TINKERCAD!!! It's a great program for beginners and anyone who wants a relaxed, easy 3D modeling experience. And best of all, it's free! For this instructable, I used Tinkercad to make a water fountain planter for the planters contest. It holds two plants and has a water fountain connected to a little water "slide" running through the plants that leads to a small waterfall on the end. It was a fun build, and I will walk you through how I did it!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
For this planter, I took a trip to the local garden store to pick out some small plants and other supplies. In total I got 6 plants and a small fountain pump. I will only be using two of the plants, though. The fountain pump was $20 and can handle 80 gallons of water per hour. This is more than enough for my small fountain. I also went to Home Depot and got 3/8 inch inner diameter vinyl tubing and a small hose clamp. The tubing will be used to route the pumped water to the top of my fountain and the hose clamp to secure the tubing to the output of the pump. For the 3D printed parts, I will be using Hatchbox wood PLA and AIO Robotics Bright Blue PLA. (The wood filament is still in the bag, as it absorbs moisture from the air, which can ruin the filament and the print. I will take it out of the bag before printing.)
Not pictured: I also used super glue, spray-on lacquer, and Hatchbox White PLA
Links for supplies:
Wood Filament: https://smile.amazon.com/HATCHBOX-3D-Filament-Dime...
Blue Filament: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01HYYPLTO/ref=sxr_rr_...
Vinyl Tubing: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-1-2-in-O-D-x-...
Step 2: Measure
I needed to measure all of my supplies so that I could design a planter that would have room to fit everything, while still fitting in the printable area of my printer. After measuring, I decided to make the actual planters have a 90 mm diameter. I used the pump measurements when designing the water reservoir. I wanted to make sure that there would be plenty of space for it to fit.
Step 3: Test Pump
I cut a short length of tubing (about a foot long) and connected it to the output of the pump using the hose clamp. I then filled a large bowl with water and submerged the pump. I then plugged it, causing the pump to push water through the tube and out the top. In my fountain, I wanted the water to shoot straight up about and inch or two. When I lifted the tube to be straight up and down, the water barely flowed over the edge, as pictured. When i curled the tube around and pointed it up, I got my desired effect. I used Tinkercad to design a nozzle that would increase the water pressure (I think), but the problem was actually solved by cutting the tube shorter, as the fountain was not going to be as tall as the tube I had previously cut.
Note: After building and testing the fountain, the flow had to be reduced to look more like the 4th picture.
Step 4: Make the Planters
I wanted to make 2 identical planters, which I would super glue onto the fountain. I just used two cylinders to make them. The blue outside is 95mm x 95mm x 100mm tall. The inner cylinder is 90mm x 90mm x 95mm tall. I made the small cylinder into a hole (instead of a solid) and lifted it 5mm, so that the tops of the two cylinders were at the same height. I then centered them and grouped them to created a planter with 5mm thick walls and bottom. I copied and pasted it to make another one.
Step 5: Make the Fountain
Oh no. It's here. It's finally time to make the dreaded fountain. This is the most complicated design I have ever made in Tinkercad, and it was quite a process. Unfortunately, due to making this being 2 hours of trial and error, I cannot give step by step instructions for making it. I can however, give a link to the completed files (in the next step - step 6). It consists of two parts (excluding the blue planters). It has the bottom part, which is a water reservoir. This is where the water will be held, where the pump will be, and where the fountain will drain into. It has a slot in the back for the pump's power cord. The top part is a rectangle that I cut the top off at an angle. This gives the slope the water will need to run down. I added a cylindrical area to the top where the fountain will be. The water will then flow down the track and over the edge. I used a voronoi shape generator to create a "rock" effect for the water to trickle down. The top is shorter (in length) than the bottom, so there will be room for the water to fall into the reservoir. I used the "extended curve" in the shape generator to make the track for the water to flow down. I also cut out space for the planters to sit. The cut out space is .4 mm in diameter larger than the outside of the planter to allow for printer tolerances.
Step 6: Slice and Print
All of the parts were printed at 0.35 mm layer heights on my Prusa i3 MK2S. Only the top piece was printed with support material. The planters and bottom were printed with 100% infill, but the bottom could have used less. The top was printed at 5% infill, and was not originally planned to be made in two colors, but the wood (brown) filament ran out mid print. I was there to add the white filament when the wood ran out. The files for each part are below (you will need to print 2 of the pots) :
Step 7: Fill Holes
There were some imperfections in the print, which left holes and some larger tear-like holes at the top of the fountain. I used 5 minute epoxy the fill the holes. There are notes on all the pictures showing these holes and their fixes.
Step 8: Seal
In an attempt to prevent any possible water leaks or water damage through the 3d printed layers, I sealed the parts that water would contact with several coats of spray-on lacquer
Step 9: Insert Tube and Connect Pump
I fed the tube through the hole in the fountain. There is a larger diameter hole that runs most of the way through the fountain, and a smaller diameter hole (same size as outer diameter of tube). After the tube was through and connected to the pump at the bottom, I cut the tube to the right length (just sticking out of the hole). I added hot glue around the hole to seal it. This will hopefully prevent water from flowing back down the hole.
Step 10: Pot the Plants
Just a small scoop of potting mix then the plant.
Step 11: Final Assembly
I set up the pump and fountain without the plants and found that if the water flow is too high, the water runs over the track and spills everywhere. I turned down the flow rate and added rocks to the top to help it look better and to help slow the flow. This helped greatly. The upper left plant does not need to be glued it. The planter is held in place by a good pressure fit. This is due to the good designing in Tinkercad. The bottom left planter has to be glued on. A few drops of super glue made this possible.Then all that's left is to fill the reservoir with water, make sure the pump is submerged, run the cord through the hole in the back, then glue the top piece (the fountain) to the bottom piece (the reservoir).
Step 12: YOU COMPLETED THE PLANTER
After following all those steps ... you have finally completed your pretty little planter. I find it very relaxing to just sit and watch the water, listen to the faint hum of the pump, and the sound of the water trickling back into the reservoir. You can make your planter in whatever colors you want or even use stain on the wood filament. Thanks for following along with my instructable, and if you liked it, be sure to vote for it in the planters contest!!
Runner Up in the