How to Make a Fiber Optic Lamp

Fiber optics transmit light through flexible cables.

A special kind of flexible fiber that carries light from one end to the other, fiber optics have a myriad of uses, both practical and aesthetic. Fiber optic lamps have become more popular in recent years as decorative items in homes and businesses. Existing in all forms from small, bedside lamps to massive fiber optic chandeliers, this form of lighting has proven attractive to various customers. While some models remain expensive, you can create one from home cheaply.

  • Bundle of fiber optic cables
  • Acrylic base
  • Light source
  • Lighter
  • Scissors
  • Superglue

1 Creating a Fiber Optic Lamp

2 Trim the individual fibers

Trim the individual fibers to the desired length using the scissors. Gather the fibers together into a bundle, assembling them into their preferred form. Arrange the fibers so they all retain the same length at the bottom of the bundle and create a relatively flat surface.

3 Firmly grasping the bundle

Firmly grasping the bundle, take a lighter or other heat source and carefully melt the bottom of the fibers into a smooth surface. Hold for a few minutes, and set the bundle down on a safe surface to allow the melted fiber optic cables to finish cooling.

Clean and dry the surface of the acrylic base. Glue the smooth bottom end of the fiber optic bundle to the acrylic base. Hold firmly in place for a few minutes until the superglue dries completely.

Take the base and set it atop a light source. The light will illuminate the base and travel through the fiber optic cables to create an aesthetically-pleasing fiber optic lamp.

  • -Avoid the ultra-tiny fibers. While smaller cables make better quality lamps, some fiber optics are incredibly tiny. The smallest fibers can puncture your skin and may even require surgical removal. The tiny scraps from cutting can also get into your eyes and damage them.
  • -Exercise caution when you melt the ends of the fiber optic cables together. The melted bits of cable and the flame itself can cause severe burns and you should handle both with care.
  • -Instead of just melting the ends of the cables together indiscriminately, you can make the lamp more luminous by melting the ends together in short columns of individual fibers. Then melt the columns together to create a square-shaped bottom. Called a "light pipe," this setup transmits light more efficiently.
  • -The smaller the fiber optic cables you use, the higher quality light your lamp will transmit.
  • -You may apply a translucent colored screen to the bottom of the acrylic base to make your fiber optic lamp shine with colored light. Alternately, you may use a light source with colored light.

Amanda Holden has more than 17 years of professional writing experience. She is trained in computer programming and computer repair, and currently holds a Bachelor of Science in physics and geology with a minor in computer science. She is pursuing her PhD at a major university. Holden writes for various websites on subjects such as computer science, technical specifications, education, science and math.