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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been working on this sonuvagun for near two years, coulda sworn I had a thread for it... Welp, here it is. I just uploaded the most recent installment an hour or so ago.

About 500-600 hand drilled holes, ~400 on the trenches alone. One led in each of 7 engine ports, white for the majority of windows with occasional blue and orange. Each window gets fiber. A nightmare to begin with as I was using .10mm from a fiber optic toy, I recently stocked up from the fiberopticstore (ebay) and things have been flying with the .5mm and larger strands.

In the most recent installment, I made a radical decision on the fiber. Rather than stringing all that to a few leds (this was a week before I saw Tim Nolans aluminum tube trick), I decided to trim the insides and will simply put area leds to light them. The blue and orange leds will be sealed off and run their full length. Trimming all the white led fibers has saved me yards and yards of the stuff.









 

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Yo, Modelman,

I'd like to ask how, or what, are you going to do with the F.O. ends that portrued out of the kit once it's complete? Hopefully this is not a dumb question, I mean, I know you will have to trim them but method do you use?

My first thought was to use nail clippers when practicle. Or use a #11 blade, but that's seems too easy to damage the paint. I've been gathering a lot of info from this site but I've yet to see anyone address this. If you've gone over that in one of you videos here I apologize, I haven't watch them all yet but I will.

I just saw the neat idea of useing alumium tubes for the F.O. and the light sourse the other day. On one of the videos you said you were concerned with heat. Have you considered drilling holes for heat to escape? But the heat still doesn't have anywhere to go, but at least it may not consentrate in one area an heat the tub up too much. Just a thought.

The other suggestion concerns holding the F.O. strands together. Go to pg.2
 

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Pg. 2

Sorry I had to break this up in to two segments, I never knew there was a limit on space or characters. It's never happen to me before.

Anyway, I was going to suggest useing liquid tape. If you've never used it before be warned! This stuff is bad, bad, bad so if you do use it make darn sure you have a way to the vent fumes! Most God awfull thing I've ever smelled.
I'v never tried this as I've never worked with F.O. before but will in the near future.

My thoughts were to gather 10 or so stands, put a dab on them with a toothpic or something simular and repeat this step as many time as you need. The stuff stays tacky for a while which means, after you're done, you can press them together and the dabs should fuse. Then I suppose taping over after it sets up wouldn't hurt. It's kinda like the material you see on electricians plair handels. As stated I've never worked with F.O. before so I have no idea if there will be a chemical reaction to the F.O. or not. Of course test it first and let it set for a couple of days to see if does.

Hope this helps and looking forword to hearing your method for trimming the P.O. ends.

Hal9001-
 

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I trim the fiber strands with a set of microfine cutters I got from MicroMark Small Tools years ago, but I suppose you could use nail clippers or any other small cutting tool just as well. It cuts easily.

As far as the heat issue, LED's produce very little heat, even in large numbers, so overheating and damaging the model I don't think will ever be an issue. The old grain-of-wheat bulbs did produce a ton of heat. The halogen bulbs in the real movie models had to have water and/or fan cooling systems in them running constantly to keep from damaging all thier fiber optics and intricate insides!

I have to ask, are you leaving the ship black?
 

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Pg. 2


Anyway, I was going to suggest useing liquid tape. If you've never used it before be warned! This stuff is bad, bad, bad so if you do use it make darn sure you have a way to the vent fumes! Most God awfull thing I've ever smelled.

Hal9001-
Is the liquid tape the same stuff you use to dip plier handles in when the insulation cracks/tears? I know that stuff stinks .


Modelmantom, that star destroyer is really looking great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hal-
The exterior fiber ends get trimmed after final paint and sealer is done and not until. I use what are called 'snips' for fine trimming. Many years ago my main job was embroidering hats, jkts, shirts -all that commercial crap. To trim the threads, snips were used. They are essentially small, very fine bladed scissors and can be gotten at any fabric store and are quite excellent. An xacto would simply push the fiber away before cutting, so that wouldn't work great. Concave nail clippers could work. Anything that will let you get right to the surface of the model. A little excess fiber is ok as they next step is blooming the fiber ends with heat -lighter, solder iron tip, whatever. This mushrooms the fiber end, making it round'ish.

i think the heat issue I mentioned may have been in regard to using a heat gun or other large-area heat source on the fiber. Fiber is very suscpetible to heat and melts, so you gotta be careful. In terms of led heat, it's so negligable as to be non-existent.

Blue tape or white-glue will hold the fiber together well.

It sounds like rubber cement should work as well as the liquid tape you mention and doesn't smell (as) bad. And it rubs away like a booger when done.

You can put as many strands together as the size of the led head. More, and the light will not disperse into the strands well. Less and the attachment can be wonky. The alum tubes are a great idea.


Tim-
The model will stay black until painted. The inside will always be black to kill any ambient glow -like holding your finger to a flashlight. 'Metal' doesn't glow like that and these are 'metal' ships.

Aric-
Thanks. The lighting vids are very promising. Hope to have it done by Xmas at latest.
 

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Thanks guys for all the ideas and help!

Tim, I'll check into the MicroMark tool. I once read about someone had sprayed the inside of a kit to block light by spraying it with silver paint. For one the metal within the paint helps block light well with the added benifit of light bouncing around and maybe helping your effort.

Aric, The liquid tape is used to cover soldered wires/connections. You can find it at automotive shops and perhaps Wally Word. It works great (except the smell) and you don't have to worry about shorts. It dries into a firm non-sticky coating in a short time.

Modelman, I'll check into the tool you discribed as well. There is a fabric shop less than a mile from my house. I like the idea of mushrooming the F.O., no slipping out! Do you think useing incense to mushroom the F.O. ends would be enough heat? Besides, when you got through your work area would smell like a head shop! For me, I think I would end up touching the model with a solder ironing. If it can be done, trust me, I'll end up doing it and ruin my project. Trying to get ideas in my head, I've thought about maybe glueing the F.O. strands from inside to prevent them from slipping out. I'm talking about glueing at the point/hole where the F.O exits the model. Do you know if CA glues will attack the F.O.? Or I suppose the rubber cement trick might be better, I just don't how well it would stay put over time though.

Thanks again guys,

Hal9001-
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I'll have another installment on this build next week sometime. It will either be a light check, or the rest of the fiber will be done. Don't know which yet.
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Hal-
Painting the insides black first gives one even color that you know is even and will utterly block ambient glow in the plastic. Then painting silver or white gloss from there helps light bounce around some. I wouldn't go white first as you wouldn't be able to tell if you got solid coverage or not on a light colored plastic. And white plaint will not block ambient glow. Silver, as it has actual metal in it could, but black is black, so is easier to see any uneven 'patches' when laying it down.

Ask for snips at the fabric store and they will point you to them. Should be about a dollar or so.

Try incense heat. If it's not enough, step up to something hotter. Trial and error is the only way to learn -tips from others who have done this stuff before are always helpful. I'm learning on my own and sharing as I go. Showing my mistakes in the videos is forefront as I hope seeing my screw up means other people won't do the same. A number of folks have thanked me for showing how bad I do mess up as it has saved them some trouble! :)

Early on, I was putting the fiber in and letting is sit there until all were threaded, sometimes I would tape front and back sides off, but usually that fell out before I could white glue them into place. (the 'descent into nightmare' video I think)

What I started doing just a week ago was smearing the white glue on the back side of the windows first, then inserting the fiber thru. They didn't stick-fast, but they got enough grip so they wouldn't slide out. Once dried, many hours later, I blobbed more white glue on the backside to reinforce. Then i did that again. White glue is strong enough that unless you really yank, the fiber won't be going anywhere.

CA destroys fiber optics! Don't use it! In some cases, I coated my fibers with white glue, then put ca over that. In that case, the fiber is sheathed w/ protective coating. I don't know if long term the ca will eat the white glue, but that's a learning event I will watch for.


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May my incompetence lead to others' superiority.
Tom
 

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A couple of points that would have probably saved you a ton of time and effort.

I know you changed your method from where you once started, but having all the fibers in place, and now trying to go back and paint the whole kit is going to be a nightmare. Dozens of fibers can't help but block your way when painting that hull.

Drill all the holes first, paint the whole build, run your fibers and glue them in place. I didn't have to go back and "mushroom" the tips of any of my fibers once they were in place. They won't budge. The black silicone bonds them in place securely, and will prevent any kind of light leakage from them and the LED's. The LED's being in the light cans insures your light is being focused on the strand tips for maximum effect. I got the black silicone use from Simon Mercs from the Kit Factory. Simon's a successful pro builder, so using his experience is definitely an asset. You can follow his work and view some of his previous builds here:
http://www.thekitfactory.com/
Another thing you can use is low-temperature glue sticks for a hot glue gun from a craft store. (ala VoodooFx)

As I stated before, I'm no expert. I did however learn from a few folks who are, and what they have shown me really works!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got the black silicone use from Simon Mercs from the Kit Factory.
I've been one of Simon's YT subscribers for a while and have had several good conversations with him.

Here's his channel for those that don't have it.
http://www.youtube.com/user/mercs32118
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Snips
...having all the fibers in place, and now trying to go back and paint the whole kit is going to be a nightmare. Dozens of fibers can't help but block your way when painting that hull.
... Drill holes first, paint, run fibers and glue in place. I didn't have to go back and "mushroom" the tips of any of my fibers once they were in place. They won't budge. The black silicone bonds them in place securely, and will prevent any kind of light leakage from them and the LED's. The LED's being in the light cans ensures your light is focused on the strand tips for maximum effect.
Interesting thoughts. I had several folks tell me (and have seen builds where) the final paint goes last as when sealing the body, there will still be putty work.

I have no doubts that the density of fibers on the trenches could cause me some probs. One of my notions is that as the base coat is black, when spraying over with white/gray, the fibers will 'cast shadows' on the paint job. I am hoping this will benefit the paint job in this instance.

But in other terms, I guess that if a build has final paint before final assembly, touchups could be easy when it is all together.

All the fiber optic toys I've gotten over the last year use 'light cans', so why it never occurred to me to apply that to models is beyond me. :freak: I'm glad you did so as heat shrinking fiber is essentially a non-starter. I think you suggested using the tip of a solder gun for heat. I tried that and it turns out that I guess my shrink is too thick for the solder gun's heat to have any effect. I gave it the ol' college try though.

Shrooming the fiber, in addition to helping anchor it, also 'lenses' it, giving the tip a nice rounded appearance and light dispersion. A very minor amount I am sure for the scales involved, but every little bit counts when dealing with small models to begin with I s'pose.

I intend to have all the fiber run this week and light tests for the next video. I'm hopeful this is gonna rock.

Interestingly enough (perhaps), I acquired Cinefex #2 last week. For those unaware of cinefex, this particular issue covers ESB and there is a topless photo of the SSD. :eek: On the insides, they simply had several custom neon tubes giving off light. There was no mention if they had fiber strands in the windows, but I am hopeful. (A side note is that I also got Cinefex #1 wherein they cover ST TMP. One intersting sentence about Greg Jein's work was that there was some 12 or 20 miles of fiber run through the V'Ger model!!!)
 

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Wow! You're making a silk purse out of a sow's ear with that one! Excellent work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Perfessor!

I need to throw about 5hrs at this and it will be 'done'.
 

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Wow, thats a nice build.

I'm working on a Revelle Germany Republic cruiser, with similar results and techniques. here: http://s603.photobucket.com/albums/tt114/MadmanLighting/?action=view&current=100_1477.jpg

Might I ask: What are those round "disk like things" in the lower half of your model? Its kinda hard to tell from the pics. Are they just artifacts of the casting or are you doing something really exotic like trying to mag-lev your kit?

Thanks!

-John C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Nice work on that RSD so far, JC! I don't know how you and Tim manage to keep your guts so organized. As you'll see in this video I've got a rat's nest going on! :D It all makes sense if you pick any one fiber and follow it, but it's darned cramped in thar. Those round things are neo magnets for holding the top and bottom together. I hadn't thought of a maglev display, but will do some tests!


In this vid we get the first blue and orange light tests going on! Also, the landing bay is lit up and I gotta say I'm loving that look!!! It's going to be as good, if not far better than, I imagined it could ever be. For the rest of the night, I'm going to throw white leds in the body for the bulk lighting. They will be 'open' so all the short fibers catch some glow. I also expect that any missed drill holes will also catch some light. This will also show me where the bad seams are -and I know there will be some.

Bad thing that happened, though good it happened now, is an engine burn out -and four others lost about 50% capacity. Why? When I wired those leds last year, I didn't keep track of what power supply I used. As the resistors are heat shrinked, there is no way for me to read them and work the numbers backwards. With that in mind, I used the lowest ps I had on hand, which is 5v. Apparently, that was too strong for the hyperdrive and that was that. Consequently, now that I have a dedicated ps for the model, I will rip the old engines out and drop new ones in wired specifically for the juice pumping thru them.

Still to go is most of the topside fibers. Another 5hrs or more. From there, lighting those up and then it's on to final paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here's part B.

I dropped a dozen white leds in the body so far and need another ~10 to round things off. It's going well! The shotgun approach to the mass fiber is as good as I could have hoped for considering it was blind faith that had me snip them down.

While it's saved dozens to hundred+ feet of fiber, the fibers linked directly to an led look better. But this works quite well. Frankly, I don't think I could have stuffed the full lengths that would have been required for ~600 fibers anyway. I'm having enough of a time fitting the wiring needed to light those fibers as is!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Several more hours of work accomplished.

I keep thinking I'm about 5hrs away from finishing the lights. 8 work hrs later, I am still 5hrs away from finishing the lights. This time, I think it's for real (just like I did the last few times!) :freak:

Another dozen warm whites for the windows, then a blue, an orange/amber and possibly one red led will go in the fiber mix. I may also put a few regular white leds in the body to mix with the window lights and pump up the lumens.
 

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"I'm loving this build"
we're all loving this build :)

One suggestion for the LEDs going dim. In the old days of building computers we always did a 24 hour burn-in of the components. Set up a bunch of LEDs with resistors, leave them lit for a day and throw away any that don't look right after the burn-in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah, I still do a burn in for all my new computer components. If after 24hrs it's still alive, I can trust it. If after 72hrs things are still happy, I can close the case up.
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Those engine's got a 20hr burn in back when I installed them last year. The new wall wart was the culprit. Whatever one I used last year, it was less than the 5v this one is (likely 3v for the old one). So the resistors couldn't handle nearly double the load and failed. No prob in this case and glad they failed now and not later.

This latest round of lights has gotten about 30hr of burn in time over the last few days, so I am confident in them and my resistor math. Once all leds are in, the whole thing will get another 24hr burn in. if they're still good at that point, I can seal the body. And it does look like I'll ahve to seal the body afterall. While the trenches have no light leak, the aft upper line on the engines does have a bad fit. maybe i can run magnets along that line, I'll see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That lego is impressive, but far over the top for my tastes. A pimped version as the kids today might say. It is an impressive lighting job no doubt about that.
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Update -sans video:
-The aft hull line needs to be sealed and puttied. :( I am disappointed about this, but there is too much light leak. I will try shaving the plastic down for a better fit, but I am not hopeful.

-I dropped the 10 white leds in the body as mentioned in the last video. Looks like I need another dozen more.

The Problem:
The wallwart being used is 750mA (@5v), which means I should be able to comfortably power ~35 of these leds (~20mA ea) w/ a dash of overhead for comfort. I now have 33 leds in there. This means I can add up to 3 more. More than that and the whole rig stops firing completely.

The Solution:
I dug around and found another 5v wall wart. This one however has a full 1000mA (1 Amp)! This means I can max out at 50 leds. Maxing @ 45 would give me a 10% overhead, which is an ideal buffer. Thus 45 gives me room for a dozen more leds -just enough and with room to fudge!

The Question:
Does 45 leds sound excessive? For a model this size, perhaps it does. The trade off is this: If I had run fiber optics to every port hole, I have no doubts it would be in the low hundreds of feet. (~6" per hole x 600 holes = 300') That would be several dozen dollars at the very least, whereas I'm paying .10¢ per led. So the equation is, <$5 in leds vs. $50+ in fiber. The math speaks for itself. This model also kills my supply of .5k resistors. However, at ~.01¢ each, I can easily afford to restock in the immediate future.

Still to do:
A dozen more leds and fibering up the buildings and command tower/bridge.

Stay tuned.
 
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