Looking closely, you’ll see nOOds have a front face comprised of a milky white silicone diffuser, and a back face that’s somewhat transparent. The two faces aren’t always perfectly balanced, but close enough for most tasks.

Dimensions

Allow ± a couple percent for normal manufacturing variances, but in general nOOds are…

  • 300 millimeters long from tip to tip, including the end connector tabs
  • The illuminated section is about 285 mm long
  • Exposed portions of end connector tabs are about 5 mm long
  • Cross-section is not perfectly circular; about 1.7 mm wide, 1.9 mm tall

Bend Limits

nOOds have an internal structure, with distinct per-axis bend radii. Think of it like a tiny folding ladder…one axis can fold any which way, the other is unyielding.

In the front-to-back direction, nOOds can be fully pinched; the minimum bend radius is equal to the nOOds’ radius, about 1 mm. That might be pushing it, but it’s possible.

On the torsional axis (twisting), nOOds tolerate a full 360° twist about every 25 mm or 1 inch. Less twisting is always better. Too much and you might see individual LEDs pop off inside!

In the side-to-side direction…nOOds can’t and shouldn’t bend! The trick here is to apply a mix of torsion and front-to-back bending. Imagine a banked turn on a racetrack or highway…it’s a little like that.

Thus, to achieve the most intricate shapes with the tightest bends, nOOds would ideally be installed sideways. But as explained above, the front and back faces aren’t always perfectly balanced in brightness. From any reasonable distance, probably unnoticeable. Tradeoffs!

Durability

nOOds’ flexibility makes them a delight to noodle around with. But they’re not engineered for infinite noodling. Like any physical thing, they stand a chance of eventually wearing out. We don’t know exactly what that limit is or how to characterize it, but it’s likely a function of bend radius, flexing duty cycle and some luck.

For maximum lifespan, treat these exactly as you would EL wire or flex LED strips: bend them to a shape once and affix them to a solid support.

Realistically, you can probably work these into costumes and other gently-bendable items that see infrequent use (gloves, outerwear), and they might last the lifetime of the item.

If a situation demands frequent, tight flexing, then plan for these to eventually wear out, and design for quick replacement: perhaps pluggable ferrule connectors on the ends, or screw terminals, or just accessible solder points.

Prototyping with nOOds

The metal tabs on the ends of nOOds are too slim to make good contact with breadboards. It might work for a quick test, but for anything more involved will test your patience.

Easiest for quick prototyping is alligator clips, such as these gator-to-jumper wires in packs of 6 or 12.

For something better shielded from metal items on your work table, solder breadboard-friendly wires onto the ends, apply a little heat-shrink if you like. You can color-code each end for anode vs. cathode!

Attaching nOOds

Here are some ways nOOds might be attached to things:

  • Monofilament fishing line (e.g. wrapping around wire armature)
  • Clear thread (e.g. sewn to garment or to plastic mesh canvas)
  • Transparent sticky tape (adhered to flat surface)
  • Clear heat-shrink tube (wire armature)
  • Press into narrow channel; the nOOds rubbery surface should grip in place (signs and 2D shapes) — a great application for 3D printing or laser cutting!

Silicone glues are not currently recommended, as they can be very picky about what sticks to what. Supply chain issues have resulted in some glues being reformulated…a brand that works today might not work the same tomorrow.

This guide was first published on Sep 02, 2022. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Physical Properties) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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