Fiber Optic Fountain
Saw some fiber optic cable for sale in the American Science and Surplus catalog and wondered how strands would look swaying in water, the tips aglow with an underwater light source. Here's a playful and lighthearted holiday fountain.

In this design the trick is to get the light underneath the fibers. A short piece of bamboo that fit over the top of the finger light is the solution pictured below. A napkin ring, short piece of copper tubing, or similar small round object could be used. Then we glued strands inside the bamboo one by one.

But the strands kept slipping. To anchor them we put a short piece of vinyl tubing inside the rim of the bamboo. As the glue dried we saw open spaces between the tubing and the bamboo and stuck in more fibers.

Gather materials:

1. submersible fountain pump (not shown)
2. bowl at least 2" deep
3. 10' fiber optic cable, unjacketed
4. napkin ring, short piece of bamboo, copper tubing or something similar to rest on the light and also house the fibers.
5. small diameter vinyl tubing to fit inside bamboo and hold fibers in place as they dry.
6. underwater glue such as E6000 or Goop
7. underwater finger light
8. 6 to 8" tubing to fit your pump
9. rose quartz, green glass chunks
10. silk flowers, silk ivy

 

     

1. Put the pump with tubing toward the back of the bowl, water regulator on high. Rose quartz lets the light pass through, as do the chunks of green glass.

Prop up the light so rays will hit the fiber optic strands (to be mounted above the light). Add water to fully cover the pump intake valve.

 
     

2. Plug in the pump. Move the pump around or twist the slightly curved tubing so water falls on top of the light.

Once we had the light braced and stable in its upright position, we didn't want to disturb it. It seemed easier to adjust the water flow than the light source.

 
     

3. Position the napkin ring, bamboo piece, or copper tubing on top of the light to see how the water flow hits it. Brace it with more rocks if needed.

Here the water drops into the bamboo piece, bounces off the top of the light and flows down over the rose quartz.

When the fiber optic strands are glued inside the bamboo and are hit with tumbling water, they will quiver and sway.

 
     

4. Cut the 10' fiber optic cable into strands from 8" to 12" long or whatever lengths will suit your fountain. Dip one end of the strand in underwater glue and press against the inside of the bamboo. Hold 3 or 4 strands in place inside the bamboo and slide a short vinyl tube inside the bamboo so it presses against the strands, holding them in place.

Try to spread the strands to fan out evenly on the partially completed fiber optic fountainhead.

 
     

5. Here's the fiber optic fountain-head propped up by rose quartz.

The vinyl tubing sticks up a little from the bamboo and supports the strands as they wave about.

   
     

6. To hide the 8" piece of tubing on the pump, wrap it with silk ivy and flowers. Fit the fiber optic piece over the finger light. Plug in the light and pump. Little points of light dance about as water pours down from the ivy plants.

This photo was taken in daylight. At night the rose quartz casts a pinkish glow. The bobbing pinpoints of light contribute to a festive mood.

 

     
7. Another view of the fiber optic fountain with underwater light.  
     
 
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