Light pipe is very cool stuff. It transmits light along its length, like fiber optic cable, but it also "leaks" light along the way, causing the entire length of tubing to light up when a bright light is shined into one end. It can be easily cut to length with a pair of scissors or a knife and by using a piece of shrink-tube to attach a super bright LED to one end, you can produce an EL-like effect.
Light pipe is great for decorative applications, you could even sew it into an e-textile project. It's also a good way to 're-route' an indicator light that's buried inside an enclosure, so that it's visible on the surface. Putting different colored LEDs at either end produces some very cool effects as well!
This is a 5 foot length of 6mm diameter light pipe. This light pipe has a white core that reflects light out and makes it visible in slightly brighter conditions. It can be easily connected to a basic 5mm LED with a length of shrink tubing or some tape. This works great with our super bright LEDs.
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I'm in a technology/design graduate program, and I've been satisfied with everything I have purchased from Sparkfun, except for this item.
I got excited when I saw this item for sale, as I'm working on a project it would be perfect for -- if it worked as advertised. It was on sale, so I impulsively purchased 30 feet (6 5-foot lengths). When it arrived, I tried using it with the super bright blue LEDs I had purchased previously from sparkfun (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/529) taped to one end, as recommended. The light only ran a few inches down one of the 5 foot lengths of light pipe.
Was hoping to use this for a project, but it simply does not work well enough for any application I can imagine. Would've be great if sparkfun had specified how far the LED light will penetrate. That way, I could've avoided a completely useless purchase.
Fortunately, it looks like I should be able to return what I purchased due to the 90-day return policy.