Fibre optic lighting

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ROZ
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Fibre optic lighting

Postby ROZ » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:41 pm

Fibreoptic cable is fantastic for putting lighting into rolling stock. All you need is to stick or insert the cable into an LED that can be secreted away, and feed the cable through the body to give whatever type of lamp you want. You can in fact run a number of "lamps" of a single LED. No more wondering about how you were going to convert that mini LED into an oil lamp, now you only have to worry about the small end of a FO cable! :shock:

Problem is the cost. It's not as expensive as some things we have to buy, but we all want a bargain. The stuff you can buy specifically for modelling is 0.75mm or 1mm. I had a google and found lots of data fibreoptics that consisted of 67 threads of very small diameter. The thing is - what is the scale on your layout?
A 1mm fibreoptic is going to be a 76mm on OO, or a +2' diameter lamp glass. This sounds large, but as OO is overscale anyway, it doesn't look that bad. With the mulistrand stuff you might be talking about 250 micron per fibre = 19mm, or 3/4". Hmmm, what can I use that for? A candle?? :idea:

So I bought a cheap budget audion fibreoptic cable from eBay, really cheap. It's very bendy, from a data perspective it's probably not great, but for modelling just light, it's ideal. I split it open to find the fibre itself is sheathed in a tighter black wrap that you can whittle back as required, and it's about 1mm. Works a treat!

So no more threading LEDs through tight spaces, fiddling with the resistor, worrying about the modelling aspects, just thread through a fibreoptic. :D Use whatever colour you want, white, blue for modern layouts, amber, yellow for older ones, and red all round for brake lights. If light polution from the LED is a worry, just paint it black :wink:
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Sprintex
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Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby Sprintex » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:44 pm

ROZ wrote:A 1mm fibreoptic is going to be a 76mm on OO, or a +2' diameter lamp glass.


How did you work that out????

1mm diameter f/o at 4mm:1' scale makes a light that is a scale 3 inches across. In N gauge, 2mm:1' you get a 6-inch lamp :wink:


Paul

ROZ
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Location: New Forest

Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby ROZ » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:09 pm

If OO is 1:76 scale then 1mm = 76mm (~2.99213"). I did say "plus" 2 inches :wink:
It's the old gauge vs scale chessnut! We'll have some purists coming around soon to join in :lol:
Back on the footplate after almost 2 years - DIY DCC will not beat me...
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Sprintex
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Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby Sprintex » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:56 pm

You didn't, you put "plus 2 FOOT" as can be seen in the following quote:-

ROZ wrote:A 1mm fibreoptic is going to be a 76mm on OO, or a +2' diameter lamp glass.


Hence why I questioned it :wink:


Paul

ROZ
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Location: New Forest

Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby ROZ » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:19 pm

Ah yes! My bad. As Dan Quayle famously said in the 90s "I don't know, I wasn't born in this century" :oops:
Back on the footplate after almost 2 years - DIY DCC will not beat me...
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edwardholmes91
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Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby edwardholmes91 » Fri May 01, 2009 8:52 am

This sound like a very interesting idea, but what I am curious to know is how do you get the fibre optic onto the end of the LED? One assumes you just drill a tiny hole in the end of the LED and then bundle them together supergluing it in place? Or does the refractive index of the superglue make it less bright? (Don't even know if I was using the right words there! But you know what I mean).

Also I have thought of a really good source of fibre optic if you don't want to spend a fortune and dont need it in a length of more that one foot maximum. Fibre optic lamps. These have loads in, they are fairly bendy and they are cheap. The trouble is that they DO snap when you try to bend them through to tighter corner. Maybe real fibre optic is better for this kind of thing.

Or even better still... make some of your own fibre optic cable. Get a glass stiring rod like you would use in science. Then heat over a roaring flame like that from a blow torch. Then when it becomes bendy stretch it like mad. I saw it on Richard Hammonds Engineering Connections. It bends really well and it is really easy to make.

ROZ
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Location: New Forest

Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby ROZ » Fri May 01, 2009 9:35 am

That's right, small hole in the solid tip of the LED and SG in place. Works a treat as long as you don't hit the anode/cathode element. The AV cables are only >£2/m and very flexible. You can do a lot of locos with 1m. 1mm diameter should be fine for most requirements by itself, so you don't have to bundle.

Some fibreoptics (including lamps which I did look at on Ebay - too expensive but charity shops may be good) may have much narrower cables and require bundling, which sounds a bit of a faf :?
Back on the footplate after almost 2 years - DIY DCC will not beat me...
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edwardholmes91
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Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby edwardholmes91 » Mon May 04, 2009 9:57 pm

Thanks for the advice, I shall have to have a play with this in the summer I think. It would be a lot easier when trying to light a coach. The only downside of it that I can think of it only the end which is a tiny pin *word censored* has light on it. I have read elsewhere in another topic that it you melt the end on a hot plate to make a little blob on the end it makes the light disperse better?

ROZ
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Location: New Forest

Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby ROZ » Thu May 07, 2009 6:38 pm

Yes, that's he thing - great if you want a directional bit of lighting, but not so good for dispersed. I've read the melting thing elsewhere as well. If it doesn't work you can always cut the blob off, so not much of a loss? An alternative is shining the light into something that refracts, :idea: like a crystal (could be plastic bead) or crumpled cellophane, or... :?:

I was planning to use separate LEDs for coaches, but fibreoptics could be good if your coaches had tabletop lamps, like the Pullmans? :? Hmmmm... Lots of ideas
Back on the footplate after almost 2 years - DIY DCC will not beat me...
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edwardholmes91
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Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby edwardholmes91 » Sun May 10, 2009 5:17 pm

ROZ wrote:Yes, that's he thing - great if you want a directional bit of lighting, but not so good for dispersed. I've read the melting thing elsewhere as well. If it doesn't work you can always cut the blob off, so not much of a loss? An alternative is shining the light into something that refracts, :idea: like a crystal (could be plastic bead) or crumpled cellophane, or... :?:

I was planning to use separate LEDs for coaches, but fibreoptics could be good if your coaches had tabletop lamps, like the Pullmans? :? Hmmmm... Lots of ideas

Yes... I have a couple of Bachmann Pullmans and they have tabletop lamps and I have 3 of the Hornby ones, unfortunately these don't have the tabletop lamps. However I don't want to go sabotaging them trying to fit them as they are nice coaches anyway. The small bead thing sounds like a good idea. Which gives me an idea... I have recently bought some pre 1960s traffic lights and belisha beacons. These could maybe be adapted very well to suit fibre optic lightly?

Martin71
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Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby Martin71 » Sat May 16, 2009 2:46 pm

Hi

I have done a fair bit with fibre and I also work with real "fibre" from time to time. Some real good advice here do not use glass fibre as used in optic fibre. It is dangerous, look it up. Glass 0.2mm diameter imagine getting a small piece and it getting into your blood stream.

I found the best stuff was also the cheapest of a Christmas tree. Can be bent easily, good optical properties and easy to use. Gluing to LED is simple, use clear epoxy not superglue. No need to drill holes.

LED's and glue painted black
Image


The clear epoxy glue
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Image

2 markers using fibre
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Being silly and adding 4 different colours using fibre into a 00 drivers cab
Image

Fibre in n gauge
Image

As to coach lamps did a couple of German dining coaches, drove me mad. I used tiny tiny beads you get in the $2.00 shop on top of the fibre. It looked the part, just like a lamp. All I can suggest here is lots of spare time and walk away when it starts to annoy you.

Hope that helps,

m

ROZ
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 4:57 pm
Location: New Forest

Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby ROZ » Mon May 18, 2009 1:48 pm

Martin - WOW :shock:
Those photos look great, thanks for sharing. Can hardly wait to get stuck in now! :mrgreen:

ps. the cheap AV fibre-optic I noted in my initial post is highly flexible polymer type - not glass fibre. A great point though, and to be avoided for many reasons :!:
Back on the footplate after almost 2 years - DIY DCC will not beat me...
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Ciotog
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Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby Ciotog » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:26 am

Great stuff!
I wonder if we could use the same method to ceate street lighting?

Martin71
Posts: 160
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Location: Perth WA

Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby Martin71 » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:22 pm

Hi

I once did a Star Destroyer which had over 500 optic fibres used in it....looked cool. Back to trains if your really got time to kill with fibre try this....

3 decoders used for this effect 11 independent lights and I still need to add more to bring it up to scratch with the real loco.

If you do watch the youtube video I know the whistle is terrible but I did take it from real B&W footage of a WC just after WW2. I can only assume the whistle was totally flogged out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4UKIzPT590

Image

Image

Image

Class 20 with fibre added in the drivers cab for a nice effect. Also the markers are fibre.

Image

The red you can see in the cab changes to green on engine start up. Another great feature of DCC!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn_0vlKj_D8

Enjoy.

m

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trainsandco
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Re: Fibre optic lighting

Postby trainsandco » Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:15 pm

aww...sweet I gotta have a go at this!!!
Henley on Thames in the 30's

Southerner in a weird place called "Yorkshire"...

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