Author Topic: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?  (Read 696 times)

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Joetrain59

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Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« on: April 08, 2018, 05:28:04 PM »
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Years ago, I bought many different sized acrylic rods from Ain Plastics on Park ave. in NYC. Seems they're part of a larger Co. now, and don't have retail sales. Where can I get some very thin, clear plastic rod to use for headlight lenses?
 Thanks,
 Joe D

peteski

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2018, 05:35:22 PM »
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I have never seen acrylic rod thin enough to headlight light pipes. I think the thinners was 1/16" diameter.  But you can chuck it in a Dremel and use a file to turn it down to the diameter needed. You need light a light touch and slow speed so the rod doean't melt or break.  I've done that with acrylic rod and also with leftover clear styrene sprues from kits.

The other alternative is to buy some plastic fiber optic material. The thinnest I have is 0.010" and I think the thickens I have is 0.060".  Walthers should have a selection in stock.  BL Hobb Products is the company that packaged and sold this stuff to modelers. BUt I think they got bought out by another company.  I did a Google search and there is some of their 0.020" fiber listed on eBay here.
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C855B

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2018, 05:51:18 PM »
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I use Circuitron fiber optic in 0.030" and 0.040". MBK carries it under "lighting". They also have 0.020" and 0.060". I polish the end with 5000-grit sandpaper.
...mike

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mu26aeh

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2018, 05:52:31 PM »
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I use Circuitron fiber optic in 0.030" and 0.040". MBK carries it under "lighting". They also have 0.020" and 0.060". I polish the end with 5000-grit sandpaper.

I was just going to post same thing.  I have a roll of it and have used it in both of my CF7 builds

peteski

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2018, 06:40:27 PM »
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I use Circuitron fiber optic in 0.030" and 0.040". MBK carries it under "lighting". They also have 0.020" and 0.060". I polish the end with 5000-grit sandpaper.

Yeah, Circuitron - that's the other company. Maybe they were the ones that bought out BL Hobby products? Regardless, yes, they are good source for several diameters of plastic optical fibers.  Walthers also carries their products.  I also sometimes find these at online electronic surplus dealers (like All Electronics, Electronic Goldmine, and also at the American Science and Surplus site).
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narrowminded

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2018, 07:15:16 PM »
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The thin fiber optic at a prescribed size is the way to go but in a pinch you can hold acrylic rod over a heat source, warm it and stretch it until you get a piece that's thin enough.  You're only after 300 degrees F or so, so go slowly. 8)
Mark G.

Joetrain59

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2018, 07:22:08 PM »
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I was able to get thinner rod at Ain, but that's moot now. I think I have a few small pieces stashed somewhere. I do have some Fibre optic cable I got from Ain, but I thinks it's glass. Bunch of hair like strands bundled into a thicker diameter. Has anyone used thick fishing line? Need lenses for a twin beam headlight. I can always use krystal kleer maybe. Thanks for info so far.
 Joe D

narrowminded

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2018, 08:04:56 PM »
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These guys advertise .25mm (.010") strands.  50' for $5.  That should be enough to do a few. 8)

https://thefiberopticstore.com/25mm-single-strand-filament/
Mark G.

Joetrain59

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2018, 11:00:10 PM »
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Think I'm going to go with Circuitron FO from MBK. I might just test krystal kleer in a bit to see how it looks. I can always drill it out.
 Thank you so much, learned of more usable products.
  Run trains, have fun.
 Joe D

peteski

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2018, 01:08:48 AM »
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Think I'm going to go with Circuitron FO from MBK. I might just test krystal kleer in a bit to see how it looks. I can always drill it out.
 Thank you so much, learned of more usable products.
  Run trains, have fun.
 Joe D

Fiber optics (plastic and glass) are more than just a glass or plastic rod.  There is an outside sheathing with a different refractive index to prevent the light from escaping from the fiber.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_fiber
But for the purpose of a very short conduit like you'll be using, a simple piece of any clear material will work fine.

Like others have mentioned, I think that 0.030" is the right diameter for typical sealed beam headlight lens in a diesel loco.
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C855B

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2018, 01:18:45 AM »
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FWIW, I used to use 0.030", but after researching discovered that 0.040" is closer for modern (post-1960?) diesel-era sealed beams. It turns out that RR sealed beams are PAR-56, or 7". PAR-46 (5.75") was common earlier, so 0.030" would be good there.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 01:22:45 AM by C855B »
...mike

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Joetrain59

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2018, 01:46:16 AM »
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I ordered .30, and .40.  Need to keep the parts box full! ;)

Atlas doesn't seem to have loco parts diagrams on their new site, do they? I had to replace the lightboard on RS1 I'm working on, as LED was dead. They only have resistors, no diodes or caps. Running loco forward, the rear LED will flicker. Don't know if Atlas upgraded the board, as part # has been same for years, and no pic on their site.
 Thanks,
 Joe D

dougnelson

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2018, 04:50:33 AM »
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I have created my own fiber optic conductor from clear plastic sprue. I use a candle to heat a center section and then pull to stretch to the desired thickness.

MK

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2018, 08:13:22 AM »
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Atlas doesn't seem to have loco parts diagrams on their new site, do they?

You mean this?  https://shop.atlasrr.com/t-partsdiagrams.aspx

Joetrain59

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Re: Source for clear plastic rod for headlights?
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2018, 01:48:43 PM »
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Yes, MK. where did you find that on the new site?
 Thank you,
 Joe D