Illuminating Flag Poles & Creating Spotlights with Fiber Optics
When you want to add a lit-up flagpole to your layout
I had a playground and it was begging for a flag pole. So I ordered one of the Just-Plug® Flag poles. It came very nicely packaged together with an LED floodlight and wiring connectors.
I set aside the LED Floodlight and Connectors, inserting the Flag pole into the playground (used a #60 drill for the hole). Next I used a 1/16” drill to create a diagonal hole about 4” away from the flag pole. Into that a 1mm fiber was inserted until it was flush with the surface of the playground and the other end was inserted into a Lamplighter unit beneath the layout. See the effect - so Simple. No extra cost of an extra flood light LED and fixture!
Little did I know but customers have already figured this little trick out.
Below are two images from Roland Latajka from Calgary, Canada. Even his moose is lit up, standing up there on a rock! Thanks Roland
How to create floodlighting with fiber optics
It turns out that floodlighting is a very easy thing to do with fiber optics. In the houses below, 2 1/16” holes were drilled at about 45 degrees to the surface of the layout and a bit away from the house. 1.5mm fibers were used and dimmed by 50% so as to create a balanced effect.
Note, to dim the light from the fiber, just pull it out of the Lamplighter unit by about 1” or so. This is what I did to make sure the glow was just right.
Adjusting the Size of the Spotlight
Changing the shape of the floodlight is very straightforward as well. The building below shows 2 sizes of spotlight. The only difference is the fiber for the right hand light was flamed briefly using a BBQ lighter to create a lens effect. The difference between the two lights is quite noticeable.
One note: The flood lighting effect is very dependent on how far the lights are placed from the object being illuminated, and also the angle at which they are inserted. Fortunately, if a 1 or 1.5mm is used the hole size is limited to 1/16” or 3/64”. This is a huge advantage.
Some commercially available LED floodlights, such as Woodland Scenic’s Just-Plug spotlights require a hole of 1/4”, making any mistakes in positioning obvious and problematic.
Here is a church on my layout, with a spotlight located on a roundabout. Is really makes it pop out.
Have fun with Fiber Spotlights - no special products needed, just a piece of fiber.