My wife was at HomeGoods the other day and sent me a picture of a candle-powered spinny thing. I thought it was neat and wanted to see if I could create such a thing myself. According to my research, it’s actually called a Christmas Pyramid.
After a failed first attempt, I added more fins, shortened the spindle, and turned up the heat, using a total of 8 candles — and voila, it actually spun! Here’s a gif of the spinning action and a video’s included at the end.
This is only a prototype and includes no adornments. To go from here, I’d widen the spindle support structure and add a wheel-shape to the bottom, on which I’d place decorative figurines. We’ll see if that actually happens though.
The fins were formed from a thin basswood left over from a craft project. They’re attached with custom-carved holders that are inserted into a custom-carved octagon-shaped spindle-topper. The spindle itself is a pointed oak dowel that turns with suprisingly little friction within its wood-based support.
Tool usage primarily entailed measuring, sawing, chiseling, whittling, drilling, filing, and sanding. It was a pretty tedious process making the 8 fins and their associated tinker-toy style holders. But that style of holder does allow me to rotate the fins to whatever angle-of-attack I want.
It was only a couple of days in the shop to make and a pretty neat accomplishment. When I saw it just sitting still with 4 candles I was a bit disappointed, I even raised them to the point of slightly burning some of the wood — but then with the addition of 4 more candles — Ha! The thrill of victory!