Introduction: FlatPack Christmas Tree

About: Just an ordinary person who loves #thinking and #tinkering

I've got "we-miss-you" mail from Instructables last week and yeah... I miss you too ^_^

Well, kinda busy with the real world but yesterday -- December 25th -- was holiday. My wife and kids are visiting my mother in law, so I was home-alone. Normally I am quite busy with kiddos on holidays, but yesterday was super quiet at home. For this is Christmas Season (although we do not celebrate this season because we are Buddhists) I played Christmas songs at home and keep myself thinking "All I Want For Christmas Is ...?"

I only had one day, so it had to be very very simple project for long-distance Christmas celebration with wife and kids. I mean which I could send them the picture and make them happy ^_^

I browsed the net for "christmas" and "3d print", most results were ornaments while I don't have a tree to hang. Then I saw the classic lego tree and I wanted to make a "Christmas Tree" for this Christmas.

I wanted a glowing star. The easiest way is LED-glowie, a LED and a coin battery cell. So .. this is it, The FlatPack Christmas Tree.

Step 1: Materials

  1. 30 minutes 3D print of two pieces which I called them "body" and "base".
  2. A 5 mm LED.
  3. A Coin Battery Cell (CR-2025 or similar)

I use Creality Ender-3 printer with Cura 4.4.1 slicer with settings like this :

  • Resolution : 0.16 mm
  • Speed : 50 mm/s
  • Infill : 20%
  • No Support

Step 2: Insert Coin

I remember this like playing arcades :D

First, remove the base (the round part) from the body, which is actually separated at printing time. Then put the coin cell in the circle on the body.

Step 3: Glow the Star

  • Bend the short leg (cathode) of the LED to 90 degrees.
  • Let it halfway through the LED hole on the star.
  • Straighten the (short) leg so that it touches the battery.

Make sure both legs touch the battery and let the star shines ...

Step 4: Plant the Tree

Slide the tree trunk into the split on the base. Now the tree is standing on your table top and glowing ^_^

Step 5: Night Lamp?

Well, as you can see it standing next to my night lamp, but of course the coin cell will not last for long. I just make this for fun, for the kiddos and for myself to brighten my lonely Christmas ^_^

Step 6: Behind the Scene

A little bit about the making process, I use FreeCAD to design. It is free to download and use and have a lot of modules for beginners to experts. I wanted to explain step by step in modeling this tree, but I ran out of time so let's just speak of the outline :D

  • Search the web for your favorite tree outline. It would save time if you downloaded SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) file right away.
  • I picked one clipart and redrew in vector app by adding a star on top of it.
  • I scaled it so that the LED fit in the star and the coin at the tree where the LED's legs can reach the coin cell and it came out to be approximately 40 mm x 60 mm.
  • In FreeCAD, import the tree vector (svg file) in draft module. My vector end up with several objects instead of one in FreeCAD.
  • Switch to sketch module, convert the objects (path) into sketches. Then combine the sketches into one. Until here I delete all the objects and sketches but the last combined sketch.
  • Switch to part module, extrude the sketch to 2 mm height.
  • Create a LED with 2 cylinders and fillet the top to form a dome.
  • Create a CoinCell with simply a cylinder
  • Place the LED and CoinCell on the Tree (body) where I want to cut them out.
  • For the base, create a cylinder (slightly smaller than CoinCell about 0.3 mm in diameter).
  • Create a rectangle to create a 2 mm split (the thickness of the tree) and 3/4 along the diameter of the base.

That is it. Print them out and test fit the LED and Coin Cell. You can modify the model and reprint or you can shave a little with cutter to make them fit in the tree. If you find the legs of LED are annoying, shape them along the edge of the tree, or make curves or any of your liking as long as they touch the Coin Cell.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas ^_^

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