diffuse led

If you just got a bunch of cool LED's and you want to diffuse them (for various reasons) this is the instructable for you! Lots of LED's only come in those "waterclear" lens, not diffused. Diffusing makes the LED appear dimmer, but gives a wider viewing angle of the light. I recently bought color changing LEDs that only came in a non-diffused lens, that's when I made this instructable.

LEDs are widely used these days even in everyday life and you can get a lot of information on how to use them. There are many tutorials on powering LEDs and including them in different light installations. But there is only very little information on how to control or shape the light that is emitted by LEDs.

Grasp the LED

LEDs are a light source that emits light from a very small point in every direction evenly. Depending on the type of LED and how it is built the light is often directed in a wide cone.

High power LEDs or SMD LEDs like the WS2812b or APA102 usually have a beam angle of 120°-140°, 5mm LEDs can have a beam angle of up to 180°. This means that over the whole angle of this beam the same amount of light is emitted. But since we have a single point of origin if we shine the light of an LED on a flat surface we get a light spot that is brightest in the middle and looses brightness the further away you go from the center.

In light installations and in photography (a field I have much interest in) you strife for a more homogeneous distribution of light. The key to this is diffusion of the light. So in this Instructable I will share with you how you can diffuse LEDs the right way and what you have to pay attention to.

Step 1: The LED (duh)

fine sandpaper (I used 400 grit and ist worked great, but i haven't tested other sandpapers)

about 5 minutes of your life per LED

Step 2: Grasp the LED

grab the LED by the beginning of the terminals and base of the LED

rinse led

Step 3: Rub It on the Sand Paper

pretty self explanatory, keep on sanding everything until everything looks opaque or covered in a white dust.

Step 4: Rinse It

rinse the LED under water for a couple of seconds and dry with a towel.

Step 5: You're Done!

see the difference!

The Bright LED is great because it’s so intense, but sometimes it might not work or be right for your project.  Maybe you’d rather use many regular LEDs instead.  Or perhaps you want a specific color but think that the RGB LED is not bright enough.  Here are some ways you can get soft, beautiful light with bright LEDs.

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