Coffee machine illumination.

I had added lights to my coffee machine, a row of LEDs which shone down on either side of the group heads. They worked fantastically for a couple of months but gradually the heat within the machine destroyed the LEDs. They got dimmer and dimmer and finally gave out. The top of the coffee machine where the lights were, runs at ninety five plus degrees, a solid ten degrees above their rating. I’d like to use LEDs so they’ll need to be housed at the bottom of the machine where it is cool. I can then pipe the light where I want it. Cue the light pipes.

I purchased these 6mm diameter solid glass rods from ebay. They look perfect for the job. Time for some experimentation.

I heated up the glass rod on the gas stove…

…then gently bent it into shape.

The LED is a 1 watt, high brightness job. I should be able to run half a dozen from the power supply.

This paper tube taped to the end of the glass rod locates the LED over the end of the rod.

Yep, that works! The light travels round the corner by a process called total internal reflection with very little light leakage. At the other end of the rod, the light emerges bright and clear. Fantastic.

To fit the lights within the coffee machine I need some longer rods each with two ninety degree bends. I suspect that if I polish the end of the rod closest to the LED I’ll get even more light through to the end. Looking good so far!