A Clear Christmas Tree Means More Lights!

For all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, people still find ways to make time for their passions. In the lead up to Christmas, [Edwin Mol] and a few co-workers built themselves an LED Christmas tree that adds a maker’s touch to any festive decor.

Before going too far, they cut out a cardboard mock-up of the tree. This an easy step to skip, but it can save headaches later! Once happy with the prototype, they printed off the design stencils and cut the chunks of clear acrylic using power tools — you don’t need a laser cutter to produce good stuff — and drilled dozens of holes in the plastic to mount LEDs, and run wires.

A Raspberry Pi 3 and Arduino Uno make this in league with some pretty smart Christmas trees. MAX6968 5.5V constant-current LED driver chips and MOFSETs round out the control circuit. During the build, the central LED column provided a significant challenge — how often do you build a custom jig to solder LEDs? That done, it’s time for a good ol’-fashioned assembly montage! The final product can cycle through several different lighting animations in a rainbow of colours — perfect for a festive build.

Even though Christmas has just passed, your holiday hacks are still flooding in! While you wait for us to push those out the metaphorical door, check out some of our other favorites like this massive pixel display, a free-formed LED tree, and a Raspberry Pi gingerbread house.

2 thoughts on “A Clear Christmas Tree Means More Lights!

  1. Nice little build, though to be honest I’m not sure that I’d have actually recognized it as a “Christmas tree” unless it was explained. It looks more like some kind of sci-fi thing, or maybe more crudely, an adult toy.

    The serrations on the sides don’t really show up very well being clear plastic. Probably a “star” on the top would help with visual recognition as well.

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