TinkerCAD - Piranha Planter

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About: Greetings from my laboratory! I am usually out here working on projects and solving problems. Sometimes for the profit, often for the challenge, but always for the love... and I absolutely love this s***! ...

Intro: TinkerCAD - Piranha Planter

Greetings! Today we are going to work with TinkerCAD to make a Retro-gaming inspired Venus flytrap planter. It should be fairly easy and is intended to go a little further than Our entry level TinkerCAD planter. I will make at least 2-3 more TinkerCAD guides becoming progressively more advanced. Feel free to drop a comment or ask questions, I would love to hear your thoughts :)

As a child, I loved to play games.(still do...when I have the time) I remember leaving my console turned on for days at a time because many games did not even have the ability to save...Only pause, and hope your parents don't turn it off when you are at school! Over the years, many things have changed but my love for these classic games remain the same.

*Hey makers! were going to be publishing a bunch of fun and cool content, make sure you follow and show some love by clicking the little heart on your favorite instuctables!

Step 1: What You Will Need

  • Go to TinkerCAD and sign up, it takes minutes and unlocks a whole world of possibilities. Plus, I will be using it in future content and you might as well make sure its set up now.

  • You are going to need a 3D Printer, or at least have access to one.

  • A Venus Flytrap (VFT) You can also find them locally at some garden centers. I caution, If it looks pretty bad, it might not come back. I bought 3 that were pretty rough, only one made it :(

  • A can of High Gloss or Matte spray paint. I frequently use either one depending on what I'm going for, but here I used high gloss

  • Cheap Acrylic Hobby Paint - I used to be really into TT gaming and I spent a fortune buying expensive jars of paint. I was serious about the hobby and I thought it made a major difference...It doesn't even make a noticeable difference... The best model painter I ever met, mixed his own colors using cheap hobby paint sets! Of course, I didn't find this out until I spent hundreds of dollars on paint...

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I want to take a moment to thank you for exploring the fun world of creating with me. I've always loved inventing cool things and solving problems. It is a true joy to be able to share something I feel so passionately about with so many people! You Rock! If you may have noticed I have placed hyperlinks throughout this page. When clicked they will take you to points of interest that I thought worth mentioning. Some of the links are to products that I use and purchase for my projects and if you click them, I may even earn a small commission.

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Step 2: Building the Pot

  • We will start by making a cylinder, make sure to take note of the dimensions that you enter. Alternatively, If you like Step 1 to be "Printing The STL" you can find the model Here :)
  • Next we are going to place a larger but shorter cylinder on top of the one we just made.

Use the align tool to get both of the cylinders to line up as pictured

  • Now lets Duplicate the first cylinder, move it down(Z-axis) and make it a little thinner

VFT's need very good drainage as the soil is kept moist most of the time, we are going to build a little drain inside this planter that will keep the VTF happy, additionally, it will allow us to put a sponge hidden in the bottom so that water doesn't end up all over our desk!

  • Turn the Duplicate into a hole, and position it so that it goes 15mm into the bottom. Remember the align tool
  • Now, Duplicate the hole you just made, and make it 10-30mm taller than the pot. We will now select the second hole, and by using the tiny black arrow in pic3, we will move the second hole up ~20mm from the bottom.
  • Select everything you just made and click Group in the top right of the screen.

You should have a pipe that has an open top and bottom with a solid bottom about 15mm inside the Pot

Step 3: Adding the Drain

  • Someone took the time to make a diamond mesh in the shape generator and it is perfect!

Further down the road we will learn how to program a custom tinkerCAD shape, but for now we will use what is available at the time of writing this. TinkerCAD has a feature that allows users to program custom shape generators, new ones are made all the time, so I suggest you go threw the whole list periodically.


  • Now lets change the parameters on this shape so that we can make the type of hole we need. make it extra tall so it is easier to work with
  • Select the solid, make it a hole, and slide it down the Z-axis by using that tiny little arrow
  • Select everything and Groupe them again. It should basically look like the third picture.

Step 4: You Could Stop Here

  • Print the planter we just made
  • Give it a good coat of Spray Primer - I decided to use a light grey, it should give me rich colors, without having to add a ton of coats
  • After it has dried, brush on a coat of cheap hobby green and let it dry for 15-20min. I used 3 quick coats with a brush. Don't be stingy with the paint, remember were using the cheap stuff now :)
  • When you are satisfied with how it looks, blast a coat of High Gloss on it.

You can pot the VFT and call it good...or add a prop and make it POP!

Either way, now's as good a time as any to put the plant in.

  • I like to cut plants out of the pots they come in, I am always worried that I will damage the roots if I try to pull them out.
  • With two slices down the sides, easy peasy


Special Thanks to user Donc146 for these great tips!!!

"Your carnivores don't like calcium in water.
To be exact: they die. Use only rainwater or distilled water. Don't trigger the traps manually. They have 5-7 "claps" till they get black and die."

Step 5: Or We Can Make It Even Better!

  • Lets start with a sphere, we should make it oblong and kind of squished on the sides. Perfect!
  • Now lets duplicate that one, scale it up, rotate it so it is perpendicular, an convert it into a hole.

This will be the head/mouth, it should look roughly like the third picture

  • Now we need some lips, as it turns out, we have a P-Ring shape generator. This should work great!

By playing with it for a bit, we can get it to be pretty much what we need, I also changed the colors up so to keep myself entertained. In the end, we should have something that looks like the 5th picture

Step 6: Lets Give It Some Bite!

  • We can use this spike to make long pointy teeth, remember to consider your 3d Printer when making things like this. Very small or thin parts can be bothersome and we can only get as small as our extruded plastic.
  • By Duplicating the first spike, we can position several teeth inside the mouth. I choose to eye ball it. We could spend a bunch of time to precisely position these teeth, but I think it will actually feel more alive if we make the teeth crooked and misaligned. In my opinion, nuanced imperfections are what makes things beautiful.

We should have a pretty good looking head full of teeth, Lookin' good, lookin' good.

Step 7: Add the Stem

First, lets make a small sphere and align it in the center back(pic1). Next we are going to make and align a series of rings that will give us a curvy stem.

  • Place a small ring close to the head. Now place some blocks so that you are left with half of the ring. Combine the green sphere and the half ring. this will clear up our workspace
  • Next, Duplicate the half ring, and chop off all but a quarter of it. it should look something like pic3
  • Finally, we are going to place a long cylinder going down to the soil.

Use the align tool throughout these steps, you are going to want to get real familiar with it as you go. We should have the Piranha Plant all modeled and ready to print! Congratulations!

Step 8: Priming, Painting, Planting

**Painting tips**

  • Always use a Primer before you hand paint.

White: Will make the model lighter in the end and is good for high detail and high contrast painting.

Black: Will make the final colors richer looking, but It can take many more coats to get the desired results

Grey: is IMH the best of both worlds, and I use it most often. I only really use black and white for a specific kind of depth/drama

  • "Cheap" Acrylic is 98% as good as expensive hobby paint. But super cheap Acrylic is garbage, read reviews or go with a product I recommend and you will be fine

  • Use you fingers to paint, not your hands. This means rest the base of your hand on a table or something solid, have the hand holding the model also resting on something solid. Use your fingers to move the brush in a controllable manner. I've known great painters with horrible hand shakes, but by resting your hand in the right way, they can keep their shaky hands from messing up all their hard work!

  • Don't worry, be happy. Painting small things can be very relaxing... Provided we don't stress ourselves out trying to make it perfect. Take your time, be chill, have fun, and everything is going to turn out great!

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    9 Discussions

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    HydeTheJekylldonc146

    Reply 4 months ago

    Of course :) Let me figure the best way to share it. Make sure to scale it to fit your needs - I made it small so it wouldn't take up a ton of desk space.

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    TMTRACY

    4 months ago

    Dang man! We had the exact same idea! I just finished printing the last part of mine today... I may still upload it I was waiting to get some pictures. That's crazy thought same idea right down to the flytraps.

    1 reply
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    HydeTheJekyllTMTRACY

    Reply 4 months ago

    I would love to see it! Send me a picture when you're done. Also, I'm sorry for accedentaly stealing your thunder :(

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    donc146

    4 months ago

    Your carnivors don't like calcium in water.

    To be exact: they die.

    Use only rainwater or distilled water. Don't trigger the traps manualy.

    They have 5-7 "claps" till they get black and die.

    I'm going to print one of these. I'm a carnivor collector :)

    1 reply
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    HydeTheJekylldonc146

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thank you for such important tips! I gave special thanks to you and added this information to the instuctable