Hello all! I just finished up a tutorial about how I made these fiber optic whips. Here’s a little bit of backstory..
I was getting ready for last week’s LED light show and one of the things I’d agreed to provide was illuminated stilt walkers. Sometimes when I book a show months in advance, I promise the client things that I only have a vague ghost of an idea about. I like to think this keeps me sharp. Really it just gives me impossible deadlines, but as with a lot of creative types, impossible deadlines are essential if I’m going to get anything done.
The idea was inspired by a gift I got from my dad a few years back for Christmas: a set of Fiberflies (basically commercially available versions of these whips). They were never quite what I wanted them to be. Not bright enough, not long enough, not enough individual fibers.. and they broke all the time. I cut mine up ages ago to make a fiber optic hip scarf.
For stilt walkers, though, a longer / brighter / animated version of the Fiberflies is just perfect. These were built from another gift from my dad: another year for Christmas he got me a fiber star ceiling kit. (Dad was always really good at Christmas gifts)
You’re supposed to install them in your ceiling and then they twinkle like.. well, like stars. He was quite excited about it and offered to help me when I was ready to install them. And then life happened, and I never got around to it, and they ended up in a tupperware bin in my office. This week I dug them out and stared at them for about a half hour, and then started holding them up against all the LEDs and microcontrollers I could find until the whole idea took shape.
The handle is 3d printed and it reminds me very much of a lightsaber. The fibers were suuuuper long to begin with, since they’re supposed to go in my ceiling, but super long is perfect for stilt walkers! I left them long enough that it’s actually a little tricky to dance with them if I’m standing on the ground. But I book stilt walkers enough that it’s worthwhile to leave them long.
I think when they’re not being used, I might hang them amongst the curtains in my bedroom so they nestle and twinkle there.
Thanks for reading! Next I’ll be doing a tutorial / post about the crazy wig this stilt walker is wearing. 🙂