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One of the most useful characteristics of fibre optic lighting is the ability to create many individual points of light from a single light source, and this is of particular value in signage. We’ve all seen neon signs which are spoilt by a missing letter, the result of a failed tube or other electrical component. Similarly, while LEDs may be the lighting of the future, one all too often sees cases where a display is ruined by premature failure of one or more individual LEDs.

With fibre optics it’s an all or nothing deal – either everything is working or everything isn’t. So, as long as your light source is functioning there is no problem with the individual points of light, and no need ever to worry about access to those end points for maintenance purposes.

Hundreds of optical fibres illuminate this sign, lit by just a single halogen light source. Each glowing point is an acrylic end fitting with an optical fibre.

As a rule we advise against the use of end fittings, since so much of our optical fibre products end up in star ceilings where bare fibre ends are best, but in this instance the uniform, larger spots of light produced by terminating each fibre in a lensed acrylic end fitting were exactly what was required.

Seen from the rear, during assembly. Each glowing point has its own individual optical fibre carrying light from the halogen light source.

The artwork supplied by our client, the Sandygate House Hotel in South Yorkshire, as part of the decor for an Elvis-themed bar, showed the individual light points, so we simply reproduced this on an mdf panel, drilling a 7mm hole for each of the acrylic end fittings. The optical fibre end is pushed through a little rubber bung which is then inserted into the hollow shaft at the back of the end fitting. As the tapered bung is pushed into the fitting it compresses so as to secure the fibre in place.

For added security the fibres could also be sealed using silicone or perhaps our Simsons acrylic adhesive. In these photos, taken during assembly, we were simply using a halogen light source with no twinkle or colour wheel fitted, but one of advantages of fibre optics is the ability to introduce colour effects. In this case a simple halogen light source was chosen, but we can also offer DMX light sources which offer a wider range of colour change effects and also strobing effects.