View Full Version : Plastic Fiber Optic Cable -- Looking for Source
12-20-2011, 08:28 PM
I'm looking for a source of inexpensive plastic fiber optic cable, the kind typically used to make lighted lamps and ornaments. In my case, I will be use the cable, some LEDs, and a custom Propeller controller to light elements of a model of Los Angeles. Any recommendations are appreciated.
12-20-2011, 08:31 PM
It looks like this place may have some:
This guy sells various sizes by the foot on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/localphillyman/m.html?hash=item3f10f58d7e&item=270867467646&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&_trksid=p4340.l2562
12-20-2011, 08:47 PM
This one (http://www.thefiberopticstore.com/purchase/endglowfilament.htm#full) is only $.04/ft... if you buy a full reel.
12-22-2011, 10:09 AM
I'm not clear on your intended end use, but if you want to go very generic -- nylon fishing line is sold by the mile very cheaply. It may not have the superior optical transmission properties of true fiber optic cable, but it does ape the effect.
12-22-2011, 02:23 PM
Here's someone that tried to make monofilament fishing line work in that manner.
12-22-2011, 02:37 PM
LOL - not exactly sure where he went wrong, but God bless the internet for allowing him to share.
Ends are suppose to be cut, cut perpendicular, maybe polished, NOT melted.
1. Bundle together before cutting with a very sharp razor blade or such.
2. Polish the bundled cuts with either Dupont Polishing Compound or Dupont Rubbing Compound (available at automotive supply stores for making your car nice and shinny).
Polish ca be washed away with liquid dish soap and water.
09-04-2014, 08:45 AM
I THINK Fiberstore is better than others.
09-04-2014, 11:51 AM
The problem is definitely that he melted the stuff. That really messes up the structure.
But monofilament fishing line is still a poorer light conductor than plastic fibre-optics.
09-04-2014, 04:00 PM
This is a very old and dated thread, but I did come across Fiberstore.com some months ago and they seem to have the best combo of service and supply at competitive prices, world-wide.
They are a Hong Kong outfit and seem to have a vision to lead the retail market.
09-04-2014, 04:23 PM
My 2 cents worth depending on the amount needed is to visit your local cable office and see if they any scraps of fiber left on a spool. Should be free or very cheap. Second, dont recommend using a razor blade to cut fiber. Buy an in expensive cleaver less polishing that way and better light transfer.
09-04-2014, 04:43 PM
As I started this thread I'll put a button on it. We were looking for plastic fiber for an artisitc project: a display built by Alliance Studio (http://alliancestudio.net) for Riot Games. The character, Ziggs, carries and throw old-school bowling-ball bombs, and we wanted to create a lit fuse effect for the display. Ultimately, there are several Propeller chips in the display: two in the form of EFX-TEK HC-8+ controllers for the large (exploding) bomb that Ziggs is leap-frogging, and about eight more in the form of QuickStart boards with a custom add-on that I designed. The display is very popular at gaming conventions.
The QuickStart add-on had MOSFET outputs for high-intesity LEDs that drove the wick elements, and a WS2801/WS2812 interface for a set of color-changing LEDs behind the skull.
09-04-2014, 05:03 PM
Unless you need a longer strand, I've always found the easiest -- and often cheapest -- is to just pick up a light fountain lamp at Spencer Gifts. This method works if the length is already what you want. By definition these are going to be plastic fiber optics; glass is too expensive, and uncladded glass fiber is not suitable for use in a consumer product.
It's been a while since I've played with it, but apart from the Spencer Gift mall store buys, all the optical fiber I've ever used has been purchased surplus. I don't see any clear stuff at my old regular haunts, like AmSci, but I'm sure it's out there.
Jon, if you have a CA resellers licence, you can also investigate the wholesalers in the wholesale districts south of town. They have a lot of cheap optical toys and gifts for rave and party use. Some are shop and carry, and there are no minimums. But you must have that resale card.
09-04-2014, 06:38 PM
I actually have several hundred strands about 18 inches in length that I do not even know where they came from. I have been messing around putting different light sources through them to see what gives the best effect.
09-06-2014, 04:23 AM
We needed thicker material than is used in cheap lighted novelties. Ultimately, we used 3mm plastic fiber.
09-06-2014, 06:50 AM
Another awesome project, Jon.