In this Insrtructable, I'll be showing you how to make a 3-D printed dragon planter using Tinkercad. I will not be going into detail as to how to use Tinkercad so it is best to start with at least a basic understanding of how to use the site. However, it's super easy to learn and by far the easiest site to use to create your own 3-D models.
Unfortunately, I have one of the smallest (and cheapest lol) 3-D printers on the market. This limited the print to be only about 4 inches long. However, I hope to get my hand on a larger printer someday and try printing the model again but much larger. Then the details will turn out better and fit larger plants.
Step 1: Creating the Head
Please refer to the photos for building the head!! As the saying goes, ''a picture paints a thousand words." ;)
The head is created using basic shapes. Starting with a cube, add a Circular Trapezoid to form the top of the head. Add a triangle to the bottom to fill in the empty space. If there is a hole between the 3 shapes, a cylinder in the middle can fill in the gap.
Next, add a triangle and edit it to be a 'hole'. That means that it will create a hole in the shape of a triangle wherever it is placed on your design. Add it to the front area the head to give him a more sloping snout. You may have to adjust it to be just how you want it.
Lastly, add a cylinder to begin to form the neck of the dragon. 'Group' the head by highlighting it and clicking the 'group' button. This makes the head all one shape that you can drag and move anywhere. From here, stretch out the head just a little to make it more elongated and natural looking.
A helpful tip is to make sure all your shapes are the same width. Your dragon's face may look great from the side, but from the front it may be a wreck if the width of each shape is off!
Step 2: Beginning the Body
The snake-like body of the dragon is actually made up of several of the 'bent pipe' shapes connected together. Slightly edit them (see photos) to make them more rounded and wider. you will need two different sizes, one small one for the bottom and one large one for the top. Once you find the ideal shape for the two, 'duplicate' them so you have 2 big ones and 3 little ones. Connect them together to form the snake body. PLEASE reference the photos! :D
I attached the head after this, but decided later on that I didn't like how short the neck was and made the neck longer. That is in the next step though!
Step 3: Beginning the Feet!
The legs will eventually have a ball and socket joint. But just to get the idea of how the it will look, I made the leg solid and built it away from the body.The legs are made up of two more circular trapezoids and a sphere. Just make one leg how you want it and the duplicate it so they are both symmetrical. After the leg is in place, a half circle is used for the foot. For each claw, a paraboloid is used. Edit one to be the right shape and angle it down slightly. 'Duplicate' it so that you now have 3 claws the same size and shape. Adjust them to come off the foot but MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT GO UNDER THE PLANE YOUR WORKING ON!! THEY MUST BE ABOVE THE FOOT OR YOUR DRAGON WILL FALL OVER!!
Once the leg is complete, attach it to the body and 'duplicate' it so you have two legs.
Step 4: Continuing the Feet and Head
Like I said earlier, I didn't like the short neck. To make it longer, I used another 'bent pipe' shape bent into a -15 degree angle. By attaching it to the base of the neck, and adding the head to the top, your dragon's entire character seems to change.
The hind feet are simply duplicates of the front feet. By 'duplicating' the front and then compressing them slightly they get a thicker, wider look.
Step 5: The Eyes
The eyes are started by using a 'pineapple' shape for the pupil. Make the pineapple a hole like you did for the triangle in the first step and indent it into the head slightly to form an eye socket.
Next, the pupil is formed by using another pineapple shape and widening it to be more triangular. By making it narrower or wider you can adjust your dragon's expression. Last, for an eyelid/eyebrow shape, use a 'torus' shape. Cut it in half using a square hole so that you have half a torus. Widen it so that it is the length of the eye socket and place the torus shape above it. Copy and paste the eye and drag it to the other side of the head.
Step 6: Ears and Spikes
The ears are both 'pineapple' shapes with another pineapple shape inside them for indentations. Again, build one and then duplicate it so they are both the same. Attach them to the head at a -15 degree angle so they are slightly layed back.
The spikes are all optional so you can make them or do your own thing. The spikes on the top of the head are cones of varying lengths. The top 3 are duplicates of each other and equal in size and shape. The side spikes are all the same size too, and are symmetrical on each side. I've found it easiest to duplicate a cone and drag the copy to where I want it rather than creating a whole new cone.
The spikes going down the back are paraboloids and again, I formed one and then copied it. As they go farther down the back, they may need to be tilted at about 10 degrees or so because of the dragon's curving back.
Step 7: Making the Legs Movable
This step is for if you choose to make the legs movable. If you don't want to do this, just skip this step! I made the legs bend at the knees and elbows to give the dragon more mobility and make him pose-able. To do this, delete the sphere that was acting like a joint. In it's place add a socket in the bottom half of the leg and the ball from the top of the thigh. (see photos!) However, do not 'group' the legs together because they will need to be printed separately from the dragon's body to make it movable. I temporarily placed them about where they would be however, just to see how the dragon would look once printed.
Step 8: Last Step!! the Planters!!
Finally! The last step!! Woo hoo!! :D
The planter on the tail is a 'Polycup' shape that is the same width of the body. It is placed on the tail but you may have to delete a spike so that the spike is not inside the planter.
The other 4 planters are actually inside the dragon's body and made up of a 'polygon' hole with a 'cylinder' hole coming out the bottom of it for a drain. Group these together and 'dupicate' them so there are four planters. They can be placed throughout the dragon's body and one on the head. Please see photos again for a better explanation. Once they are all placed on the dragon, 'group' the entire body together EXCLUDING the legs!!
Step 9: Ready to Print!
To make your dragon easier to print, move the legs to the side so the balls and sockets will move. When printing, be sure to add supports everywhere! I also decided to spray paint the dragon a light grey color because my filament is neon green and looks unnatural. This step is optional but gives it a completed look!
If you print your dragon do not scale down the size unless absolutely necessary. I had to because of my small printer and the quality was not as good. If you print this design, please share a picture! I'd love to see it!