Introduction: How to Make LED Light Panel for Photography & Video
If you had ever made a video with any type of camera even with your cell phone you probably know how important is the lighting. If you had ever work in a dark place you also know that good light is necessary. I also need one but buying such LED Panel needs a huge amount of money in pocket, and because I love making, I made my own version of it, out of LEDs and Custom PCBS. That's a perfect DIY project(OFC if you are willing to solder a ton of LEDs), you just need some soldering skills.
So Lets built it!
Step 1: Watch the Video!
If you don't want to read all the stuff you can watch my two parts video for visual representation :)
Step 2: Making the LED Panel
Before Building the LED panel we need to figure out what kind of LEDs we are going to use, there are tons of different LEDs like THT LED, 100W giant LED, Tiny Tiny SMD LEDs, etc. Best amongst them to use would be 5603 SMD LEDs because they provide much more Light as compared to others in terms of dimensions.
Now we have two options for using such LEDs, either we can make a PCB and solder each LED or we can buy a strip and then just stick it to a surface like Aluminum for heat dissipation. I personally prefer using the PCB because It will cheaper and PCB is made from copper so it will naturally act as a Heat sink
Once I had the LEDs I measured its dimensions and decided to have 3 LEDs in series so we can use a 12V supply and with 10mm spacing between them with of course curring limiting resistors. So I fired up the EasyEDA and designed the LED panel and ordered my PCB from JLCPCB.com
who are also the Sponsor of this video, You can order your PCBs only for $2 from their website, they provide PCB service for 2 to 6 layers PCB at insanely low prices and now you can also chose any colour solder mask for no extra cost which is really nice, you can also monitor the production in progress with videos, check them out link - www.JLCPCB.com for Sponsoring this project, You can order 2 layer PCB (10cm*10cm) only for $2 from their website. Built time for 2 layers PCB is only 24Hr with any color solder mask.
Below I have attached the Gerber files for PCB just upload the ZIP it to site and order them simple and Easy!
Step 3: Soldering the LEDs
Once PCB arrived in just 1 week it was time to solder, just keep in mind that we will solder alternately Cool with and Warm White LEDs so we can adjust color temperature.
You can use here two different techniques to solder, Normal Hand Held soldering Iron technique or Soldering using Hot air station with the help of solder paste.
Using hot air method is more convenient so I went with it. Below are the Steps how to solder using Hot air Method,
- Clean the PCB with IPA
- Warm up the PCB a bit
- Apply just enough solder paste so it covers the pads
- Place the LEDs on the solder paste and press slightly
- Using the Oven or Hot air Station solder all LEDs at about 320C-350C
- Repeat the process for resistors
Once done just check the LED Panel by applying the 12V
Now we need to add dimming functionality but before that lets built case for the panel!
Step 4: Building the Case!
For building the case it totally up to your creativity for mine, I designed 4 pieces in Fusion 360 and 3D printed them. These 4 Pieces will act as the foundation for our case then using some super glue I glued the PCB to those 4 Pieces.
Now I bought a 4mm thick acrylic sheet using which we will make rest of the case, you can also use MDF for this part. Then I marked all the pieces which need to be cut as per the dimensions I have mentioned in the PDF attached below. After marking all pieces I used a box cutter and started to scratch the acrylic sheet along the markings.
Once groves were about 1mm deep I used some force to snap the Acrylic, this is a really fast and easy way to cut Acrylic. then it was just a matter of gluing all the pieces to the 3D printed pieces also add a 3/8" to 1/4" adapter to the bottom piece so we can attach the LED panel to a Tripod or a Light Stand.
But don't yet glue the back acrylic panel because we still need to add dimer circuit.
Step 5: Making LED Dimming Circuit
For the LED dimming circuit I used classic IC555 Timer circuit, Its really simple and I used this exact same circuit in many of my previous projects so I had PCBs Left over from that project So it was just matter of soldering all the components like diodes, Capacitor, IC555 etc. but dont solder the MOSFET and Potentiometer we will extend wires for POT and add heatsink fro MOSFET because this guy tends to get pretty hot.
Once done I drilled 3 holes in the back Acrylic panel for the XT60 plug and 2 Potentiometer. Then it just matters of soldering some last bits of wires as per schematic of IC555 and glue the back Acrylic panel and Finally this project was Complete!
Step 6: Done & Thank You!
Now just plug in a 12V supply and you are ready to recode videos!
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