Bioluminescence, quite simply means, “living light”. Or, in engineering terms, active light, and the deep sea is full of it. Its speculated that this is used by many creatures for counter illumination, in this case, to counter light at the ocean surface in the hope of being camouflaged.

Now I’m not sure if the purpose of light sticks and other light sources are to imitate the bioluminescent organs of a squid or prey item, or to imitate the bioluminescent glow given off by smaller organisms as they are disturbed while a creature swims. Its the latter that seems most plausible to me.

Regardless, a light source is considered important in almost all forms sword fishing.

I have been collecting glow in the dark materials for a long time, but none of them look that realistic to me when charged. You end up with a bunch of glowing lines, which just doesn’t seem natural. You can diffuse this by adding transluscent materials, but none of those patterns seem alive.

Then I starting paying attention to the flies that Steve Yewchuck was tying, and my mind immediately went to the 3d printer. True flexibles are still fairly exotic and specialized, so i was not surprised that I could not find a TPU based glow in the dark filament below 90 shaw. However, you can find clear, and so I began thinking about impregnating the TPU with glow in the dark powder, as it printed and cooled. This worked best between layers, however I found a simpler trick.

By heating the print after the fact with a heat gun, I could get the filament to melting point and then add the glow in the dark powder. I think the result is remarkable, and at least in my eyes, a much more organic looking luminescence. An additional advantage of TPU is its ability to take dye, done after adding the glow in the dark powder.

The product I used is called Glow Worm, and I found red and purple to be best, but they have an entire array of shades.

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