How to build a lightbox

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Nicole, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    I'm tired to trying to see my negs through the window or against bad lighting at night. Therefore, I'd like to get a collection of ideas/suggestions/warnings on how to build a good lightbox. I have seen a couple of posts on this subject on APUG and would like to get together peoples own accounts in the one thread on how to build a good lightbox.

    Thanks so much for your input.

    Kind regards,
    Nicole
     
  2. argus

    argus Member

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    I built mine out of an old winebox (3 bottles), a piece of white PVC of 2mm and 3 15W TL-lamps that fit in the box. I added a simple switch to turn it off/on.

    The lighting is not very equal throughout the surface but it is a great help. I spent about 50Euro on the different parts.

    G
     
  3. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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  4. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I built a wooden frame with plywood bottom, 26" x 50" and packed it with as many 2-tube 48" fluor fixtures as wood fit (10 "full spectrum" 5000k tubes). On the inside of the frame, I glued aluminum foil as a reflector. For the top, I bought a sheet of 1/8" white plexi, and covered this with a sheet of 1/4 plate glass. The plexi and glass fit in a rabbit in the frame--leave some room for expansion as it warms up. The plexi cuts down quite a bit of light, so you need all the light you can produce, but it does give a very even light. The glass allows me to work on the table, fairly safely. (Never broken it in 3 years).

    This is my 3rd lightbox, and the best so far.
     
  5. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Use lightwood? :wink:
     
  6. eheldreth

    eheldreth Member

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    I took a trip to the local craft store. I purchased a small wodden box, I christmas house light, and a plastic "Box" style picture frame for around $5 total. Drill a hole big enough for the light in the box, remove the lid. Cut a piece of white printing paper to fit in the box frame and sit the frame ontop of the wodden box. Works great.
     
  7. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Nicole,
    I needed to build a small one not only to get better visualisation of my negs, but also to conduct film speed and development tests. I got the original idea from Build Your Own Home Darkroom by Duren and McDonald.

    It was dead simple: I got a 7' x 1' piece of 5/8 melamine, cut it down to 8'' width. Next, I cut four sections to make a box (mine is 12'' to a side). Next I cut a bottom out of MDF and then placed a ceramic light socket with an 8'' circular fluorescent fixture. I cut two pieces of perspex for the top and sandwiched a piece of tissue paper in between to diffuse the light. Parting stops (mouldings) are used to hold the perspex in place.

    It was really simple to make and I did it with some scrap wood that I had laying about the house. It took around 1 hour to make.

    Kent
     
  8. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I second watching ebay--you can buy them cheaper than you can buy the supplies to build one. Just won a 14x18" $100 Logan lightbox on ebay for ~$23 shipped for example.
     
  9. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Cold light source

    When I obtained my Durst S45 it also had an Aristo cold light souurce. I print almost entirely 35mm negatives. I turned the Aristo grid upside down and use it as a lightbox for examing 35mm negatives prior to printing. I examine the entire negative with both a 7x and 30x loupe after loading the carrier. It is a very bright light and allows me to fully examine my negatives prior to printing and get rid of dust etc.
     
  10. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    If you want a light box:

    • Find a nice box
    • Be careful not to put heavy things into it

    Then the box should remain light :tongue:

    Sorry, Nicole
     
  11. argus

    argus Member

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    It's not as much fun as making one yourself :smile:

    G
     
  12. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    If you end up getting a commercial box, it's worth taking the time to insert the optional glass overlay. It cleans easier, can be cut on and will prove more durable than the composite sheets. I've got a small 8X10 portable Testrite that is handy for taking out to a work table to spread out projects. I also am building one into my darkroom countertop as I'm accustomed to using at work. That way, the area serves a dual purpose and is always in the right spot in the darkroom.
     
  13. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I found an 11x17" X-Ray Viewer at the local landfill.. Working tubes and all.
    At my previous job they had one built out of wood and frosted plexiglass with fluorescent tubes inside.. Really simple but it worked just fine! Plus you can build it to your own dimensions!
     
  14. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Also, if you plan to judge color balance on transparencies, be sure that you find a light source with a high CRI (color rendition index) and a color temperature of 5000K to 5500K. Manufacturers of flourescent lamps often indicate that with a model number that includes the number 50 or 5000 in the name, like the GE Chroma50. Regular "daylight" flourescents are _not_ what you want for judging color. I'd give you more specifics if I knew the Australian market. There are even some 5500K LED light bars available on the web, which I plan to use on the next small lightbox I make. www.superbrightleds.com

    Lee
     
  15. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I agree with Lee L about judging color with daylight fluoros. We judged little childrens smiles on Portra 120 NC, not color.

    Those LED lightbars look like a great idea, please let us know how it works out!
     
  16. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Sometimes you can find a good light table from a local printer going full direct to plate output. I've got one thats about 24"x36". It was a pain finding a good spot for it in the darkroom but a glass top table can be used for many different things.
     
  17. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Nicole,
    Use "garden flourescents" they are 5500K plus and very near to noon day
    sun light at 6000K
     
  18. gbroadbridge

    gbroadbridge Member

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    Instead of a lightbox, consider placing a piece of tracing paper @ 20 cents behind the neg sheet and holding up to the light.

    For a more up market version, get a couple of 12v 12 inch flouruescent automotive work lamps and put them behind the tracing paper. That's better than a light box :smile:


    Graham.
     
  19. Andrew A.

    Andrew A. Member

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    Nicole,

    Last year I built a light box based roughly on ideas I got in the book Build Your Own Darkroom by Lista Duren and Will McDonald (ISBN 0-936262-04-4). The plans are outlined in Chapter 8. I modified my dimensions significantly (20.5"L x 15.5"W x 6"H) and the light layout to accommodate easily found fluorescent light size and types. I used two (2) 16” Phillips Natural Light tubes and a mirror type Mylar auto tinting film as the reflector material inside the box (aluminum foil is not recommended). The top surface is white translucent acrylic. It turned out to be a great size light box that can handle 36+ slide selections very nicely yet remain very portable. What surprised me is the cost was almost $50 (including bulbs!). As a DYI project I thought it would be less expensive. I will try to post a simple picture below …Andrew
     

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  20. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    Are these putting out UV for growing plants though????

    BE CAREFUL!!!

    joe