Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Invisible Tree

Xmas without the mess
  [vote for,

I thought this up a few years ago, but never got around to building one.

1. Take a plywood circle, and screw many little hooks into one side.
2. Mount this circle to your ceiling, hook side down.
3. Attach fine fishing line to each hook long enough to reach the floor.
4. Cut a conical shape in the fishing line - hooks near the center should have very short string and hooks near the outside should have very long string.
5. Tie a loop on the end of each line.
6. Hang an ornament on each loop.

The one I was going to build involved exact string lengths, but then I enjoy geometry problems more than most. For those interested, where:
l = length of string
L = distance from the plane created by the lowest point of the hooks to the lowest place you would like to hang ornaments
r = hook's radial distance from center of circle
R = radius of circle
l = r*L/R

Worldgineer, Dec 05 2003

[po]'s tree idea reminded me of this. http://www.halfbake...Beautiful_20Tree_94
[Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Now baked. https://www.reddit....app&utm_name=iossmf
Wasn’t mine. Still haven’t built one. [Worldgineer, Nov 30 2020]

Crookes radiometer https://en.wikipedi.../Crookes_radiometer
Fascinating [8th of 7, Dec 18 2020]


       rubbish idea!
po, Dec 05 2003

       Wind, pets, and children would be difficult. But there is an easy fix - just create a second identical circle and place it on the floor. Add string that goes up to the ornament and tie it on the loop. Of course, the equation for that length would be:
l = (1-r/R)*L
Worldgineer, Dec 05 2003

       Tidy? TIDY??? Are you crazy!?! There's nothing tidy about giving a theater person a pile of fishing wire and a mathematical equation! That's ... dramacide! I'll thank you to stay away from me at Christmas time!
k_sra, Dec 05 2003

       [k] Please ignore everything after #6. The math was just for the perfectionists out there.
Worldgineer, Dec 05 2003

       [bliss] I modified the length L to allow for trees starting a few feet off the ground, for an easier dustin solution.
Worldgineer, Dec 05 2003

       ...if you add a few too many baubles you get an invisible Christmas tree windchime... add some electronics to the baubles and who knows what will happen...
st3f, Dec 05 2003

       I like it, except that it would probably be even harder to untangle each year than the strings of lights are.
luecke, Dec 05 2003

       Not too long ago I saw a "tree" that was actually just a spiral of lights going up in a hollow cone shape. In appearance, it came very close to your invisible tree concept (with lights instead of baubles), and was very effective.
DrCurry, Dec 05 2003

       You could adapt this to a bead doorway curtain, with hung beads making the shape of a tree.
bungston, Dec 05 2003

       A kitty toy for [po's] cats? [+]
Klaatu, Dec 05 2003

       My thought also, [DrC]. I think this is the home-made version.
k_sra, Dec 05 2003

       How about running the lines all the way from floor to cieling, and keeping them taut? You could thread the decorations on the string with some sort of clamping mechanism to keep them from sliding. Then it is just a matter of arranging the decorations to achieve the illusion of a tree, and no swaying would occur.   

       If the lines conducted electricity, you might even able to power lights this way too.
krelnik, Dec 05 2003

       Sweet. I love [krelnik]'s idea of electrifying it. Have some of the strings be fine wires and you could have normal xmas light replacement bulbs lit up on the invisible tree. It wouldn't be terribly safe (unless you insulated the wires), but quite cool.
Worldgineer, Dec 05 2003

       Someone should suggest the helium-filled mylar bauble version. Oh, wait, I just did.
DrCurry, Dec 05 2003

       (replying to something [tsu] said involving fish on strings to entertain [po]'s cats)   

       Now you have me picuring an invisible tree made of cats hanging by their mouths by strings.
Worldgineer, Dec 05 2003

       3 more votes and I was first dammit ,<jealous>
po, Dec 05 2003

       Silly [tsu], I meant in a cute way - not dead or on hooks or anything - just refusing to let go of fish.   

       [po] :-p
Worldgineer, Dec 05 2003

       I think the illusion would be greater if you started with an actual tree in place, decorated normally. Then affix each decoration to the ceiling with fishing line, supporting it in its place on the tree. You could do garland and lights this way too. When your done, simply remove the tree and discard.   

       (Aside - I quite like the idea of the half-trees that are around this year, mounted to a mirrored wall. I've not seen those before.)
waugsqueke, Dec 05 2003

       [waugs] That's very close to one option I was considering - having a tree that's slightly smaller than the cone, giving the illusion of ornaments hovering just over the tree.
Worldgineer, Dec 06 2003

       I've seen this idea done before in a craft shop. I liked it when I saw if so I like this idea.+
sufc, Dec 06 2003

       //Take a plywood circle//   

       I really like the visual I get from this idea but wouldn't this plywood circle need to be the full diameter of the tree's base for the size you have in mind?   

       Floor trees are typically 4ft. to 6ft. in diameter and more. Attaching a 6ft. diameter circle of plywood, half an inch thick, to a sheet rocked ceiling, may prove a little difficult at best.   

       What if you were to invert the design-sorta, that is to hang one hook in the ceiling and use the plywood circle as a base on the floor?   

       Finish nails could be driven in the plywood along its edge at 1 inch intervals. This would make it easy to loop an entire spool of line through the ceiling hook and around each nail in a continuous fashion rather than hanging individual lengths of line.   

       For a 4ft. diameter tree base in an 8ft. ceiling room with vertical line running from the ceiling to the plywood's edge at 1 inch intervals you would need roughly 151 sections (number of nails at 1 inch spacing) multiplied by 8.24 ft. (distance from ceiling above the circle's center to the perimeter of the plywood base on the floor) for approximately 1,241 ft. of line.   

       This is less than two spools of Stern Easy Cast fishing line which comes in 330 yard spools and cost about $6.00 each, (US).   

       Ornaments could be hung by looping their cap hangers to the vertical lines with clear rubber bands--the kind found among hair accessories these days.   

       Anyway, the coolest thing about your idea World, is if the ornaments hang on individual lines from the ceiling and the plywood circle is rotated by a motor in somewhat stepped intervals, then the ornaments could flare in and out most silently creating the effect of a dancing tree. :b
Either way your idea is definatley more cool. +
Tiger Lily, Dec 06 2003

       Where is this tree of which thou speakethestinger?
thumbwax, Dec 06 2003

       "I've basted the turkey, cleaned up after the kids, and if I walk into your damn invisible tree one more time..." Hang some pastry from yer plywood, [World].
Fishrat, Dec 06 2003

       I thought this was going to be a christmas tree that would only be seen in christmas time and remain invisible, exactly where it is, for the rest of the year to avoid having to set it every 12 months.   

       Either way, the pine smell is the thing I like most about christmas... don't think it would be the same for me without it. However, + for impressing me with an equation that I will never understand.
Pericles, Dec 06 2003

       You could use that plastic fiber optic wire and light it up with fewer lights. +
sartep, Dec 06 2003

       [TL] Interesting. Your tree idea will create a completely different effect than mine but I think I like it. I don't understand the rubber band attachment part, so what I'd do is tie a loop in the line every few inches. I'd also hang it in such a way such that the base is slightly off the ground, and add a very slow moving motor to the top - making the whole thing rotate slowly.   

       [Peri] You don't need to remove the xmas tree (and therefore pine smell). Place a tree smaller tree inside the cone for a nice effect.   

       [sart] Wonderful idea.
Worldgineer, Dec 08 2003

       No, squirrels decorate houses. Trees decorate people.
Worldgineer, Dec 15 2003

       This reminds me of an idea I almost submitted, for a "Tree- huggers Christmas Non-tree" or whatever. Only I had in mind lights and ornaments of tree branch ends which didn't contribute to arbor sufferance. This is better, for it even eliminates the need for electricity. 8 lb. test and some barbed hooks...minimal. Good.
UrineForATreat, Dec 15 2003

       Nice [worldgineer].   

       There's an hb farcebook group where folks try to find hb ideas which have made it into reality... and others which should have been posted here first.
You should join and post this.
...or say that you'd rather not and I will post it for you.

       Either way.
Good find!

       ...for a second there I thought [urineforatreat] had made a return.   

       Did anyone mention that filling each ornament with a weight determines how much they sway in the ambience?   

       Also, this is unbelieveably doubtful but if you have seen a spinny 4 armed rotor glass bulb radiometer it's pretty evident light can be used to move things. I think a glass bulb radiometer has a partial vacuum though. Aiming a really bright invisible IR or harmless area of the spectrum UV light at the balls could cause them to be moved on purpose, to whatever action sequence the projector was up to.   

       Noting the ornamental balls might be full of weight: Perhaps a very very quiet drone could start off the 300 element executive Newton's ball swing toy. it makes a lot of clicks, but it could be amazing to watch a 300 ball multilevel one. Also, what if you know a very important executive who is far more than 5 balls important as far as toys are concerned. They can now be 300 balls important.
beanangel, Dec 18 2020

       Crookes radiometers, commonly known as "light mills" are partially evacuated. The physics is very interesting.   


       The simple explanation is that in partial vacuum, the vanes turn in one direction because of thermokinetic effects, but in hard vacuum turn the other way because of photon momentum.
8th of 7, Dec 18 2020

       Maybe if you put a tiny magnet on the tip of the inside-the-bulb spinning shaft, and a tiny magnet on the outside of the bulb to form a magnetic coupling you could get like a diamond to rotate around really fast and look sparkly
beanangel, Dec 18 2020

       It might be possible - there's not a lot of energy or torque available there. The device only operates because the needle-point bearing is near frictionless.   

       You'd probably need to scale up the device - bigger vanes, more power. The factors affecting the "diamond" would be mass (rotational inertia), fluid drag from the atmosphere, and bearing friction - the bearing is probably the biggest of those. It might need a push from a finger to set it going, bearings often have a limiting friction at startup.   

       The mechanical layout will be interesting ...
8th of 7, Dec 18 2020


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