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Fiber Optic Lighting and connections
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Fiber Optic Lighting and connections

by peavybob on Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:38 pm

Hi, I am working on a mask that has a bunch of individually/paired side glow fibers run through it. The fibers will be either 2 or 3 mm thick, about 2ish feet long, and each fiber will be either individually lighted or put in Left/Right pairs, to allow for shifting patterns. I am looking to use RGB lights so I can have the colors shift as well.

I looked at the Pixie skirt tutorial, and the 3d printed holders for for the fibers look like a good solution, but the pixie models are way to large for my project.
What model would you suggest for lighting the fibers, and do you know if there are 3d printable mounts available for it or another good way of attaching the fibers?

Thanks!

peavybob
 
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Re: Fiber Optic Lighting and connections

by adafruit_support_mike on Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:12 am

There are smaller RGB LEDs:

https://www.adafruit.com/product/4356
https://www.adafruit.com/product/2659
https://www.adafruit.com/product/3484
https://www.adafruit.com/product/4492

But they won't put out as much light as the Pixies. You'll have try them with your fiber to see if you like the amount of light they put out. For the sake of rough comparison, you can use a single-color 3mm or 5mm LED for your test, since those put out about the same amount of light as a NeoPixel.

You'll probably need to make a PCB for any of the smaller NeoPixels (3.5mm and down), since they're hard to wire by hand.

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Re: Fiber Optic Lighting and connections

by peavybob on Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:09 pm

Thanks, any recommendations on how to link the fiber optic wire to the neopixels?

peavybob
 
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Re: Fiber Optic Lighting and connections

by adafruit_support_mike on Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:29 am

That will depend heavily on the space requirements of the project.

One challenge will be getting light from all three LEDs into the fiber. Even in the smallest packages, the actual LEDs are farther apart than the diameter of most optical fibers.

Probably the most effective solution would be to use conical light pipes: cones of transparent plastic (like acrylic) about the same size as the NeoPixel at one end and about the same size as the fiber bundle at the other end, polished along the sides so light will reflect internally as it goes from the LEDs to the fibers.

Light inside acrylic needs to hit the inner surface at an angle of less than about 60 degrees to reflect internally, then it heads toward the other surface. Unfortunately, the opposite surface of a cone isn't parallel to the first one, so the light hits it at a steeper angle. When that happens, some of the light leaves the acrylic and goes out into the air, and won't reach the optical fiber at the narrow end of the cone. Making the cone as long as possible increases the amount of light that will reach the fiber at the small end.

Once you have the light pipes, you can glue the large end to the surface of the NeoPixel, and the fiber bundle to the small end. If you drill a hole into the small end, it will be easier to insert the fiber and get a strong glue joint.

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Re: Fiber Optic Lighting and connections

by peavybob on Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:36 pm

Sorry for the late reply, I've been building a vacuum forming table to make the mask.

I'm planning on using solid core side glow fiber, 2-3 mm thick rather than one of the bundles of smaller filaments, due to the space requirements. It will probably be 1 fiber per LED (actually 2 LED's as i plan to light the fiber from both ends if possible).

Ideally I'm looking for a 3mm RGB through-hole style LED, as that would be the easiest to connect the fiber to with heat shrink tube, but I've not been able to find anything that small.

Another option would be using one of the smaller neo pixels with a frame to guide and hold the fiber in place over the LEDs like what was used in the Pixie Dress Tutorial. https://www.shapeways.com/product/FD936 ... areProduct

peavybob
 
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