Try to make this cheap planter from scrap PCBs.
It’s fun and fulfilling.
I added also a Tinkercad model to serve as guide.
Here are the steps to follow.
Step 1: Look for Materials
A pile of discarded PCB.
If you don't have scrap PCBs lying around try to look into you neighbors junkyard.
Electronic equipments surely have one of those. Its just sad that these parts are being "junked" and add up to the hills of garbages around.
Tip: Choose the PCB with least components to shorten desoldering process.
Step 2: Gather Your Tools
Step 3: Mark and Cut the PCB
Here are the steps to follow:
- Cut choosen PCB in equal sizes of 7cm x 6cm or any prefered size (use your ruler and marker pin to mark the PCB to be cut with).
- Held the PCB in place with the bench vise and start cutting traces made using the hack saw.
- Finish your PCBs using a file or sandpaper to clean the edges. Make sure that the sides are straight (almost to perfection so that glue will set properly when assembling).
- Cut the excess wires or any parts that can be removed using your wire stripper. Make sure to do this prior moving in to desoldering of components. This is to lessen the burden of removing a whole bunch of parts.
Step 4: Desolder Components
You can start with the smallest to the biggest components (or biggest to smallest depending on your convenience preference) when desoldering.
- Melt the solder from pads of PCB using the tip of your soldering iron.
- Squeeze the desoldering pump lever to lock then point the nozzle to the melted soldering lead.
- Then press the button at the pump to suck those melted solders.
Sometimes you will encounter stubborn parts where the solder does not go out when you use the desoldering pump. One practice is to add more solder lead onto that part then try desoldering again. You do this 2 to 3 times until the part goes off.
Step 5: TinkerCAD Visual Design (optional)
Using TinkerCAD I have made the visual representation of what would be the outcome of this project once done to serve as guide. This tool is very user-friendly and enjoyable as well. I will be experimenting with it for my future projects. Much fun if I could get a 3D printer to work with but it's too expensive for me to have one.
Step 6: Assign and Arrange
Assign which panel will be at the bottom, the left, the right, the front and the back side. Better if you can mark it to avoid confusion (use marker pen). Arrange now the panel (per assignment) such like a collapsed box.
Step 7: Bottom Panel Mod
Since the panels are of the same sizes, upon assembly one tendency is that 2 pairs of opposite panels will not totally touch the edge along the side of their adjacent panels. This would give our PCB planter less stability and durability.
What we need to do:
- Cut (or grind) any opposite sides of the bottom panel with size about the thickness of the PCB board.
- In the given picture I choose to cut-off the length of the bottom panel.
- This gives enough room for the panels to fit in forming an almost perfect “cube” thus, providing durability to our project.
Step 8: Assembly Part 1 (Opposite Sides)
Assemble the panels one at a time.
Do the following step as I did mine:
- Using the super glue, apply a generous amount along the thickness of the bottom panel that would touch the panel's lower side that it would be attached with.
- Then stick both parts together.
- Let it dry for a while (few seconds depending on the glue you used).
- Make sure that it is attached in a 90 degree angle manner so that when we assemble the adjacent panels they will not "lean" inside or outside the planter.
- Do the same on the opposite panel.
Step 9: Assembly Part 2 (The Other Opposite Sides)
This time attach the remaining pair of opposite panel. Remember: one panel at a time. Apply generous amount of glue along the thickness of the bottom and adjacent panels. Then stick parts together. Do the same on the other side of the box.
Let the glue dry for a while.
Step 10: Add the Last Touches
Apply glue in the inside corners.
This way the added glue will provide better sturdiness on the planter. Doing this would require the planter to set for several minutes (until the glue is totally dry).
Step 11: Finish!
Now your PCB PLANTER is ready for gardening!
Make sure to clean it prior usage.
Wonder what plant will I put in my finished planter.
Thanks for reading!
Hope you enjoyed, learned and somehow Make Your Own PCB PLANTER.
Tip: Try to put a planting bag inside if you're in doubt of the chemical contents of the PCB used.