The goal was to make a light box for my students to use that didn't cost me an arm and a leg. Went to the second-hand store and found a florescent light... ($4.99 with 50% off) then noticed a suitcase/briefcase ($3.99 with 50% off). I got them both and started thinking of ways to put them together.
4/2016: My daughter still uses this. Works great. Someday I will make another one.
Step 1: Painting & light
Paint the inside of the suitcase white. Better to reflect the light out. Make it brighter?
Take apart the florescent light. You only need the power supply, light, light socket part and switch.
Then I positioned the light so it was in the middle of the case; using hot glue and rivets I secured the light in place.
Note: Got new two setting hot glue gun. Two setting: Low = normal glue gun, High = burn yourself, stays runny way longer and oh ya burn yourself.
Step 2: Cord switch action...
I used a plug (like on a computer power supply) so I could remove the cord when not in use. Cut a square hole (little smaller than the plug socket) and inserted the plug socket/base in the outside of the case. Next I drilled a 3/4" hole in the side and put in the switch that I took from the original light.
The cord for the light was about 12 feet long so I cut it to about a foot. I kept the plug/transformer and hot glued that at the bottom/back of the case. Didn't use the original cord because I wanted it detachable.
Note: Slide on speaker clips, with some pushing will slide right over the prongs for the plug. Why mess with something that works?
Step 3: Cover (Milky plastic)
The next part was simple... the edge of the case is aluminum and has a little radius in each corner. I measured the case and ordered the piece of plastic. I wanted something thicker so the kids wouldn't cut through it of break it easily by pushing; so I used 1/4" thick Acrylite (lets light through). This piece was almost $20. I tried to talk them down, we brainstormed ideas, I negotiated... nothing. I had to spend the $20.
Used a jig saw to cut the radius's for the corners and the notch for the lid support.
Note: make sure you keep the protective covering on. Ask me how I know this.
Step 4: Holes, screws & Glues
Drilled some holes in the plastic so it wouldn't move around. and glued the back part with some hot glue.
There were tabs in the case for a little divider so that is what I drilled into to hold down the plastic.
Step 5: Testing
Now try everything out and see if it works...
Success. Light putters and then starts up, switch turns stuff on and off, latches still work, cord fits in lid of case when not in use... All in all very nice.
Step 6: Clean up and sticky feet
It's all done... slid around on a table.. so I added some little squishy stick on feet so it won't slide around.
Now I am ready to do some old school animation! I will still use the computer to scan, color and compile... but that will come another time.