Build Chauncey the Flower Care Bot

Model Files

Download the model files from the link below. You'll need to open the .stl model files into your slicer of choice (I used Cura) and prep them for printing. In general, a 0.4mm nozzle with 0.2mm layer height and 10% infill works well for these parts.

Big Creations from Small Printers Chauncey’s parts have been carefully designed to print on a small desktop 3D printer with a build area of roughly 6″x6″x6″. The assembled final robot is much larger than one that could be printed in a single pass on most printers.

Print and Assemble the Legs and Feet

Print three copies of the fBot_foot.stl file.

You can pick specific filament colors, or if you want to paint them later, color won't matter, so you have a chance to use up some colors you don't always use!

Print three each of the lower socket fBot_lowSocket.stl, and upper leg fBot_legBend.stl.

Assemble the legs by pushing the lower sockets into the tops of the feet, and the bends into the lower sockets.

Print the Body

In order to create a body larger than the build platform of many printers, Chauncey’s body is printed in four sections and later assembled.

Print one copy of the fBot_bodyFL.stl, fBot_bodyFR.stl, fBot_bodyBL.stl, and fBot_bodyBR.stl files.

(In the photo, you will note that the front left body section is blue and white, due to a mid-print filament switch.)

Before joining the body parts, print the three leg sockets - fBot_legSocketCenter.stl, fBot_legSocketLeft.stl, and fBot_legSocketRight.stl, and the eye tube fBot_eyeTube.stl.

 

Assemble the Body

In order to assemble the body parts, we’ll use a dual-bonding technique of gluing and friction welding.

The glue creates a bond to hold the parts together temporarily, but it’s the friction welding that creates the real strength, since the friction-heated PLA plastic bonds the parts together. This method also has the benefit of filling in any gaps between parts.

To begin assembling the body, place a small amount of superglue on the clean surface of one of the two parts to be joined.

Press the parts together for 30 seconds as shown here.

Follow the directions on the superglue container as to safety. Wear eye protection and do not touch glue to skin.

Friction-Welding Technique

Chuck the free end of a PLA filament spool into your rotary tool and tighten the chuck. Then use diagonal end cutters to snip off the PLA filament—leaving about 1/2″ of filament protruding from the tip.

Turn the rotary tool up to a 25,000–30,000 RPM setting. Moving in small circles, push the filament tip into the seam or gap you wish to weld, moving back and forth and overlapping across to both sides of the seam.

Press hard enough that you see the PLA melt a bit as it heats up. Note the small circles in the plastic seam.

Use eye protection to avoid injury from flying plastic bits!

The filament bit will get used up as you work. Turn off the tool, waiting for it to stop spinning. Loosen the rotary tool chuck, pull out another 1/2″ length, re-tighten, and turn the tool back on to continue welding. Repeat this until you have to refill the tool with a new length of PLA from the spool.

Welds can take 10 to 20 seconds to fully cool. You can take advantage of this by adjusting the fit of some parts while the weld is still warm.

Assemble the Leg Sockets and Eye Tube

Once the body welds are made, glue the center leg socket to the back right panel. The glue will help with holding the pieces in place when you later friction-weld the seams.

Let this part dry, then fit and glue the back right and back left body quarters to the socket. Once these have dried you’ll use the friction-welding technique to permanently bond the parts as shown.

Proceed in this manner, gluing and welding the left leg socket to the front left body quarter, and the right leg socket to the front right body quarter.

These two quarters will be closed around the eye tube before gluing and welding. Some small tack welds will be enough to keep the eye tube in place.

Add the Eye

Print the fBot_iris.stl and fBot_pupil.stl parts and then fit the iris into the eye tube from the back, and the pupil into the iris from the front.

Deck Rim

The top of the ‘Bot has a deck rim running all the way around it to hold the deck in place. Print four copies of fBot_rim.stl, then glue and weld them to the top of the ‘Bot’s body.

If there are any gaps between sections, these can be filled in with friction welds, for that time-worn, hard-working robot look!

Railings

Print four copies of the safety railing model, fBot_railing.stl, and then join them together with a bit of glue.

The railing goes on top of the deck rim; you can glue it on before or after painting, or not glue it down at all.

Stovepipe

Print the two parts of the stovepipe, and then glue them together.

Once dry, push the stovepipe assembly into the port hole in the body to check the fit.

We’ll be priming and painting it separately, then reinserting it later.

Test Fit the Legs

The legs of the ‘Bot can be placed into the sockets without permanently adhering them, just to check the fit. We’ll assemble it again later after priming and painting.

Priming

If you haven’t printed your parts in their final colors, this is a good time to paint the robot.

Use a fine, white spray primer, such as Tamiya model primer or automotive primer. Follow the directions on the can and prime in a well-ventilated area.

Let the first coat dry, and prime with a second coat for best coverage.

Painting

You can then use acrylic craft paint and brushes to paint the robot in your favorite color scheme—even using techniques such as ink washes and dry-brushing highlights.

There are many good resources on the internet on painting models, so we won’t go into too many details here.

The basic technique used here was to start with a few coats of a base color, and then add a darker wash later to add some patina.

Seal It

Once the Flower ‘Bot is painted and has dried, glue the stovepipe in place.

Then seal the paint with a matte finish spray sealer to prevent the paint from chipping.

Deck Build

This updated Mk. II version of Chauncey has a different deck design than the Mk. I -- this one allows for different sized pots to be set into it, and does not require access for below-deck components. The CLUE, water vessel, and pump will all remain above deck.

Print the fBot_deck.stl file. You can optionally paint it at this point (I decided to leave this one its natural 3D filament color.)

Pump Cup

To keep the pump secured, we'll print the fBot_pump_cup.stl

It has notches built into the bottom to hold the pump in place. Since 3D printed cups can be difficult to make perfectly water tight (any gaps will be found by water!) this short cup is made to be placed inside a larger vessel, such as a medium sized glass jar.

Setup

This is where it all comes together! First, set the deck onto the top of the 'Bot.

Place the pump you prepared earlier with the tubing and optional zip tie, into the pump cup.

Set the pump cup inside the glass jar, and fill with water.

Place your flower pot in one of the deck holes. It's best to use a closed bottomed pot so no leaking will occur.

As before, the motor and probes should be connected to the Bonsai Buckaroo, with the probe nails embedded in the soil.

Power on the CLUE using USB or battery power.

This guide was first published on Mar 25, 2020. It was last updated on 2020-03-25 15:31:49 -0400. This page (Build Chauncey the Flower Care Bot) was last updated on Mar 25, 2020.