Super Cool Bicycle LED Tail Light Fiber Flair Glowing Glue Stick




The inspiration for this Instructable came from a product a friend purchased for his recumbent bicycle, the Fiber Flare. The Fiber Flare shines two LEDs down a solid tube of plastic and provides a nice glowing indicator. I wanted to see if I could make one from items around the house. I was successful and am proud to introduce this Instructable I call the Fiber Flair!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Assemble the Materials

Parts list: 9v battery, 9v battery clip, 10 to 1000 ohm resistor, two 3mm LEDs, wire.
Before we get started, lets take a look at the Fibre Flare
If you take a close look at the 2nd picture you will notice the hunk of plastic sort of looks like a glue stick from a hot glue gun. Glue stick? What is an Instructable without a glue stick? What happens when an LED is shined into an actual glue stick? Believe it or not, it actually lights up like a glow stick! What is so cool about this is that the glue stick is a very low cost diffuser. The diffuser spreads the LED light so it is visible 360 degrees.

Step 2: Assemble the Circuit

Step 3: Prepare the Glue Stick

Now let’s wire one of these up. I noticed that the diameter of a glue stick is a bit too narrow for a 5mm LED, so I decided to use a 3mm LED. I drilled a small hole in the end of each glue stick and stuffed the 3mm LED into the hole.

I want to build this as cheaply as possible, so that limits me to using a 9v battery as the power clip runs about 25 cents off of Ebay. I also purchased a lot of 3mm blue LEDs from a Chinese seller on Ebay and a pack of resistors. The most expensive item here is the 9v battery. The wire I used was reclaimed from a discarded cat 5 networking cable

Step 4: Finish the Sick

To keep the parts count down, I wired up the two LEDs in parallel. They will share the same current limiting resistor. The value of the resistor is calculated with very simple math. All you need to do is remember E=IR where E is the voltage of the battery minus the forward voltage of the LED (approx 9-3 = 6V), I is the current we wish to run the LED at (I’m going for maximum battery life so we will use 6ma) and solve for R. Plug it the numbers into your calculator and you get a nice 1000 ohm resistor. This should give me 80 hours of riding enjoyment out of a quality 9V. Pretty cool?   

Green Living & Technology Challenge

Participated in the
Green Living & Technology Challenge

4th Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
4th Epilog Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest

    8 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, I love the light you're getting off this. Really helpful instructable. How are you going to attach this to the bike? A couple zip ties?


    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I like duct tape. Zip ties fail when exposed to sunlight. I'm also trying to make an inner tube strap for this light.

    There are a lot to Zip ties, like duct tape they are not equal. For bicycle stuff and most stuff I like the . Thomas and Betts 7.3 inch X .184 or 166mm X 4.67 have a tensile strength of 50lbs/220N at a max wire bundle of 1.75 or 44.4mm nylon wearable material with a stainless steel "zip"
    there are called TY-Rap and last for years attaching cables on outside telco plant. There are a lot of junk ones out there, even in telco we would get the lowest bidder sometimes,but with proof of their failure, the better ones were stocked . We had some , I think brand name was del-tec that came in 18", 24", 36", and rolls of about 25 feet , that you could cut to custom length., They are about 1/2 inch wide and that are extremely strong and impervious to the elements , we could cut to length and had non corrosive metallic zips,copper colored "zips" that came in separate bags.
    if you know a utility guy ,he/she can show you the differece. There are some real small weak ones ,around 5 inches , that come in colors with stripes,, and are used to mark the count of cables,not for any strenth functions.
    Find a old telco utility guy with a cherry picker type truck,they know the difference. in ty-wraps

    oh, i forgot to say, very cool light and use of glue sticks, and all the other devices mentioned, have to check out the antifreeze and gelatin too. I have a couple recumbent, want to get a trike , but want some kind of lasers that shoot straight up to keep the cars from running me over.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice look I just posted a project with a similar format, I used anti freeze and gelatin to make a glowy core, I assume your LED's are white?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Oddly enough the bracelet style glowsticks happen to fit on a 5mm LED just nicely - well, their joiners do, anyway. So, got a few dead glow bracelets left over? Otherwise, identical to your circuit should do nicely. Slide a joiner on each end, LED in the joiners, all done. My kids have a stack of dead sticks, might try colour matching (red LEDS on red glow sticks, etc).