieces should fit together.
Step 14: You're Done!
Make sure your wiring works before you glue everything together!
*We tested it multiple times to check if there were any faulty connections.
Thanks for following our Instructables and hope you like your brand new night flight! :DD