Intro: Tiny Planet-Magnetically Levitating Ecosphere
First off I'd like to thank Instructables.com for introducing me to Tinkercad. I don't 3D print that much, but when I do, I use blender, which isn't the most practible piece of software to be using for making CAD models. I loved the appeal of having a piece software I can use on any PC and have my models avaible to me anywhere I am, that I decided to enter this contes solely because I wanted an excuse to use it.
This was a fairly easy project, the hardest part was waiting for the darn models to finish printing.
Step 1: Finding a Levitating Toy
You can find levitating bases that are nothing but 2 magnets and a cable. But those are big and we don't really need that much power to lift a hollow plastic ball with some moss glued on it. So I decided to salvage one of those floating globes. They are smaller, cheaper, but have a smaller lifting capacity.
If you use a magnetic levitation display or a toy or whatever that has to be activated by pressing a button, make sure the case you're 3d pringint has access to that button. Mine was made in a way that turns on as soon as you plug it in.
Step 2: Dismantling a Levitating Toy
Take whatever floating globe you ordered and start by smashing or cutting the leveitating part and taking out the magnet. This will be what you're going to be attatching the floating ball to. Now unscrew all the screw in the base and carefully take out the main magnet.
Step 3: Making the Models in Tinkercad
The size of your levitating toy might vary from mine, so I will walk you through this very simple design process. I made a base 2 milimeters thick that will be enough to cover the internal workings of the base of the toy. I then glued the electronics of the base to this plate I just printed. Then I made a cover, sort of a lid in the shape of a hollow tube that was the same size as the base plate, with walls 2 milimeters thick. I did the similar thing with the levitating part, but I made it in a sphere with a round hole on the bottom for the levitating part of the toy to fit into and hold the ball in air. Then I made a small domed piece to cover this hole up. The diameter of the ball was 2/3 of the width of the base.
Step 4: Finding the Moss
While your models are 3D printing, it's the perfect time to go out and find some moss. Try finding moss that grows on trees, since this sort of moss will be easy to peel off and won't have as much dirt to clean from the bottom of it. Speaking of cleaning dirt off the moss, do just that. If you have dirt on the moss, the contact cement will stick the dirt to itself instead of moss and it will just fall off. Kinda like why you cover dough with flour when kneeding it to prevent it from sticking.
Step 5: Gluing the Moss Onto the Planter
Use some sort of a glue that won't kill your moss but won't take forever to dry up. I have no clue what I'm talking about, I reccommend to just go to the hardware store and ask them for contact cement that won't dissolve styrofoam. That seemed to work for me. You could also use double sided duct tape. Just do what you fancy, there are many glues you could use for this step.
Step 6: Plug Up the Hole From in the Base
You don't want the water to reach the electronics when you're watering the moss and destroying your project, or worse, hurting you. That's why you need to plug up any holes. Since my toy didn't have any buttons, I could just seal off the whole base and not worry about it. I did this by just plugging it with a hot glue gun. But same as with choosing glues, there are many ways of doing this. You could use 2 part epoxy, wood glue, or even just duct tape.
Step 7: Keeping Your Moss Alive
Moss doesn't need any firtilizers or even dirt as a matter of fact, which makes it good for planting on top of a floating magnet where dirt would add too much weight. This also means you can put it upside-down, on the bottom part of the ball. Also, moss will thrive in environments without dirt, since it has no competition there.
It is also fairly easy to take care of. You don't really need to fertilize it. Moss will stay alive forever, even without food, it just won't grow, at all. You do, however, need to water it constantly. If it dries out it will die. Keep it moist by spraying it with a cleaning spray can. You also need to keep it out of direct sunlight, as it will kill it. This doesn't mean that you have to keep it under your bed, just don't put it on window shelfs.