08 December 2020
I am simply not sure if I’ll make it to Lynchburg this year or not to see the Barrel Tree. I had really hoped to, but with everything going on, it simply doesn’t look like that trip will happen.
For the past few weeks I’ve been slowly printing my own barrel tree! Via a work whiskey Facebook group I came across someone who was 3D printing barrels, and mentioned being able to stain them, which to me meant that they were wood.
I did some googling and came across that there is PLA filament for 3D printers that has wood fiber in it. Off to Amazon I ran to try and find some when I came across Pla Wood Filament Wood Filament 3D Printer Pla Wood Fill Pla Wood 1.75mm, Rohs Compliance, 1 kg Spool, Dimensional Accuracy +/- 0.03 mm Pla Wood Color.
I already had a 3D barrel that I had designed in Autodesk Fusion 360 a while back (2020? 2019? I don’t recall), so I just needed to resize it to try and see if I could get a barrel tree started. I ended up with a lot of success, and multiple failures, before I figured out that I should set my print head at 207 degrees celcius in order to prevent issues at a lower temp (started at 200c).
I also tweaked the design a bit, figuring I didn’t actually need to print “bottoms” on the barrels, just tops (printed upside down with support for the bottom/top). This helped to save some print time and filament. I ended up printing somewhere around 32 barrels, averaging 3 to 4 a day.
I stained the first few barrels with a foam brush, but ended up just dipping most of the barrels in the golden oak wood stain.
The final tree has 26 barrels in it, starting at the top layer 1, 3, 6, 7, 9 at the base, glued on to an old Xbox 360 HD DVD drive installation disk (it was green, and who realy needs that disk anymore?)
I picked up some little battery powered LED lights from Home Depot a few weeks back for the project and wrapped them around the tree, with a few dabs of hot glue to help keep them in place. After setting up the tree on my little photo shoot location I figured it was far too “plain” so I grabbed some fake snow and a few other Jack Daniel’s items to add to the scenery for the shot here on this page.
I’m thinking I’ll keep the barrel tree for next year and add a layer or town to make it bigger each year!
In the photos below you’ll find the finished product, as well as an assortment of photos throughout the build.
I went ahead and uploaded my STL file to Thingiverse if you want to try to print your own barrels. Thingiverse Link