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HALL OF FAMER
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There seems to be some demand for this, so I will show you how I made a lightbox for taking better quality photos of my woodworking projects. This is, by no means, the only way to do it and the dimensions that I give you here are only the ones that I used. Feel free to change the dimensions in any way that you wish, but keep in mind, that you will also need to get larger poster board if you make it bigger than I did.

The materials for this are simple.
1/2" abs flexible plumbing conduit (amount will depend on the dimensions you decided on)
1/2" T-fittings
1/2" 90 degree bends
1/2" end caps
#6 wood screws
wooden dowel to fit the inner diameter of the conduit
different colours of poster board
an old bed sheet (white)

We start of by cutting the legs. I actually have 2 sets of legs. One shorter and one longer. I sometimes mix and match 2 long and 2 short to get different heights in the front of the box, without changing the size of my background material. (you'll understand more in a bit)

Cut four pieces at 14" and another four pieces at 18" (if you want longer legs)
Attach end caps on one end and a 90 degree connector on the other. You will also need to cut several 1" pieces that will be glued in to the 90 degree connectors for joiner pieces. Assemble the legs as shown. I glued mine in, but you don't have to if your don't want to.
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You will then need to cut two pieces measuring 16 1/4" long. A T-fitting is attached to each end of these pieces. Assemble them as shown here and you want to make sure that the T-fittings are parallel to each other.
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You will then need to cut 2 pieces measuring 23" long. Set one piece aside.
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With the second 23" piece, you will need to insert small sections of dowel into the conduit and drill and screw in 3 #6 screws. The dowel is to give the screws some stability. Don't screw the screws all the way in, as they will be used later to hang our poster board. You want them to protrude a little.
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HALL OF FAMER
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
That's it for the cutting of pieces. Now you want to assemble your pieces. Don't glue these together, because you'll want to take it apart when you are done taking photos for storage.
Assemble the top as shown here.
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Insert the legs, again without glueing, and you should have something that looks like this.
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You'll also need several sheets of poster board. As you can see, I have accumulated quite a collection of colours. Using a single hole punch, you will want to punch 3 holes in the shorter end of each sheet, that will mimic the spacing of your #6 screws.
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Hang your chosen colour of poster board from your screws.
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Hang your sheet over the top of the box and shine a light in from the left, the right and the top. In this case, my dining room light serves as the top light. These don't have to be spot lights. Just something that will illuminate the inside of the box.
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HALL OF FAMER
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
From here, it's play time. Experiment with different colours of background and positioning your lights in different ways. This is a simple piece that I cut a few years back but I took several pictures of it using different background colours to show you the difference a background can make.
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Awesome Ken. I will have one of these built this weekend. This is very helpful! :thumbsup: I know I'll use the hell out of setup like this. Thank you VERY much for posting this.

Bri
 

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Are you using some fancy uber camera for these pics kenbo? All I've got is one of those small point and click digitals. 8MP, but still. I know it suffers quality from the lack of a proper lens, but I'm hoping its enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nope, nothing fancy here. I have a Canon Powershot SD780 IS.
It's a digital point and shoot. I used to be into photography years ago and even developed my own black and whites. I don't do it anymore and I love my point and shoot. Wouldn't trade it. Another thing that you may want to consider, is that 8MP is plenty to get a good quality photo. Unless you are going to blow these pictures up to an 11"X14" format, 8MP is more than sufficient.

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The photographer in our turning club was just explaining to me at the last meeting the same thing. Those light boxes are $100 and up I think he said.

Thanks for the instructional Ken
 

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Caution Guys!

If you are using incandescant bulbs like the one on the left here,
Do Not leave the area with the lights on! The heat from the bulb may ignite the cloth and cause a fire! :censored: :eek: bill
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you are using incandescant bulbs like the one on the left here,
Do Not leave the area with the lights on! The heat from the bulb may ignite the cloth and cause a fire!



That is a great warning Bill and I agree with you whole heartedly, however, the light on the left in this photo is actually a compact flourescent floodlamp. It doesn't get hot. Your warning does have merit though. Thanks for pointing that out. I sometime forget that, just because I know it's a CFL, everyone else doesn't know. Incandescent floods can get very, very hot and being that close to a linen sheet, the risk of fire is very very real. Be careful guys.
If you are using an incandescent lamp, like Bill says, do not leave the light box unattended with the lamp on.

Here's a photo of the lamp for those of you who didn't know such a thing existed. You can see the CFL inside the flood lamp globe.

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Really nice instructional post, Ken. The different colored boards, really do make a difference. Thanks for taking the time to show us the effects.

I suppose you could use un-glued couplers to make it bigger and, adjustable for the smaller size.
Too much bigger and 3/4" might be necessary, though. Although linen and poster board isn't all that heavy. CPVC is a bit more rigid. Might work at 1/2".
Any thoughts?

Thanks again!
 

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thats a killer idea, gonna have to try. though im gonna have to go alittle bigger for my chess boards to fit
i also have that same camera, great pc for the price. takes great night time pic's too
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the kind words guys. This is a very simple project (as you can see) to make. As far as larger projects go, here's a thought. Whenever I get the finish put on my motorcycle, I intend on using a light box to take photos. I took the original photos in the light box pictured, but it was tight. A 4 legged coffee table, or dining room table turned on its side, with a sheet draped over it and a background poster board will do the same thing. If you don't have a lot of larger projects and don't want to increase the size of the light box, a table on its side will do the same thing. As long as the light is filtered from the top and the sides, you're in business.
Ken
 

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That table idea is great! Now, I just need to find one of those old folding card tables.
Good reason to go junking next weekend.:icon_smile:
Ken, you are a great help.
Thanks a lot.
 

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My attempt

Here's a couple of simple little boxes I just got done putting the finish on. I'm still lacking the wax top coat but for photo purposes I don't think it matters too much. Using Ken's idea the best I could with what I had on hand.......I used my 500 watt halogens. dual on the left side and a single on the right. You can bet I didn't leave the room with them on. They cook. On my monitor the images still seem a little dark so I'm all for opinions guys. I did use my custom white balance function on the camera. Its a Canon Power Shot A510. Ken, I can really see the difference a background makes in your photos. As a matter a fact I think the best of the ones you posted is the one with the gray background (third one down). I would have thought white would have been best. I used white, although it doesn't seem like pure white. I'd like to obtain a pure white back ground with all my photos. Suggestions?

I do think these are a huge improvement over my other photos :icon_smile: Thanks, Ken!

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