So as usual, I’m having difficultly sticking with an idea. Originally, I kind of wanted to build a living computer case. However, I don’t need another computer, and acquiring all the working computer parts I would need is going to be way too expensive for it to be worth it right now. I’m still going to stick with a plant theme, and I’d still like to have some sort of computerized aspect, but on a much smaller scale.
I think I’ll make a minimal care required desktop planter, or garden. I want it to be simple and clean looking, and also leak-proof so that it can live on my desk. I’m planning on using an Arduino to control a little light array and a pump that waters the plants. If you’ve heard of the Aerogarden, I guess what I want to do is like that, but mine is gonna look much nicer. Rather than a sort of bulky planter, I’m aiming for a compact piece with a modern aesthetic, but I’m hoping that the more I work on it, the more the aesthetic will evolve.
On a first impression, I want it to say ‘calming’ and ‘cute’, and hopefully ‘cool!’. It will for sure be functional, lighting and watering itself, but it won’t be bulky, and all the electronics and wires will be concealed, so it’ll look pretty nice.
I want an object that I’ll keep around. No, I don’t really need a desktop planter, I have plenty of stuff already, especially little knick-knacks that I like to keep by my desk. Something that’s growing will really add to my space, and make it more inviting. It’s not something that I would consider being excess. It’ll be a centerpiece of sorts for my desk. I want it to be pretty small, no bigger than a cubic foot.
The planters to the left really caught my eye. They’re simple and very clean looking, but so cute. Even without the tiny animals, they’d still be cute; moss is an adorable plant. I want to make something that’s this charming, and about the size of one of these units. I’d also like to use moss, though that might have to be added later because it takes forever to grow the stuff, and I don’t think I can buy it locally in the winter for a reasonable price.
I think I’ll also use succulents. They’re supposedly very easy to care for, and they’re not very expensive, which is also a plus. I’ve been wanting to 3D print a little Bulbasaur planter, such as the one on the right, since I first saw them. I don’t think that the planter itself will make it into my final design, but I love the idea of using succulents. The planter below reminds me a bit of Zen, with the bonsai tree and the gravel. My favorite thing about it is the light. It’s a chunk of marble that the artist hand carved and put LEDs in. It’s very calming and relaxing to look at. Ideally, I will be able to capture that in my design.
Well, all these designs and plants are nice and all, but what could I possibly add? I want to use my favorite elements of each of these designs. That, and it will have an Arduino in itself to water the plants. My desk is in a somewhat dark spot, so it will also need to provide light to the plants during the day.
The hardest part of this project is going to be the coding and getting the pump working. I’ve worked a little bit with Arduino before, and with LEDs, so I have an idea of what this is going to take. At the very least, I’m going to have it light itself, if for some reason I can’t get the pump working.
The actual planter part is the the most important part, but I don’t think it will be too hard to make it.
I don’t currently have any materials, other than some 3D printer filament.
Cost Estimate and Schedule
- 3 Succulents from Home Depot, $15
- Red Board from Sparkfun, $20
- 10 LEDs from Sparkfun, $7.50
- 10 Resistors from Sparkfun, $2.50
- Soil moisture sensor from Sparkfun, $5
- Breadboard from Sparkfun (because it’s about time I get one), $5
- Windshield wiper pump 12V, $10
- Acrylic from Home Depot, $10
- Dirt from my backyard, $0
- 3D printer filament, I can borrow other colors, $0
- Concrete, left over from a project, $0
- Wire, I have tons now, $0
- What I haven’t thought of yet, and shipping, $30
Estimated total: $105
|Task||Goal||Deadline||Is it Done?|
|Draw up Concepts||3/4/2016||3/7/2016|
|Source all Materials||3/4/2016||3/7/2016|
|Order Everything Online||3/9/2016||3/11/2016|
|Buy/Pickup Local Things||3/11/2016||3/14/2016|
|Test the Watering System||3/29/2016||3/30/2016|
|Test the Lighting System||3/29/2016||3/30/2016|
|Plant the Plants in the Planter||4/8/2016||4/8/2016|
|Day in the Life Testing||4/10/2016||4/10/2016|
|“Last Minute” Fixes||4/15/2016||4/15/2016|
Presentation Video: Should be at the top of the page.
It’s a little quiet, and I know it cuts out, sorry. My phone ran out of space.