After the doing the Gear invitation, and spending a little time in The Joule, we decided that it would be a good idea to create a Christmas tree that would fit in with the rest of the theme. After some experimenting and brainstorming, we hit on the idea of counter rotating gears as the tree form.
To stay true to the feel of the place ( pictures below ), we elected to make the gears a combination of dark stained wood teeth around an acrylic core. Since the tree would be moving, we decided against trying to make a set of meshed gears to drive the rotation – non-metal gears would mark, and would shed material over time even if perfectly meshed, so instead, we created a gear form with a silicone rubber contact surface. It’s elegant looking, and simple to fabricate. More importantly, it’s easier for the hotel staff to assemble and disassemble, and safer to guests and staff since there are no meshed teeth to create pinch hazards.
The photos shown are a 1:8 scale model. The final tree would be approximately 7’2″ tall with the largest horizontal gear approximately 4′ across. If we cannot reach an agreement for the Joule installation, we plan to make scale kits available next Christmas – and potentially full size ones as well.