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Christmas Trees That Turn To Music

Fig. 1A. A touch of the switch and your C h r i s t m a s tree revolves slowly while playing a seasonal tune. This tree is trimmed with lights and cookies. Fig. 1B. Here the hand-wound unit is used with a tree trimmed with lights and holly leaves.

OU can have a Christmas tree that not only parades its beauty but also plays music as it turns in front of you, if you build one of these two types of revolving musical tree stands. The low cost, hand-wound musical unit (see Fig. 1B and materials list) will turn a 2 to 3 ft. high tree. You can light the tree, since the cord winds itself loosely around the tree socket as the spring is wound up, then unwinds itself as the lighted tree revolves and plays softchorded versions of Silent Night or Adeste Fidelis. The electrically-driven unit (Fig. 1A) continuously revolves any tree up to 5 ft. tall, through the use of a 2 rpm window display motor that costs about $8. When the current supply switch is on, tree will light without music and without revolving. When both switches are on, tree will light and revolve with music playing. Total cost of this more convenient and versatile unit will run $13 to $15, providing some of the tubing, brackets, screws and the like come from your scrap box. Spring-Wound Unit. To build the spring-wound unit (Fig. 1B and 2), first drill a ½-in. dia. center hole in the base of an inverted saucepan or discarded lamp base. Drill a ½-in. dia. hole in the center of the ¼-in. plywood disc cut to fit housing (Fig.


2), through which key will project. Then drill the sound escape hole about 1¾-in. dia. or whatever the remaining area of plywood will allow. Mount the musical unit with small screws on the plywood disc so winding pin or key is in center of key hole. Turn a hardwood or metal bushing with a 3/8-in. I.D. hole to slip through top of housing. This is held in place in center hole in base by a push-fit washer. However, it can be soldered or a threaded bushing and lock nut can be used. Turn the socket which will hold the tree and the slotted tube in one piece from brass, aluminum or hardwood or insert a tight-fitting 3/8-in. dia. slotted metal tube through bottom of socket. Drill three equidistant



h o l e s for thumbscrews to hold tree in place. Fasten plywood to h o u s i n g with wood screws, then press fit a piece of slightly o v e r s i z e cardboard in bottom of h o u s i n g . Insert tree socket and tube in bushing so slot engages key. Thus, turning the socket will wind musical unit. Paint housing and decorate with decals, s t e n c i l s or "glitter" sprinkled on t a c k y varnish applied over color. Electrically - Driven Unit. The housing for this unit (Fig. 1A) is an inverted cakepan or other

1 ½" O.D. washer 2 ft. #18 fixture wire or # 1 8 twin lamp cord Musical Unit Assembly No. Reqd. Description 1 18-reed musical unit (Piltzecker Swiss Imports) 1 18-reed musical unit; available from Piltzecker Swiss 1 1/16 x 2 x 3" aluminum or brass Imports, Dept. SM, P. 0. Box 3 1 , Wood-Ridge, N. J. 2 ¼ dia. x 1 1/8" aluminum tube supports About $2.20 plus 250 postage. Specify "Silent Night" 1 7/8 x 1 5/8" dia. maple pulley and bushing to fit or "Adeste Fidelis." 1 machine screw fh 6-32 x ½" 1 ¼ x 4 3/8" dia. plywood (base) 2 # 1 4 x 1½" fh wood screws 1 lamp base or kitchen pan, approx. 2½" high x 6½" 1 # 3 7 radio dial belt dia. (housing) Contact Plate Assembly 1 1¼" O.D. washer 1 1/8 x 1¼ x 1½" fiber or Bakelite insulating board 3 10-24 thumb screws 1 ½ x 1½ x 1½" angle iron 1 ¾ x ¾" bushing, aluminum, brass or hardwood 2 .0010 x ¼ x 1½" spring brass or phosphor bronze 1 cardboard base to fit snugly inside bottom of base 2 wood screws to fit angle iron 1 1¼ O.D. x 2¾" socket assembly, aluminum or brass or 4 8-32 x 1" brass machine screws 1 1¼ .O.D. x 1 5/8" socket, plus Tree Socket 1 3/8 O.D. x 1½" aluminum or brass tube or rod 1 1 7/8 dia. x 3 1/8" hardwood ELECTRICALLY-DRIVEN STAND 3 10-24 thumb screws Rotating Mechanism 1 double outlet plug, surface mount 1 1/16 x 1½ x 9½" sheet metal (bracket) Miscellaneous 1 ½ O.D. x 5" fixture stem 1 2 rpm window display motor; W. W. Grainger, Inc., 1 ½ I.D. x 1½" fiber insulating sleeve Dept. SM, US S. Oakley.Blvd., Chicago 12, III. 2 5/16 x 7/8" dia. brass or copper collars 1 7/8 x 1 13/16" dia. maple pulley and bushing to fit 2 6-32 x ½" screws 1 4 x 10" cake pan (housing) 1 ¼ x 1½" dia. maple pulley 1 ¾ x 10" dia. wood base 2 toggle switches 1 # 1 6 radio dial belt 1 thin rubber mat (for motor) 1 plug 1 cotter pin 1 8 ft. #18 twin lamp cord wire


metal pan or box about 4 in. high x 10 in. dia. Drill a series of ½-in. dia. holes along the edge of the top or along the top edge of the sides to help increase the volume of the music. Cut a ¾-in. wooden base (in this case 10 in.) to fit snugly in pan. To assemble the rotating mechanism (Fig. 3), first cut and bend bracket from 1/16-in. aluminum or other sheet metal. Place 5-in. length of fixture stem or other tubing in ½-in. hole drilled in wooden base. (See Fig. 4 for approximate location of parts.) Drill a ½-in. hole in center of bracket top to allow tube to rotate freely when assembled; then set bracket loosely in place and mark tube for 1/8-in. hole to take cotter pin about 1/16 in. below top of bracket. Drill cotter pin hole and also 3/16-in. holes in feet and 1/8-in. holes in

top of bracket for fastening. Now, press brass or copper collars on fiber insulating sleeve, then slide sleeve onto ½-in. tube. Drill, tap, insert and tighten 6-32 x ¼-in screw securing sleeve to tube. Drill ¼-in. hole through one side of fibersleeve and tube to provide opening for wires supplying current to socket. Using two pieces of #18 stranded fixture wire or a piece of twin lamp cord, solder one wire to edge of one collar and the other wire to edge of other collar (see Fig. 3). Be careful not to get solder on the face of the collars where the contacts will ride, or extreme arcing and poor contact will result. Run wire up through tube. Slide pulley on tube and screw 6-32 x ½-in. screw through pulley and tube. This can be in pulley groove, if screw head is set below surface

of hole to prevent belt damage. Or, allow extra stock below or above groove to take screw. Follow these instructions for all pulleys in tree stand. Slip #16 belt over pulley, then place bracket in position (Figs. 4 and 5) and fasten to wooden base with two ½-in. #6 wood screws. Insert cotter pin to hold tube loosely in position in bottom hole or bearing. Mount contact plate assembly (Fig. 3) in position on base (Fig. 4) so spring contacts are centered on collars of rotating mechanism (Fig. 3). Apply enough tension to assure good contact. Next, place motor in position (Figs. 4 and 5) and fasten motor pulley (Fig. 3) to drive shaft of motor. . Place belt on pulley from rotating mechanism to top groove of pulley on motor. Po-

Fig. 5. Units for motor-driven Christmas tree stand assembled on 10-in. dia. wood base. Locations can be changed slightly to allow for adjusting and tightening belts. Contact plate assembly is placed behind rotating mechanism. Rubber washers mount between housing and bracket of rotating mechanism.

Fig. 6A. To remove spring in order to convert musical unit from a hand-wound to an electrically-driven movement, first remove screw as shown and discard stop lever. Then replace screw. Also remove two spring housing screws temporarily to get at spring. Fig. 6B. Remove spring assembly and gear in housing. Keep unit upright so barrel will not fall out of place. Fig. 6C. With screwdriver disengage spring from housing ear. Fig. 6D. Carefully withdraw spring from housing; then remove from drive shaft, noting position of gears for later assembly. Fig. 6E. Spring unit removed. Replace drive shaft and gear, without spring, in original position on musical unit, then refasten housing.



sition pulley on shaft of rotating mechanism so belt is level, then tighten screw. Fasten motor unit to base with one ½-in. #6 wood screw, then position motor for proper belt tension and screw in second ½-in. #6 wood screw to keep motor in this position. Again fasten pulley screw. If belt stretches in time, remove screw in base and apply more tension by swinging position of motor. A thin rubber mat under motor will deaden gear noise (Fig. 5). Now mount musical unit assembly (Figs. 3, 4 and 5), first removing the spring very carefully (Figs. 6A through 6E) to prevent damage to the tiny gears and bearings. If you do not Want to try this yourself, a watch repairman can do it for you in a few seconds. Remove handles from key and sweat key to threads. Fasten pulley to key. Run belt from pulley on musical unit to bottom groove of motor pulley (Figs. 4 and 5). Tighten as described above. Wire tree stand as shown (Figs. 4, 5 and 7), then fit on cake pan housing, allowing tube

from rotating mechanism to protrude through ½in. center hole. Make tree socket (Fig. 11); connect wires from rotating mechanism to receptacle outlet. Attach outlet to socket, fit socket over tube and fasten in place with setscrew. You can decorate the housing as described for hand-wound
spring unit.—ANDY LAURE, JR.