If you’re familiar with Super Mario Brothers, you’re certainly familiar with this character, the fire-breathing Piranha Plant. If you would like to have a replica of one in real life, you can build your own following instructions found here.

The plant, which could probably double as a prop for Little Shop of Horrors, is powered by an Arduino Uno – here’s the code – and acquires targets based on an ultrasonic range finder. The mouth is actuated by a servo motor, and the “fireball” that comes out is actually a 6mm Airsoft BB. Once the safety switch is turned on, a plastic pellet can be fired using a stepper motor to to trigger the launcher.

The “plant” itself is 3D printed, and STL files for it can be found here. One copy of everything there is needed except for the mean-looking teeth, of which you’ll have to produce 10. A great paint job definitely helps this little guy look awesome, but if you select your printing media color carefully you can possibly skip some painting.


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The project was a result of a really interesting course at the University of South Florida, where students are required to make something in this project’s vein, involving CAD software, 3D printing, and electronics. There are no prerequisites, so if you’re a student there, I’d suggest considering signing up!