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  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
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  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
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  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
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DocMartin

Santa Tracker Project . . .

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Really COOL Idea! I could see you adding more features to it next year like a meter or something maybe something I can develop to one for my display if I can get around to putting together a motor which shouldnt be too hard if I had your tutorial to go by!

Thanks for this Brilliant Idea... I still have a Old Primestar dish laying under my back deck from years ago after they went out of business.... I knew if I held on to it, it could be put to use for something in the future... :giggle:

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super cool.. and then I would put a strobe light on the end of the antenna part of the dish...

and then make a "radar screen" by making a circular wheel and having it similar to the "jeff wheel" as in other posts.. you could have a needle of lights spin around in the circle to look like a radar tracking... edit a "santa claus is comin to town" song sequence to stop the music "wait we have an update.. santa is on the way!!.. lets check the santa tracker for the latest update!!".. and have the tracker scan on the roof and the wheel of lights radar spin....

-Christopher

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super cool.. and then I would put a strobe light on the end of the antenna part of the dish...

and then make a "radar screen" by making a circular wheel and having it similar to the "jeff wheel" as in other posts.. you could have a needle of lights spin around in the circle to look like a radar tracking... edit a "santa claus is comin to town" song sequence to stop the music "wait we have an update.. santa is on the way!!.. lets check the santa tracker for the latest update!!".. and have the tracker scan on the roof and the wheel of lights radar spin....

-Christopher

Wow, some great ideas to plus this project !, thanks for the input.

I don't know if you noticed in the night shot, but the light in the tube changes colors. I plan on using this again next year, so now is the time to start thinking how to upgrade it.

Take care and again thanks to all for the kind words

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What a great idea!!

I have an old dish that the late wife used to get broadcasts from her country on. It's still bolted to the patio in the back. Now I have a reason to take it down and mess with it.

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That is awesome. Can you give details on how you did it?

Thanks for the kind words.

As most of us get near the Holidays, I was in a rush, so despite wanting to take lots of photos while working on it, I only have a few.

Once I get everything down and stored, I'll try and get some more pic's up.

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Thanks for the kind words.

As most of us get near the Holidays, I was in a rush, so despite wanting to take lots of photos while working on it, I only have a few.

Once I get everything down and stored, I'll try and get some more pic's up.

Any updates, would be great to see some more detail. Once again, super idea. I have already started building one.....

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That didn't take as long as I thought it would...

Here are the basics:

Materials:

1 Lazy Susan (I used two toilet flanges that fit into each other) to allow it to pivot

1 electric motor. RPM will depend on how many times you want it to "sweep". I think 6 RPM might be a good value.

1 pivot arm (see diagram). You can make this out of metal stock from Lowes or HD. 1/8"X1" aluminum is easy to work with. If you don't have a welder you can use JB Weld or some bolts.

See attached photo (by Gary Slater). Let me know if you have any questions.

Chuck, Wondering why you have an L instead of a straight line connector from the motor?

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I know this is old, but I am hoping someone might have some good pictures of the mechanical arms (from similar projects) in action. I am just trying to visualize a little better how to do this.

I hope to do something similar and have been a little concerned about the weight on a store bought lazy susan. Has anyone else tried the toilet flange trick and have any feedback (a little hard to see how it is all connected in the original picture Chuck posted)?

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I know this is old, but I am hoping someone might have some good pictures of the mechanical arms (from similar projects) in action. I am just trying to visualize a little better how to do this.

I hope to do something similar and have been a little concerned about the weight on a store bought lazy susan. Has anyone else tried the toilet flange trick and have any feedback (a little hard to see how it is all connected in the original picture Chuck posted)?

After reading all this I have thought of maybe using a office chair as the base and swivel

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GREAT JOB! What an inspiration for the nutcrackers! I have been wanting to build giant nutcrackers... but the large tube center wasnt coming to me... the blue barrels are perfect! thanks! I might have to hit you up for the mechanics.. if you dont mind...

I have some pics here that might help. Scroll through the images until you see some "bluish" ones. Those are the inside shots of the mechanism.

The third picture shows how I attached the pivot arm to the motor armature.

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Instead of a lazy suzan, I used 1 1/2 pipe with 2 pcs of ball bearing block with 4 holes from www.surpluscenter.com to support the dish. This will make it moves smoothly without friction and strong enough to withstand the wind. I recommend to use less than 10 RPM motor.

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