Tree Of Life Branches Out With A Twist

In the middle of 2020, [charlie] challenged himself to conceive of and finish one project every month for the next twelve. Here we are a year later with [charlie]’s last project of the challenge: a tree of life with a bit of a twist to it.

The idea was to build a tree with lights that would represent the leaves and change as the tree went through the seasons. After a lot of searching, he found a really elaborate model meant for CNC carving, but the model maker converted it to an STL. [charlie]’s original plan was to poke the LEDs through the print. After consulting a wise woman, he decided to take the two-color approach and make the background translucent so that the 16 RGB LEDs can shine through.

So, what’s the twist? Well, over time, the tree will develop dementia. One by one, the leaves will lose awareness and go through the seasons backward, or slow down their cycle, or speed up. Eventually, the entire tree recedes into a rainbow of confusion. Sadly beautiful, isn’t it?

No printer? No problem. Trees of life come in all forms, including free-form.

Put Down New Roots From Home With A Free-Form Tree Of Life

Mandalas are meditative objects that mean many things to myriad religions. Psychologist Carl Jung equated them with the concept of the Self as a whole, and put forth the notion that an urge to create mandalas signifies a period of intense personal growth.

[Sander van de Bor] took up the mandala challenge at the beginning of 2020 and decided to create several of them in free-form electronic style. If you’re looking for a healthy new way to deal, [Sander] has step-by-step instructions for making your own light-up tree of life by wrangling a wad of wires into a trunk and branches. Big bonus if you already find soldering to be soothing.

[Sander] starts by forming a circle from brass rod. This is the base for the rest of the build and will tie all the LED grounds together. The tree is twisted from a cluster of enameled copper wires that are eventually soldered together to distribute power from a coin cell out to the six SMT LEDs.

You could argue that the tree should be ground because it’s rooted to Earth, but you could also argue that the circle should be ground because the circle of life is a grounding force. Something to think about while you design and build your own, eh?

If electronic sculpture becomes your new thing, explore all the angles with the master manipulator, [Mohit Bhoite].