I wanted a tree that was really compact when stored and doesn't take too long to setup, but also had to be pretty. The idea of building a spiral shaped tree hit me when I was shopping for copper tubing at the local hardware store.
This instructables will serve as a general guideline on how to build you own spiraling tree. I do not have any measurements on hand as everything was pretty much improvised.
Step 1: Materials
1 x 25 foot 1/2 inch copper tubing/copper refrigeration coil. This is the main spiral of the tree
1 or 2 x 6 feet 1/2 straight copper tube. This will serve as internal support for the tree
A handful of copper tee and 90 degree elbow
25 feet or more of LED strip. Here i'm using 60led/m of ws2812b with a Particle Photon for control.
Polishing compound for the copper tube
Pipe cutter for the copper tube
Lots and lots of Christmas ornaments. The mains ones I'm using are 200mm,140mm,100mm,50mm balls.There are probably about 20 - 25 in total. We will stack them inside the spiral to create a tree shape.
Step 2: Polishing
The cooper looks nicer when it's shiny so it's worth the time to polish the tube. I'm using some Turtle polishing compound with some paper towel. This step can be quite time consuming.
Ideally you'd want to coat the cooper in some kind of lacquer to prevent oxidation but unfortunately I didn't have any on hand
Step 3: Building the Frame
To create the spiral shape, simply pull up the middle end of the cooper coil and hold the other end on the ground. After adjusting the height, use the straight copper tube to build an internal frame to keep the spiral in place. Note that in the photo the vertical support is made out of several cooper sections, but in the end I decided to use one long section because it provided mode stability. Here you can either glue/weld the support structure together or leave as it is. I left as it is.
Step 4: Attaching the LED Strip
I used some twisty ties to attaches the strip to the cooper spiral. Note that the LED are facing inward. This is important as the LED will shine on the ornaments later on. Make sure that the power and signal line from the strip are placed at the bottom rather than at the top. The ws2812b strip is directional so make sure the the signal input is at the bottom.
If you're using a particle photon, I've attached the source code and schematics. the Blynk app to control it can be obtained using the QR code. You'll have to update the blynk api token inside the source code with your own. The +5V and GND on the strip should be connected directly to the power supply
Step 5: Adding the Ornaments
At this point you're pretty much done , and it's time to stack the ornaments. Start with the 200mm ball and reduce the size as the stack moves upward. Add the star at the top and you're done!