SAD Box Inspired (keep Ur Soul Warm With a Light Box)




Introduction: SAD Box Inspired (keep Ur Soul Warm With a Light Box)

About: Look man enough with the questions.

I always sleep more, and feel down in the winter. I saw this on lifehacker so I decided to make my own. I have two purposes for the box, one is for the hopeful improvement of my mood during winter, second being an alarm clock of sorts. Maybe I could fool myself into thinking the sun is up in my basement apartment.

Stuff you will need:

1.) a box, possibly a piece of wood ($20)
2.) fixtures ($3 ea $45 total)
3.) wire ($2)
4.) plug ($8)
5.) drill & cylindrical drill bit ($9)
6.) aluminum foil (or silver spray paint) (?)
7.) small screws or nails ($2)
8.) CFL-lightbulbs (I chose a mixture of colors) ($50)
9.) plex-glass (-)
10.) sandpaper (-)

Step 1: Assemble the Box Housing

This step is pretty easy, just make sure your box is the size you want. The hardest part for me was actually simply finding the box I wanted to use. Everything seemed to be the wrong dimensions, I was lucky I thought of the idea when I was staring at this shelf that wasn't the right depth. I decided I was going to turn the shelves sideways and it would work because the back would be the interior for wiring. Then I figured out that the shelves wouldn't work, so I went back out to buy a piece of wood to fit in the center. Make sure the light bulbs fit entirely inside the box before locating the divider. There's also going to be a lot of extra parts.

Step 2: Drilling the Pattern on the Wall

Design your pattern and drill it out with the cylindrical drill bit. Things to consider when designing your pattern are the area you have, the electrical connections you've chosen, and not having the bulbs clash with each other.

Step 3: Line the Box With Foil

I chose spray paint, it happened to be snowing the very day I chose to paint the box. If it's your driveway or garage, you may not want to paint on the cement because it will color it silver. I accidentally painted this persons truck silver. I found that the paint doesn't stick to the slick surface so I lined it with masking tape to ensure it wasn't going to run. The masking tape will probably crack after some time so if you have some sandpaper it would be a better option to sand the slick surfaces rough. Aluminum foil also probably has better reflective abilities.

Step 4: Connect All the Wiring

Please ensure that all the bulbs are connected in parallel! Test the unit without bulbs to check if you accidentally wired wrong. Also, put all the bulbs into sockets and test before closing off the wiring.

Step 5: Attach the Plex Glass and the Back

I actually didn't get the Plexiglas, but I meant to put sandpaper on it to give it a better look. It is kinda necessary for safety if you have kids or something, but I don't so I went without. Since I did have the backboard for the shelf I tacked it on to hide the wiring. I have had 2 close calls almost breaking light bulbs so I'm going to get that plex and put it on next week.

Step 6: Set Timer

I learned long ago to test out an alarm clock before using it to ensure that it works the way you think it does. It is awesome, and hard to look at. I wouldn't stare at the bulbs because they'll hurt your eye's and give you a headache.



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    18 Discussions

    This is probably the first and only beautiful thing I see using these otherwise kind of ugly and and harmful energy saving bulbs. I have to say wow, great project, but I also have to say EEEEEW because these bulbs have been found to emit small amount of mercury in some rare cases. And when they break their mercury content bursts and distributes into the room's air so fast that it's apparently hard to hold one's breath fast enough. Although the amount emitted through breakage might been blown out of proportion by media and hystery it is still kinda unappealing to me. The UV harm in rare cases where these bulbs had been manufactured with a flaw is real but you'd need a way to find out if any of those you are using belong to these.

    If this project could be made with other bulbs (and maybe ones that emit a more sun--like light spectrum) it would be a complete winner!

    People are saying this wont emitt the right amount of light for it to be effective. Since he didnt give the dimensions of the box I can be sure, but if we assume its about 5ftx2ft and we use 60 watt cfl bulbs outputting ~800 lumens each, the box should output about 12,000 lux.

    don't listen to them I think is awesome :)

    if u use 100watts of led chips that will give more sun like light ...and less power consuming..
    than u will not need that much numbers of cfl

    Be sure to investigate the latest findings on Fluorescent bulbs and UV exposure/health warnings. Safe if used sensibly.

    Timeswitch + CFL light box + winter mornings = win. I just purchased a timeswitch to use with the shoji lamp which is now next to my bed, and have gone from snoozing my alarm for up to 45 minutes before getting out of bed, to being fully awake and getting up before the alarm goes off.

    I find the beauty of CFLs is that cheaper models do still have a noticeable warmup time of a few minutes- who needs fancy-schmancy sunrise alarms when you have lightbulbs that fade themselves on?

    2 replies

    I do the same thing. A small desk light goes on 45 minutes before my alarm and I wake up refreshed and ready to go. It's an amazing difference!

    we're defiantly due for the light-switch 2.0 if we have web 2.0

    Wow.... I REALLY wish i had seen this a couple of months ago before i bought a 400$ light box.... mine is a little higher quality though :P

    1 reply

    Your $400 was well spent as I severely doubt this home made idea will put out the 10,000 lux that a medical light box device requires. Also, newer studies show that a special type of light is NOT required, but the 10,000 lux measured 12 inches from the light source is.

    According to research you need to have the lights shine into you eyes for the beneficial effect. It appears it is the light on the retina that benefits you more than just the light on your skin. (Light on eyes = perceived daylight.. light on skin = more Vitamin D). You don't have to stare at the light but it has to hit your eyes. My lights are on each side of my laptop screen.

    I have S.A.D. so I recently put a sun bulb into a lamp with a timer. It goes on at 8am, off at 10am, on at 5 pm and off at 1130pm. It's nice to have the artificial extra daylight hours!

    Well done. I can see this having a place in my house. I already have a timer from a Mr. Coffee coffee maker that I got at a surplus store that I use to turn on my stereo. I have a spare plug on it that I could use for this lamp.

    awesome, that doesn't look too difficult to make... Where are you supposed to put the box,and in what direction do you focus the light? Just anywhere, or do you need to point /place it in a certain way for it to work? I do tend to get a bit depressed and find it really really hard to get up in the morning, so it would be wonderful if this helps. I would love to hear what your experiences are :).

    1 reply

    From all the reading I did about it, people with SAD are supposed to sit in front of it for therapy. I don't recommend looking directly at the lights because it's very bright. I just sat it in the corner of my room near my bed. I'm going to point it directly at myself for tomorrow morning. I've found it's better for improving my mood, than waking me up, the cat likes it a lot though....

    Are these bulbs actually colored? Or is it just different shades of white, like the fluorescent tubes are? Did you take the picture with a really short exposure? Or with a filter perhaps?

    1 reply

    When you buy CFL's watch out because the come in different warmth varieties. Yes it's just white by a different shade, but it usually gives you a value on the front of the box.

    wow, this is pretty cool. the plexiglass would have been a nice touch, frosted to diffuse it. but still this looks great. nice ible