LED Video Chat Light

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About: Hi I'm Kriss! I’m a 20-something that likes to build tools, jigs, and other random contraptions with wood.

Pretty basic stuff here, and I don’t know about you but I am CONSTANTLY finding myself in situations where my video chat lighting is terrible! This project fixes that quite nicely, as seen in the before and after shots.

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Step 1: Video

A video of this project, if that's your thing. Otherwise, keep reading :D

Step 2: Measure

I measure the outside dimensions of my display and add 1/4" overhang on all sides. Take care to design the frame so it doesn't cover up the webcam!

Step 3: Cut

1/4" plywood is cut into 1/2" strips with a circular saw, and cross cut to length at the mitre saw.

Step 4: Sand

Eliminate pesky splinters with some sandpaper.

Step 5: Joinery

Just running down some joinery options here. From the top down: a butt joint doesn't provide a lot of glue surface, a 45 degree mitre is tricky to get right, but I think a half lap will be perfect (that's the one at the bottom)!

Step 6: Routing

Half lap joints are easy to cut on the router table.

SAFETY FIRST! Don't forget your push blocks.

Step 7: Glue

Just a standard assembly using Titlebond-3.

Step 8: Prepare LEDs

Cutting up an LED strip and sticking it down to the frame.

Step 9: Solder

Since the LED strips was cut up, now it needs to be reconnected.

SAFETY FIRST! Don't forget your soldering smoke absorber.

Step 10: LIGHT IT UP

It's very bright!!

Step 11: Dimmer Circuit

The light was too bright to use, so I create a dimmer circuit. This is cheaper than a commercial LED dimmer switch.

7x 1N4001 diodes in series on a breadboard provide 8 nodes with incrementally decreasing voltage. Each diode presents a voltage drop of about 0.7V (the power supply and LED strips are rated to 12V).

This LED strip is from Lee Valley (4000K 30 LEDs/m).

Step 12: Wrap-up

You're awesome!
Thanks for reading :)

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    12 Discussions

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    Meglymoo87

    3 years ago

    Your YouTube video was awesome as is your 'ible! Great job! Thanks for being a valuable part of the Instructable community :)

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    quintaar

    3 years ago

    Congratulations - great design, worth of 1st place!

    1 reply
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    Toolifyquintaar

    Reply 3 years ago

    I'm quite blown away by it, but thank you!

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    samalertsamalert

    Reply 3 years ago

    If its external supply why isnt it sourced from USB directly

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    Toolifysamalert

    Reply 3 years ago

    The LED strip I had on hand was 12V, so couldn't use 5V USB power directly. It's possible to step up 5V to 12V, but I chose to omit that for this project since I have convenient 12V power. Maybe one day I'll make a 5V version :)

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    DanielG270

    3 years ago

    Very cool! I might try to make a variant that can collapse for easy traveling... Also, would like to figure out if I could draw enough power from a USB port...

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    diyj2

    3 years ago

    BRIGHT IDEA !!! Thanks for the primer. Now to order parts.

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    Yonatan24

    3 years ago

    Cool, How do you choose the brightness setting of the dimmer? Did you keep it in the breadboard?

    1 reply
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    ToolifyYonatan24

    Reply 3 years ago

    I connect a jumper wire to a different node on the breadboard. It's not very elegant, but it works for me.