The MegaTree has supporting characters

Discussion in 'Pixel Nights or Christmas Lights' started by AA7BQ, Mar 25, 2021.

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  1. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder Administrator QRZ Page

    It does get lonely out there in the yard and any good Christmas display needs several elements. Here are a few that I've built from my now-productive scrap pile.


    This character, who I call Curly, lasted about 2 months. It was totally my fault because these weren't waterproof strips. It wasn't the rain either, but the lawn watering that caused it to fail. Despite those issues, however, it was a good-looking effect in the dark. The construction was laughable too. I started with some stainless steel pipes that I welded together. Then I added a 24" bicycle rim and I ran a solid, tinned copper wire up and down 6 times. Then, I simply draped the pixel tape over it. It was only supposed to last through the holidays but instead, it lasted until just last week when I ripped it apart and started over.\

    Sadly, Curly is gone now but it has been resurrected as the Mini Tree


    I used the tubing bender to make a new lower rim and then added 8-pixel strips of 30 pixels each. This tree tries to mimic the Mega Tree and it's an interesting effect.

    Next, I made what I call the Spinner.

    The Spinner started with a piece of 3/4" copper pipe from the junk pile. I ran it through the harbor freight bender and came up with a 22-inch wheel which I then festooned with lights as shown.

    Next, the LidStars

    What are LidStars? Well, they are stars that I made from Home Depot bucket lids. Each one has 32 strip pixels and there are 8 of them in the string for a total of 256.

    Here's a picture of a partially completed LidStar. The LED strips are self-adhesive however nothing really sticks to HDPE so I used a bit of tape to hold them down for soldering. Once they were made and tested, I coated them all with thick polyurethane for weatherproofing.


    Here is the controller for the 8 LidStars. As you can see, it consists only of the ESP-32 in a box. The whole rig is powered by a 5 Volt, 5 A power supply. I printed the enclosure on the 3D printer.


    And then came... The Dazzler


    The Dazzler was made from Curly's old 24-inch bicycle rim. I strung some stainless steel wire from side to side and then interwove it with Pixel tape. I wanted a dense matrix for this one so I plugged them in every hole for a 1" spacing.

    And here it is, all lit up. It looks a bit crude in the daylight but just wait, until dark...


    Here's a closeup of how the pixels were attached to the perimeter.


    Next, the 1811 matrix. 18x11 pixels on a panel made of PVC and pixel tape.


    Stay tuned for more...

    73 -fred

    Attached Files:

    WZ7U likes this.
  2. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    great project!!
    my XYL (Deirdre) is hoping to see a picture (video would be awesome) of the big tree lit up at night
    I might get a request from hi-command for a next Christmas project to rival Clark Griswald
    so far I've managed a Charlie Brown xmas tree
  3. AB3WX

    AB3WX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your Matrix frame is setup similar to mine. I used 1/2" sch 40 PVC to make a frame and used similar strips you used with advantek pixels 25 x 16 matrix. I use LOR's PIXCON16 for all my pixels. Used to use E682 and E6804s in the past.

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