DIY Softbox

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by balint, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. balint

    balint Member

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    Hey mates,

    I am looking for an affordable softbox solution. Are there any kits one could buy and assemble himself. If nothing like that is around, I am planning to do some experiments and build something myself out of plastic tubes or aluminium profiles. Any suggestions?

    I have a 35mm Nikon system, and for the beginning I am planning to use two flashes as light source.
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    The best solution I ever saw for this was this one friend of mine who built his softboxes out of 1 inch PVC tubing. With about $50 you can buy the tubing and the joints and make a box in 1/2 day. For the diffusion he went to a fabrics shop and got himself some of that material they use for parachutes, I dont know the name of it, he bought the lenght necessary for the frame he made and then put velcro to wrap around the tubing. If you cut a little 1 and 1/2 inch square out of each corner you can place the velcro and wrap it around the tubing. Once he was finished his stuff looked almost factory made.
     
  3. bmac

    bmac Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Jorge @ Nov 28 2002, 07:05 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>With about $50 you can buy the tubing and the joints and make a box in 1/2 day. b</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    Ir for about $80 you can log on to B&H and buy a small photoflex lightdome. I used to fire Vivitar 283's into umbrellas off of a small lightstand. I bought adaptes for about $15 at a local shop that had umbrella mounts and attached my flashes via cheap slaves.
     
  4. BobF

    BobF Member

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    Jorge

    I've seen diffusion panels made this way but it seems like it would be rather heavy to hang on a strobe like a factory softbox. Also how do you attach it to the strobe without purchase of the expensive adapters.

    Are there web sites with drawings etc.?


    bmac...

    $15.00 adaptors? Who makes them? New/used?
     
  5. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Bob, you know it did not dawn on me until now that he wants this for a 35mm camera, I was thinking more of a studio set up. What my friend did was to use clamps to hold the set up on a light stand. I think balint plans to use slaves and the flashes off camera so I would think this still applies.
    The boxes were actually lighter than any soft box I ever saw or held.
    Sorry but no plans, at least that I know of, but maybe a google search would find you some.
     
  6. BobF

    BobF Member

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    Jorge - that was my impression also, a studio like set up.

    If we are talking about light modifiers that need their own support, I use a simple piece of translucent fabric 48" x 72" that I just hang from a pole with the strobe controlled with barn doors. Effective for times when you need full length soft light. Most of the time I just use translucent shoot-thru $18.00 umbrellas. I do as much as I can on the cheap and a living room for a studio.

    Bob
     
  7. bmac

    bmac Member

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    The adapters are just a generic brand from my local camera store. I'll try to post of photo of one of them if I can find them. I switched over to monolights, I couldn't handle the recycle time while doing portraits.
     
  8. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Here is the setup minus flash and slave. That is a cheap smith victor stand, and an umprella I bought used for about $10. or so. The top of the adapter has a 1/4 - 20 screw.

    Brian
     
  9. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (BobF @ Nov 28 2002, 10:06 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Jorge - that was my impression also, a studio like set up.

    If we are talking about light modifiers that need their own support, I use a simple piece of translucent fabric 48" x 72" that I just hang from a pole with the strobe controlled with barn doors. &nbsp;Effective for times when you need full length soft light. &nbsp;Most of the time I just use translucent shoot-thru $18.00 umbrellas. &nbsp;I do as much as I can on the cheap and a living room for a studio.

    Bob</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    Bob, I agree, that was my first thought. All I have ever done is hang a piece of translucent material and flash through it, but maybe balint wants something more elaborate.
     
  10. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Actually for the low cost alternative foamcore can be made into a lightweight and fairly durable softbox. Cut this into the proper trapezoidal shape for the back and sides and tape together with duct tape then tape a piece of cloth over the front and you're in business. This can be modified with a foil reflector on the inside, or for more spread also put a circle of foil on the back of the cloth facing the flash to bounce the light back to the softbox sides.
    I also made a large diffuser with a bedsheet and steel conduit parts from Home Depot that stands on its own for about $30. It's about 6x7 feet.
     
  11. balint

    balint Member

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    Many thanks for the suggestions. I will go for the plastic tubes and joints, but I will not abandon my alu-profile ideas. I will try to build elements out of tubing which can be combined (just like lego) and build softboxes of different size and shape. I think that alu-profiles and tubing might be better for such a softbox system.

    As expected, I am not the first person building it's own softboxes. I was hoping that someone could point me to some descriptions, drawings and diagrams on the web, so that I don't have to spend too much time with the design work.

    You might ask - what design work? Well I hope to show you soon.