DIY light box

My wife was wanting to get a light box for tracing and art projects for the kids this Christmas. I liked the idea but didn’t like the $40+ price tag we found most places. I had some spare parts around so I figured I’d try to make one myself.

I had some 30V LED’s from a porch light that had died so that was the lighting source. I found on accident that when they weren’t attached the the porch light they got hot real fast. In my testing I actually got it hot enough to desolder one of the leads. Oops! :stuck_out_tongue:

I decided to mount it on an old CPU heat sink to keep it cool. It worked great. There was very minimal heat increase so I figured the sink had to be dissipating the heat pretty well.

After that, I put together a box with some spare plywood and plexiglass. I mounted the LED in the middle of the box.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

It works great for tracing and doesn’t blind you when you’re working over it as long as you have at least a sheet of paper over the plexiglass. In total, I think I spent something like $2 for the power supply, $3 for the heat sink, $3 for the dc power plug for the side of the box, and $2 for the rubber feet on the bottom of the box. ~$10 isn’t too bad for a project!

I realize it isn’t nearly as exciting as some of the projects that get shared here but I was excited it worked out so I wanted to share with somebody.

Thanks guys!

Great work! Simple and inexpensive

That is very cool. Nice, simple, good looking, and very effective looking. Congrats on the build. :)

My mother has mentioned intending to buy a back lit table for tracing, but I don't think she ever made the purchase. Hmmm, you got me thinking about a last minute Christmas project now. Your idea would take up much less space too.

Do you have any recommendation as to what angle the top should slope?

Mine was just kind of determined by what I could cut out given the size of the scrap of plywood I had available. No claim that it is ideal but this one goes from about 4.5” in the front to 6.5” in the back over about 12” of run.

congrat on your first project, and thank you for sharing.

It’s always so much more satisfying when it’s DIY plus you get to learn some new interesting things, well done!

That is a great idea! I never thought it would work without being too blinding with a bare led like that. How much power do you feed that sucker? Do you know approximately how powerful thep ower supply is?

I can see this really ticking a few positive boxes for my kids in a few years. Heii - I'd love it too :-)

I had a bench power supply that I tried at work. I found that it was decent light between 24 and 32V and seemed to pull less than 400 mA and probably closer to 200 mA. I didn’t have any power supply at home so I went to a used part shop and found a 30V 400mA power supply and it works great. It is way too bright when you don’t have a paper over it. For that reason, I might look at putting some window film or something the plexiglass to diffuse the light a little but we’ll see how it goes with the kids first.

I like it - use leftover pieces to make something valuable.


Ahh, by “light box” I thought it is for measuring lumens output which is something like this. :bigsmile:

Anyway Merry Christmas. :slight_smile:

I always wanted one of these light boxes, and always thought it would make a nice woodworking project but never realized it would also involve LED’s and some electronics. Thanks for sharing and congrats for the Project!!!