Prototyping With Light PIpes
Printable transparent materials open new possibilities for rapid prototyping of optical applications.
Now we can consider how to use and operate light in 3D printed parts.
A light tube, sometimes referred to as a guide tube or light tube, is a physical component used to purposefully redirect or transmit light from a light source to the desired location.
The application of this concept ranges from redirecting natural light to home and physical structures without direct sunlight to providing remote LED lighting in electronic components.
In this guide, we will consider the practical application of 3D printing optics: LED light tubes.
Let\'s take a look at a common application of light tubes in consumer goods, a \"mini\" light tube for guiding light mounted on a standard 5mm LED mounted on a printed circuit board to the user interface.
In order to study the best materials for 3D printing optical tubes, we will print the optical tubes using 3 different material samples: first, let\'s discuss some important considerations in optics and design.
For angles greater than the critical angle, a total internal reflection occurs inside the glass, because the light is reflected to the inner surface of the medium.
When the light is fully internally reflected along the path of the light through the light tube, the light can move from the light source to the desired target, which is eventually reflected and used in your application.
Note that when light travels from medium with higher optical density to medium with lower optical density respectively, total internal reflection occurs.
In our case, we will demonstrate 3D printed plastic tubes in the air.
Because the plastic we use in the light tube has a higher optical density than the air, we can expect some total internal reflection to occur and let the light tube work!
When designing a system that takes advantage of the light tube, your goal is usually to use the light provided by your light source
In this case, an LED
Be as efficient as possible.
In other words, you want to minimize the loss of light that will occur between your light source and the Observer.
To do this, first make sure you capture as much Source light as you can in your application.
One way to accomplish this task at a minimum cost is to close your light source in a light tube structure so that as much light as possible leaves the light source, it will be \"captured\" by the light tube \".
A more powerful but probably less practical approach is to concentrate resources
Use the lens to shoot the light into the tube structure.
Next, you will want to make sure that the \"pipe\" section of the light tube reflects as much as possible.
This is because you want to maximize the total internal reflection of the light along its path, allowing as little light as possible to pass through the medium along its trajectory.
Of course, you will want to deliver as much light as possible to the air at the end of the light tube.
To do this, you want to minimize the amount of internal reflected light at the tip of the light tube.
This can be achieved by selectively changing the outlet surface.
This will produce many random directional critical angles relative to the internal reflected light, increasing the amount of light that spreads from the light tube.
Think of the exit as a \"selective leak\" of light, and you actually want to minimize the internal reflection.
The first material sample we tested was a transparent unfinished material light tube.
The transparent material is printed a little turbid and has less internal reflection than the other two samples.
Although this sample is more blurry than the other two, it still provides bright and even glowing when lit with our red LED.
The second material sample for the test consists of the same transparent material, but is completed with two materials
Partial polyurethane coating.
The coating produces a more uniform diffusion mode, providing a softer lighting effect than observed in the unfinished assembly.
This is because the finish creates an optical boundary that causes the light to spread more evenly on the coating surface when the light leaves the tube.
The final sample tested in the series is the Acura 60 material, printed very clearly.
So when illuminated with our LED, the Acura 60 light tube provides more mirror reflection, resulting in a halo
Just like the light emitted from the light tube is reflected from the nearby surface.
This unique effect was not observed in two other transparent material samples.
We observed unique results for all three samples.
The maximum difference in results was observed between the unfinished transparent and Acura 60 samples.
The finished transparent sample provides the final result in the following time
Between the Acura 60 and the unfinished transparent material.
As mentioned earlier, the total internal reflection phenomenon depends on whether the inner surface of the optical tube is smooth and non-smooth.
Make the internal light from the LED fully reflected.
In fact, the diffusion of light is exactly why it is able to leave the tube, because the light is reflected at a random angle less than the critical angle.
Since our 3D printed parts are created in layers, the internal surface of our light tube is not as smooth and crystalline as it is in polyurethane parts or made by casting polyurethane parts, this may be the case with the final production of parts.
Based on our results, we recommend the use of transparent materials and polyurethane-
Create the finished surface of the light tube in the prototype.
I don\'t think the result is as spectacular as ac song 60, which is a more cost-effective way because the ac song 60 material is quite expensive.
Go to Acura 60 if you really need a more clear, highlights look and are willing to spend extra money.