Instructables
Picture of Light Desk
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I really wanted a light box for all the drawing I do. Specifically for a massive drawing I was working on.
So naturally I got completely side tracked on this project instead of just finishing said drawing.

The brief was pretty simple.
1. Large
2. Adjustable table angle.
3. Light box table top.

Most of the design work I do is in acrylic but this is the first time I've had a go myself.
Thought it would be good to break away from the usual metal fab stuff.

So this has been designed in a combination of 10mm opal acrylic and 6mm frosted translucent red acrylic.
10mm acrylic by itself is too flexible for most of the parts on the desk and going up to say 20mm can be expensive.
I got the sheet of red acrylic for nothing so I used that in conjunction with 10mm stuff to create this multi-layered design.
With the red acrylic being free I could get the required thickness for a stable desk without having to spend the extra money on the thicker opal acrylic.

The only metal fabrication needed was for the cross supports, in aluminium tube.
The rest was very very simple, all the holes required were laser cut. All I had to do was tap threads, countersink holes then screw together. Except the light box underneath  which required a bit more in the way of plastic fabrication.
 
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dorotea1 year ago
About how much did it cost to make this- and where did you get the acrylic, especially if you got the red free? Also, would it be possible to make without a laser cutter? I'd love to be able to make something like this, as I draw a lot and my current desk is rather extremely broken.
TheFullMetalAlchemist (author)  dorotea1 year ago
All the laser cutting plus the opal acrylic was about $500 AU, about $50 for the socket screws, $30-40 for the aluminium tube, $15 for each 5m roll of LEDs X 2, $30 for the 12 volt 60 watt transformer.
A single sheet of 2400mm X 1200mm opal acrylic 10mm thick is around $300. I would imagine the 6mm red acrylic would be a bit cheaper. I didn't use a full sheet of red either. The only reason I got it free was the place I used to work at got it free and didn't need it.
The LEDs I bought directly from the manufacturer in China (Blueview Elec-Optic Tech). You can get them on ebay, just watch out though because I have seen them being sold by the metre at the same prices as the 5m roll.
Having said all that I do have an ongoing business relationship with my laser cutter so he gave me a good price. He can actually be a bit more expensive than other places but he takes way more care than most with my parts. This goes for all the other stuff too, I have trade accounts with the businesses so I usually get a better price than the public walking in off the street.
The acrylic can be cut with a jigsaw, you could print out templates of your shapes. I'd probably stick the templates on then drill and tap a few of the holes required in each part and screw the two sheets together before the shapes are cut out so you can cut both sides at once and all the holes should line up accurately too. Thinking on it I would use smaller screws to connect the sheets together before you cut, then once the parts are done drill and tap the correct size holes. The reason being you would end up with one sheet with a tapped thread and the other sheet with a hole the screw will go through initially but on the finished parts some would have just holes on each side and some would have tapped holes on each side depending on how it screws together. Hope this helps/makes any sense.
Rigidman2 years ago
Very good. I've been wanting to make a light box for my glass drafting table. Thanks
Windsbro2 years ago
Elegant, practical, and just plain cool design. A well desreved feature. Gotta love those LED strips.
l8nite2 years ago
thats a great looking table and sure beats taking a picture off the wall and holding on your lap over a lamp
TheFullMetalAlchemist (author)  l8nite2 years ago
Thanks mate. My favorite used to be opening up notepad so my monitor was all white then trace on the screen ha.
Is your screen LED backlit? How come you went with LEDs for this project?
TheFullMetalAlchemist (author)  pfred22 years ago
No the screen I was talking about was an old CRT Monitor.

Well they're cheap to run, last a long time. The self adhesive strip format was easy to make the lightbox and I had easy access to them. They were the main reasons.
The LEDs I used are also quite bright and white, makes tracing easier.
How many Watts is your LED lighting?
TheFullMetalAlchemist (author)  pfred22 years ago
Total it's a bit under 60 watts. The transformer is a 2 30 watt channel transformer. One channel is maxed and the other could take another metre or so of LEDs.
Wow 30 Watts of LEDs! You weren't kidding when you said it was quite bright. You have to be tracing through some pretty thick stock to need that kind of power.
TheFullMetalAlchemist (author) 2 years ago
Thanks to the editor/s the gave me the front page and feature. I was quite surprised.