The more projects I do, the more often I realized it would be helpful to have a light box for tracing. So I decided to build one.
Step 1: Reusing
I had previously purchased an old printer/scanner/copier at a garage sale for $7 and torn it apart for motors and gears. I saved the glass plate used during a scan but was not sure what I would use it for. . . until now. It would make the perfect transparent surface for my light table. It's clear, not opaque, but for what I intend to do with the light box, it will not make much difference.
Step 2: The Drawer
I first needed to build a drawer. Since this instructable is about a light box, I'll spare you the frustrations encountered in order to install a drawer under my work bench. The main source of frustration is that when I built the bench, my measurements were a little off so installing a drawer required angling adjustments you normally would not have to worry about. Anyway, long story short. . .install a drawer.
Step 3: Base
Measure an internal base. This will be used to support the LEDs and keep other items in the drawer from sliding onto them. I painted mine silver with a fair amount of reflective properties so as to maximize the light within the box.
Step 4: LED Strips
Instead of running my own, I just used three strips of LEDs. Two ran vertical and one ran diagonally. This provided sufficient light to all areas under the glass without having to put more LEDs underneath.
Step 5: More LEDS?
I actually placed six strips down to see about the light level but found that I got just as much light and the proper level of light with the N shaped arrangement of LEDs, so I left it at that.
Step 6: Framing
OK, so I got my glass and I got my lights and my drawer, now I need to add them all together. So I measured and placed a small strip of wood around the drawer as part of a frame to lay the glass upon. Since this was going in the corner of the drawer, I only had two walls to deal with (front of shelf and side of shelf). I could have built two extra walls and painted them silver as well, but for some reason, I was thinking I wanted it to remain open. In hindsight I'm not sure that was necessary, but that was my thinking at the time.
Now I needed one more support for the last corner of the glass. So, I took my trusty 3D printer pen and built up a custom support on top of the final corner. I created a slide bracket on top so the glass would slide in and be secured. I then used some Gorilla glue on the framing to attach the glass.
Step 7: So, Then I Needed Power and a Switch
With all of the pieces in place and working, now I needed a power source and switch to turn it on and off.
Step 8: Power
I've mentioned in a few of my other Instructables that I have a central base at my work area which has several ATX power supplies I've converted to provide constant power. The drawer happens to be right under neither them. So just ran a 12V line down underneath the bench area and tied it into the LEDs. I did not take any photos of my switch, but it was just a normal rocker switch that I used with a project box I made with my vacuum former.
Step 9: Final
So now I have a light box which pulls out and I can push in for tracing, whether it be tracing for an image or tracing with my 3D pen or for whatever other reason I can think of. And when I'm done I just push it back under the desk. The rest of the drawer is used for storage and to try and keep my work area cleaner than it has been lately. So, now I'm enjoying it while moving on to my next project.