Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Foam Fairy Mushrooms

Foam Fest 2015 continues!  Heh.

Following up on the earlier experiments with foam pool noodles, I fiddled around with creating a glowing fairy mushroom.  This rough proof of concept was banged out using the finest in dollar store materials- a pool noodle for the stem and a pool kickboard for the cap, both made of polyethylene foam.  After trimming the parts to size they both received the slash-and-melt treatment before getting heat welded together.

The results of the lighting test were disappointing.  I used the same 3 watt LED as in the earlier experiments.  As before, the densely packed internal cells of the pool noodle did a fantastic job of transmitting light.  Sadly, the very low density cells of the kickboard didn't share that ability.  I think the basic concept is sound, but the facet density of the cap has to be high enough to bounce the light throughout the foam. 

Moving forward, I need to find a source of high density polyethylene foam.  Some industrial suppliers look to have what I need in 'shroom appropriate colors.  This may seem like way too much effort for too little reward, but I think giant glowing mushrooms are insanely cool.  More importantly, my nieces, wing-wearing fairy princesses all, share my view. There are few motivations more powerful than wanting to be the greatest uncle ever. 


Alysson Rowan said...

Is there any mileage in innoculating the underside of the cap with those little glass beads that are used to make road markings retroflective?

Your nieces are right, sullenly glowing mushrooms are an important part of life. Eldrich shrooms, fairy toadstools and elfin fungi feature highly in my list of must-haves - especially since they were lacking from my own childhood.

Eldrich, glowing anything is pretty cool, IMHO.

--- just a thought here, how about the polyethylene camping mats for the caps?

screaminscott said...

Did you try an additional LED in the cap? Perhaps the light didn't get transmitted across the interface between the cam and the stem very well?

Propnomicon said...

@ Alysson Rowan

In a worst case scenario I think coating the upper surface with white latex would force the light to diffuse. I'm trying to find a high density polyethylene camping mat before I go the mail order route.

@ screaminscott

It transmits, but doesn't diffuse through the low density mat. I heat welded sections of pool noodle together and the light made a beautiful 90 degree turn without a problem.