The world’s first festive snow globe that generates its own snow has arrived

It’s snow season! A few days ago we told you the story of Dr. Ken Libbrecht, the snowflake expert responsible for snowflakes on Disney’s Frozen and postage stamps. We also told you about Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft and founder of Modernist Cuisine, an innovative food lab, who built a specific camera and lens to capture snowflakes in all their glory.

However, in recent times, climate change has diminished the chances of having snow for the holidays in some parts of the world. What would the Christmas and New Year festivities be without a bit of snow? With that in mind, Sean Hodgins, YouTuber and founder of Idle Hands Development, has come up with a solution that lets you capture the magic and joy of winter from your bedroom with a snow globe that generates its own. How cool is that!

Snow globes, although available all year round, are scheduled to appear in December. Sticky keepsakes enclose a small thumbnail or 3D character inside a glass sphere filled with water and tiny white particles that swirl when shaken, creating an artificial whirlpool effect.

Although the web is full of ideas for clever projects to make your snow globe, Hodgins wanted something more authentic, so he scavenged a power supply, cooling fan, heatsinks and PC CPU cooler for the heart of this version.

Until ‘snow’ good

He milled a small snowman out of aluminum to give the snow a place to grow, while a pair of two-watt resistors were added to create vaporized water particles, which would be the key ingredient in the supposed snow. But Hodgins was still faced with a dilemma: While heatsinks and fans can help keep a CPU from overheating, they don’t pull away enough heat to create freezing temperatures that are another key ingredient in making snow.

To recreate a winter wonderland within a globe, Hodgins added a series of stacked thermoelectric coolers that use the Peltier effect to create a temperature difference between two dissimilar materials when an electric current is applied. One side heats up while the other cools, and by stacking multiple coolers together, a temperature difference of 140°F (60°C) was created, which was more than enough for water vapor from the globe to condense and freeze on the aluminum snowman, draping him in the snow. Check out the process in the video below.

Watching snowfall is a close effect, but creating the required temperature differences using thermoelectric coolers consumes a lot of energy, according to Gizmodo.

With a little creativity and some engineering knowledge, it is possible to make snow. At least on the scale of a snow globe.

About Bernard Kraft

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