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I needed a light box for tracing airfoils from kites (among other things).
I had some old fluorescent lights and of all things a recessed skylight box housing thing that looked perfect for the job.

Step 1: Find a fluorescent bulb

Picture of Find a fluorescent bulb
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and associated ballast, rip the things apart to get the pieces you need.
 
Thanks for the instructions! I also found this guideline for a smaller one using fluorescents in standard fittings as suggested. I think the advantage there is very even light (good for detailed tracing) without much heat.

http://www.eleventyhandmadedesign.com/2009/10/homemade-light-box-with-fluorescent.html
hello sunshinecook, your link to this great tutorial can use a little update:

http://www.eleventytheblog.com/2009/10/homemade-light-box-with-fluorescent.html
weasel9995 years ago
I made similar alot simler by using an old scaner top and a flashlight
Great, simple project! In the photo it looks like the lighting is nice and even. For the second fluorescent, maybe a higher wattage bulb? Or another of the original fluorescent fixture? Or bluelion's idea, with a reflector behind. For the second bulb, I've heard that straight-tube fluorescent fixtures have metal reflectors because they need a conductive surface nearby to help them start up. Try setting a white metal reflector behind the bulb. The reflector would help, anyway.
grimgroper6 years ago
just thought of this... but if you want a smaller one say 17" you could pull out the back light and diffuser from an old lcd monitor, get rid of the graphics driver and you have a nice thin ( approx 1cm thick) desktop light box if you want to get thiner you could try a laptop but powering might get slightly more complex)
mahbooty9 years ago
where do you get the translucent plastic?
Check at Home Depot or Lowes in the door department; they should have something for screen doors. If not there, check in the lighting department near the large industrial ceiling fixtures.
Yes but it would get mighty warm. Using 1 or perhaps even two CFL may work well. Just place some tin foil to help bolster full coverage. My biggest concern is the burning PS foam gives an acrid smell and very toxic. Burning Aluminum quite different and not as toxic.
bluelion9 years ago
how about replacing the light with those fluorescent lightbulbs that fit in a standard light fitting.... you could put 6 in there...