Ferris Wheel Planter (TinkerCAD)

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Introduction: Ferris Wheel Planter (TinkerCAD)

About: I love everything about DIY. Check out my Instructables for new and cool projects.

This ferris wheel planter I designed in TinkerCAD is a cool, fun, 3D printable novelty item perfect for housing your plants. In this instructable, I will teach you the process of making it your own.

Step 1: Designing and Customizing

Here are the original files for this project in TinkerCAD.

Ferris Wheel Part 1(TinkerCAD)

Ferris Wheel Part 2(TinkerCAD)

Ferris Wheel Part 3 (TinkerCAD)

If you like the Ferris Wheel how it is, feel free to continue on to the next step. However, if you are a DIY'er who loves customization, make a copy of those three files and add any changes you want. At any time, keep these rules in mind:

a) Plants are alive.

Plants are living things that need 3 things: soil, water, and sunlight. This is so they can go through the process of photosynthesis and produce their own food. Try to keep your design very 'open' so that sunlight can easily reach your plants and it isn't a hassle watering them. Also make sure if you are scaling the design to check if there is enough room for soil in each pot.

b) Ferris wheels spin.

If your ferris wheel can't turn, what good is it? Make sure that nothing sticks out too far when editing the design - as a rule, try to make indentions, not extrusions.

Secondly, if you want to scale the model so the ferris wheel is smaller, either make the axles smaller or the holes they fit into larger. This way your ferris wheel can spin smoothly, even with the slight inconsistencies found in most 3D prints.

c) 3D printers aren't magic.

It might be tempting to make an intricate, elaborate design for your planter, but remember that 3D printers aren't magical. The simpler the design, the cleaner the end result will be. Also, try to avoid having parts that are too small, or they can break off if you aren't careful.

Step 2: 3D Print Your Design

You've made the last save to your file and are ready to print! Congratulations!

One of my favorite parts of 3D printing is further customizing a design with different colors. You can divide this project into multiple print jobs so you can use more than just one color of filament. I wanted mine to stand out, so I made 2 of the 3 prints black and 1 of them white.

I would suggest making your ferris wheel very sturdy. The axles of the individual pots can break off if you don't print them dense enough, so I would recommend at least 20% density with 2-3 outside layers (if your software allows that level of specificity).

Make sure that you enable supports, because some parts of the ferris wheel might need them depending on which printer you are using.

After your print has finished, take off the supports and move on to the next step!

Step 3: Assembling the Print

a) Make sure you have all of the ferris wheel parts. You should have the two parts of the base, the two parts of the actual wheel, and six pots / passenger cars.

b) Lay the half of the wheel with axles flat on your working surface.

c) Place all six pots on the axles.

d) Lay the other half of the wheel with holes next to this and place glue inside each of the holes. I would recommend super glue, because it sticks together quickly and keeps the glue to a minimum. Glue is not necessary if the two halves can stay together without it, because the base will keep them from falling apart.

e) Quickly flip this half over and pair each hole with an axle. Press down until the glue has dried.

f) Wiggle each pot to make sure no glue has connected them to the axle (which would mean it can't turn). If there is a connection, spin the pot until the glue has detached.

g) Place the half of the base with the axle flat on the table and place your wheel on the axle.

h) Place the other half of the base flat on the table and put glue in the hole. Then put small amounts of glue in the holes on the bottom part of the first half, which will have to connect to the bars of the second half in the next step.

i) Quickly flip the second half over and connect the axle to the hole and the bottom bars to their corresponding holes.

Step 4: Perfecting the Build

There are some other things that you can easily do to drastically improve your ferris wheel. These are just suggestions, so don't feel limited to using my ideas - you can make your ferris wheel however you want!

a) Lubricate the axles.

If you find that your ferris wheel isn't turning well, or the pots aren't properly rotating when the central wheel is turned, you might want to lubricate the axles. You can do this with various oils and greases. For a fast at-home lubrication you can even use lotion! If you need to lubricate the axles after you have assembled, try putting your lubricator on the tip of an Xacto knife and sliding it into the places you need to lubricate.

b) Add weight to the pots.

To keep your plants from falling out of the pots when you are turning your ferris wheel, try taping a small coin to the bottom of each pot. It will help weigh them down, so the pots are always straight up. You can even glue the coins to make it look more professional. If you want you can put these coins inside the pot, and the soil will cover them up.

c) Paint your ferris wheel.

To get a more authentic ferris wheel feel, try printing it out in white and painting it before you assemble. This will look very nice and polished, and is a cool alternative to simply printing in various colors.

Step 5: Using and Admiring Your Finished Product

This ferris wheel looks great when sitting on your desk or standing in your backyard. However, you can turn this ferris wheel into a hanging wheel by simply turning the base upside down. The two bars on the bottom of the base are perfect for tying a string to for hanging. You can also simply hang the planter on a branch for a quick solution.

I've uploaded some pictures of how this build looks when complete. Feel free to check them out and give me any feedback you might have. Good luck printing!

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    4 Comments

    Wow thats cool! Love the design but the planter pots could be made bigger for plants larger than a grass blade but thats an improvement for people who download it I guess XD
    @Aqil#4788 from KA and Discord if you know me...

    1 reply

    Thanks, I'm glad you like it!

    Yes, they could be larger - however, there are actually a variety of "micro plants" that can be found (check out this article on microgreens), and this design was more for a nice desk topper / novelty item rather than a long term plant storage.

    One disadvantage of 3D printers is that they take a long time to print and have size constraints, though I suppose you could divide up some of the larger parts into smaller pieces for a more modular build. Definitely an idea I will consider for future designs.

    Also, one thing is that the pots have to be spaced apart so that sunlight can reach the plants. The entire design would have to be scaled up instead of just the pots, as a more compact design might be detrimental to the plants.

    Thanks, I really appreciate it!