Cannon Planters

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About: I enjoy designing models in CAD and 3D printing them. I also love photography and graphic design, which I utilize in my Instructables.

I'm a huge fan of 3D printed planters. They are great at holding many different varieties of succulents, micro-greens, etc and they look aesthetically pleasing, especially compared to more utilitarian pots and vases.

Recently, I had a great idea. If I 3D printed a desktop cannon, I could put plants inside the barrel, which would plume upward like the smoke after a cannon is fired.

I decided to create 2 different types of cannons to wage war against each other on my desk. The first is the mortar from Clash Royale, a mobile game by Supercell. The second is a bomb tower from Bloons Tower Defense 6, a mobile game by Ninja Kiwi.

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Step 1: Supplies

Softwares needed for creating these models:

1. TinkerCAD - TinkerCAD is an easy-to-learn, online CAD software that you can find here.

2. Cura - I use this software to slice my files for printing. I used the Dremel Digilab version of Cura so it would be compatible with my printer. There are other slicers out there, also, such as Simplify3D, but Cura is currently the best free slicer.

Tools needed for printing these models:

1. 3D Printer - I used a FDM 3D printer to make these models real. I own the Dremel Idea Builder, which can be found here. However, any FDM printer capable of printing at a reasonably high quality should be able to create these models.

2. Filament - 3D printers place melted plastic in layers in order to create 3D objects. This plastic comes in spools called filament. I used Dremel brand PLA for these 3D prints; however, any filament will work.

3. Post-Processing Tools - After you have printed your models, you will need to remove all of the supports from the prints. For this, I used a small screwdriver, pliers, and tweezers. You can optionally also stain this model if you purchase wood filament.

Step 2: Finding Resources for Modelling

The above artworks are created by Supercell and Ninja Kiwi, respectively, to depict buildings found in their mobile games. I include these pictures for the sole purpose of depicting the source material for my 3D models and I do not claim any ownership over the above pictures.

In order to design accurate 3D models, I found the above artworks to base my designs off of. By isolating the individual elements and parts of each design, I was able to recreate them in TinkerCAD.

Step 3: 3D Models

In the next 2 steps, I will discuss how to design the Mortar and the Bomb Tower in TinkerCAD. These models are fairly complex, meaning you will have to invest some time if you want to create an accurate 3D model.

If you would like to skip straight to printing, you can download the files in this step and go straight to Step #6.

These models took me several hours to design. Instead of trying to cram this all into one Instructable, I will outline the basic steps you need to take to create these models and if you have any questions, you can ask me in the comments below.

Step 4: Designing the Mortar

We will create the mortar planter in multiple parts, so that we can minimize the amount of supports needed. Some assembly will be required after you print the parts.

Tube

First, place a cylinder for the main body of the tube. Then, add another cylinder for a support ring near the top of the tube.

Next, we can cut a hole in the middle of the tube for the plants to go into. We can then cut holes on either side for the axles to slot into.

We will create the bottom of the tube separately. First, place a half-sphere upside down and cut away part of the bottom to flatten it out. This will be the side that attaches to the rest of the tube.

Then place another half sphere on top of the larger side. Next, place a small cylinder in the center of the half sphere to complete the tube.

Base

Create the foundation of the base using a rectangle.

Add slightly less than half a cylinder on top by cutting away the bottom part of a sideways cylinder.

Add the reinforcements to the base using rectangles.

Round off the reinforcements using a tube.

Create a ring by cutting a tube in half and place it on the base.

Add another, more squared, ring by cutting away the center of a beveled rectangle and placing it on the base.

Add the top of the base using a beveled rectangle.

Add reinforcements to the outside of the base using sideways cylinders.

Add an axle using a sideways cylinder.

Mirror the half of the base. You will be able to print both of these and attach them to the tube to create the mortar.


You have now completed the Mortar building from Clash Royale! It prints in 4 parts, which can be glued together.

Step 5: Designing the Bomb Tower

We will create the bomb tower planter in multiple parts, so that we can minimize the amount of supports needed. Some assembly will be required after you print the parts.

Base

Create the foundation of the base using two cylinders.

Add decoration to the foundation using cylinder holes.

Add a cone to the top of the foundation.

Cut away the top of the cone to top off the base.

Stretch the base slightly.

Duplicate the base twice and squish both. Then cut away the insides of the squished bases and the outsides of the normal base. Next, move them together and group them.

Sides

Create the main part of the sides using a rectangle and two roofs.

Add a rounded roof to the top. Then cut away the sides of the side.

Duplicate the side and use it to cut away a section of the side. Then flip it over.

Add an axle for the cannon to slot onto.

You will need to print two sides to put on either side of the cannon.
To create the axle caps, put two cylinders together.

Then add a half sphere on top of the axle cap. You will need to print two axle caps to glue on either side.

Cannon

Cut away a slice of a sphere as the start of the cannon. It should slope out as it goes up.

Do the same thing. This time, the slice should angle more drastically.

Add a cylinder on top.

Cut away a slice of a sphere, this time sloping in. Put it on top.

Add another slice of a sphere, sloping in as it goes up.

Add another cylinder on top.

Add a beveled cylinder to the top.

Add half spheres around the perimeter of the beveled cylinder.

Cut a hole into the cannon for the plants to fit into. Then cut holes on either side for the axles to slot into.

Create the bottom of the cannon by using two half spheres. This will be printed separately and will need to be glued onto the main part of the cannon.


You have now completed the Bomb Tower from Bloons Tower Defense 6! It prints in 7 parts, which can be glued together.

Step 6: Slicing

In order to prepare your models for 3D printing, we will have to convert them from a .stl file to a .gcode file. This type of file tells the 3D printer how to print the model, including any information it needs regarding supports, layers, etc.

Cura is a free, open source software that will help you slice your models. Like slicing a loaf of bread into multiple slices, Cura slices 3D prints into many, many layers for a 3D printer to create.

Simply import your models into Cura and you will be able to start adjusting settings.

To get maximum details on these models, you should print them at 0.1mm layer height. To give your models strength, the thickness of the walls, roofs, and floors should be 0.8mm. Infill density will help keep your models rigid; I usually set this anywhere from 15 - 40%.

These models require some support. Support density changes how tightly spaced the support zig-zags are, so I set this to 15% so they are easy to pull off. I set support interface density to 50%; this means the support's roof will easily separate from the 3D print. I also set the build adhesion type to skirt, so the printer starts getting in the flow of things before starting on the actual model.

Once you have adjusted your settings, simply export the file to your 3D printer and start printing!

Step 7: Printing

When I print, I always put masking tape on top of the build plate. This helps with any over-adhesion issues I might have while still allowing the print to stick to the bed while printing.

Your printer will need filament to print. I used Dremel brand PLA; however, any brand will work.

Each model will take around 3-5 hours to print, depending on the layer height and speeds you chose while slicing. Once your print is done, remove it from the print bed using a scraper tool. Then remove all of the supports carefully using pliers and tweezers. If the supports aren't coming off, you can always use a small screwdriver or an Xacto knife to remove them; however, be careful. I accidentally scratched my prints in a few places because I rushed this process.

Once you have removed all of the supports, glue each model's pieces together by referencing the photos included at the top of this Instructable.

Step 8: Finish!

Thanks for reading this Instructable! Hopefully you learned a thing or two about 3D modelling, and maybe you even designed and/or printed these planters for yourself. If you happen to print these models, I would love to see a photo down below in the "I Made It!" section!

Planter Challenge

Second Prize in the
Planter Challenge

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    6 Discussions

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    Andrew Sink

    17 days ago

    These came out really great, thanks for sharing the entire process!

    1 reply
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    AlexT306Andrew Sink

    Reply 16 days ago

    No problem, I'm just hoping more and more people will get interested in 3D modelling and 3D printing from my Instructables.