I’m open to suggestion on the nacelle optical effect. Although for this build am modifying Madman Electronics’s non-mechanical LEDs for the nacelles, it’s possible to work out yet another alternative that could approach nacelle optics replication. I could simply replace it after development.
Madman Electronics’s nacelle lighting uses LED “beta” – a sequencing of LEDs one after another at some rate that looks like like motion, but without involving moving or mechanical pieces. This particular LED kit is speed adjustable in that regard.
After reading about the Smithsonian decision to use a combination of electrical and mechanical nacelle design, I would say that this is the closest TOS nacelle optic that I’ve ever seen before. Smithsonian discarded the non-mechanical nacelles option as too complicated. The latest Smithsonian re-engineering of the actual USS Enterprise model uses a 12v motor on each nacelle in order to spin a glass-like dome with 12 each translucent black lines around the familiar static and blinking multicolored lights that the Smithsonian crew painstakingly matched up from their extensive research. How could they have done the same optic without 12v motors?
The idea I’m bouncing around is either a wagon wheel effect using an ambient strobe light at odds with an artificial stroboscopic LED beta, or better – controlled fiber optics. Here is a picture of the Smithsonian nacelles:
Smithsonian’s nacelle optics are spectacular in their appearance. I don’t know if the 12v motor they used generate noise pollution, but if the motors do create noise, how could they have gotten around having to use mechanical pieces like the 12v motors?
First up, here is a multicolored fiber optic lamp:
Let’s say I squash the fiber optics in this lamp and shape the top of the fibers to fit exactly into a Enterprise nacelle and then put a clear dome over top of it. I run the other end of the fibers through the insides of the model to a controller. This controller allows me to turn a knob and change the Hertz as well as tell each individual fiber to become a fixed or blinking color that matches the Enterprise’s nacelle lights. The intensity of the light would have to be adjustable as well since color and intensity varies among TOS Enterprise nacelle configuration. The fiber optic controller also allows me to selectively turn off individual fibers in this concept.
I then want to use controlled fiber optics to recreate the 12 each nacelle lines by turning off the fibers that would achieve the dark line effect. To get the lines to move, I would have to have the 12 lines simultaneously “move” by simply turning fibers off to the next radius of fibers in the same direction and at some rate. A motion picture relies upon human perception to not be able to detect any jitter at a minimum of 24 Frames Per Second (FPS). The fibers would have to be small enough to allow for a smooth movement optical illusion even though nothing is physically moving.
The other problem is ambient light flicker because this arrangement is not processing everything through 24FPS, but straight to the human eye. The 24FPS only pertains to the smooth movement effect of the black nacelle lines. I would have to be able to adjust the fiber optic cycling to at least 100Hz due to the flicker fusion threshold of the human eye. This would avoid the possibility of the effect appearing to behave like a fluorescent lamp that is about to burn out.
The other problem I see may be total ambient light still radiating into the area of the fibers that are turned off even though the line is “moving”. Also, the fiber optic material itself may not really be allowing the moving nacelle lines to be dark enough or thick enough to match proportions at 24FPS. There may be darker fiber optic material options to overcome the fiber optic material problem, but I don’t know at this time.