Most fiber optic tools perform one of three functions; cutting, stripping and checking. If you have never played around with fiber optic strands, bundles or cables before, you can now try out and test fiber optics for your child's science experiment. (Just be warned that the tools might cost you a little, but your child will definitely do well a his or her science fair.) Here are the supplies and tools you will need for your child to demonstrate how fiber optics work.
Fiber Optic Lines
Because fiber optic lines and bundles currently transmit data for everything from digital phone service to cable TV, your child can show how this data is sent and received through fiber optic lines. The first thing you need to do is purchase some sort of fiber optic novelty light. It does not matter what color or light show the light presents, it will just be the introduction to your child's project. Next, you will need to get your hands on some fiber optic strands. This is not as difficult as you might think; many online-only retailers sell strands and bundles of varying widths. You could also buy bundled fiber optic cable and strip away the outer cord covering to get to the fiber optic strands inside.
Fiber Optic Tools You Will Need
After you have acquired some fiber optic strands and/or cable, you will need some fiber optic tools to help your child work on his or her project. A fiber optic cable cutter and stripper combo tool will save you a lot of money because you will get two tools for the price of one. The cutter/stripper will cut the fiber strands and cables cleanly so that the transmission of data or light impulses will pass straight through to the ends. (Using a scissors or some other household implement may damage the fibers in such a way as to render the fiber optic properties useless for your project.)
Another tool you will need is a line tester. This allows you to insert the cable or strand into the tester's port and verify that the cable or strand is fully functional and able to transmit signals. Depending on the type of tester you buy, it may also light up the cable, in which case your child could stop there and just provide an explanation as to how fiber optics work. Otherwise, you will need a phone line tester if you plan to set up a display showing how fiber optic cable is used to transmit digitized phone data.
Last, but not least, you probably are not an expert in rigging up fiber optic displays. There are books and manuals for that, and if your child is still in elementary school, you will need some sources of literary help. While it is best that your child create his or her own display and not duplicate the projects seen in the books, you and your child can take your inspiration from the books and from the instruction manuals included with the tools.