In which I muck about with fibreoptics - Tactical Ninja
Sep. 15th, 2014
09:49 am - In which I muck about with fibreoptics
This weekend I have been playing with fibreoptics.
You see, grist found a place where you could buy fibreoptic fibres by the metre quite cheaply, so I grabbed a couple of 2m bundles for $20 and put them aside for when I had a project that might use them. Now, I have a project that might use them, so I set about seeing what can be done with the stuff.
First, find a source of light. I just happened to have a short piece of the Adafruit Neopixel RGB LED stripleft over from the Brainfart. These strips have 32 programmable LEDs per metre, and this strip had 14 pixels on it. Just enough to make a pretty pattern. So I added some AA batteries, a diode, and an Arduino Nano (which compared to a lot of microcontrollers these days is not really all that nano), and voila! Rainbow patterned colour-changing light source!
The next bit was getting a bundle of the fibreoptic fibres close enough together to sit above a single LED, so they can do their thing. The best things I could think of for this job were rubber elastrator rings, which are designed to cut off the blood supply to a lamb's tail and nutsack so it'll shrivel up and drop off. Constricting is their function, so they were perfect for this. I cut the fibreoptic into lengths to make my tufts, evened them out by tapping on the table, and added the rubber band and some hot glue to hold it.
As it turns out, hot glue is hot enough to melt fibreoptic fibre, but as long as you don't actually break it off, it still works! In fact, it worked in my favour because the softened fibre was easier to arrange into the shape I wanted. This fibre has memory so it's slightly curved, which can be a problem if you're trying to make something not-curved.
And then I tested it. This fibre is the stuff that leaks light close to the source rather than the stuff that is light-impermeable, so the strip of tufts should have a pretty glow near the base.
Now, I need to find a way of attaching each tuft exactly above each LED, so that they'll do their thing effectively all along the strip. The plastic covering on the strip is made from silicone, so the original plan for using 2-pot epoxy is unlikely to work. I may need to use silicone sealant or silicone glue to get them to stick. Hmm..
No, I'm not telling you what this is for, but it will be revealed in due course.
Meanwhile, for those who don't care about fibreoptics, have a photo of yesterday:
Planting bulbs in the rain in April paid off!