Author Topic: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?  (Read 1420 times)

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6axlepwr

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clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« on: January 05, 2014, 12:20:39 AM »
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I need to figure out what to do for a head light lense.

I amusing one of the Detail Associates light housings for the current project I am working on. The smallest MV lense is to big and I cannot find anything commercially available. So asking for some ideas. My ideas are as follows.

1. A dab of CA. Let it puddle up. Tried it and eventually it leveled out and also CA does nto dry clear. It was a bit cloudy.

2. Cut the light pins off the existing light bar and put them in the holes. They are to small and do not look good.

3. Same as #2, but then use Pledge Floor Shine and fill around the light pins. Then after that dries, add a little more to see if it would puddle up. But as I remember, floor shine also is self leveling.

4. Fiber optics. This is probably my best bet. I have heard you can apply heat to the end and it will round off. Takes a bit of practice, but it would give me the shape I need. The hole I have is 0.036" diameter. I can only find fiber optics in 0.030" or 0.040". I am thinking tha the 0.030" would be good. If I apply the heat and the end mushrooms good, it may mushroom to the appropriate size.

I think #4 is my best bet. Any other thoughts on what might work better?
Brian

tehachapifan

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2014, 12:55:32 AM »
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For N scale lights I think you need LS700 size MV lenses but, last I checked, they can be tough to find. Before I found a source for the 700 series lenses a while back, I tried two of the methods you mention on the model pictured; fiber optics for the headlight and clear gyralights and drop of (I think) Micro Krystal Klear for the center red gyralight. Both came out OK and look WAY better in-person than they do in the photo. That said, the droplet of MKK did flatten out too much and I plan on drilling this out and replacing this with a red MV lens at some point. The fiber optic lenses are very easy to do and can't be beat if you plan on illuminating them from behind (I should mention the fiber optics extend through to the inside of the shell on this model. I have not tried making just a lens from fiber optics that does not retain a "post" to at least some degree).



Incidentally, I used gyralight castings from Miniatures by Eric on the above model. The headlight is a stock Atlas MP15DC housing that was relocated.

« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 01:03:28 AM by tehachapifan »
Russ

robert3985

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2014, 01:06:04 AM »
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The trick is to use fiber optic rod and hold it close to either a big soldering iron or a hot-plate and carefully let the end melt.  If you do it right, it'll melt so that it forms sort of a "mushroom head", and if you do it wrong (too hot, too long) it forms a "bulb".  It's cheap so you can practice until you get it right. 

Another solution is to use clear 5 minute Epoxy, which does dry crystal clear and doesn't flatten out, but I much prefer the light pipe method.

On larger steam engine lights, an MV lens works great, but you drill a hole centered in the back of it and glue a fiber optic strand in there with canopy glue.  I glue an "Axial light" (true incandescent 3 volts) to the light pipe using epoxy, and it looks like a real steam headlight! 

nkalanaga

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2014, 02:26:54 AM »
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Is MV Products still in business?  I haven't bought anything from them in at least 20 years, having a good supply, and assumed they were gone by now...
N Kalanaga
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peteski

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2014, 03:30:12 AM »
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I'm not sure what you are looking for.  MV lenses simulate real headlights. The are made from a concave metal reflector with a dome of resin for the lens.  They look like a headlight (in its off state) would look like on a vehicle.  They are dummy (they do not light up).  Well MV says that you can drill a tiny hole in the middle for thea light to shine through it, but in the size we use for N scale this is not really an option (the hole would really have to be so small that not much light woudl shine through it.

Or are you looking for a plastic rod which will will conduct light from a light source inside a model?  This type of a headlight will not look realistic when the light is off.
--- Peteski de Snarkski
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nkalanaga

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2014, 03:47:49 AM »
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The lenses don't look bad when lit if one illuminates them with fiber optics stuck in a hole.  As Peteski said, just drilling a hole and sticking a bulb behind it doesn't do much.

One can also remove the foil backing completely and use the clear lens.  Of course, turned off, it would look like a piece of plastic stuck in a hole, but it would be the right shape.
N Kalanaga
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robert3985

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2014, 03:49:36 AM »
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Fiber optic lenses.

OFF:


ON:

Sokramiketes

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2014, 04:03:48 AM »
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Fiber optic lenses.

OFF:


ON:


That unit now has LED's behind the fiber optics and a hand turned clear acrylic replacement beacon with an orange LED lighting it up.   :)
Mike

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robert3985

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2014, 04:41:18 AM »
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That unit now has LED's behind the fiber optics and a hand turned clear acrylic replacement beacon with an orange LED lighting it up.   :)

I always like to know that my models I sell go to appreciative customers!  Thanks Skibbe for the update!  :)  It's nice to know somebody cares enough to put some modern electronics in 'em and, hopefully, run 'em.  These were hard for me to sell, but...1969 is twelve years later than my cut-off date for my era and I've been ruthlessly enforcing "The Rule" that nothing runs on the layout that was built after December 31, 1956 for five years now.

Hope you have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!   :)

6axlepwr

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2014, 10:17:26 AM »
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Peteski,

When I use MV lenses, I peel the slver backing foil off and it becomes a clear lense. It is rather difficult to hold them to do this, but it can be done. Pick the edge off with a sharp knife and then when you have enough to grab with a needle nose tweezer, roll it back and peel it off.
****************************************************************************
Robert3985,

Thanks for the mention of optic rod. I forgot about that one. I'l have to see if I can find some in the right size. If I cannot find the correct rod, I will give teh 5 minute epoxy a test. Thanks for that tip.
****************************************************************************************

The MV LS #700 series is 0.046" diameter and that is to big for my application. My hole size is 0.036" diameter. The largest I would go is 0.040".
Brian

6axlepwr

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2014, 10:41:38 AM »
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I was going to ask where to get fiber optic rod, but just looked up Plastruct and found they offer it.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 11:11:32 AM by 6axlepwr »
Brian

Jeff AKA St0rm

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2014, 11:19:02 AM »
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Walther's sells Circuitron  Fiber Optic in different sizes. Item # 800-8020, 800-8030, 800-8040, 800-8060.

peteski

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2014, 04:07:48 PM »
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For working (lit) lenses I also recommend plastic fiber optics rather than just acrylic rods.  While rod will give ok results, fiber optics will work much better.

That is because fiber optics are specifically designed to maximize light transmission. They have inner core and a jacket (both clearmaterials but with different refraction angles).  I good explanation is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiber_optic#Multi-mode_fiber

Over the years I have accumulated a large selection of plastic fiber optics. Diameters from 0.010" - 0.070" and I often use them for headlights.  Mushrooming the end is also an excellent idea, but I have also polished the ends using a 4-grit fingernail buffer.  I usually do that when a large diameter optic needs to be cut at an angle (like a lens in Acela locomotives).
--- Peteski de Snarkski
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tehachapifan

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Re: clear light lense, any available for N-Scale?
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2014, 12:33:11 PM »
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Here's another shot of another (just-completed) model showing fiber optics (with the ends slightly mushroomed) in the headlights and clear gyralights. I did a litter bit better of a job on these compared to the first model. These lights are drilled all the way through though and are illuminated from behind (there's a fiber optic post extending through the shell). The center light has an MV701 lens in it, which is a tad too large but works...



Russ