I had been saving obsolete RAM chips for over a decade before even starting this project with the intent of making a Christmas tree. You can see the 8-bit chips at the top. That’s how long I was saving chips (Tenacity is one of my superpowers).
I started in the summer of 2012 and after several months of construction, it collapsed under its own weight. I had to pull the whole thing apart and start from scratch. But I gained valuable insight on how to do it better.
I wasn’t able to get anything done for the upcoming Christmas, but by the end of 2013, I had three levels done. After much experimentation, I discovered that when that when ELMER’S Glue-All Max soaks into foam, it dries to form a hard solid. I took a thin sheet of bedding foam and cut out a circle with a sector removed so that it would fold into a cone. George helped with this.
Level one (the top) weighs seven pounds, level two is twelve pounds, and level three is fifteen pounds. Total height is twenty-eight inches.
The base of each level was made with cardboard. At most hardware stores, you can get temporary floor protection calls Ram Board or X-Board. It’s basically a hundred foot roll of cardboard. By gluing in cylinders of cardboard, I got a thick stabilizing base.
Each level has two strings of LED lights by Brightech. They don’t make them anymore, but others are now making the twenty foot strings with 120 LEDs. The copper wire can be spread apart and placed over the RAM chips. Perfect for a RAM Christmas tree.
Over the next year, I designed a star for the top. I wanted to use processors, but I had to figure out how to make a star out of squares. By setting processors at angles, I could create a negative space five-pointed star. Ed helped with the mathematics.
Note the corners of the star, I just put a bit of foam and used the ELMER’S Glue-All Max to make solid connections. There are a total of twenty processors in it; there are smaller ones glued to larger ones. The tree was now thirty-two inches high.
To light the star, I used part of a string of gold lights and part of a string of colored lights. I used an old computer connector to connect the two so the star could be removed. I painted the interior silver. The cones inside are lead fishing sinkers because the star was top heavy. The rings at the bottom are hard drive platter spacers.
Over the next few years, I worked on level four. I should have made it shorter because it comes in at a whopping forty-five pounds. The tree was now forty inches high.
The old RAM chips started piling up and I started level five in early 2020.
I made it shorter than level four so it weighs in at about thirty-five pounds and measures just under three feet across.
With the star, the tree is now forty-four inches high.