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Week 18. Wildcard Week

This week‘s assignment is quite flexible, because we can decide our own assignment, design and make it. The assignment can be something that includes (but not limited to) composites, textiles, biotechnology, robotics, folding and cooking.

And the assignment should meet the following requirements:
- combine computer-aided design & manufacturing (not covered in other assignments)
- document the process
- include everything needed for reproduce the project

And for me, I decided to make a flowerpot made from cement. Since from the week of “make something big”, I’ve begun using recycled plastic bottles to plant flowers, and now some of the flowers have grown quite tall, which requires me to transfer them to a bigger container. I have been searching for a more suitable flowerpot. And this week’s assignment just clicked. Why don’t I make one flowerpot with cement?!


Design No.1

I decided to make flowerpots in the shape of hexagon. My first try was to use Fusion 360 to get an initial model of what the flowerpot will look like.

I chose following dimensions:
Inner hexagon:
- each line of the hexagon: 50mm
- the height: 148mm
External hexagon
- each line of the hexagon: 62mm
- the height: 158mm


I exported the file as .stl format, and then converted it into .GCode file for printing. However, with this structure and dimension, it will take about 16 hours to for 3D printing the whole mold.

So I decided to change the plan, aka. combining 3D printing with laser-cutting, because where 3D printing takes 10+ hours, laser cutting will take a few minutes.

Design No.2

This time, I decided to have a cylinder as the inner part, and a hexagon as the external part.

For the cylinder, I used Fusion360 to design it.
- diameter: 102mm
- height: 100mm

And here is the simple 3D model.


I used Inkscape to design the external part:
- circle dimension: 100mm (which will be used to lock the location of the inner part)
- inner hexagon: each line (x6): 70mm
- external hexagon: each line (x6): 73mm
- the supporting part(x6): width: 70mm; height: 70mm.

Here is a screenshot of the design on Inkscape.
(screenshot from Inkscape)


3D printing

For 3D printing, I converted the .stl file into .Gcode file for 3D printing. The estimated time for printing the original dimension is 6+ hours. So I changed the height from 100mm to 60mm.

And after 3+ hours, I got the 3D printed inner part ready.

(3D printed inner part)


I exported as .dxf file from Inkscape for laser-cutting.

(laser-cut parts)

Now I got all the parts ready to be assembled.

Then I used a glue gun to assemble the parts together.

Step 1: Glue the 6 supporting parts onto the baseboard.

(glue the supporting parts)

Step 2: Glue the inner cylinder to the base board.

(glue the inner part)

Step 3: Glue the circle part to the top of the cylinder, which will be the “bottom” of the flowerpot when it’s finished.

(glue the circle part)

Next, mixed the cement with water, stirred to make sure it’s fully blended.

(stir cement with water)

Pour the liquidized cement into the mold.

Did you notice there are actually two molds? Yes, my instructor for this week’s assignment is my colleague CY. While teaching me how to use cement to make a flowerpot, he also designed a mold :)
(screenshot of CY’s design, which he made from Adobe Illustrator)

(I am also including his design file at the end of this article. If you’d like to replicate one, feel free to download the files for making one by yourself.)

And then covered the surface of the molds, and patiently wait for it to solidify and take shape.

Will update the final result in two days :D

Today (after exactly two days), I removed the mold and got the final results here.

(removing the mold)

And here is the hero shot! Will need to wait for a few more days for it to be more solid and then I can remove my plants to this new flowerpot!

(hero shot of the project)

Files for downloading:

  • (1) the files for making my flowerpot (inner cylinder shap, external hexagon shape)

3D file - flowerpot, inner cylinder shape

dxf file - the external hexagon shape

  • (2) the file for making my colleague CY’s flowerpot (hexagon shape for both inner & external)

dxf file for the inner and external parts