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Author Topic: How to light up a sphere?  (Read 1309 times)

Offline greg

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How to light up a sphere?
« on: March 09, 2017, 10:17:13 pm »
Last night I started tinkering with a model I have some spare parts for, drilling out the spare parts for the engines to see how it could light up. It's the R9-A Arrowhead from R-Type Final by PLUM. It's not a cheap kit, so I'm glad I happen to have those spare parts to screw around with.

ANYHOW, the ship comes with a big force orb, about the size of a tennis ball. It is a semi-transparent orangish plastic ball that comes in two halves. What type of LED would give a light in nearly every direction? There's an online shop here in Japan that sells these neat little diffuser caps that fit onto the bulb. I was thinking about getting some just to tinker around with because they are so cheap.

Would a butterfly LED be better? Those seem to shine in all directions.

Offline SergeantHobo

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2017, 11:04:00 pm »
My first thought would be 4 smd LED's, one under each of the "arms" (or whatever they are) connected to the globe.



Offline greg

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2017, 11:11:45 pm »
Hey, good idea! So how about maybe I coat the inside (or outside?) with a matte clear coat to help diffuse and hide the wires, and install four LEDs with those diffuser caps.

For wiring, I should use magnet wires, don't you think? I should also put the wiring in serial instead of parallel, in order to prevent it from getting cluttered inside.

Offline madmonk

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2017, 01:38:53 am »
I'd go with Matt varnish on the inside to diffuse.

If you wire in series you run the risk of loosing all the lights if one fails, you need to bring 2 wires from each arm in to the body which ever way you do it, if the arms are hollow you can hide the resistors in there.

Offline Macupar

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2017, 05:52:49 am »
This sphere does not attach to the ship so all of the electronics have to stay inside the sphere, right?

Offline SergeantHobo

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2017, 10:07:39 am »
Okay, I found a video of someone un-boxing one of these kits and see that the orb is pre-colored orange and comes in two halves.  Another thought that I had was to place an LED or two inside of a white Styrofoam ball (like those used at craft stores for fake flower arranging).  The Styrofoam would act as a diffuser and could give a hot-spot style effect similar to the picture below.  You would have to experiment.





Also saw something about a ping-pong ball diffuser in Google.





And here is a Fairy in a jar utilizing the Styrofoam ball method (I would put the LED a little deeper into the ball)



« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 10:23:38 am by SergeantHobo »

Offline Macupar

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2017, 04:40:55 pm »
The foam ball was something I was going to suggest. With the orb part being separate from the ship, you will need to find a way to install and hide the power supply and an on/off switch as well.

Offline greg

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2017, 09:35:19 pm »
Thanks for the ideas, guys. I'll pass on the styrofoam. This is essentially a huge ping pong ball. Yesterday I bought some wide-angle SMDs that I can probably wire up in a series and have them all lighting up the inside. I will spray the inside with flat clear (and probably add some flat base to the flat clear to make it nice and frosty). I'll also sand the outside with 1200 grit to diffuse it more.

I am interested in doing these SMDs in serial so that I can reduce the amount of wiring going between these SMDs. If one fails, I should be able to pop open the ball and work on it if possible. The instructions say that the orb's arms are to be glued into the holes in the ball, but I think it may be possible to attach them to just one half. I'll need to put some parts together and do a test fit. Who knows? If I can accomplish good light diffusion, perhaps I'll only need two SMDs and I could make them parallel instead.

I love you guys' ideas. This is fun. I am currently working on lighting up the old MPC Rebel Base's ships. It's my first ever lit kit. I'm also tinkering around with a Revell BSG Cylon Raider. Lighting kits used to intimidate me, but now the challenge is exciting me.

Offline LynnInDenver

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2017, 08:40:06 am »
My husband put together that very same kit (he's a huge shmup fan), and I rigged up some lighting using a strip of LED tape in amber. I still need to fit some translucent white bits I have inside that ball to help spread the light around.

Offline greg

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2017, 07:19:24 pm »
Hi Lynn,
Thanks for the input! Did you stick the LED tape onto the inside of the ball? Wouldn't that create a weird shadow? If you have any pics to share, it would be greatly appreciated! As I mentioned, I am new to all of this.

The engine bells were pretty easy to rig with 3mm LEDs. The inside diamater in the center is exactly 2.5mm, so I drilled them out with my pinvise. Then I used the 3mm head to drill up from the back until just before it broke through. Then I was able to shave off the bell end of the LEDs to fit them inside. I also am thinking that I might light up the cockpit with a few .5mm fiber optics. If I could drill out a center console and stick some clear plastic in the hole from behind, I might insert a UV LED to shine onto the pilot. I have some reflective paint from Gaia Notes for the Blue Steel Arpeggio model kits line (good luck finding Gaia Notes paints outside of Japan/Asia). I think I'll use reflective yellow for the pilot's harness and reflective blue for the helmet's visor. Unfortunately, the pilot is very blocky, almost like a Lego or something. I want to file down the arms at least to make him look more natural.

Offline LynnInDenver

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2017, 09:13:57 pm »
I just put four small lengths of the tape along the parts of the mechanics that wrap around the ball, along the seam, so they should remain fairly hidden and not cast any shadows inside.

Offline greg

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2017, 02:16:45 am »
Hey, WOW. Has anyone seen an LED like this? It's called a Xeon 3 Power Pure White Star LED and it has a 180 degree shine area.

Offline greg

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2017, 12:55:46 am »

Offline greg

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2017, 10:45:32 pm »
I've started building this model. I started a thread of the build here.

Offline greg

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Re: How to light up a sphere?
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2017, 10:23:49 pm »
I did it!

 




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