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Thread: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

  1. #1
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    I have been wanting to upgrade my UV light source to something a bit larger and more powerful. The commercial made boxes are just to expensive to justify given the amount of alt process work I do and even used ones were more than I wanted to spend. The DIY boxes I saw were nice and I have several friends who have made them, but they seemed a bit complex and at around $500 that was even more than I could invest.

    So, I set a goal of creating a good DIY UV box for under $150 if I could. Searching YouTube I ran across this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLia59KfkSw

    This seemed like a good solution and not overly complicated, which is good as I am NOT an electrician or handy with tools.

    I did a search for UV LED lights and came up with these:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...f_rd_i=desktop

    There are many others but these were powerful and affordable, I decided that I needed two rolls of them with each roll being 5 meters long.

    Based on advise from a friend (who is active on this forum), we decided to use a simple power source and again use 2 so there is plenty of power for the number of light, I went with these:

    http://www.amazon.com/Power-Adaptor-...G4SG1WJR2H1AY8

    These provide plenty of power and are easy to work with, no need for fans or ballast as the LED's run cool.

    Also, we adapted these to wire the lights to the power:

    http://www.amazon.com/Connector-Sing...YN14J7DC1AP0VG

    They are cheap so I bought a few but only needed two, one for each set of lights.

    For the box, I simply used plywood I had on hand but if you were to purchase, I think you would maybe spend $20. Also, I bought a hinge and a knob for $12 total so my net investment in materials was around $100 not including tax and shipping.

    So far so good.

    Using the ideas shown in the video, my friend and i created the light panel. Ours was a little different but as you can see in the pics, it works just fine. I won't go into construction details as you can piece that together based on the video but one thing learned is that the LED's measure 3/8" of an inch wide so we spaced them 1/2" inch apart. This provides a very smooth even light and there is space between the strips that would allow me to add lights if I wanted to.

    The entire build took about 8 hours total spread over 4 days, so not a big deal at all.

    The LED's are attractive to use as they are cheap, no ballast required, have a 50,000 hour lifetime, run cool, and quickly light when the timer is tripped (mine have a 2 second lag so not bad).

    Now, on to testing!

    I will report on the results later this weekend.

    Here are the pics:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC_3226.jpg   DSC_3224.jpg   DSC_3222.jpg   DSC_3221.jpg  
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  2. #2
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Re: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    And a couple more:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC_3219.jpg   DSC_3225.jpg  
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  3. #3
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    Looks good! Those led strips are certainly handy. How hot do they get? When I made my light source for my scanner, I used similar LED strips, but I mounted them to an aluminum heat sink.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

  4. #4
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    Looks good to me, testing results is what matters.

  5. #5
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Re: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    A few more details, my light panel is 5.5 inches from the base of the box, when I place my printing frame into the unit, the neg rests about 4.5 inches from the lights as my contact frame is about an inch deep. Also, the inside of the box is painted white of course. The panel measures 17"x 22" which will allow print of around 16" X 20" if I ever get brave enough to go that large.

    I just ran some tests and found that a palladium print on Arches will give me a min time / max black at 6 minutes. I used a piece of Pictorico as the film base as I print mainly digital negs with palladium.

    This is not bad and is certainly a large improvement over what I was using, however I would like to knock another couple of minutes off of that time. To so, I could lower the lights closer to the neg or increase the number of lights. I may invest another $25 for an additional roll of lights to increase the total light output but for now, really, 6 minutes is pretty darn good.

    A nice feature of this type of UV box is you can make them as large or as small as you like since the LED strips can be cut. They come in 5 meter rolls with a self adhesive backing so adding or removing lights is a breeze.

    I will need to re-calibrate my negs now that I have a new light source, but that should not be too difficult.
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  6. #6
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Re: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    The heat output is very minimal, I left a bank on for 6 hours the other day and while there was a feeling of warmth, they were in no way hot. Even the power packs stay cool.
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  7. #7
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    That's great. I'd add more lights. If you get too close, the light will get uneven.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

  8. #8
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Re: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    Agree Peter. One thing, these lights are VERY even as they are not pinpoints, but more diffuse. It maybe the waterproof coating on them but I was very impressed by the quality of the light.
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Re: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Biggerstaff View Post
    I have been wanting to upgrade my UV light source to something a bit larger and more powerful. The commercial made boxes are just to expensive to justify given the amount of alt process work I do and even used ones were more than I wanted to spend. The DIY boxes I saw were nice and I have several friends who have made them, but they seemed a bit complex and at around $500 that was even more than I could invest.

    So, I set a goal of creating a good DIY UV box for under $150 if I could. Searching YouTube I ran across this video:
    Very good, thank you for posting it!

  10. #10
    Do or do not. There is no try.
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    Massachusetts, USA
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    Re: LED UV Light Box: Build Your Own for Under $150

    Thanks for this Eric. Those power supplies and adapter cables are just the thing I've been looking for (not very hard) for a split-printing LED-based 5x7 head I've been planning for my Beseler MX45.

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