How to build a lightbox
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.
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.
eBay has a lot of them at very low prices. The larger ones are more expensive.
Here are a few good examples:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :p