6 ways to improve building lighting on model train layouts

by Michael Groves

A customer wrote to me and asked:  Using the fiber to light the inside of buildings has been problematic. Is there something that can be placed over the end of the fiber to diffuse the light like the globe does?  By the way, he gave me a hint by stating that our Globe lamps are perfect in diffusing the light!

So here is my answer to some best practices to lighting the inside of a building on your model train layout using fiber optics: 

  1. Add Aluminum foil to the inside of the structure, especially the roof to diffuse the light and prevent it from shining through the walls of the building.
  2. If you don’t want to see inside the building / room then use a diffuser such as tissue paper, parchment paper etc.
  3. If you want to use clear windows then mount the fiber along a wall (with Aluminum foil behind it) will give a better gentle glow.
  4. Buy a frosted necklace, remove the connection string, and put this on the end of the fiber.  How to keep it there?  Add a stirrer straw to the fiber leaving 3-5mm of fiber showing over the top, then “balance” the necklace bead ontop of the straw with the fiber going up the center of the bead.
  5. Flaring the end of the fiber can also provide better diffusion.  Just put the end of the fiber very briefly into a flame (brief meaning 1/4sec or less) or near the tip of a soldering iron.  The end of the fiber will mushroom out.  Best results occur when the diameter of the end reaches about 50% larger than the starting diameter.
  6. Another approach is to use UFO Star Lenses to provide dispersion, but now you have an added cost. https://www.fiberopticlighting.com/ufo-star-lens-fitting.php

I do hope you found the above helpful.

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