A use for fibre optics

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by shamus, Jan 17, 2001.

  1. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Dave,

    Have you seen the Academy/Archives yet?
    Lots of goodies in there to read

  2. George

    George Member

    Welcome Geff Gerow!

    Your idea sounds quite interesting, but I'm vague on it. Did you fashion the strands into the shape of buildings? Did you sand the sides?

    I agree with Shamus. I'd really like to see a picture of the effect if possible, both lit and exposed to room light. Thanks!

  3. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    On the Toole Springs & Western we used fiber optics to simulate sparks from an arc welder. We have a welding flash created by a blue & an orange bulb driven by a tape recording of a portable gas driven welder, with the lights hooked in series with the speaker, so as the sound level comes up as the welder is loaded the lights flicker to create the "welding". We have a motor driven perforated disc covering a light source that illuminates sequential placed fibers that make red & orange "sparks" travel out away from the welding.

    L V Dave
  4. sajay

    sajay New Member

    We have a tractor trailer at Howatt's Ridge that has headlights and marker lights all around the trailer, justlike the real thing! A red LED for the marker lights and white grain of wheat for the headlights. WE also have a couple smaller trucks with headlights powered from a desk lamp under the layout.

    Very cool!

    Scott Jay
    Member of Half Nuts Model Railroaders
  5. Shay2

    Shay2 Member

    Ok, I've reread this thread and nobody's mentioned painting the ends of the cable red for, say, auto tail-lights.
    Shamus, have you tried this and does it work?
    I've found a supplier for 3mm cable, which should be large enough for any application and light intensity. (I think)
    So, George, your saying if I sand the end I can get a brighter...or a more visible glow
    because its now emitting light over a larger surface?
    I totally agree that the only way to fly on my new layout is with optics. I've hardwired the ol O-scale layout and I'm gonna do my best to do the HO in a more simple, straight forward fashion, without all the wires!

    My 2¢
  6. George

    George Member

    Felicitations, Shay 2!

    If you sand the end, you can dull it down a bit. If you do the edge, it become visible.

    Sanding; Lightly sand the strand you're working with. If you make a run around the inside of say a tavern window in the 50-70's or pizzaria window in the 80's-present, put a pulsing bulb on the end, you can simulate a sputtering neon that's about to die. Remember the lights that used to drive you nuts in these places until they were fixed?

  7. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi shay 2,

    I didn't sand the ends, I heated the ends and while they were warmish, I flattened them to the shape I wanted
  8. Dave Harris

    Dave Harris Member

    Shamus, That's called "heat polishing" & it will not only shape them it also brightens due to more surface. You can have some success in coloring them with using ink as a dye , it doesn't really penetrate but if you don't handle after it has dried it will tint them. I have made "Lenses"of coloUred plastic, drilled to take the optic ,it works well. (Shamus that U was in honor of this post going over the pond.)

    L V Dave
  9. JeffGerow

    JeffGerow Member

    For my background "village" -- I used a hobby shop kit of two diameters of fiber (I have since acquired some actual communications fiber and it's way too thin to be of great use. I didn't treat the ends in any way, they just stick out of the foliage on the mountain backdrop. When viewed from the front (about 4' away) it looks like the lights of far away houses peeking thru the trees -- far enough away that you can't see any details of windows (or houses, for that matter), just the light. [I'm sorry I don't have any pix yet -- maybe when I can afford a new digital camera..]
    RE the tinting the fibers -- it usually is easier/more effective to tint the light before it enters the fiber (use a colored bulb or filter) and keep the fiber "naked" for maximum light transfer. For a car you could flatten two fibers on the end for headlights (and run to a clear bulb) and then have another two fibers run to a red bulb for the taillights.
  10. Shay2

    Shay2 Member

    Hey Jeff!
    Ya beat me to posting it. I just tried a colored bulb and what do you know, I got colored light out of the fiber optic...Duh!
    This makes things much easier. I can now use just 3 bulbs, one white (clear) one red and one yellow for illuminating different items on my layout.
    I can isolate the fiber's (all red going to one bulb, etc.)and cut my cost/time of lighting by about 90%.

    This thread is a winner!


    Your correct about Fiber diameter. Anything less than 2.5mm is way to small to transmit much light.
  11. EM-1

    EM-1 New Member

    All the cars and pick up trucks even some cabooses setting around as frient offices are lit by fiber optics cable. All by one light bulb! This is crazt stuff but inexspensive and easy done try making a sky for at night with stars and the moon all on a cloth sheeet thats real dark blue!!!! I have! I made my layout "Making The Impossible Grade By The B&O" to run at night and in the day. It all works well together and the night pictures i've taken are spectacular. I'm sorry I can't post any I don't have a scanner at the moment thats my next investment. [​IMG] [​IMG] can't wait to get it though I know i'll have some enteresting pictures to display!!
  12. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Here's a night shot from my old N-scale railroad, Moon light Night.

    Now HO of course, with Badger Creek



    [This message has been edited by shamus (edited 03-20-2001).]
  13. George

    George Member

    Beautiful shot, Shamus!

    Is that the old Faller saw mill, or a scratch project?

    In looking at the work you did on the water which is most convincing, I couldn't help but wonder if anyone has ever tried any lighting of any type DOWN IN the water. I'm guessing this would be for the purpose of backlighting a structure/scene while simultaneously attempting reflective moonlight?

  14. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi George,
    Under water lighting has been done, the way I remember it was to build the water box first. The water was a two way mirror, and underneath was added a small spot light and a fan. Also attached were some colored tinsel strips, switch on the light and fan and the tinsel flickered around creating the impression of slight moving water.
  15. George

    George Member

    Shamus, that's a great way to avoid spilling resin on the carpet!

    Have you ever done this yourself? If not, what is there about this concept that you didn't like?

    My first impression isthe tinsel strips and fan must require a deeper than normal space that most wouldn't want to dedicate to something like this.

  16. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    George, it was an article I read in Model Railroader years ago by Lee Vande Visse. Lee was (Don't know if he is now) the ILLUSTRATION SUPERVISOR for MR.
    His model railroad I think was 0n3. Can't help anymore than that, other than to say if you have back copies of MR, you will find the story on it.

  17. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    I have found that article by Lee Vande Visse, it was in Model Railroader June 1994. Page 106 called "Magic Water". It was a two page spread.
  18. jazzfan4

    jazzfan4 New Member

    I have lit up the outside of a Christmas car with fiber optics, used 1 LED for all lights on a locomotive and I have made Christmas trees. All are displayed on the web site;
    thefiberopticstore.com I Have bought material from the store from time to time and when you submit new Ideas he will put them on his web page and reward you with free fiber optic material. When you're lighting the headlights run tail lights too, and use a red filter from your single source or a RED LED.
  19. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Tamiya the model people have a transparent red that they call tail light red. They also have a Turn signal amber that should work for turn signals.Though if your model pre 1980 the white would be better.
    I haven't added anything to this posting cause till now I've had nothing to contribute. [​IMG]

    Catt! NARA#1 & A freelancer for life

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