Introduction: Height Adjustable Lightboard
In this instructable, we describe how to build a simple, fair-sized and yet stable lightboard at home. The lightboard we built has been used to create an online course during the COVID-19 pandemic and has proven to be a reliable way to present a heavy-math course material in an interactive and fun way.
1) can be adjusted to different heights;
2) can be dismounted to smaller parts when not in use or for easy transportation between rooms in a small household.
To facilitate the purchasing process, all supply dimensions are given in imperial units. The cutting dimensions, however, are provided in metric units.
one 3 ft. x 5 ft. x 6 mm. low-iron glass pane (found here)
one 16 ft. long x 8 mm. wide LED stripe (used Govee)
eleven 2 inch x 4 inch x 8 ft. SPF dimensional lumber boards
one bottle of wood glue (used Gorilla)
one tube of clear sealant (used DAP Kwik Seal)
eight 2 inch long bolts (used Paulin 1/4-inch)
eight fitting nuts (used Paulin 1/4-inch-20 Finished Hex Nut)
sixteen fitting flat washers (optional)
eight 3-1/2 inch long bolts (used Paulin 5/16-inch)
eight fitting nuts (used Paulin 5/16-inch-18 Finished Hex Nut)
sixteen fitting flat washers (optional)
Table saw and outfeed table
Drill and drill bits
Drill guide or drill press
Speed square (optional)
Step 1: Frame - Cutting Boards to Size
Start by cutting the boards to the size provided in the picture. These boards will be used to enframe the lightboard glass.
Step 2: Frame - Cutting Grooves
Cut a 9 mm-wide groove to enclose the LED stripe and the glass. Note that the groove depth of shorter boards (side boards) is 12 mm, whereas the depth of the longer boards (top and bottom boards) is 16 mm.
Step 3: Frame - Cutting Bridle Joints
The frame parts will be connected with the bridle joint. Make cuts to the dimensions provided in the picture above.
Step 4: Frame - Joining the Boards
Make sure that the grooves of each board are facing inwards and join the boards.
Take vertical and horizontal measurements of the inner frame dimensions to make sure that the glass fits in properly within the grooves. Make sure that there is a 4 mm clearance on the right and a 4 mm clearance on the left side of the glass (2 mm account for the LED diodes thickness and 2 mm to slide the glass in easily). There should also be at least an 8 mm total clearance on the top and bottom of the glass, where 6 mm account for the thickness of a bottom spacer and of the LED stripe and 2 mm for the thickness of the top LED diode stripe.
Apply glue while joining the side boards to the bottom part. Drill two holes for 1/4" bolts on the top of each joint, as shown in the picture. Insert and tighten the screws. The frame is ready to be assembled with the stand.
Step 5: Stand - Cutting Boards to Size
Start making the lightboard stand by cutting the wood to the indicated size.
Step 6: Stand - Making Stand Legs
Make cuts and glue the boards together. The two inner pocket of the stand leg will accommodate the frame ends. The outer cut will accommodate a horizontal beam which connects the legs.
Use crosscut sled or tenon jig to cut out a tenon on the bottom of the leg.
Step 7: Stand - Cutting Lap Joints for Stand Feet
Cut lap joints to the dimensions shown in the picture. Apply glue and join the boards. It forms a mortise ready to accommodate legs tenons, which were built in the previous step.
Step 8: Stand - Joining Legs and Feet
Apply glue to the feet and leg joints, slide legs inside the feet as shown in the picture. Make sure to maintain a 90 degree angle and clamp.
Step 9: Stand - Cutting Lap Joints for Horizontal Beam
Make lap cuts on each end of the two 190 cm long boards as shown in the picture. Apply glue, join, and clamp.
At this point, all parts are ready and we can start the preliminary assembly to drill the bolt holes.
Step 10: Testing the Final Assembly
Assemble the stand and the frame, as shown in Step 12: Final Assembly. Make sure there is a 90 degree angle between the horizontal beam and the stand legs. Drill two holes on the joint where the legs and the horizontal beam are connected. Insert and fasten the screws.
Determine the desirable lightboard height by sliding the frame up and down inside the stand pockets and make markings for the screw holes. With the help of a drill guide, drill a 90 degree hole through the stand and frame.
Step 11: Frame, LED, and Glass Assembly
Insert the adhesive LED stripe in the grove starting from the top left/right corner. Proceed with the assembly as demonstrated in the video. Note that at least two people are required for this step. It will be challenging to balance the heavy glass (22 kg) while sliding it down the frame, without damaging the LED stripe.
The green objects inside the bottom groove, which you can see in the video, are wooden spacers intended to cushion the glass. All lightboard makers seem to put the glass directly on top of the LED lights. However, we were concerned that our 22 kg glass could have damaged the LED diodes. Thus, we placed approximately 30 spacers (7 mm x 9 mm x 5 mm thick) along the frame bottom groove. In this way, the glass rather rests on the LED stripe, but not directly on LED diodes themselves.
There should be a little play of approximately 1.5 mm between the frame and the glass pane on each side. This can be fixed by applying a silicon sealant on each glass side. See "Step 12: Final Assembly".
Step 12: Final Assembly
If you followed all of the steps above your lightboard is 100% ready to be assembled.
Bring all lightboard parts in the room you intend to use as your future lightboard studio. Once assembled the lightboard will be very hard to move!
Put your lightboard together as demonstrated in the video. Since the glass is quite heavy we recommend to involve at least 2 people in the process. Once the final screws are tighten up, apply clear sealant on both sides of the frame. It will secure the glass and keep moisture from penetrating inside the groove when cleaning the glass.