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DIY 12 Ribbon Tree

Discussion in 'Mega, Mini, Spiral & Pixel Trees' started by Gilrock, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    I wanted to make a thread to document the parts used to create my 12 ribbon tree so I can have an easy place to show people that ask how I built it.

    The main structure holding it up is a 20' telescoping flagpole from Harbor Freight. At the top of the pole I used brackets to mount a board where I screwed in 12 eyelets. I tied ropes to the eyelets which are used to support the ribbons. You can also see the ropes going out in both directions that put backwards force on the pole to balance out the pull of the 12 ropes in front. The ribbons are attached to the ropes with tie wraps. I have to cut the tie wraps off and reattach them every year...a process that takes me about 3 hours. I usually attach a few tie wraps then lift the pole up a few feet and then keep repeating this process until the pole is almost fully extended. The ribbons are about 16' long so I didn't have to go up a full 20'. I used a marker to mark the poles so that next year I know how far to lift each section. This year I drilled a hole through the pole where each section meets as a safety stop in case a section came loose and tried to fall....it can happen.

    [​IMG]


    The base is just an 8' 2'x4' with 3 holes drilled in it to drive steel pins into the ground. With my hard Arizona dirt this thing is rock solid with just the 3 pins driven into the ground. I equally spaced another 12 eyelets which are used to tie the bottoms of the rope. I bought 50' ropes and cut them in half to create each piece and used a full 50' rope to attach to the top for the strands that go backwards.

    [​IMG]


    Another angle of the base:

    [​IMG]


    To keep things easy I run each ribbon on its own output from a J1SYS P12R controller board. My ribbons are the 30/m type so I have 50 pixels per ribbon. I bought the 10' long pieces of 3 core wire and cut them leaving an 8' and a 2' piece. The 2' piece is used to create a pigtail that attaches to the controller while the 8' piece was soldered onto the ribbon. I like to use 1/8" heat shrink on each conductor and then a larger heat shrink that covers up everything I just soldered.

    [​IMG]


    I made this cheap housing from a plastic container from Walmart. There are two 350W 12V power supplies mounted to each side of the container and the P12R board is mounted with standoffs to a piece of 1/8" hard plastic for support and then that is attached to the container. There is a large hole cutout where the cables enter so I put a rock under the upper side of the container and rain water flows off of it. I've been rained on pretty hard and the inside of the container has stayed dry. Even if water got inside everything is lifted from the bottom so it would take an inch of water before anything could get damaged.

    [​IMG]


    I thought this was a fairly inexpensive way to build a 12 ribbon tree so I hope it gives you some ideas.

    Watch this tree in action here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju6eOBwzEsU
     
  2. Bird

    Bird Proud LOR user

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    Thanks for sharing
     
  3. bluzervic

    bluzervic 65,768 Channels, 185 Universes

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    Nicely done


    I like the way you used common rope


    -Blu
     
  4. gerry

    gerry Senior Elf

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    Very nice ! And thanks for sharing
     
  5. roo

    roo Full Time Elf

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    Do you have any trouble with the cable ties slipping down the rope?
     
  6. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    I love seeing all the ingeneous ways people come up with to create their vision on a budget
    thanks for sharing
     
  7. roo

    roo Full Time Elf

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    And would the wind affect the ropes?
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    The cable ties don't budge at all. The cable may twist a little and starts to sag so I usually retwist and retighten them all once or twice during the month. I had the worst wind and rain this season and it holds up fine. Wind just blows right past a piece of rope. The key is the piece of rope that is pulling backwards on the pole. If the pole can't move much you don't have a problem. To be clear this wasn't designed to save any money. Anyone that knows me knows I go out of my way to spend more than the next guy. You heard of having to keep up with the Jones'? Maybe that's only a popular US saying but I'm a Jones and its hard staying ahead of all of you...lol. I actually used the ropes because I copied Brian from Superstar lights. I used DIY ribbons because I thought it was insane to use CCR's and have 12 power bricks and 12 control units. The only downside to this design for me is it takes me about 3 hours to setup the tree due to the 120 tie wraps it takes. I've really wanted to build an aluminum structure that I could more quickly tie wrap to while it was horizontal on the ground and then just stand it up. The downside to that would be storage of the structure. The design I have now all those ropes and ribbons all fit down into an average sized bin so it takes up almost no room in my attic.
     
  9. gerry

    gerry Senior Elf

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    Thanks for sharing this. I like your setup.

    Did you cut not have to put any vents for ventilation in the enclosure ie how does the heat escape ?

    Are you 10' 3 core wires from Ray ? I bought similar sets of the 3 core wire with built in pigtails from Ray Wu, but only 1/2 of them are working which is a bit puzzling as they seem to be seamlessly put together.
     
  10. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    I think living in the US and being winter allows him to get away with no vents, but living in Australia i would add ventilation to be on the safe side
     
  11. Pircy

    Pircy Full Time Elf

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    I think it looks great. I might have a go at something similar this year.
     
  12. OP
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    Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    Well actually I live in the desert and I have cactus in my yard so yeah it's just as hot as you guys. I'm usually setting up my show in shorts. Did you notice the big 3" hole where the cables come in? That's where the heat escapes. I like to put a rock under one side of the container so water will flow off the lid. We had tons of rain this year. So the hole is angled down just a little.

    Another funny thing is everyone talks about how the meanwell power supplies are better than Ray's. So I bought a couple this year. So far I prefer Ray's power supplies because the meanwell power supply sounds like its running the fan full time. With Ray's they only come on when it heats up inside the container. That actually allowed me to figure out ways to improve things. The container seemed to be heating up because it was a clear lid so I found it kept the fans from coming on if I laid a piece of plywood on top of the container to block direct sunlight. With the meanwell supplies I have no idea whether they are hot because the fan just runs non-stop. The thing I didn't like about the meanwell supplies is they had one less set of terminals for V+ and V-.
     
  13. dougd

    dougd Full Time Elf

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    Love this idea. I ordered my flag pole yesterday.


    Why don't the ropes twist? You would think they would twist but apparently they don't.


    I will be using mule tape. It is flat so it shouldn't twist at all I am hoping.
     
  14. bjpc2716

    bjpc2716 need more lights to light up the world

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    8) thank you for sharing it
     
  15. gerry

    gerry Senior Elf

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    Thanks Gilrock,

    I used something similar last year , but I had a water proof enclosure (from our local Masters store) that forum postings indicated was not that water proof, so I put that enclosure in an enclosure similar to yours to be safe , but ended up with two sets of ventilation things and basically two of everything .

    And yes . I did cover most of it with a tarpaulin/plastic offset to keep it both cool and dry ..

    Overkill probably ..
     

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