Caterpillars are cute critters that enliven your garden, especially if they become butterflies. Here's a cute Caterplanter that can bring some life (literally) into your home!
The Caterplanter can wiggle around in the x-y plane with the help of some handy connectors as you'll see later in the Instructable. It is designed with drainage holes to allow excess water to exit. There is an optional upgrade that integrates a solar panel to sway the caterpillar antennas back and forth.
If you have little to no experience with modeling software, TinkerCad is the best place to start. It's the perfect place to learn the basics, so let's get started! :)
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Step 1: Download TinkerCad Files and 3D Print
The first step is to 3D print the CaterPlanter parts. This includes the Caterpillar Head, Body, Back, and Connectors.
Click Here for the TinkerCad Model that I have created for you
The print will take around 17 hours. Take this time to imagine how you want to paint your CaterPlanter, where you'd like to put it, and maybe who you'll even make one for.
Step 2: Gather Materials
Materials needed for this project:
- 3D printer and Clippers (to cut off support material)
- Acrylic paint
- Primer (one that you can sand)
- Sandpaper (400-600 grit)
- Potting Soil
- Plants of your choice
- Solar Panel (1 x 0.25 in.) (optional)
Step 3: Priming and Sanding
Congratulations! The 17 hours went by fast hasn't it?
The next step is to apply primer to your print. Wait for it to dry (usually 2-3 hours) and sand it down. This will help the final finish look smoother, especially when paint is applied. I didn't do this step too intensely because I like the natural finish of the 3D print. If you want a silky smooth finish take a look at this Instructable, it's pretty awesome.
Step 4: Painting
Now for the fun part ... painting!
Get a cover for your desk to paint on. I used a cardboard box, to avoid paint stains. Now, mix your colors and find your favorite butterfly as a caterpillar. Or create your own! Polka dots, zig-zags, stripes, oh my!
With my design I wanted a lighter green that wasn't in my paint set. I mixed a ratio of 3:4 yellow to green paint, and it worked well. I had to apply 2-3 layers of paint to get the richness I wanted. I wanted a simple, green caterpillar to hang out in my room with me. But get creative with yours!
Step 5: Connections
Let's connect the body segments of the CaterPlanter
Use the pins that were printed in Step 2, and insert as shown. The Caterpillar 'bodies' should be able to wiggle back and forth. Insert all the connectors for all the bodies.
Step 6: Planting
Now, let's grab your potting soil and your chosen plants.
I chose succulents because I live in the desert and that's what I have in my backyard. It's also pretty easy to reproduce these succulents.
I suggest putting the plants in the planters first and then filling the planter up with soil. It's easier to adjust the plants as you fill the planter with soil.
Step 7: Finished!
Congratulations once again! You have finished your CaterPlanter. Have fun enjoying your hard work, and remember to water it once in a while :)
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