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Optics, Mounts, Rails and Sights If it aims your firearm, post about it here.

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  #1  
Old 01-12-2013, 7:52 AM
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Default UPDATE!! Look Ma, no batteries! (for my fiber optic red dot)

I used a cheap tasco red dot . All the malfunctions I could find online from other owners were related to the cheap electronics used. Once I removed the electronics I could understand why. They are ... cheap.

The optical quality, looking through the glass, appears acceptable and the quality of the aluminum tube seems fine. After removing the electronics, minus the LED emitter, I realized there was no way I was getting the tube apart to get to the LED. My solution was to drill a hole through the tube in the hopes that I could get the angle and location right to allow the installation of a fiber optic strand.

Looks like close is close enough because once I inserted the fiber optic strand into the tube the dot actually looked pretty good! I used an extreme conditions Loctite glue to hold the strand in place, carved a channel around the tube body to lay the strand in and glued it all down. I used the same glue to plug all the holes to keep water and debris out of the tube.

Overall it was fairly easy and I ended up with a red dot that doesn't need batteries with a pretty good looking dot that should be acceptably functional. I will edit this once I figure out how the hell to post pictures...









I wanted to try a green colored dot. But, instead of a dot i tried to make a circle shaped reticle. I colored the tip of the fiber optic with a sharpie and sanded down the corner with a piece of 400 grit sandpaper. Not perfect but also not easy.



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Old 01-12-2013, 8:18 AM
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That's pretty cool! Care to share where the fiber strand connects in order to get the dot to light up?
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Old 01-12-2013, 9:03 AM
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The tip of the strand is sitting where the LED was before I drilled it out. The dot you see is the tip of the fiber optic strand.
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Old 01-12-2013, 9:07 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dot_sight
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Old 01-12-2013, 9:17 AM
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That is just too cool. Ima have to go buy a cheap china dot and do this for my 22lr.
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...Slow, deep breath in followed by two quick, shallow exhales, then one long breath out. It should sound like "HEE HEE HOOOOOOOOooooooo...HEE HEE HOOOOOOOOooooooo". Once your comfortable with that breathing pattern, try to sync the tempo up with your heart rate. "Lub-dub...HEE HEE HOOOOOOOOooooooo... etc". ~ CBruce
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Old 01-12-2013, 9:17 AM
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That is just too cool. Ima have to go buy a cheap china dot and do this for my 22lr.
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...Slow, deep breath in followed by two quick, shallow exhales, then one long breath out. It should sound like "HEE HEE HOOOOOOOOooooooo...HEE HEE HOOOOOOOOooooooo". Once your comfortable with that breathing pattern, try to sync the tempo up with your heart rate. "Lub-dub...HEE HEE HOOOOOOOOooooooo... etc". ~ CBruce
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Old 01-12-2013, 9:25 AM
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The only drawback is washout when in a poorly lit area looking into a bright area. Like looking out a window from inside a dark room. Other than that it's great.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:16 AM
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How does it look in bright sun?
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:54 AM
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How does it look in bright sun?
It's foggy, overcast and the ground is covered in snow. While outside, against a tree, it's extremely bright but not overexposed. Against the snow it's bright and easily seen but doesn't have the same degree of contrast. Still very useable, though. I cannot comment on how it looks in bright sun because there hasn't been any since I finished the project.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:09 PM
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So the fiber optic is exposed to the light through the clear Loctite glue and beyond in order to work correct? what happens to it at night or in the dark? just asking..
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:34 PM
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So the fiber optic is exposed to the light through the clear Loctite glue and beyond in order to work correct? what happens to it at night or in the dark? just asking..
Great question. The intensity of the dot is directly related to the amount of light that his the exposed fiber, as you pointed out. I've found that the fiber is incredibly efficient at collecting and emitting light. If there's any ambient light at all the dot is visible. If I shut off all the lights in the house at night and rely on the faint ambient light from outside the dot is visible. It takes pitch blackness for the dot to disappear completely. If, when it's dark, I point it at something considerably brighter, like the blinds that are kind of lit up from outside the dot becomes a little more difficult to see, but still visible and it looks useable.

Surprisingly it really does perform well in almost all instances. I like that the dot dims as the environment gets darker, though. It's easier on the eyes at night and I don't have to manually adjust anything. There's enough fiber optic material to keep it lit up enough to use when it's dark out.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:50 PM
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That's pretty impressive, you might be onto something (quick patent!)lol

If one strand is this affective coating the entire sight in a fiber optic blanket for say, this would amplify the dot tremendously in the light or in the dark, also this could reduce pricing on these optics by a huge margin..

Great Idea! great job!

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Great question. The intensity of the dot is directly related to the amount of light that his the exposed fiber, as you pointed out. I've found that the fiber is incredibly efficient at collecting and emitting light. If there's any ambient light at all the dot is visible. If I shut off all the lights in the house at night and rely on the faint ambient light from outside the dot is visible. It takes pitch blackness for the dot to disappear completely. If, when it's dark, I point it at something considerably brighter, like the blinds that are kind of lit up from outside the dot becomes a little more difficult to see, but still visible and it looks useable.

Surprisingly it really does perform well in almost all instances. I like that the dot dims as the environment gets darker, though. It's easier on the eyes at night and I don't have to manually adjust anything. There's enough fiber optic material to keep it lit up enough to use when it's dark out.
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Old 01-12-2013, 2:38 PM
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I added a picture to the first post showing the location of the original LED and the tip of the fiber optic strand.
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Old 01-12-2013, 4:46 PM
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It’s no Trijicon, but I like that you got it to work. Points for ingenuity for replacing the powdered emitter with a strand of fiber.

I’m sure you can clean up the dot if you were to polish up the end of the fiber like you would when terminating fiber cables in computer networking.
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Old 01-12-2013, 4:57 PM
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It’s no Trijicon, but I like that you got it to work. Points for ingenuity for replacing the powdered emitter with a strand of fiber.

I’m sure you can clean up the dot if you were to polish up the end of the fiber like you would when terminating fiber cables in computer networking.
Thanks. Looking back I could have worked on the end of the fiber but there's no way it's coming out without some C-4...
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Old 01-12-2013, 5:03 PM
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The only drawback is washout when in a poorly lit area looking into a bright area. Like looking out a window from inside a dark room. Other than that it's great.
You can experience that when using an ACOG as well so it’s not uncommon.

Only difference is if it washes out there is no reticle to fall back on. Or tritium to help in really low light.

You can buy small vials called usually called “trits”… flashlight guys love em for modding their lights to make them easy to find. You could try adding one as an alternate light source. Very similar to night sights…





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Old 01-13-2013, 9:23 AM
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So glue a Trit into the hole for the emitter...how long do Trits last? Place 3 of them in a triangle formation with the fiber-optic in the center for a great home-made Reflex ridicule...
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Old 01-13-2013, 9:27 AM
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instead of just looping the strand of fiber optic around the top, you should route to directly to the front of the lens and loop it around the forward edge. This will gather light from above as well as light from the direction you are looking which will balance the gathered light. This may help with wash-out since the light gathered will more attuned to the area you are viewing

Great mod, I may have to try these...
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Old 01-13-2013, 4:11 PM
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So glue a Trit into the hole for the emitter...how long do Trits last? Place 3 of them in a triangle formation with the fiber-optic in the center for a great home-made Reflex ridicule...
The fiber optic strand I used is the thickness of 20 lb test fishing line, roughly. It's pretty thin. With line that thin the dot is on the large side, about 12" at about 150 yards. Suits my needs fine.

I have been experimenting with modifying the tip of a strand of fiber optic to customize the reticle seen in the objective. By placing a very small opaque dot in the center of the strand I can create a circular shaped reticle. I can increase the size of the circle by heating the tip of the strand and pressing it against a smooth hard surface.

By creating an opaque X on the tip of the strand I can make a reticle comprised of four evenly spaced pie slices with the center missing. The hard part is drawing on something smaller than the head of a pin.
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Old 01-13-2013, 4:16 PM
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dam...I used to have a kids microscope that allowed me to engrave my SSN into very small objects. It was required for Aerospace work, all tools must be serialized and accounted for. Ever try serializing a #70 drill bit....
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Old 01-13-2013, 4:18 PM
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You can also use an archery sight light and have it shine on the fiber. Archery sights use fibers too and many of the lights have built in rheostats to control the brightness. They're about $15.
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Old 01-13-2013, 4:23 PM
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You can also use an archery sight light and have it shine on the fiber. Archery sights use fibers too and many of the lights have built in rheostats to control the brightness. They're about $15.
I remember something like that in the military. We had C-More scouts and Trijicon Reflex sights. We got these clip-on lights for the Reflexes due to wash out. It provided a constant light source.

I never got to use one. I only used a C-More.
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Old 01-13-2013, 4:28 PM
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You can also use an archery sight light and have it shine on the fiber. Archery sights use fibers too and many of the lights have built in rheostats to control the brightness. They're about $15.
Thanks, I'm going to look into that. I have been toying with the idea of putting in a backup light to help illuminate the fiber optic during washout.
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Old 02-05-2013, 5:07 PM
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How does it look in bright sun?
Finally got to shoot with this thing in bright sunlight. Simply put, it's awesome! Bright sun with white snow as a background, super bright and crisp dot. Bright sun against a variety of backgrounds is the same, super bright and crisp dot. No flaring or any other aberrations.

The dot has proven itself to be extremely visible under all circumstances except typical washout conditions like looking from a dark room into a very bright area.
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Old 02-05-2013, 5:15 PM
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This has got to be one of the coolest things I've seen a Calgunner do! I'd love to experiment.....just need to find a shell or broken red dot sight!

Great job!
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Old 03-09-2013, 3:42 PM
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Update first post due to changing reticle color and shape.
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Old 03-09-2013, 3:47 PM
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Nice update... I love this project, good work on the new reticle.
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Old 03-09-2013, 4:12 PM
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Glad you like it.

I like the red dot but it obscured the target after a few dozen yards. I like the idea of an open circle because the target is still visible after the distance increases.
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Old 03-10-2013, 9:25 PM
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Truly awesome. Gotta try something like this and see if it works out. It'll save me from buying a high end red dot lol!!
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:02 AM
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Very cool project! I definitely want to try this out. I did a quick google search for fiber optic strands, but didn't find any colored strands like yours. Where did you find that stuff?
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:39 PM
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Very cool project. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:05 AM
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Awesome creativity! What motivated you to try this I wonder?
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:07 AM
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That's some McGyver stuff, very cool!
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:15 AM
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That is outstanding.

I've noticed the cheap red dots often have astigmatism..
That's probably the optics more than the electronics, but who knows... ?

QUESTION: (hope it's not redundant)
Have you tried keeping your whole setup intact and placing a tritium in front of the fiberoptic?
With a gap to allow ambient light, but in full dark the tritium will glow a bit?
Just curious... You could test it with a night sight. I've got a dim Meprolight you could have..

.

Last edited by orangeusa; 04-04-2013 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:35 PM
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Very impressive and cool OP!
Sounds like you created a 9MOA fiber optic red dot?
Also sounds like you used very thin fiber optic already, but I wonder if it is possible to shrink the end to reduce the MOA to 6 or 3 etc?
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Old 04-04-2013, 5:16 PM
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I appreciate the positive feedback. Thanks.

I wanted to try this because I wasn't prepared to spend 500 bucks on a meprolight fiberoptic dot sight. I knew i could do this based on my understanding of how a red dot optic works.

In the field of view the shaft of the fiber optic was visible. I corrected this by coloring the shaft of the fiber optic with a black sharpie leaving only the tip visible.

I could have made the dot smaller by sanding down the tip to a smaller diameter but the fiber was small to begin with. I believe the red dot was a .019" diameter fiber. Thats small.

The green circle is a .029" diameter fiber. I colored the tip of the strand and dragged it against a piece of sandpaper while holding the fiber at an angle and spinning it in my fingers. This exposed a ring of the fiber optic tip surrounding the black sharpie colored center.

Astigmatism isnt a huge problem. The dot/circle is pretty consistent everywhere in the field of view and accuraxy hasnt beed a problem.

I didnt choose this because it was the ideal optic. I chose it because i wanted a pure fiber optic dot sight but can't afford the nice 500 dollad ones. Overall, im happy with it. It works.
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Old 04-04-2013, 5:28 PM
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That is outstanding.

I've noticed the cheap red dots often have astigmatism..
That's probably the optics more than the electronics, but who knows... ?

QUESTION: (hope it's not redundant)
Have you tried keeping your whole setup intact and placing a tritium in front of the fiberoptic?
With a gap to allow ambient light, but in full dark the tritium will glow a bit?
Just curious... You could test it with a night sight. I've got a dim Meprolight you could have..

.
Since light enters all over the fiber you dont have to hold the trit far from the fiber. You can put right on it since light enters the fiber from everywhere. Thats why fiber optic tips are so bright.

Im just not sure the trit is bright enough to make much difference. My solution to low light conditions is a longer fiber optic strand.
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Old 04-04-2013, 6:20 PM
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Since light enters all over the fiber you dont have to hold the trit far from the fiber. You can put right on it since light enters the fiber from everywhere. Thats why fiber optic tips are so bright.

Im just not sure the trit is bright enough to make much difference. My solution to low light conditions is a longer fiber optic strand.
Outstanding I guess I missed the point that the fibreoptics were leaky. Which in this case is a good thing. This is really cool.....
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:23 AM
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Outstanding I guess I missed the point that the fibreoptics were leaky. Which in this case is a good thing. This is really cool.....
Fiber optics are really cool in their funneling ability. I just wish I had gotten a longer strand in the first place. Now, when i do find one i have to rip this apart and start over.
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Old 04-05-2013, 8:11 AM
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I'm assuming the strand is made of plastic? If so, you could probably make a smaller dot by holding it over a heat source and pulling it to stretch the fiber. As it stretches, the diameter will reduce.

I just ordered a cheap aimpoint clone to experiment on. Found some .019 red fiber on ebay too. I ordered the 12" length of fiber, hopefully that will be long enough to gather sufficient light.
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