Build P.M.’s Revolving Christmas Card (Nov, 1969)

Wow, Disney actually prepared the images for them? Nowadays if you made one of these and put it up in your lawn you’d probably have Mickey’s lawyers on your ass for misappropriating their copyrights.

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Build P.M.’s Revolving Christmas Card

Three Disney characters rotate ’round and ’round to take turns wishing all your friends and neighbors a very Merry Christmas

By HARRY WICKS Workshop Editor

Last spring the staff at PM decided that tot Christmas 1969 we wanted yet another unusual yuletide decoration that readers could build. All agreed that whatever the finished product, it had to reflect the good cheer of the season. So we commissioned designer Gary Gerber to come up with something new. He did. Then ace workshopper John Capotosto went to work and put the project into the realm of a do-it-yourselfer: He figured out how to build it. finally, to give the display the happy mood of the season, the Walt Disney Studio created three of their characters especially for PM. The handsome result of all this effort is our way of saying Merry Christmas to our readers. —The Editors

CREATING on outdoor Christmas display that is unlike any that has been done before is a tall order. But the top-talent team that accepted this challenge from PM’s editors delivered. The result is a finished product that’s sure to draw raves from all who see it, and one that just might knock off first prize for best outdoor decoration in your neighborhood.

Standing about 4 ft. high, the display is motorized and features Mickey Mouse and two “stars” in a recently released Disney movie.

The bottom box sits on a platform while the middle and top boxes revolve slowly in opposite directions. As they turn, the characters change body parts and as each head and upraised arm pass the greeting, the arm waves a Merry Christmas.

To assemble, the middle box is placed on top of the bottom box. The motor is then lowered through the middle box and rests on the bottom box. Two wingnuts from below hold it securely in place. The top box is then placed so that the dowel on top of the motor housing rides in the dowel guide. When the season is over, disassembly is equally easy and the display requires but a minimum of storage space.

There are no tricky, or new, construction techniques that you have to master in order to build it. But, though construction is basically simple, you must be sure that parts are cut and assembled so that where it is needed (on the drive wheel), adequate friction is insured.

After all parts have been cut, it’s best to make a trial, nonglue assembly to check for accuracy. In this way, dimensional changes can be made if necessary without creating waste. Once you are satisfied that all joints are tight, and that the boxes line up neatly, they can be permanently assembled with glue.

Notice that the comers of the boxes are not bevel-joined. For strength, they are butted and fitted with at least three glue blocks inside and a solid pine filler strip on the outside. Use weatherproof hot glue and well-set nails to install the corner strips. Then feather them out to a perfect corner and flush with the sides, using a block plane or belt sander.

Assembling the motor into its housing takes a little time. The important point to remember is to be sure that the V-belt is taut and clears the motor mounting brackets. Chances are, with the motor unit assembled and running on your workbench, a few minor adjustments will be called for.

For example, after running the motor about 15 minutes, you will probably have to back off the Allen setscrew holding the drive pulley and reposition the pulley. Also, depending upon how accurately the mounting brackets are bent, you might have to mortise the plywood side slightly to provide clearance for the motor and shaft.

The sides of the three triangular boxes are of 1/4-in. tempered hardboard, the tops and bottoms of 1/2-in. exterior plywood. If you decide to substitute other materials, be sure you compensate for dimensional variance and make certain that the material used is exterior grade.

To make it easy to draw the Disney characters, they are presented in PM’s exclusive Project-a-Plan slide format. Mounted in 35-mm slide frames, and moistened with vegetable oil, they can be projected directly onto the display. The outlines can then be traced with charcoal or Magic Marker. Next, the outlines are painted with black enamel and. when dry, the appropriate colors filled in. The paint, of course, should be outside enamel and the entire display first primed with a paint sealer coat.

If lettering the Christmas greeting on the blurb is beyond your skills, use stick-on letters—such as Contact—to finish that part of the display. But, if you do, be sure to cover the letters with at least two coats of exterior varnish or they might peel off during the first snowfall.

The drive and free wheels that give the display its revolving action are actually pool bumpers. Experimenting with several materials proved that soft rubber gave the best friction for the required motion. If you are unable to obtain them locally, you can order a pair by mail from the Armor Co., Box 290, Deer Park, N.Y. 11729. Price is $1 per set postpaid.

If you have difficulty locating the small electric motor, write Canal Electric Motor, Inc.. 310 Canal St., New York, N.Y. 10013. The one used on our model is a 10-12 rpm. a.c. gear motor, 115-v., 60-cycle. Cost is $9.50 f.o.b. N. Y.

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