Light pipes are rigid, transparent plastic shapes that transfer the light from a light-emitting diode (LED) within an electronic enclosure to the outside. They serve many purposes, including letting the user of a device know whether it is on or off, whether its battery is in need of charging, etc. Light pipes can transmit as much as 80 percent of the light emitted by an LED mounted on a printed circuit board, making them a great way to share the status provided by an internal component while keeping that component safely enclosed. They can also be used for decorative purposes like illuminating a product logo.
In developing an electronic enclosure, you may have to answer many of these questions, leaving you wondering where to begin. While there are many, many grades of plastic, here are a few of the types commonly used in electronic enclosures to begin your search.