Radioactive Skull Robo-Planter (using Tinkercad!)




About: I'm Mario Caicedo Langer, from Colombia, former Navy officer and BSc in Naval Sciences. Right now I'm Technical Director and Technology Lead Teacher at STEM - Engineering for Kids Azerbaijan. Also, I'm artis...

(If you like my instructable, please vote for me in the Planters Challenge. Thanks for your support!)

Hello. My name is Mario. Probably some of you remember my classic "RoboPlanters" (like this, this, this, this and this). Usually my favorite building material is plastic trash and junk. Nothing like grabbing a bunch of trash and transforming it into a planter with personality! Nevertheless, I had cravings to create a 3D printed one. And if well I'm learning Fusion 360 (and I'm still crying for the death of 123D Design, my first CAD software), nothing like the simplicity and friendliness of Tinkercad!

I love diabolic four-legged techno-abominations (why nobody has released any action figure of the Spider Mastermind from the classic "Doom" game?), so I decided to give that personality to my first 3D Printed Planter. This creation has three main components:

  • Upper Body: pot reserved for the plant (small cactus or succulent). It has four holes to eliminate water excess, and a plasma weapon on each side.
  • Lower Body: collects the water excess, so you can keep your desk clean. Besides, the Upper Body can be fitted and locked on this body.
  • Four Spider Legs: with articulation, to give the full "action figure" treatment to this planter.

I will give a short explanation of how I designed and built this RoboPlanter. However, you can check the following Tinkercad links if you want to print it:

Step 1: Main Body Components

I took a cylinder of 60 mm diameter and 40 mm height. I group it with a hole cylinder to transform it into a pot, and then I duplicated it.

In one of the cylinders I placed in bottom a thin cylinder, four cylinders as drainage holes, and a long thin box to create one part of the lock. This will be the Upper Body. In the other cylinder (Lower Body) I placed a tube in top and a thin box (slightly bigger than the one in the first cylinder's bottom) as a hole to fit with the first cylinder's lock.

Step 2: Legs Joints

I joined two Round Roofs, one box and one cylinder hole to create a hinge. I duplicated it three times and placed it in opposite sides of the Lower Body.

Step 3: Spider Legs

Using diverse Basic Shapes (like Round Roof and Box), I created the articulated spider leg, then I duplicate it three times. The hinges for the articulation are made with cylinders.

Step 4: Adding the Skull Face

I brought a Skull from the "Printable Kits / Skeleton" shapes, then I cut it in half and attached it to the front of the Upper Body. I created a external layer using a Tube and a Box (hole), to make it look as the Skull is not shallow, but attached to the core of the Upper Body.

Step 5: Accessories and Decoration

In the Upper Body, I placed Torus pieces as conduits between the Skull and the weapons system. Then I created two plasma guns, using cylinders and boxes. The more I advanced in the design, the more I could realize the usefulness of the "Hide Selected" tool, to hide the big bodies and focus in the details without affecting the rest of the design.

Step 6: Creating a Radioactive Symbol

I wanted to place a radioactive symbol in the front of the Lower Body. So I used one cylinder as a base and one circular trapezoid in one half of the cylinder. I group them and then I duplicated it once, rotating it 120 degrees. I repeated the operation, until I got the three "petals" of the symbol. I ungroup them, and then I used a Tube in the cylinder's border and a small cylinder in the center to make holes in the inner and outer part of the symbol. I completed with a cylinder in the center, I painted the base in yellow and the petals and center in black. Then I placed it in the lower body.

Step 7: The Design Is Ready!

But before, I wanted to place a plate in the back to make it look like a military prototype.

Now it's time of preparing it for 3D printing.

Step 8: Optimizing the Original Design for 3D Printing

If you have an industrial 3D Printer, probably it won't be a problem to print it already assembled (If you plan to do it, maybe it will require some little adjustments in the position of the hinges). Nevertheless, the idea was to print the prototype in the educational 3D printer of the STEM center where I work, so I had to break the main design into three designs, placing the components over the worksheet to reduce consume of support material: one for the Upper Body, one for the Lower Body and one for the Spider Legs components.

Step 9: Printing a Prototype

I exported the three designs into an .STL format. Then using the Flashprint program, I added the support materials and transform the .STL file into a .gx file. I printed it in low resolution, using PLA filament.

Note that I have a little issue with the 3D printer and there are some residual PLA spiderwebs in the printed pieces. Actually, I think it looks cool, like the 3D printer is spawning some kind of arachnid monster... ;-)

Step 10: Cleaning the Support and Residual Material

I used a X-acto knife and pliers to remove the support materials. To remove the spiderwebs and erase the white points where the support material used to be, I used a lighter for 1-2 seconds on the area to clean up.

Step 11: Exploring the Upper and Lower Bodies

As soon as I finished cleaning the support material from the Upper and Lower Bodies, I tested if the Upper one can attach into the Lower one without issues. The design includes a small triangle on each Body, to show the exact point where both bodies can be separated.

Step 12: Assembling the Spider Legs

I build the four Spider Legs, connecting the components using the 3D printed pins. If you want your hinge to be sturdier or tighter, you can replace the plastic pins with metallic nuts, bolts and washers.

Step 13: ... and We Are Ready!

Now, time to test, improve and bring your favorite small plant! And if you want, paint it to make it look more threatening!

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    7 Discussions


    9 months ago

    You are so creative Mario~ What a fabulous design! I will be keeping an eye out for the winners~


    1 reply

    9 months ago on Step 13

    Sir can I embed your YouTube Videos in my Video Movie blog

    M.C. LangerPenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thanks a lot Penolopy!

    Actually, something that helped me a lot to improve my Tinkercad skills is that I'm taking the Fusion 360 courses with Autodesk Education. It's so challenging that now I'm finding Tinkercad more friendly :-D