Tree structure

In this page I’m going to show the design and creation of the tree structure and lightning for the Privacy Seed project.



During the CNC milling week I started sketching a simplified version of how the tree structure could be built: IMG_2_tree_sketch_0 IMG_2_tree_sketch_2

Here are some details of the traces carved on the tree trunk: IMG_2_tree_sketch_1

I also built a 3D model that could be built for testing on smaller scale Screenshot_2_simplified_tree

I decided to created a small scale cardboard prototype (< 1m height) and then to think about a large scale wood one (< 2m height).

First cardboard prototype (small scale)

I then decided to refine my structure to create a model to laser cut a first prototype:



I struggled a bit finding correct values for cardboard … :) :( … then I ended up with some failed cuts and these values for next time:



By looking at this first prototype I came up with few improvements to do:

  1. In the top pressfit part: reduce the circle radius, create easier to fit shapes, make the trunk shape join precisely the circle.
  2. In the base element: create a 2 layers base and hide the trunk bottom part under it
  3. Increase the differences between the branches shapes
  4. Two possible solutions to test how to connect the heart shape: hold in one of the trunk element or hanging from top

Second plywood prototype (small scale)

Before the final presentation I built a new version of the tree structure with 3mm plywood material. This structure is ment to be a 1:5 scale of the final version.

I incorporated in the design the improvements from the first prototype and laser cut the plywood with the same settings used in week3).


In the interest of time I cut 7 identical trunk shapes while in the previous one I had 3+4 different arrangement on the banches on each.
Also to speed up the process I thought to not include the kerf tolerance for the pressfit to have a structure that is easy to mount: Later I regretted this choice because my structure was easily falling apart :)

Here is the result:


The detail of the top circle that will support the led strip and will be covered to hide some cables.

The detail of the bottom plate with a slot to hold the led strip.

The final structure all together with the heart hanging in the middle. IMG_5.13_Tree_wood_small_structure_all_together

Download models for the tree structure (.zip archive: SolidWorks, STL and Rhino files)

Wood structure (large)

Changes to incorporate:

  • LED strip lights on the trunk
  • Design a more solid base
  • Reinforce structure against vertical axis rotation
  • Think a system for easy assembly


Next steps

  • Design and mill a big wood structure with improvements