Diode Lightbox?

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Thread: Diode Lightbox?

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    Diode Lightbox?

    I'm thinking about constructing a lightbox for a poster (and possibly drawing) and thought.. why use neon lights when I can buy cheap diodes? The light will be even and it'll weigh a lot less.

    I'm curious, has anyone constructed such a thing? Any tips?

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    Sounds like a good idea.

    If it turns out to be a cool project, you should document it for these guys

    http://www.makezine.com/

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    Well usually neons are used because you can have the possibility (and you should) have daylight tubes. That's all I can say. Let us know how your project goes.

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    Does diodes get heat up fast? I've never constructe a lightbox before, but I doubt you'd want one with hot surface due to keeping the light on for too long.

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    egerie, I found such diodes.. Pure white ones are good as well (I'm planning one making two lightboxes, one of which will be for a double-sided poster)

    look, you're right.. some do. I'll have to buy a few and check them out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryScientist
    why use neon lights when I can buy cheap diodes? The light will be even and it'll weigh a lot less.
    I don't know much about diodes but when a flourescent bulb burns out, the flourescent fixtures were designed so that bulbs could be easily swapped out. Would replacing defective diodes be as easy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by figure2
    I don't know much about diodes but when a flourescent bulb burns out, the flourescent fixtures were designed so that bulbs could be easily swapped out. Would replacing defective diodes be as easy?

    That is true, about the neons. But I thought that if I make all the inside surfaces of the box reflective and put some (removable) plastic or paper on top, the diffusion of the light will be strong enough that if one of two burn out you won't see any difference. If I get some help with the construction I might figure out a 'push in' diode socket. I think those are also sold?

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    I actually had a similar idea, and was wondering if anyone had any advice. I've found a lot of tutorials online, but none of them venture into using LED lights. I'm going into animation next year, so I'll need something powerful, yet sleek and portable. I have no experience with electronics, but I was thinking of setting up a circuit board that runs similar to the way Christmas lights work. Basically, the board would just hold the lights in place, so they don't get messed up, and to minimize the amount of wire being used. Then I'd put a piece of frosted glass over that, and that would be the basic design. So I guess the real challenge is going through with it without electrocuting myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by look
    Does diodes get heat up fast? I've never constructe a lightbox before, but I doubt you'd want one with hot surface due to keeping the light on for too long.
    I don't think they do, they're meant to be highly efficient.

    Then again, incandescent light bulbs are highly efficient too, if you're using them to heat your house that is.

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    Might I suggest a possibly easier material for you to work with (though a bit more expensive) It's called EL film (electro-luminescent)... it's as thin as a few sheets of paper, and you just solder a few wire hookups to the ends and run the line through a converter and you have nice even light across the entire sheet.

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    Oh snap! Thanks, I'll have to check that out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthebling
    I actually had a similar idea, and was wondering if anyone had any advice. I've found a lot of tutorials online, but none of them venture into using LED lights. I'm going into animation next year, so I'll need something powerful, yet sleek and portable. I have no experience with electronics, but I was thinking of setting up a circuit board that runs similar to the way Christmas lights work. Basically, the board would just hold the lights in place, so they don't get messed up, and to minimize the amount of wire being used. Then I'd put a piece of frosted glass over that, and that would be the basic design. So I guess the real challenge is going through with it without electrocuting myself.
    Similar to the way christmas lights work as in plugged into the wall socket??? Have fun in Heaven.

    (Actually, if you could find white LED christmas lights, you could use them without any modifications. But using actual LEDs in a circuit designed for typical christmas lights is dangerous).
    You'll need to do a bit of electronics study before you build it, but it's not hard to learn the very basics. You need to have the right level of resistance for the power supply too, otherwise you could destroy the LEDs, or underpower them (which isn't that big of a deal. They just wouldn't be as bright).

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    best place for cheap LED's is definatly Ebay, i buy them all the time, all sorts of colours shapes sizes, and so on

    its going to be a pain wiring them all up in an array tho,
    i would highgly recomend agianst buying christmas lights and trying to use them, cuz
    1. not quite enough light output
    2. theyre colourful (some are white but an ugly white)
    3. they cost a fortune and your going to need alot of them

    who knows, maybe you can even find a premade one on ebay

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    what about just placing a string of x-mas light under a forsted glass or plexi and see if it makes enough light. you probably know relative who own a set of white led's they are quite popular, so you can give it a try. I have a home made fluorescent light box tho and I don't have any problems with it.

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    +1 on the flourescent box, but the christmas lights dont work, ive seen it done and it didnt turn out great

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    Quote Originally Posted by Number_6
    Similar to the way christmas lights work as in plugged into the wall socket??? Have fun in Heaven.

    (Actually, if you could find white LED christmas lights, you could use them without any modifications. But using actual LEDs in a circuit designed for typical christmas lights is dangerous).
    You'll need to do a bit of electronics study before you build it, but it's not hard to learn the very basics. You need to have the right level of resistance for the power supply too, otherwise you could destroy the LEDs, or underpower them (which isn't that big of a deal. They just wouldn't be as bright).
    Yeah, I had a feeling someone would say that.

    I was really just using it as an example; the idea being that the circuit would continue from one light to the next, and then back to the power source, completing the circuit. It would probably involve quite a bit of soldering.

    Anyway, you're absolutely right about it blowing up and taking me with it. I'll definitely need to do some reading, and be really careful.

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    seems like a lot more trouble than it's worth. Try out the EL Film, or get or second hand lcd monitor for cheap and strip it down to the lighting elements and component boards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthebling
    I was really just using it as an example; the idea being that the circuit would continue from one light to the next, and then back to the power source, completing the circuit. It would probably involve quite a bit of soldering.
    the problem with this is that it's a series circuit, and if one LED goes, they all go, because the circuit is broken at that point. also the cumulative voltage drop across each diode would create a power-supply problem given the number of diodes you'd need.

    you'd have to create a parallel circuit, quite a bit more complex. hand wiring such a beast would be a royal pain, and fabricating a circuit board of the size necessary is beyond most everyday electronics hobby kits. it could be breadboarded but it'd cost a mint for the number of hobbyist-sized boards needed.

    and keep in mind that most LED's are designed for a rather tightly focused emission, rather than the diffuse light source best for a light box. even the frosted units tend to concentrate their output along a tight axis.

    fluorescents are probably your best bet, and with the new small circular bulbs, can be made quite compact. they can be designed to use normal household power, and you can probably find some that can be run on 6V lantern batteries (i think there are some fluorescent lanterns that could be adapted) if complete portability is needed.

    btw, true neon lamps use a potentially very dangerous high voltage power supply and would be a bad idea for a lightbox. i think the poster meant fluorescent lamps.

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    Dang, I knew it was too good to be true. The EL film seems promising, but if it's really expensive, I'll just buy an Artograph or something.

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    i built a lightbox with a couple of fluorescent tubes in them. big big wooden box it is too, more like a light table. later, when i moved back to japan, i bought a small photographers lightbox and i have to say it is so nice. easier to put away when not needed and good light. you might want to check out some stores or ebay to see if you can get them second hand. i bought mine for something like 70 euro and although its not cheap it was sooo worth it. i use it almost everyday so...

    (the EL film sounds cool though).

    good luck

    Last edited by tensai; February 6th, 2007 at 06:19 AM.
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    I would recommend against this endeavour simply for the reason that the Boston bomb squad will probably detonate it.

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    LEDs in general do not generate that much heat, and last much longer than light bulbs, if used properly. The LED Christmas lights idea isn't really a bad one, as the power supply has already been chopped to handle the entire string without an overvoltage problem. They are also starting to sell the replacement LED sets for this style of Christmas lights, and buying two sets so you have plenty of spares is cheap, since the strings only cost about $6USD for a string of 50.

    I use Christmas light LEDs in my plastic models (I'm currently building an Imperial Star Destroyer), and to eliminate the pinpoints of light these types of LEDs create, I sand off the shiny portion until the whole surface is white, or frosted. This creates a nice diffused light that I think would be suitable for your application. I've been using these types of LEDs for about ten years, with no problems so far. Make sure you leave some ventilation holes in your lightbox, and you should be OK. Adding a computer fan to cool the whole thing is easy, if you are that worried about overheating.

    If you're not willing to expend that much effort, or electronics isn't your thing, you can always go the route of buying a safe and reliable unit. Depending on your budget, Dick Blick sells some very nice flourescent light boxes, for not a whole lot of money. I own one of the 8"x10" and the larger 12"x17' versions, and didn't pay more than $75 for the big one.

    Best of luck on your project!

    Last edited by Professor Az; February 6th, 2007 at 01:07 PM.
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    Whatever you build, be sure not to leave it lying around beneath bridges in Boston. ;-)

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seedling
    Whatever you build, be sure not to leave it lying around beneath bridges in Boston. ;-)
    Beat me to it!

    Wanna post some WIP when ya can, Angry? I'm curious to see how this goes for you!

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