• Homemade Dwarf Signal Light

    Here is a drawing of my idea. It is not to0 scale so some proportions are off buyt the idea is there. I would first pant the LED, to aid reflectivity. Then finish with black or silver. the hoods are usually black.
    No bending of the leads needed The tube would be cut on an angle then cut off the end. With a little practice this l become easy. file thee face to make it flat. You can flatten the back as well. Do not file or sand to deep as you will destroy the LEGlue the hood on with AC. The AC will smooth the surface. Paint, install and you're done.
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...0&d=1299443251
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Homemade Dwarf Signal Light started by Sleeper View original post
    Comments 60 Comments
    1. ChicagoNW's Avatar
      ChicagoNW -
      It's great to see an idea turn out.
      Now remember I get 20% of any sales as I came up with the design.
    1. Sleeper's Avatar
      Sleeper -
      Ok I just made another one only this time I used a primer and then black flat paint. The paint is still wet, but I think it was an improvement. The only thing is getting the hoods the same uniform size. I still have to work that out. Also it will look a lot shorter with ballast under them.
    1. Sleeper's Avatar
      Sleeper -
      Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
      It's great to see an idea turn out.
      Now remember I get 20% of any sales as I came up with the design.
      You got it buddy, but itís so easy I donít think Iíll be selling them.
    1. TwinDad's Avatar
      TwinDad -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
      You got it buddy, but it’s so easy I don’t think I’ll be selling them.
      Did you read Post #30?

    1. Sleeper's Avatar
      Sleeper -
      Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
      Did you read Post #30?

      Oh I must have missed that one. I donít know Iíll tell you after I finish the 44 that I got left to do. Hopefully after I figure out a jig to do them a little faster and get them done as soon as I can. It was already pretty fast, but much of it was looking for the paint and the coffee stirrers.
    1. ranulf's Avatar
      ranulf -
      What size LED is that, the 3mm??? And what is the diameter of the coffee stirrer?

      That looks so good I think I will have to try it for myself!
    1. Sleeper's Avatar
      Sleeper -
      Quote Originally Posted by ranulf View Post
      What size LED is that, the 3mm??? And what is the diameter of the coffee stirrer?

      That looks so good I think I will have to try it for myself!
      Yes it is 3mm and Iím not sure what size the stirrer is but it fits in my .120Ē drill index.

      The hardest part is cutting the stirrer. I have a pretty sharp knife, but if you put pressure on it the stirrer collapses and the cut comes out uneven. Also the tiny pieces have a tendency to take off as soon as the knife cuts through.

      Iím going to try heating the blade with a candle or maybe a propane torch. I do know that when I first tried heating up a knife on the stove I got it too hot and the straw melted quick and uncontrollable, so maybe a candle or just a little heat from a propane torch might do the trick. I havenít tried the torch yet but I might try it tomorrow.
    1. seanm's Avatar
      seanm -
      Tape off one end and fill them with water and freeze them standing up in a glass or something.... then you can cut them while they are full of frozen water... Might work?!
    1. Sleeper's Avatar
      Sleeper -
      Quote Originally Posted by seanm View Post
      Tape off one end and fill them with water and freeze them standing up in a glass or something.... then you can cut them while they are full of frozen water... Might work?!
      That’s a great idea. My wife was thinking spaghetti, but it just didn’t set right with me.
      I’m going to fill these straws right now. Thanks
    1. Sleeper's Avatar
      Sleeper -
      Well getting the water into the straws was an ordeal.
      I had sealed one side with hot glue then turned it upside down in a tall glass of water, but the water would not go in so I had to cut off the sealed ends and fill them with water first then seal them with the hot glue. I quickly puled them out of the water and turned them over again in an empty glass. They are now in the freezer and I find out how it works tomorrow.
    1. Jazzbass01's Avatar
      Jazzbass01 -
      I really like what you're doing here!! I fully intend to steal errr... borrow this.
    1. ike8120's Avatar
      ike8120 -
      I make my signals using the landing gear strap a bicolor LEDs both in 2 wire and 3 wire. The hood is made from brass tubing cut on a 45 deg . Can also use plastic tubing. http://www.aglasshalffull.org/articl...e-signals.html
    1. Michael Whiteman's Avatar
      Michael Whiteman -
      This idea you presented here Chicago is absolutely impressive. Two thumbs up for sure. I would have never thought that enough light would come off the side of a LED to be conviencing. Boy was I wrong. Thank you Johnny for posting these great photos. With ballast around the base, these are a very acceptable size. You might try roughing up the LED with sandpaper to make the paint stick better. But not the lens area. This is such a great site. There are so many talented people here.
    1. Michael Whiteman's Avatar
      Michael Whiteman -
      Johnny, did you try cutting the straw with sissors or a single edge razor blade? Is there a wood dowel anywhere close the ID of the straw? How about nylon tubing or better yet find some wire that will fit snuggly inside the tube. Strip the wire out of it and reinsert the insulation. Now the straw will stay round while you cut it off using sissors.
    1. Michael Whiteman's Avatar
      Michael Whiteman -
      Attachment 12694 Attachment 12695 Attachment 12696 Here's a couple of dwarfs Johnny. This old style has all but disappeared out west on the BNSF
    1. Sleeper's Avatar
      Sleeper -
      Quote Originally Posted by Michael Whiteman View Post
      Johnny, did you try cutting the straw with sissors or a single edge razor blade? Is there a wood dowel anywhere close the ID of the straw? How about nylon tubing or better yet find some wire that will fit snuggly inside the tube. Strip the wire out of it and reinsert the insulation. Now the straw will stay round while you cut it off using sissors.
      Scissors donít work because the pieces are so small that they crush real easy.
      Iím using my brand new razor hobby knife, but Iím a little disappointed. I think I have some box cutter razorblades around her. Maybe Iíll try those.

      I do have some wire with insulation that is big enough, but I thought I might dull the knife blade and since I have so many to do, I was holding off.

      The straws are frozen solid now and I was just getting ready to give it a try, but I think Iíll look for those razorblades first.

      And thanks for the photos.
    1. ScottL's Avatar
      ScottL -
      Just catching up on this thread. Excellent ideas and solutions (as always!). I'm definitely going to try this- much easier than fiber optics.

      Cheers
    1. REM37411's Avatar
      REM37411 -
      Yeah, this took a turn I wasn't expecting but what a great idea! And it looks VERY proto also! Things like this make people want to do that to their own layout even when they had no plans whatsoever! I'm anxious to see how it turns out.
    1. Sleeper's Avatar
      Sleeper -
      The ice didnít work because it melted before I could get two cut. I then tried stuffing jute in but that made too much of a mess. So I just started sawing the straw with a razorblade.

      I was making great progress until I realized that none of them were the same size so I made a jig by drilling a hole to fit the straw then cutting the hole in two so that I could see the straw. The walls of the hole also support the walls of the straw.

    1. ranulf's Avatar
      ranulf -
      That's awesome! You'll e done in no time now.

      Those look like the same stirrers they give out at Car's Jr.....