A beautifully written story about the Maker Faire just came out in the San Francisco Chronicle, and it features the light pipe project. Cool! Justin did a great job, but I'd like to add one tiny clarification. I did not actually build a periscope-like light pipe prior to this attempt, though I think the article makes it sound like I had. Probably what happened is this: during the interview for the story I described my thoughts on the potential ways to bring light to the living room, and that's when I described a more typical light pipe design. Not a big deal. The error just adds a little experience to my resume. Oh! And another thing: the picture of me is ridiculously serious. For a view of my not-so-serious personality and the project, check out a introductory video I made.
And now for some thoughts on heat:
The Maker Faire starts tomorrow, and there's still a bit of work that needs to be done. I'm mounting the secondary mirror as well as a heat filter tonight. I got the mirror from an amazing telescope store in SF called Scope City. The guys there were willing to listen to me drone on and on about how awesome this light pipe will be. Andthey sent me home with a mirror from a telescope and a ring holder with thumbscrews, something like the pictures in a previous post.
Steve from Scope City also highlighted the heat issues, which, of course, are crucial to consider. Initially, I was expecting to use a makeshift secondary mirror that probably wouldn't be extremely reflective, and, I thought that might keep the heat under control. But the telescope mirror is extremely high quality, so a lot of light and heat is going to be aimed at the fiber. Still, I should have been thinking about the heat problem from the beginning since people use these sorts of solar collectors to cook food and boil water.
So...I ordered heat-absorbing glass from an online vendor called Anchor Optics. It's rated to 300 C, and it should arrive today. That should keep the fibers from melting and the whole contraption from going up in flames.
UPDATE: So, that ridiculously serious picture in the Chronicle? It's been lollinated by my good friend Katie B.