Customer project 70 - Very high density star ceiling in dining room

This was a project, which involved prolonged discusssions with customers Chris and Lindsey B before a final specification was agreed upon. The plan was to add some WOW! factor to an already stylish dining room, and it was clear from the outset that half measures were not going to be acceptable.

The proposed star field was to be 5.4 metres by 2.6 metres, for a total area of a bit under 15 square metres. The Tyneside-based couple drove up to Starscape to see some examples of star ceilings in place and agreed that a high star density was going to be required to create the sort of look they wanted.

Starscape priced up a few options and in the end Chris and Lindsey decided to go for a scheme with a star density of around 100 per square metre with a total of 1500 fibres in mixed diameters. This is a very significantly higher density than what the average customer wants, although there are a couple of other very high density installations among the recent projects on this site.

In some areas of the ceiling the optical fibres compete for space with pipes and wiring
Competing for space with central heating pipework and electric cables, the 1500 fibres converge in one corner of the room above the dining room to connect to the two halogen light sources which are located in the bottom of a built-in wardrobe. Floorboards had to be lifted to allow access to the ceiling of the room below. Click for another view which shows the light sources (silver-grey boxes). The ends of the bundles of fibres are temporarily wrapped in black insulating tape which will be removed when the harnesses are terminated.

What's more, it was established that the two light sources required for the job would have to go in a cupboard in one corner of the bedroom above the dining room, resulting in an increased average fibre length.

Given the scale of the work, and the money invested in the project, Chris decided that spending a bit more to have some Starscape involvement in the actual installation would make sense. So Starscape technician David Constantine was tasked to spend a couple of days on site.

Chris had already lifted the floorboards in the room above, and drilled a series of holes in the exposed joists to allow passage of the many bundles of fibre which David brought to the site, but initial progress was slow - courtesy of the congestion in some bays, where the fibres had to be fitted in and around densely packed pipes and wires.

Then, to add insult to injury, it was discovered that there were actually two layers of plasterboard, rather than just one, and this slowed down the rate of installation.

However, the two persevered, and by the end of the first day a large part of the ceiling downstairs was festooned with dangling fibres.

Dangling optical fibres show that progress is being made.
David temporarily illuminated the dangling fibres just to lift spirits at the end of the first day's work on the star ceiling.

Work continued on a second day, and by the end of this all of the stars were in place and David gathered the 1500 fibres into two bundles to make up the harness terminations which would interface with the light sources.

Chris was left to do the final part of the project himself and e-mailed a few days later with photos of the finished job.

"We are over the moon with the finished effect!" he wrote. "Quite a lot of hard work but worth it in the end. Thanks for all your time and advice, I could not have done it without you!"

1500 fibre optic stars make an impressive display on this dining room ceiling
A mixture of fibre diameters helps to give depth to this impressive display of 1500 fibre optic stars. Star layout was by Starscape's David Constantine - note the clusters of stars and occasional empty patch of "sky". LED light sources give a very nice quality of white light in the stars. Click the image for a larger version of this photo or here for another perspective.

For our part, we're very glad to have been able to help in this ambitious project, which has more stars than a dozen of our entry-level Orion kits, running off just two 5 watt LEDs.

With the lights off the 1500 stars in this fibre optic display show up to best effect
With a star density as high as this, you really can come close to creating a real night sky simulation.



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