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fiber optic cable for light transmission

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  • fiber optic cable for light transmission

    I need to move light to a couple of difficult to reach places, nothing special...

    In high school, I used to have a small spool of fiber optic cable. It was about 1/8" in diameter, with a bunch of fibers in it (who knows how many).

    Anyone have any suggestions on where to get something on the surplus market CHEAP.

    I don't seem to know the right search terms for Ebay.

    Also, what's the best way to cut the the stuff?? Do I need to polish the ends or will unpolished ends help scatter the light?

  • #2
    Here 'ya go.

    Search terms:

    POF PMMA acrylic fiber plastic optical lighting cable spool

    A supplier

    Last edited by Evan; 12-14-2008, 10:29 AM.
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    • #3
      Depending how you can get in to install it, Acylic rod and bar can be used as a light pipe.

      Regards Ian.
      You might not like what I say,but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.


      • #4
        Here is how to treat it for light pipe use.

        Cut POF (Plastic Optical Fiber) with side cutters or a razor and then hold it close to a flame. A lighter will do but an alcohol flame or any other blue flame is best as it won't cause sooting. It will melt the plastic and polish it while forming a nice little collector lens that increases the light transmission by several times.

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        • #5
          Don't know what your application is but small white LEDs (T1 size) would probably deliver more light than the fiber (without fussing over the fiber to light source coupling).

          Fire polishing the fiber end (close to but not touching a hot soldering iron or match/torch flame) will create a polished ball end ... not sure of the light pattern from that. Just cutting it cleanly across will produce a beam with an angle close to the fiber spec (numerical aperture). Roughing the end with fine abrasive paper in a non-directional pattern will scatter the light like a white frosted light bulb, "smooth" field but not as bright.

          I see Evan already posted a nice example of end polishing.

          Another neat thing you can do with thick fiber or any piece of acrylic/polycarbonate is to take some "tree cutting" type notches out of it. The light will emit at each of these points. Some older mechanically tuned radios used similar methods for their dial pointing needles.

          Last edited by nheng; 12-14-2008, 12:35 PM.


          • #6
            I might actually try it with an LED. I got a really nice old otoscope that you can't get bulbs for anymore, or batteries, so I was basically going to use the optics and make a new one. Welch Allyn charges 550 for the set I want


            • #7
              depending on how much light you need, ive used thick fishing line as a fibre optic, and its worked ok. and if you only need short lengths, buy an optical audio cable and chop it up. i cut one up a week ago to use as a bore light for my air rifle.


              • #8
                These guys have lots of fiber, and all the rest of the necessaries for cheap.