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Weekend Project: Make Your Garden Glow with 3D Printed LED Flowers

Picture of Tyler Koslow
by Tyler Koslow
May 12, 2018

Want to give your 3D printer the green thumb? Autodesk and Instructables content creator Becky Stern shares a project on how to make 3D printed light-up flowers with LED lights. 

FDM desktop 3D printing has opened up a new world of possibilities when it comes to making customizable and decorative objects. By integrating LED lights, electronics, and other non-printed components, the potential to create practical or aesthetic projects with your 3D printer expands tenfold.

Becky Stern is a Brooklyn-based content creator for Autodesk and Instructables, and her last couple of projects have strived to teach CAD design while supplying ornaments to spruce up your home. We recently covered her tutorial on how to create 3D printed LED mason jar lanterns, and now she’s back with another project to adorn your surroundings with.

This project is simple, educational, and like any blossoming garden, will brighten up your day. Let’s take a look at how to create your own 3D printed LED flower.

3D Printed Glowing Flowers: What Do You Need?

To create your own 3D printed LED flower, you’ll need access to a 3D printer, as well as green PLA filament and white PLA filament (if you want to replicate Stern’s version). The STL files are freely available for download via Stern’s Instructables post, where she also explains how to design your own plastic bloom using Tinkercad.

Outside of the typical desktop 3D printing equipment and filament, here’s what else you need to sprout the seed of this project:

3D Printed Glowing Flowers: Putting it Together

Stern kicks her Instructables project off with the CAD design process, explaining how to design your own flower model. She also provides the STL files for her own version, making this first step completely optional. However, if you want to become more familiar with 3D modeling, you can follow her step-by-step process on how to grow a digital flower on this freely available CAD software.

The model is split into two different STL files, allowing you to pick and choose what color combination you want to evoke with your flower. The flower base should be 3D printed at 100 percent infill, while the pedals are printed at 20 percent infill with a concentric fill pattern.

Once your flower pedal and stem are 3D printed, it’s time to prep the LED light by clipping both legs and fitting them into the 3D printed base. Be sure to keep track of which leg is the longer one, as this will be important in the following step.

In the flower stem, there’s a slot for you to insert the battery. There’s a “+” indicator on the 3D printed model to show you which way the battery should be facing. Take the longer leg and line it up with the positive (+) side of the flower base. This should make the LED light illuminate with a white glow.

Next, you’ll insert the LED into the top of 3D printed base, resting in the small channels that are placed at the opening of the stem. Then, slide the 3D printed flower pedal over the LED and voilà, you now have a 3D printed LED flower.

The final step is optional, but definitely adds a bit of natural flair to your 3D printed flower. Stern uses a needle felting technique to create the bulb of the flower. By poking tiny holes in the fiber, you can tangle it up and create a dome-like shape to fit over the LED. This will help diffuse the light and produce a more relaxing glow.

If you want to learn more about Stern’s educational and enjoyable project, check out the full instructions on her Instructables post, as well as the step-by-step video posted below.

License: The text of "Weekend Project: Make Your Garden Glow with 3D Printed LED Flowers" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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