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Questions about diffusing LED light. Answered

I've just built a replica arc reactor for Halloween (iron man/Tony Stark) and the light does not display as I would like. I took the diodes from a flashlight so the light is powerful enough to show through my plastic housing. I cut out the pattern to match the lights on the movie, but instead the light shows exactly where the LEDs are placed. I need all of the light I can get to show through a t-shirt, but I need more of a flood effect inside the housing than a beam. First, has anyone tried clipping or sanding the ends of an LED? Do you believe this would adequately diffuse my light without losing too much intensity? Second, can you recommend a better material to diffuse the light such as a specific type of foam? This is my first project to use LEDs so I have no experience. Thanks for your thoughts.

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mpilchfamilyBest Answer (author)2012-10-10

Yes sanding the heads of the LEDs is a good way to help defuse the light. That is if they are your typical 3mm or 5mm LEDs and your not using the surface mount kind. You can also use a piece of smoked acrylic help further defuse the light. Or if all you have is clear acrylic then sand one or both sides of it.

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rickharris (author)mpilchfamily2012-10-11

You can buy diffused LEDs - close up to anything you will still tend to gat a bright spot - Turn the led round to point at the BACK or the compartment and paint it white - This way the light is much more spread.

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