Ultimate Robo-Planter (with Light and Detachable Anti-spill Module)




Introduction: Ultimate Robo-Planter (with Light and Detachable Anti-spill Module)

About: I'm Mario Caicedo Langer (M.C. for short), a Colombian STEAM educator living in Azerbaijan, BSc in Naval Sciences and former Navy officer. I am a CAD and 3D Printing enthusiast and an artist specialized in jun…

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Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... my Ultimate Robo-Planter!

"But Mario" - you will say - "We have seen your Robo-Planters before. Not bad and very ecological, but what new do you have to show?"

Good question, my dear reader! Let me explain it to you:

This is my first two-modules robo-planter. The top module is the planter per se.The bottom module is a water receiver attached to the planter. When you add too much water to the plant, the excess will pass through the holes of the planter and fall to the lower module. When it's full, you can disengage it and dispose of that water. No water spills over your desk when you water your plant, no need for additional trays under your planter. Besides, you can choose between two options of Robo-planter: the full concept (four legged big robot with pincers) or only the bottom module for smaller plants (arachnid drone). This project is fully articulated, has a red LED eye and was made from discarded stuff. The perfect gift for Christmas!

Step 1: Materials

You will need the following stuff (remember: I found some of the discarded materials from the street, because I love to collect plastic trash. If you don't have it, replace it. Use your imagination!):

  • 2 cans: one of them has to be higher, for the planter. The smaller one will be the water receiver. I used one from canned corn and other from tuna, respectively. Important: the bigger can must fit perfectly over the smaller one, to avoid water spills and instability.
  • 4 piano black keys: If you remember my Robo-dog instructable, I found an abandoned broken piano in the street and I collected the black keys. Don't you have a piano to destroy? Use Lego long bricks, shaving blade handles, or whatever long plastic piece you can find for making legs.
  • 6 iron angles: for the joints of legs and arms.
  • 2 small iron angle: for the eye joint.
  • 1 small magnet.
  • 8 flat iron angles: for the pincers.
  • 8 iron pieces (the ones you use for hanging frames on the wall)
  • 2 buffers from a scooter: for the arms.
  • 1 big long plastic piece: for the forearms. I cut it in two.
  • 1 plastic piece from a printer: for the batteries "backpack" and planter's lock.
  • 1 cellphone base for car: If you disassemble it, you will get a lot of good small pieces. I used it for the batteries "backpack" and the eye.
  • 1 camera lens: For the eye.you can improvise it with the cellphone base pieces or plastic caps.
  • 1 big red LED.
  • 1 330 Ohm resistor.
  • 1 switch.
  • 1 AAA batteries box X 2.
  • 2 AAA batteries.
  • wires.
  • Nuts, screws and iron washers,
  • Superglue.


  • Dremel rotary tool.
  • Screwdrivers.
  • Pliers.
  • Soldering iron.
  • Hobby knife.

Step 2: Spider Legs

Assemble the four spider legs in the way shown on the pictures. NOTE: Try to use the accurate screw for each joint, to avoid waste of material and time. Because I have a very limited supply of screws in my city, I had to use the longest ones and then cut the remaining parts.

Step 3: Water Receiver (bottom Module)

Take the tuna can and drill four holes, one for each leg. Attach the legs using screws. Before attaching the nuts, drill four holes in any rubber membrane (like the suction cup of the cellphone base) and install it in the bottom of the can. Then, attach the nuts and washers. This will seal the bottom of the can, avoiding spills through the holes.

Step 4: Pincers

Attach the flat iron angles to each "forearm" (half of the long plastic piece shown in the "Materials" step). Each hand will have four iron angles as fingers.

Step 5: Arms

Attach the buffers (or any other option you have for the arms) to each one of the pincers. In the upper end of the buffer you need to place an iron angle. That will be the joint to attach to the top module (planter).

Step 6: Planter (Top Module)

Take the higher can (corn). Drill one hole in each side of the can, in order to attach the arms.

Drill three (or more) holes in the bottom of the can.They will be the drains to the water receiver.

Place the top module over the bottom module. Check for stability. Anyway, in the next steps I will show how to make a lock to avoid the falling of the top module when you touch it.

This is the last step for the top module. If well you will need it as a guide, the following steps will be made over the bottom module.

Step 7: The "Backpack" (Part 1)

This piece of the Robo-Planter has two main functions: it's a clip for keeping the top module attached to the bottom module, and carries the batteries box. The idea is to take advantage of the cellphone holder mechanism from the cellphone base, and use it to retain the batteries box. When you want to change the batteries, you only have to press the buttom an it will expose the batteries box.

Cut the printer's plastic piece and adapt it to the bottom module, using the remaining piece of this cut. Attach the cellphone holder to the piece, leaving the buttom in top.

Step 8: The "Backpack" (Part 2)

Install the batteries box, drilling a hole in the cellphone holder and passing through the wires of the batteries box.

Drill a hole in the inferior part of the backpack's clip (plastic piece from the printer). Then assemble the planter, place the backpack and drill a hole in the bottom module, in the same position of the hole in the clip, so you can attach them.

The backpack's clip has to be firmly fixed to the bottom module. The clip has to be flexible enough to let you take apart the top module.

Step 9: The Eye

The electronic circuit of this project is simple: the batteries box cables are connected to a LED (black wire = negative pole, shortest pin of the LED; red wire = positive pole, longest pin of the LED). In the black cable, I soldered a switch and the 330 Ohm resistor.

I made the eye using the lens from a digital camera and pieces from the cellphone base. Attach a magnet in the back of the eye, so it will stick to the planter when the top module is locked over the bottom module.

Step 10: Eye's Hinge and Final Touches

The eye has an "arm" with a joint, so you can displace it everytime you need to remove the top module, without leaving the eye to hang loose like the sleeve of a wizard. I used a small plastic piece from a printer.

Attach one end of the "arm" to the eye; the other end to an iron angle in the front of the bottom module.

Connect the wires from the eye to the wires from the backpack. And the bottom module is ready!

Step 11: The Plant

Transplant the plant (dah!) of your preference to the top module (planter).

Step 12: Attach the Top Module to the Bottom Module

Take the planter and place it over the bottom module. Lock it with the backpack with a snap. Move the eye close to the planter and... your Extreme Robo-Planter is ready!

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    This is so cool. It would be even better if it could walk. It would be kind of creepy for your flowers to follow you around the house, but still..

    M.C. Langer
    M.C. Langer

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Benjamin! Actually, I don't have flowers at home because of my cats (they love to destroy them). But some day I will make a walking planter.


    7 years ago

    Looks amazing. Good to see you keep on instructabling!

    M.C. Langer
    M.C. Langer

    Reply 7 years ago

    Thanks Skiedra!

    Lady Platypus
    Lady Platypus

    7 years ago

    This is a fantastic idea! I want one too!

    I love it! I personally never get enough of seeing those creative robo-planters you make :)