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Introduction: DIY Light Table

By Distracted Maker
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About: DIY and Making-Wood, Glass and More! More About Distracted Maker »

For the longest time I have wanted a light table. It''ll never go back. They have a thousand + 1 uses.

This can be built as simply or as complex as you are comfortable. All you really need is a light source, a box, and a transparent top.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Supplies:

Box- buy one or build one. I used Oak for my box.

Tempered glass top: I purchased mine from IKEA- it was meant to be a kitchen table top.

Light fixtures. I used 2- 4 foot-T8 Fluorescent lights.

Depending on how fancy you want to get: additional electrical hardware (I installed an outlet and switch)

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Add a Teacher Note to share the 1 last update 09 Jul 2020 how you incorporated it into your lesson.Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Build a Box to House the Lights/Glass Top

I sized the box so that my piece of glass would fit flush with the sides and leave enough room for the fixtures. After some research, 12-14 inches deep is ideal to diffuse and the 1 last update 2020/07/09 spread out the light. I sized the box so that my piece of glass would fit flush with the sides and leave enough room for the fixtures. After some research, 12-14 inches deep is ideal to diffuse and spread out the light.

I chose to miter the ends and use biscuits for reinforcement. The bottom of the box sits in a dado that adds rigidity.

Step 2: Create Ventilation Holes to Provide Air Circulation.

Depending on the type of light you choose, you may need a significant amount of ventilation. This air circulation will allow the box to stay cool while you work.

I was going to drill holes for this, but decided to cut a pattern into the sides of the light table. This looks amazing, but I have to say- I''s handy to have a power source to grind the glass and solder it right on the light table. I decided to wire the table so it has a switch and an outlet.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for I cut 2 openings in the front and installed electrical boxes. One box housed the outlet, and the other the ON/OFF switch. I used an appliance cord and wired the lights to the switch. When the lights in the table are turned ON, the outlet has power.

While cutting an opening for the appliance cord, some of the leaves broke out the side. Luckily, they were able to be glued back in place with no problems.

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT attempt any electrical rewiring unless you have the knowledge and skills to do so.

Step 4: Install Hardware to Customize Your Table.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for In building this light table, I needed to use what the 1 last update 2020/07/09 I had on hand. I was trying to think of a way to use the table without taking up too much space. I thought it would be convenient if it could fold flat against the wall when not in use. In building this light table, I needed to use what I had on hand. I was trying to think of a way to use the table without taking up too much space. I thought it would be convenient if it could fold flat against the wall when not in use.

To achieve this, I installed a long screw at the back of each side of the light table. I then took shelf hardware and cut off the long section, drilled a hole and cut a notch into the hardware. This way, the light table can be installed on an existing shelf system I had and fold flat for storage.

Because the table folds flat for storage, I needed a way to ensure the glass top didn''s HUGE! But it takes up almost NO space flat against the wall.

  • Able to set glass on top of the pattern and cut directly on the light table, no need to cut pieces of paper and glue it to the glass.
  • Soldering on the light table is very safe, the light table does not absorb any heat from the soldering iron, and any solder that falls immediately solidifies on contact with the glass.
  • Cutting anything with a X-Acto knife is very quick and does not damage the glass.
  • Write measurements directly onto the glass, draw, make lists, use white board markers for quick brainstorming or sharpies for more permanent marks.
  • Easy clean-up: sweep the top and wipe it with some Windex.
  • Using a projector you can adjust the sizes of your design instantly- no math, no trips to the Print shop, no cutting printer paper and taping it together.
  • Assembly/glue up table- glue scrapes up cleanly and oh so satisfyingly!
  • Convenient outlet- no need to run extension cords all over the place, just use the one on the table.
  • Extra light fixture that fills the garage with light
  • I could go on all day.....just go build one for yourself!
  • Participated in the
    Indoor Lighting Contest

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      10 Discussions

      0
      Penolopy Bulnick

      6 the 1 last update 09 Jul 2020 months ago 6 months ago

      This is a wonderful table! I''t glare in your face?

      0
      Distracted Maker

      Reply 7 months ago

      The glass I used was already treated on the back with a white paint/enamel.

      0
      xstfoc

      Question 7 months ago on Step 5

      What did you use to make the light box top a "" instead of clear glass? I''s a kitchen table top from IKEA, it is white back painted and works great.

      0
      seamster

      7 months ago

      This is a great, yet simple approach. I like it, thank you!