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want to experiment with fiberoptic position markers

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wilser, Jan 3, 2005.


  1. I have been wanting to experiment with fiberoptics for quite a while now. I've searched the net looking for information on what type to use (there are so many different sizes and specs that it'll drive you crazy). Only thing I've come up with is that people use plastic.

    Has anybody successfully tried anything like this?

    JP, can you hear me? ;)

    Thanks,
    Wilser
     
  2. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I use .5mm unjacketed clear from fiberopticproducts.com. Other people use larger but I like the tight bends you can make with the smaller fiber.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Scott, those LED's are TIGHT! One of these days i am going to HAVE to come check out yer shop.
     
  4. scott,
    indeed they are very nice, I'm amazed at how big they look when lit up being so small and all.

    Could you describe the process you use for installing? what kind of LEDs do you use for lighting the fibers up? do you power the led circuit from the same battery that powers the preamp or a separate one?


    Maybe pics of the installation process?

    Thanks.
     
  5. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I don't have any install pictures. I just routed a channel on the bass side of the fingerboard, drilled some very small holes into the channel from the side of the neck where I wanted the dots to be, ran the fibers through the fingerboard into a cavity on the body and put an LED in front of them. I've used the LEDs that fiberopticproducts.com sells as well as some others that I can't remember where I got. I have pulled power from the preamp but it made a pop sound when the lights turned on and off so I wasn't down for that. Now I use a separate battery. You just have to match up the right kind of battery to the kind of LED you are using. There is probably a better way to do with with the output jack turning the lights on and off noiselessly but I haven't got that far yet. I may look into it but lately I am leaning away from doing anymore of these installations. I'm not crazy about taking wood out of the neck area if I can help it.
     
  6. as for the pop you can put a resistor in parallel with the switch. I forget how to connect it, but you can probably google it up.
     
  7. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Just to add something-----> if yur planning on experimenting with these fiber optics, DO NOT use CA or superglue to glue the fiber optics to wood, etc.. I know from experience! Ruined my whole experiment! I believe you should use epoxy or something. the CA glue just disintegrated the glass optics.......so i had like 3 or 4 dots out of the 10 or so along the side of the board light up, and that was it! :crying: hehehehehe
    live and learn.
     
  8. All the fiber available at the place above is plastic, which could explain the melting with other glues. In looking around it appears very little other than high end stuff is made of glass anymore.
    But thanks for the heads up on that JSP, nothing beats first hand knowledge, especially problem ones. :)
    Dirk
     
  9. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    You have to be careful no matter what glue you use, they will break with epoxy as well. I have used super glue with decent results, just have to be really careful.
     
  10. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    so most fiber optics these days are 'plastic' of some sort?? That's good to know. Didn't feel, cut, or just seem like plastic to me, but I know nothing about it really. Perhaps I just used too much superglue.........good to hear you've used it with success Scott. I'm sure I'll try my hand at it again in the future, there's a lot left on my spool of the stuff!
     
  11. Yeah I was very intruiged by this subject and have yet to do one, but this site provided some very good information.
    http://www.fiberopticproducts.com/
    Good reading and a lot of options.
    Thank goodness I like to research things I don't know. :) And thank goodness for the net! And of course TB!
    Dirk
     
  12. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Any good how-to's on the install of the fiber? Any ideas for a jig to cut the channel reliably would really help. As well as what would work best of fill it with. I plan on doing this to a friends guitar, and I will be using thinner pearloid dots as diffusers. These will be going on the front of the fingerboard.
     
  13. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I cut the channel using the same setup I use to cut the truss rod slot. Table mounted router.
     
  14. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    very cool. Do you try and get the neck really straight before you run it through? After taking off the strings, the backbow must be adjusted, right? I am planning on doing this very soon to a friends guitar, and I want to be fully prepared. I'll first be buying a cheap neck from RondoMusic to experiment on, but I still want to keep mistakes to an absolute minimum. Thanks for the help!
     
  15. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I did all this during the building stage. I have no idea how to do it to a finished a guitar and probably wouldnt get myself into that kind of project honestly.
     
  16. Hmm, CA and epoxy melting the fibers, that's very good to know beforehand! So, Scott F. How did you avoid the melting, how is it that you were 'careful'? Do you just insert the fiber and put a drop of glue? do you do it on the outside or the inside part of the hole? DETAILS, DAMN IT! ;) :hyper:
     
  17. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I never actually saw CA melt the fiber, only make it stiffer and therefor unalbe to bend. I did use very little so maybe that is why there was no melting. Anyway, if the fiber can't bend well it will surely break sometime between installing it into the fingerboard and gluing the fingerboard to the neck. That is where I was very careful... but my point was you need to be very careful anyway because they CAN break even if you use epoxy. Re drilling or popping those little glued in fibers out of a tiny hole is not fun.
     
  18. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    I use 5-minute epoxy and so far have had no problems.
     
  19. arcobigj

    arcobigj

    Sep 14, 2004
    Easley, SC
    Would it be benificial to route the fiber through the truss rod channel, or would this impeed the action of the rod?
    abj
     
  20. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    If the truss rod were adjusted, it would probably crush the fiber; if it didn't crush it, it would probably hang up the truss rod. Either way, I'd rout a shallow channel on the underside of the fretboard. The size of the fiber is really small, I don't think it would need to be any more than 3/64 deep. Scott, can you confirm?