Instructables

Inexpensive Light/Tracing Table

Picture of Inexpensive Light/Tracing Table
I've been drawing simple tattoo designs for people off and on for a few years now. I like to keep my original drawings for obvious reasons and I've been using a scanner/printer to give out copies. So I made up my mind and made an inexpensive and attractive light table. I aimed for a lap or table top sized box, something easy to plug in, use, and stow away. I believe I've succeeded. :D
 
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Step 1: Choosing a Size

Picture of Choosing a Size
I wanted to build a table that could accommodate regular 8X11 sheet and larger sketch sheets. This made choosing the plexi a relatively easy choice. After I chose the 18X24" size ($8) I wasn't sure if it was going to be stiff enough to draw on(it is, just fyi) but had an idea to cut it in half, double up the panes and not trim it down, keeping it at a healthy 12X18. This also had an added benefit of being able to add tracing paper for diffusion between the panes of plexi.

To cut it I used a band saw. I cut it a little wider (a FRACTION!) so it fit snug.


Slim493 years ago
WoW ! Rreally nice..
congrats on the dovetail jointing!
I made one like this but, used a milky white aryclic as the drawing top.
I put vent holes all around top & bottom as I had a heat issue.
White Aryclic is used in the lighted sign making business.
most sign shops would give you a "Drop" AKA.... a scrap for asking.
Liked it,
Mr. Steve
snarfnugget4 years ago
Awesome cheap way to make a great table.  The only thing I could add is to maybe place a light diffuser film on the top. That way you wont be looking right into the bulb on small tracings, and on larger tracings, the light would be more uniform across the whole drawing. The best place Ive found to get a quality diffuser film is at a local sign shop. It has just enough "white" in it to spread the light evenly across the entire workable area without giving you "hot spots".

Thanx for the post. and I bet youll get  a ton of replies. Nothing better than a useful, easy 'ible.

And if you wanted to "upgrade" this, just stop by a local glass cutter.  Yould be surprised how cheap a cut piece of plate glass could be if bought straight from the supplier.

c_nic (author)  snarfnugget4 years ago
i would use glass but i wanted to take away all shatter possibilities. thats also one main reason you wont find many glass top tables these days. (dropping, pressure, weight, etc.)

as for the diffuser, if you noticed i did state i left room for a second plate of plexi to sandwich a large piece of tracing paper in between(cheaper and readily available). I unfortunately made the table a 1/2" too big and cant use the smaller piece but i left the plastic on the plexi which diffuses enough. the light inside is only 8" in diameter so doing a small trace isnt difficult. i dont use scraps of paper to trace even small drawings for organization reasons so this set up is best for current needs.

the only way to eliminate hot spots with this set up is to either make it taller, which would hinder portability and weight, or a structural change i may cover in another instructable.