Thursday, September 12, 2013

Basic lightbox

I looked around for a lightbox so I could work on some projects but price wise it was a bit off putting.  Checking out DIY came up with numerous ideas and the following is what I put together after a bit of thinking.

I still need to get a piece of perspex for the top but in the bottom photo I just quickly used a piece of paper.

In South African rands the cost was under R200 although I am considering adding a third fluorescent fitting in the middle.  Each fluorescent fitting and tube has its own switch to control the amount of light when on.  All tubes join up to one plug.

The materials used don't have to be exact.  I chose the size of the strip lights according to the box that I found

What you need:

- 3D wooden frame box with glass (similar to these boxes 4.5cm deep, 37.5cm (l), 30 (w)

- 2 strip lights 27cm (l), 3.4cm (depth) - make sure you get ones with brackets, I found mine at a hardware store - both 8W each

- 3x Electrical wire 35cm each (length depends on you but you will be cutting this into 3 equal parts)

- one plug and two switches

-Foil for the lining
-Perspex (large white paper will also work)

Step 1

The box I chose has a removable lid.  I separated the top and bottom, attached the brackets (two on each of the long sides of the box) using the screws supplied.  The screws might be too long for the box and may stick out on the other side.  The screws supplied with my lights did but by only a few mm.  I took upholstery nails with the round edges, removed the pin and covered the protruding nails.  This prevented me from being scratched.

Step 2

Mark out 4 holes on each side as shown below.  This is for airflow.  Drill the holes.

Long side.  4 holes between the two brackets

Short side.

Step 3

On the one short side of the box, thread the two power cables through two holes (one on the left and one the right).

Attach two of the electrical wires you cut, one to each power cable as seen above.

Step 4

Half way down each piece of electric wire add a switch.  Each light should now have its own switch.

Connect the two electrical wires together and add on the third piece of electrical wire.  Attach a plug to the end.

Test out the wires and check if the lights are working.

Step 5

I used some wood glue, cut out some foil for the bottom and the two short sides of the box (not where the lights are attached).  Glue and paste the foil in, then open the drilled holes that the foil will have covered.
Add perspex and that's it.

It's quick to make, works well and is inexpensive.  Always think about safety when working with tools and electricity.

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