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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.
 
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Step 1: Find a fluorescent bulb

and associated ballast, rip the things apart to get the pieces you need.

Step 2: Wire to test power.

here i am wiring it up and placing it in box to see if there is going to be enough light to illuminate my pages and kites.

Step 4: Put a white bottom on the box.

for more reflection. i had some old white laminex covered wood which seems perfect.

Step 5: Add switch housing

for the on off switches. i'm adding 3 switches in case i need to put more lights in later.

Step 6: Wiring it up

i actually added a second fluorescent. as you can see it is not much good. you'll be able to figure out how to make more if you need em.

Step 7: Feet for bottom of box.

i had these scraps of round timber left over from another project. simply woodscrewed into bottom.

Step 8: Housing the translucent plastic on front.

i had some old framing timber with a recessed edge perfect for holding the plastic in place.
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
weasel9994 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.
grimgroper4 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)
mahbooty8 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.
bluelion8 years ago
how about replacing the light with those fluorescent lightbulbs that fit in a standard light fitting.... you could put 6 in there...
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