Re: Diffusing LEDs

Ian Thorley » Jun 4 '14

Hi all,

Wanted to add some lights to a kits engines.

Bought four LED tealights and stripped the flickering LEDs from them.

Wired one up and slid it into the tunnel of the engine to see how it looked, looked okay, but more like a point source of light rather than the glow effect that I wanted.

What is the best way to diffuse the light to give a glow, without losing too much of the light?

Brought some orange film from work that has a hatched pattern in the surface, and going to give that a go, but just wondering if there is a standard method that people use?

It`s my first time trying to light anything, so any advice will be greatly received.


Ian Thorley
Posts: 47
Joined: Dec 1 '13

Re: Diffusing LEDs

Alun » Jun 4 '14
There are a few things you could try which might help.

First thing would be to put the LED in at an angle and not pointing directly to the clear part or point you`re lighting. Spray the inside white or silver and the light will bounce around a bit and create a more even glow.

Second option would be to sand the clear part to make it opaque or insert something like tracing paper. This will help diffuse but if the light is pointing straight at it you`ll likely still get a hot spot.

Third thing might be more LEDs. That way you will have a more even but brighter light.

What`s the kit you`re lighting?
Posts: 462
Joined: Nov 20 '13

Re: Diffusing LEDs

Anthony Hughes » Jun 5 '14
One trick I`ve used is to mix up a tiny bit of white acrylic paint into clear 5 min epoxy glue so you get a diffused tint, then dollop this all over the LED. The trick is to not use too much white...
Anthony Hughes
Posts: 144
Joined: Nov 23 '13

Re: Diffusing LEDs

Ian Thorley » Jun 11 '14

Thanks for the info, been trying to reply since Ant posted, but couldn`t get the page up at home, could access the page at work, but wouldn`t allow me to log in.

Anyway, the kit is the General Grievous Starfighter Easy Kit by Revell, bought it from Home Bargains over Christmas when they had it for a fiver.

Threw it together out of the box first, think if I`d paid full price for it (some places have still got it up at £25) I`d have been a bit disappointed, but for a fiver it`s not bad.

The main issues are the figure which seems very small and made from a sort of rubbery material, and the fit of some of the parts, which leaves a bit to be desired.

I decided to see if I could improve it.

First thing to go was the figure, after a bit of cutting, filing and squeezing, I managed to fit in a driver figure from a Tamiya F1 kit that I`d had for ages and not touched.

Made a headrest and chopped the kit seat to fit, took a lot of fiddling to get the seating position looking right, but happy with it now.

Hoping to pinch the decals from the kit too, to turn it into a Formula 1 car of the future, saw some of the Falkes done this way and really liked them.

The parts I`m lighting are the side pods.  They have what look like jet engine inlet cones, so seemed only right to open them up front and back to give inlets and exhausts.  I want to light them so it gives an orange glow like some sort of engine.

I bought 4 LED tealights from 99p store, amazing value 2 for 99p with batteries and decent switches and stripped the LEDs from them.

Tried the idea of angling them so that they weren`t pointing straight at the exhaust, but seemed to lose too much light, I have since lined the sidepods with aluminium tape to stop a bit of leakage, so might try again to see if the tape compensates for this.

There won`t be clear parts at each end of the sidepods, so the sanding idea isn`t an option.

The best solution so far is similar to Alun`s idea with tracing paper.

Some of the material that is used at work comes with two non stick films, one green, one orange, both with a cross hatch pattern pressed in.

I brought some of the orange film home and blu tacked it about three quarters of the way down the side pod.  This gives the effect I had in mind, the fact that the film is free, is also a big plus in it`s favour!

Soldered the leads on to the LEDs the other night so just a matter if fixing them in place and assembling the sidepods.

I`ve been using five min epoxy on some of the parts, so mixing some white in would be a possibility, I`ll give it a go.

Hoping to post some pictures of what I`ve done so far, you never know, it might be the first thing I`ve finished in years!

Thanks for the help     

Ian Thorley
Posts: 47
Joined: Dec 1 '13

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