Introduction: Rotating Planter Design

This is a rotating planter that I designed in Tinkercad. The way that it works is that it has a 3D printed base with 3D printed ball bearings and rotating swivels to keep the main arm, which has a planter on either end, rotating smoothly. This planter can be used for science experiments with heliotropism, or other experiments with plants. It could also be used for a decorative planter.

Below is a list of the things you will need to create this planter.


  • SD Card Reader
  • SD Card
  • 3D Printer
  • Computer
  • Good Internet Connection


  • Ultimaker Cura


  • 3D Printer Filament
  • Lubrication Oil

Note: when choosing your 3D printer filament type, make sure that it won't degrade easily with sunlight or oil. Do not use ABS! A good filaments that I would recommend for this purpose is ASA. If you want to make a good looking planter you could use wood-infused PLA.

Step 1: Printing the Files

Cura, which is short for Ultimaker Cura, is a slicer. A slicer is a piece of software that displays a virtual 3D printer bed and allows you to scale and position your files on the bed. Once you have finished, it will output your file in G-Code, the programming language that 3D printers use. This Instructable assumes that you already have Cura set up on your computer. If not, download it from this page, and go to this page to learn how to use it. Take one of the files that you downloaded and drag it from your desktop onto the virtual printbed displayed in the Cura window. Click the Save to File button in Cura. When a window appears asking you where to save the file, select desktop, and select G-Code format. Click the Save button. Plug the SD card reader into the computer, and the SD card into the SD card reader. Open the SD card on your computer. Once you have opened the SD card,drag the G-Code file into it, after first making sure that there are no other files on your SD card. Eject your SD card, turn the 3D printer on, and insert your SD card into the SD card slot on your 3D printer. On your printer, select Print, select the file, and wait as it prints the piece. Repeat this process with each of the files until you have printed each of the files once.

Step 2: Assembly of the Planter

First, set the 3D printed base on a flat surface, facing upright(top right picture). Next, set the 3D printed ball bearings in the groove along the edge of the bottom of the depression in the middle of the base(second picture from the top on the right). You may want to put a little bit of lubrication oil in the groove the bearings roll in before continuing the assembly. Next, put the 3D printed swivel tops on the pegs sticking up from the middles of the smaller circular holes surrounding the main hole in the base(bottom left photo). Before placing the caps on, put a drop of lubrication oil in the hole at the center of the cap(bottom right photo). Place the planter arm in the middle of the main hole in the base, with the peg sticking down from the arm fitting into the hole for it in the base(main picture).

Step 3: Conclusion

That is all that it takes to make a spinning planter. You can use this planter to perform experiments by changing the direction the sunlight falls on a plant by turning the planter, or you can use it for a decorative planter, or some other use. Occasionally, it would be a good idea to take the planter apart and reapply lubrication oil to keep the parts moving smoothly. If anyone has any ideas for improvements, please mention them in the comments section. As this planter design does not have any drainage holes in the planters, this planter would be better suited either for use with plants that use a lot of water, or plants that hardly use any at all.

Planter Challenge

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Planter Challenge