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Thread: Holiday decoration

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Silicon Valley
    Posts
    28

    Default Holiday decoration

    A few years back, a former coworker ordered plans from a website to make a big, lighted, star to use in his holiday decorations. His house ends up with thousands of lights…computer controlled to sync the lights with music…etc The start is over four feet tall and three feet wide.

    Time and the weather have not been kind to his star…the layers of plywood it was made from are delaminating (I'm guessing it wasn't exterior rated plywood) and he was dreading hand-drilling the 200 holes for lights in a new one.

    So, he asked if ShopBot could make one…piece of cake I assured him…just bring me the current version so I can pick off key measurements, etc.

    I'd never tried drawing a piece like this before but it turned out to be really simple (and I learned a few parts of VCarve Pro along the way - to speed up layout).

    While placing the 200 holes, I got a bit carried away before I figured out how to count how many I had…ended up with almost 500 holes and spent almost as much time thinning the herd as I did creating them in the first place…oops.

    Cut the new star this morning…took about 25 minutes total with the bulk of that spent creating the 200 holes. They're inside profile cuts using a plunge-rated end mill instead of drilling (personal bias against drilling - likely unfounded but it let me avoid having to change bits between the holes and cutting the profile).

    I've enclosed a picture of what's left of the original star (everything I touched it, something else fell off) and the new one. Fortunately, I don't have to stuff the 200 lights into those holes or staple all that wiring to the back.

    Fun project…easy to create…might whip up a few others for decorating my own yard one of these days.

    Tim S.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Stamford, NY
    Posts
    556

    Default

    Nice reproduction, Tim.

    I've been thinking of edge lit decorations out of lexan along these lines. I don't personally decorate for x mas but doesn't stop me from having ideas.

    Thanks for sharing

    Regards
    Randy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Brookline, New Hampshire
    Posts
    434

    Default

    Randy,

    You might not want to use lexan. Most, but not all, lexan is slightly cloudy. (I have some "bank glass" which is lexan, very clear and extremely expensive!) I'd test your lexan first in a dark room with a very bright flashlight shinging from the side.

    I used "normal" lexan once. It was for an Extreme Makeover house so I had no time to get acrylic. It turned out OK but it did not have the extreme contrast ratio that you can get from acrylic.

    Paul Z

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Silicon Valley
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Randy,

    Thanks for the kind words!

    At night, when this thing is lit and on top of a two-story house, you won't be able to see the plywood - just tons of twinkly light. Lexan could look pretty cool but I'd save it for something down lower to the ground…up high, I'd opt for plywood (assuming it's cheaper than Lexan) and a bit of paint to help ward off the weather's impact.

    These things are simple enough to whip up that I'm thinking of doing some others…maybe a couple for Halloween too since it's as fun as Christmas (and cheaper/shorter).

    Tim S.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Stamford, NY
    Posts
    556

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TimS View Post
    Randy,

    Thanks for the kind words!

    At night, when this thing is lit and on top of a two-story house, you won't be able to see the plywood - just tons of twinkly light. Lexan could look pretty cool but I'd save it for something down lower to the ground…up high, I'd opt for plywood (assuming it's cheaper than Lexan) and a bit of paint to help ward off the weather's impact.

    These things are simple enough to whip up that I'm thinking of doing some others…maybe a couple for Halloween too since it's as fun as Christmas (and cheaper/shorter).

    Tim S.
    That's more what i'm talking about, Tim. Smaller in the front window type. Holes along the edges for the lights like the plywood piece you've made.

    Thanks for the Lexan tip. I don't think it would matter too much for around here. Nobody likes to pull out anything more then pennies for the good stuff anyways.

    I honestly don't have time right now to play with it anyways. It's starting snow season so when i'm not playing in the shop with people wanting little x mas gifts without the time to get them done before x mas and sitting my f/a in machines clearing snow. Not to mention a trip to New Orleans next week.

    Regards
    Randy

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