Introduction: 3D-Printable Interlocking Planters
These 3D-printable planters were designed to be used as single planters, or locked together to create larger planters with multiple sections. These planters were designed in Tinkercad with snaps that can be pushed together to connect firmly. There are three different designs for the planter, one with no drainage holes on the bottom, one with small drainage holes, and one with larger drainage holes. Each planter has three rings on it to allow it to be hung with hooks or strings.
- Ultimaker Cura
- 3D Printer
- Good Internet Connection
- SD Card
- SD Card Reader
- 3D Printer Filament
- Small Pebbles(only if using a drainage hole version)
- Potting soil
Step 1: Downloading STL Files
STL stands for Standard Triangle Language, and it is the type of file often used for 3D models. Select the file you need(no drainage holes, small drainage holes, or large drainage holes), and download it. All of the planter files are the same size, so you can download several and interlock planters with varying drainage holes.
Step 2: Adding STL Files to Cura
Cura, short for Ultimaker Cura, is a slicer. A slicer is software that displays a virtual print 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, go to this page to download it, and this page to learn how to use it. Take the file that you downloaded and drag it from your desktop onto the virtual printbed displayed in the Cura window. For maximum strength of the finished planter, I would suggest using 100% infill. These files do not require support, so the generate support option can be turned off. Do not scale the files in Cura, as the connectors will not work well, if at all, when not at the size designed.
Step 3: 3D Printing the Planter
Select 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 reader. Open the SD card on your computer. Once you have opened the SD card, add the G-Code file, 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 planter. As I do not have a 3D printer, I glued sheets of cardboard together to create a model of the planter. This means that I was not able to test the snap-together connectors, but they should work, as other 3D prints I have seen successfully used them.
Step 4: Using the Planter
Place a layer of small pebbles, approximately three centimeters thick, in the bottom of the planter. Fill the rest of the planter with potting soil, up to about one centimeter from the top of the planter. Now you can plant your seeds. Note: these planters are small, so you should probably only use them for small plants, or for plants that you intent to later move to another, larger, planter. If anyone has any ideas for improvement, please mention them in the comments section.