Hobbyist Forums banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Lifetime Monster Modeler
Joined
·
4,124 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have NEVER lit up a model before but have been reading a bunch on the boards and F/O always seems to add that extra...well..punch...and reaches areas that are too small for LED's.

How does one handle dispersion from LED to F/O cable? Do you wrap it?
Is there a F/O 101 that I can read and how it applies to models?

Thanks,

MMM
 

·
Lifetime Monster Modeler
Joined
·
4,124 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So I know the concept...you put a fiber in front of a light source and that is what illuminates the fiber optic...I didn't think I asked too tough of a question.

I just wanted to hear what some of the experts do...

Thanks,
MMM
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,311 Posts
Although I'm new to use of fiber optics as well, I've been putting lights in models for years. I started out with the old "grain-of-wheat" bulbs when I was very young, and now I've worked my way up to high powered LED's and fiber optics. It's really NOT that hard to do, but it does require patience and time.

My first use of fiber optics was minimal use in my Robby the Robot build, but it was a good starting point. You basically have to build a "can" or "manifold" for your fiber bundles and your LED's to go into. I have used both plastic tubing and metal, and it's a good idea to keep an assortment on hand for different applications. The upside is, this stuff is relatively cheap, so it's no big deal. This photo is of a real simple one inside Robby. I was pinched for space, so I split some plastic tube down the middle, still having room for my LED and some fibers to go into:

When using plastic, you have to make sure and paint it so all the light doesn't bleed thru! These things are super bright!

LED holder for the head.

So that leads us to the next thing, using aluminum tubing. You can use brass to, but I prefer the aluminum. It's a natural heat sink, and is super easy to cut down with a mini tube cutter or saw blade. Using metal tubing means not having to paint them either, since the light can't bleed thru!
Here's a shot of my current project, the Star Wars Repuclic Destroyer with all the fibers and tubes in place. Don't let it freak you out!

I drilled out over 350 holes for fibers in this thing. I read an article where a guy said he drilled over 1000! Yikes! THIS is what takes time! My eyes were buggin' out of my head! I got instruction from Randy at VoodooFx on the stuff I wasn't sure of, and Randy will be offering a DVD real soon on how to light up models in detail. He's a wealth of knowledge and experience with this stuff, so the DVD should be worth the cost to anyone seeking to do this stuff! I got my fiber optics strand from this guy:
http://www.thefiberopticstore.com/
Great service and great prices as well!
Here's a close-up shot of the cans with the optics installed. Make sure you trim your fibers evenly as possible, so when they are in the can they are all lined up nicely. I use black RTV silicone cement to hold the bundles in the cans, and the strands to the model itself. It sticks great, and it blocks out any escaping light as well. (I got this tip from Simon Merc's work....) A lot of guys use regular old white glue too, but I have found that in time it gets so dried out it tends to break loose and fall apart.
Here's a shot of some of the glued strands.....

You can see all my build photos here:
http://s92.photobucket.com/albums/l35/Finktim/Republic Star Destroyer/
Hope this helps you out some. I'm no expert, but I'm learning and will pass on any tips as I get them. Best of luck with your builds.
 

·
Lifetime Monster Modeler
Joined
·
4,124 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tim,

That looks like you have a pretty good handle on this already...great job!

So...are you just mounting the LED inside of the aluminum tube and then putting one end of the fiber in the tube as well somehow?(And of course...sealing both sides of the tube so no light escapes)

MMM
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts
MMM

You can also look here:
http://thefiberopticstore.com/FOS-mainpage.htm
Under the Share your pictures page - there are several models that others provide pictures of models with fiber optics and LEDs

This site also offers 300 feet of .5mm LEDs for free if you give them pictures and instructions.

A few additional notes when working with fiber optics:
Use 5 minute epoxy to mount it to your model, NEVER use super glue.
Leave a bit stick out which will be trimmed off after painting is complete.
 

·
Modeler's Brand
Joined
·
2,376 Posts
Tim,

That looks like you have a pretty good handle on this already...great job!

So...are you just mounting the LED inside of the aluminum tube and then putting one end of the fiber in the tube as well somehow?(And of course...sealing both sides of the tube so no light escapes)

MMM
Just shove the fibers in one end and the led in the other, secure w/ Elmer's or that silicone Tim uses and nature will take its course from there. Gonna start doing this myself!

I was going the ol' fashioned route and heat shrinking the fiber to the led. Bad juju there as the heat can melt the fiber. I recently went to blue taping the two together, sealing in white glue, then CA over that. CA will destroy fiber!


I think my SD vids cover my old ways, showing the trials and tribble-ations involved. Here's the master playlist index for that.
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=2BB23D81FD241AB3

My recent Falcon vids show taping off methinks.
http://www.hobbytalk.com/bbs1/showthread.php?t=265564
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,311 Posts
Yep, all good points which I failed to mention!! I use CA to mount the tube to the model, but don't get it anywhere near your fibers or they are TOAST!!!

Yes yes yes!! Leave some long "hairs" of your fibers sticking out of the holes in your model!! In fact, leave them until the end when you aren't handling it as much is probably the best thing to do, or at least until your glue has cured solidly and completely!!! I used the blue 3M tape to temporarily hold things in place, until glue dried, then used some really small tie straps on the finished product. I also use some plastic mini-clamps as well.

That was one thing Randy strongly advised, cut them long and then to length! I made a few mistakes along the way by cutting some of them shorter, and had to make some compromises! This stuff is relatively inexpensive, so your not throwing away big bucks. The more you do it, the better judge of what you need you seem to get as well. In the end, I was running this stuff like I'd been doing it for 20 years!! And yes to the last question, LED in one end of the tube, fibers in the other, secure with your adhesive. The upside of the black silicone is that it covers any escaping light from the LED. Again, stole that from Simon Mercs. (www.thekitfactory.com)


This is such a great forum isn't it? Lot's of great input from lot's of great modelers! :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts
Your right Tim:thumbsup:

We are all modelers and we try to share our knowledge to make other peoples lives easier than ours was when we embarked on our "trials and tribble-ations". (I loved the line MM)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top