This project was super fun and I finally got a chance to bring some electronics into my projects. I often want to make something with an electronic aspect and moving parts, but time restrictions usually get the best of me.
It was great to work with a team so I could worry more about fabrication while my teammates could work out the electronic kinks and problems.
When we first got together, we wanted to work with plants so the piece would have both a natural and synthetic look to it. In the end, we wanted to come up with a planter that would take care of plants for people living in urban settings who might be too busy or forgetful to water them. It was interesting thinking about having a mechanized, synthetic contraption take care of a natural, living thing.
There were multiple factors to consider, such as caring for the plant. what was going to be the food source? How will it be watered? Will it be able to grow and thrive? How can we make it look aesthetically pleasing?
I ended up being really proud of the solutions we came up with for these problems. It looks good and the plant could be taken care of by the automation. There were a few issues, such as the plant wouldn’t be able to grow very large in the space allowed; however this is a problem for most plants, but it would be great during the starting and early stages of growth for a plant as the plant then could be transplanted into a larger pot to be taken care of. This would be ideal for plants that have trouble getting started. The automation could be set for optimum growth of the particular species of plant to really allow it to flourish early on.
When designing the planter itself, I took inspiration for the top to rise from the Mendel 3D printer we had in our studio. I used a lead screw attached to a nema 17 motor and used a nut trap in the base so it could travel along the screw. I also designed it so that most of the pieces that comprised the build could be 3D printed or laser cut. All of the ‘hardware’ is custom designed to work with the pyramid’s shape. This was quite the challenge but thoroughly loved every step of the process.
I included photos from my presentation and showed some of the process we went through on the design.