Old Christmas Tree Gets A New Spin

A couple of Christmases ago, [Nick] got tired of trying to evenly decorate his giant fake tree and built an MDF lazy Susan to make it easy as eggnog. But what’s the point of balanced decorations if one side of the tree will always face the wall? This year, [Nick] is giving himself the gift of a new project and motorizing the lazy Susan so the tree slowly rotates.

The saintly [Nick] decided to do this completely out of the junk box, except for all the WS2811 RGB LEDs on order that he hopes to synchronize with the tree’s movement. He started by designing a gear in OpenSCAD to fit the OD of the bearing, a task made much simpler thanks to the open-source gear libraries spinning around out there.

It was hard to get slow, smooth movement from the NEMA-23 he had on hand, but instead of giving up and buying a different motor, he designed a gear system to make it work. Our favorite part has to be the DIY slip ring [Nick] made from a phono connector to get around the problem of powering a rotating thing. This is a work in progress, so there are no videos just yet. You can watch [Nick]’s Twitter for updates.

[Nick] didn’t specify why he chose to use WS2811s, but they have gotten pretty cheap. Did you know you can drive them with VGA?

Via Adafruit’s CircuitPython newsletter

9 thoughts on “Old Christmas Tree Gets A New Spin

  1. Apologises to Kristina, for hijacking one of the posts from your article. But I can’t comment on the previous article (“A MODERN TAKE ON A PIECE OF OLD TEST EQUIPMENT”), is it just me or is there a problem adding comments to the previous article ?

  2. Like the 1/4in phono plug idea too. Printing shafts not a torque reliable thing and tend to be much larger diameter than wanted or needed to take the torture. Lots of different devices for over-torque gear train protection and ‘Safety Nazi’ concern.
    Sure is purty tho’. Thanks for posting the vid.

  3. In all my years of electronics, using a 1/4 inch phono plug/jack as a make shift slip-ring has got to be up there in the ranks of the most clever yet simple ideas I think I’ve seen. It’ll wear out sooner than a purpose made one for sure, but lubricated, it will probably get plenty of Christmas’s under it’s belt. I’d use a big cap on the circuitry side to keep any drop-out from it at bay though along with a maybe a diode or two to keep it from sparking…

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