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flexable gooseneck-like tubing

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  • flexable gooseneck-like tubing

    I want to make some spot work lights using the high brightness white LEDs on the market now. These would be attached to the mill and lathe and could be bent to any angle to throw light where I want it including small holes. They are on the market but cost a lot for what they are.

    What I'm looking for is some sort of flexable gooseneck like tubing. Something around .25" in diameter and preferably with a vinyl coating to make it coolant/chip proof. I'm just not sure what this tubing is called specifically. I've been searching the web for suppliers but can't quite get it right. So I figured someone here might all ready know a source for it.

    Something along the lines of this device:
    which if I can't make what I want I just may buy.


  • #2
    came off sewing machines. Hi intensity lamps , low voltage thou. check auctions under seller peachy1cc on ebay. You can't buy the necks for what these are listed under. I got a similar one on my lathe. I was thinking of buying another one or two.
    I made some lamps during the 70's with flex (conduit type) and pushed a mig rod up it with the wire to hold the shape I bent it.. but it shorted out after a year or two around my stepkids I had then. (they broke all the shovels and rakes too) I would not trust them to play with a anvil.

    Sorry.. I just check the posted website.. those are fiber optic lights.. aren't they.. mucho difference..

    Ohh yeah... we called them borelights (to look down a dark bore) when I used to shoot my target rifles.. them are much simpler.. just a curved glass rod on a penlight.

    [This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 05-05-2003).]


    • #3
      Take a look at Loc-Line tubing used for coolant lines. It is quite rigid, and used for other applications than coolant.
      They may have some lighting applications them selves.
      Jim H.


      • #4
        You could use the Loc-Line as suggested, but it is not as skinny as the flexible conduit. I see a "bright" future for LED lighting - their efficency will soon surpass flourescent lighting. I have a Moon-Lenser white LED keychain light I bought from - like it better than my Mags and the beam is a perfect spotlight for "finger-puppets". Have you considered fibre optic cabling instead? You can scrounge them out of IBM card readers (they are not the best, but they work well in small holes - and they are cheap).


        • #5
          Most of the electronic and computer supply houses (Altex - link below) sell heat-shrink tubing in 3 foot lengths. You can get it anywhere from 1/16th up to 3/4". Perfect for covering those map reading light necks. You know, the ones that plug into a cigar lighter and brakes the first time you use it. Some of them can be had for a buck or less at garage sales.


          • #6
            I'm looking for the same thing, I think. I'm thinking of using small diameter soft copper tubing, covering it with vinyl tubing, and running a wire down the center for the return current. The tubing should almost stay where you bend it to, and should have a fairly long flex life, if you're not constantly bending it. An led array won't weigh much, and they do give a light that let's you see details. Between four and six led's will run in series from a typical 12 volt adapter, which will be lightly loaded, and will put out up to 18 volts like that. Don't exceed .030 amps for the string of led's, though.
            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


            • #7
              DArryl: Re soft copper tubing: Run an accelerated test (bend it several years worth of bending) before you assemble. Stuff work hardens after bending. I buy full roll of tube to avoid the salemen unrolling and re-rolling, which is enough to make the stuff stiff.


              • #8
                Thanks, doc, for the info on workhardening. I didn't consider that would be a problem that quickly. I learn something everyday.
                I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                • #9
                  Check out the plumbing section for flexible gas supply pipe-like what runs the last foot or three from the gas cock to your stove, dryer or water heater. Stick with the smallest size. Even then, consider running a length of stiff copper wire through it with the power wires.

                  Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                  ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


                  • #10
                    The so called "flexable" copper pipes that are used in plumbing work hardens pretty quickly so it's not really suitable. Care to guess how I know.

                    My suggestion is to buy a flexible goose neck lamp at Walmart, which can be had for under $10. It usually has a clamp on end. You can simply use the the complete apparatus including the wiring.

                    Frankly, I don't like the harshness of the white LED light. Until they get the temperature right, I'd much prefer low voltage halogen lighting for illuminating the machines.



                    • #11
                      I picked up a foot of 1/4 in. thinwall copper tubing today, and found, to my amazement, that it hardened up after only 2 bends. Not that I mistrusted Steve's advice on that, but wow! Poor choice for a flexible gooseneck! Solid aluminum wire is better, but it fails the test as well.
                      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                      • #12
                        I didn't think about putting heat shrink on an unsealed tubing. I might get too stiff. Some of that plastic drip spray might work well.

                        I see a couple of these thin lights mounted right to the head like coolant tubing so they can be bent to direct light on shadowed places and interiors. Very low power with high brightness, plus they don't heat up parts or a body part like the halogen lights do. And won't break if something cold hits them. Very robust, practically indistructable as compared to a filament blub.

                        I was thinking about trying the gas tubing. I was also thinking about ball and socket joints with hard brass tubing instead of fully flexable tubing. Something like a mini task light. The joints don't need to be very stiff because the whole arm would weigh so little.
                        Might make a quick little project for an article.

                        You could even slave the lights power source as a generator coil from the machine's motor. That's how the light on my craftsman 6" grinder works. As it spins up the light gets brighter. LED's need very little voltage and less current.


                        • #13
                          Thnks Darryl, I suggest always testing any advice from me before spending much money. One experiement beats 1000 "expert " opinions.

                          Some one gave me a nice cheap flexible light from HF I think. Heavy base been a good work bench light. but only takes 75 watt lamps. Cost < 10 dollars I understand.

                          Friend has a bunch of flourescent lamps mounted on a 4 by 8 sheet of ply wood. Bright enough to hurt your eyes, a non point source so the shadows are not harsh. He uses a bright reflector, tube holders from Home Depot and ballasts. much better than the "white" difusion backs on most fixtures.


                          • #14
                            The last batch of heat-shrink I got is nice stuff. It has a matte finish and stays flexable--like rubber (You can also get it in Black, White, Red, Blue). This is not the cheap stuff like RatShack.


                            • #15

                              I am getting too old for dim lights and find the halogen a bright enough source. I do not like the heat output or the fact that dam A/C transformers Rona sells burn out with half the suggested load even. When I helped my friend with his Red Tail Columbian Python (11 footer!) cage I used old PC power supplies to feed 12v DC to the lamps. My industrial light meter says they are brighter than with 12vac and they have never burned out in 5 years service. The Snakes love them BTW - good spectrum and toasty!

                              I have been threatening to convert my luxo lamps over to Halogen for some time (4 puck lamps each) but I keep "dragging me arse like a dog with worms".

                              I have a luxo magnifier too, I would like to convert it to solid state with white, red, green, and blue LED (selectable combos) as I find it easier to see some things under different lighting conditions. These new LED's make excellent darkfield illuminators too.