For this project we will create a "fiber optic" rainbow archway using glue sticks and a NeoPixel LED dot strand. The NeoPixels hidden beneath the glue sticks guide the light in a curved path away from the LEDs. Because each glue stick connects two different NeoPixels, they are able to mix colors in the center, allowing tons of different color combinations to be achieved.

You can make neat sculptures with light effects!

This guide demonstrates how to make, assemble, and code your own glue-stick-fiber-optic art piece, demonstrating how to control the speed, color, and interactive potential of the light display, as well as alternative glue stick arrangements. 

Fiber Optic...-ish

Fiber optic cables work by virtue of a unique property called "total internal reflection", allowing them to carry huge amounts of information in the form of light almost losslessly. Glue sticks do not make good substitutes for fiber optic cable because they do not have total internal reflection, rather they act like light pipes, both scattering and reflecting light that enters them. This does, however, make them great light diffusers, which suits this project just fine. 

Electronics

Circuit Playground Express is the next step towards a perfect introduction to electronics and programming. We've taken the original Circuit Playground Classic and...
$24.95
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This here is your standard A to micro-B USB cable, for USB 1.1 or 2.0. Perfect for connecting a PC to your Metro, Feather, Raspberry Pi or other dev-board or...
$2.95
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Attaching NeoPixel strips to your costume can be a struggle as the flexible PCBs can crack when bent too much. So how to add little dots of color? Use these stranded NeoPixel dots!...
$27.50
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This battery holder connects 3 AAA batteries together in series for powering all kinds of projects. We spec'd these out because the box is slim, and 3 AAA's add up to about...
$1.95
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Or, for a rechargeable version:

Need a big battery for your project? This lithium ion battery contains a 2200mAh and a protection circuit that provides over-voltage, under-voltage and over-current protection. Yet, it...
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Oh so adorable, this is the tiniest little lipo charger, so handy you can keep it any project box! Its also easy to use. Simply plug in the gold plated contacts into any USB port and a...
$5.95
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Other Materials

For this project you will need:

  • Scrap corrugated cardboard
  • Scissors and/or box cutter
  • Hot glue sticks (10 inches long x 0.44 inches wide is ideal)
  • Laser cutter + acrylic (optional)

This guide was first published on Jan 29, 2019. It was last updated on Jan 29, 2019.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Apr 10, 2021.

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