Tracing, animation, x-ray, light box under $20

Picture of Tracing, animation, x-ray, light box under $20
My Girlfriend is a Fashion design major working on her MFA, and she often needs to trace her sketches. She uses my animation table but it is a bit too large for her to work with, and she can’t move it around. So I decided to make her a light box. Once I had everything together, it took me less than a day to build. In fact, I made it today.  This is my first Instructable, it will not be my last.
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Step 1: Materials

1 piece of translucent white plastic, from the San Francisco Tap plastics scrap bin, 5 bucks,

1 clip board clip from tap plastics 1 buck

1 1x3 from home depot 3 bucks

1 sheet of back board from home depot, 2 bucks

1 light from home depot 7 bucks,

4 brackets form home depot 1 buck

Some aluminum foil, wood glue, 3m spay mount staples and rivets, already had. durham wood putty.

Total $19.00

Step 2: Step 1

Picture of Step 1
Pick a sheet of plastic pre cut, then you'll be building the box around it.

take your 1x3 and cut your board in the proper lengths, using 45 degree miter cuts on each end. This is just like building a frame.

Step 3: Step 2

Picture of Step 2

now take your 4 lengths of wood, and cut in a groove. I used a little hobby table saw i picked up at harbor freight. Make sure the blade only comes to the width of the plastic sheet, and clamp on a guide making sure the space between the blade and the guide is the width of the plastic sheet. groove the wood so that you're cutting out a corner in each piece.

Step 4: Step 3

Picture of step 3
now, using wood glue, glue and staple the wood together forming the frame. after your frame is together cut a sheet the size of your frame from your back board. Then glue and staple the back board to the frame. At this point the plastic sheet should fit nicely in the groves.

Zenloth7 months ago

An alternative for light source (probably more useful on larger boxes) would potentially be LED tape in cool white; go around all edges? 12v battery or mains with laptop PSU

bluefly12153 years ago
I made one in 1998 for a college project, Its not much larger and the light source is a plug in light (wish they had leds back then) I also used aluminum foil for reflector. I also noticed at that time the light sorce got pretty warm and needed a vent. Anyway, my sister stole it not long after I made it so she could do some stuff. Funny thing she still has it. Nice idea like your box.
Sunnedaez3 years ago
What type of saw did you use to cut the mitre?
ihoppoet (author)  Sunnedaez3 years ago
a miter saw
Miskui4 years ago
Yeah, for me I bought a Light Pad that has equal lighting over the entire pad which I need for traditional animation. But is it possible to line the bottom with those clickable lights? Where you push them and they turn on - there are the really huge ones that you'd probably only have to put 2 in there. I dunno I'm thinking outloud because I'd like another home-made, lightweight lightbox as a backup.
Saidye Miskui3 years ago
Yes, it's possible to line the bottom with clickable lights. That's actually quite a brilliant idea I'd like to use.
flyingpuppy4 years ago
Great idea. Looks like it would be even better if you have a light on the other side as well.
ihoppoet (author)  flyingpuppy4 years ago
I thought about that, but, it works really well as is, and it would add weight to it, my Girlfriend is 5 foot tall and 95 pounds, so I tried to keep it as lightweight as possible. That is why I used pine. Also why I used foil instead of sheet metal. I'm thinking about making one for myself, it will be brighter but heavier.