Battery Powered Light Table
The idea for a light box came from a reader. I thought this would be a great project for my kids, however I didn't want them to be attached to a wall outlet. Even thought they are very young, they are accustom to a "wireless" world. So I set out to come up with a light table that was just the right size and one that had an integrated battery that could easily be recharged. This is what I came up with.
Cut the 1x3 board down into 4 pieces, 2 at 15" and 2 at 12". Miter both sides at 45 degrees. These will make up the sides of the box.
Using a table saw cut a 1/4" deep groove about 3/8" from the inside top edge of each side. This groove must be wide enough to accept the polycarbonate sheet (.093").
Starting 1-1/4" from the bottom inside edge, cut a 1/4" deep groove wide enough to accept the 1/4" thick plywood panel.
Using the table saw, cut a 1/2" deep rabbet on the bottom inside face of each side. This rabbet must be deep enough to accept the 1/4" bottom panel.
Round over the inside top edge with a palm router or sand paper because it won't be possible after assembly.
With a drill press and a forstner bit set, drill out the recess for the switch body, deep enough so the switch will slightly protrude. Then, drill out the slot for the switch itself and a hole for the flush mount USB port.
Glue three sides together using wood glue. I find it easiest to tape the pieces together while laying flat and even coat the miters with wood glue before folding up into position.
Paint the middle plywood panel (11x14) with 2-3 coats of gloss white paint or cover with a reflective material. Then apply wood glue to center groove and insert the panel.
To give the polycarbonate sheet a frosted look, simply sand one side with an orbital sander until you get an even scuff across the entire sheet.
Insert the polycarbonate sheet (sanded side down) into the top groove, adhere the remaining light strip to the final side and glue in place.
Finish the box as desired. Since my box was built from walnut I chose to use a boiled linseed oil to finish. If using stain and polyurethane the polycarbonate sheet will need to be taped off.
Time to enjoy the new battery powered light box. This is great for tracing or playing with translucent shapes.
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usb led light strip
usb to micro usb adapter
usb flush mount port
usb on/off switch
1/4" x 2
11" x 14" polycarbonate sheet
1 x 3 x 6