Merry Christmas from The Blue Max Project!

I come from a large family ( six kids) and for years as adults we picked names so you would only have to buy a gift for one family.  As families got bigger and we got older this became a bigger deal than folks wanted to do anymore so we abandoned the tradition.  In its place three of us decided to continue the exchange, but that it would be handmade gifts only, based on a theme.  My brother who lives in Victoria has his Phd and teaches art to teachers among other things, so leave it to him to come up with a theme that is so abstract that it could be almost anything.

“A marvel from or about a circle that involves a favorite “yours, mine or ours” material and at least a one twist”

I promptly ignored the theme and thought wouldn’t if be cool to do something that had a motor in it and did something?  With nothing in particular in mind I bought this little gear box and motor from a radio control supplies place.  The instructions were intimidating, the gear box had three gear ratios that required slightly different assembly.  At this point having an elf near by would have helped, but I struggled thru.  Also discovered that the gear box came with tiny bolts so it could be attached to a surface and that the axle was adjustable and could be mounted horizontally or vertically.


I knew it could make something turn and I had a cheap knock off vintage toy with three little biplanes with American,  French and English flags on their wings (commemorating the Entente alliance it appears).  My mind wandered.  Maybe I could use the little planes and the motor to make the plane fly around the world?….”a marvel from or about a circle” right?


I fell down the rabbit hole of an idea in your head and trying to make it work.  I bought a plastic ornament that could be split in half, cut a thin piece of veneer plywood to fit, mounted the motor upside down inside the lower half of the ornament and mounted the gear box with the axle in a vertical position and I was off to the races.  I cut two 1 x 6’s for the base so I could create a holder for the ornament and a place to route wires.  I bought a battery box, push button and wire from an old electronics store in downtown Sacramento. A wonderful store run by little old men, the kind of store the internet typically puts out of business.  I bought one of those Radio Shack clamp thingy’s and relearned how to solder and insulate wire.  I spray painted the inside of the lower half of the plastic ornament white so the motor was completely hidden.  For the close handwork I set up a fold up table in my office and as previously posted my “work in progress” table looked something like this (frightening)


To complete the theme and make it tie back to my family, I edited family photos so I could place the 3 couples involved in the gift exchange inside the ornament and decorated them with little santa hats….”involves yours, mines and ours”…a bit of a stretch, but close enough.  One final touch was to cover the british flag with an appropriate canadian flag for my brothers gift.

I packaged it with a faux advertisement and instructions for assembly.




The last theme requirement…..”at least one twist”…well I nailed that.  See below.


I spent way too much time on this, had way too much fun doing it.  Hope you enjoyed reading about it.  Merry Christmas!


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