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Battery Powered Light Table
Battery Powered Light Table
Battery Powered Light Table
Battery Powered Light Table
Battery Powered Light Table
  • Battery Powered Light Table
  • Battery Powered Light Table
  • Battery Powered Light Table
  • Battery Powered Light Table
  • Battery Powered Light Table

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.

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Steps


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.


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.
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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").


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").
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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.


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.
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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.


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.
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Round over the inside top edge with a palm router or sand paper because it won't be possible after assembly.


Round over the inside top edge with a palm router or sand paper because it won't be possible after assembly.
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Cut the mid panel (11 x 14) and the bottom panel (11-1/2" x 14-1/2") from the 1/4" plywood.


Cut the mid panel (11 x 14) and the bottom panel (11-1/2" x 14-1/2") from the 1/4" plywood.
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Remove the top cover of the switch and mark where it will go on one of the sides.


Remove the top cover of the switch and mark where it will go on one of the sides.
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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.


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.
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Clean up the pocket with a chisel and sandpaper as required.


Clean up the pocket with a chisel and sandpaper as required.
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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.


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.
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Remove backing and stick on USB lights.


Remove backing and stick on USB lights.
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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.


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.
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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.


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.
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Insert the polycarbonate sheet (sanded side down) into the top groove, adhere the remaining light strip to the final side and glue in place.


Insert the polycarbonate sheet (sanded side down) into the top groove, adhere the remaining light strip to the final side and glue in place.
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Round over all edges with a palm router and a 1/4" round over bit.


Round over all edges with a palm router and a 1/4" round over bit.
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Sand all surfaces with a fine grit sandpaper for an even finish.


Sand all surfaces with a fine grit sandpaper for an even finish.
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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.


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.
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Lay out all the components as shown and hot glue them in place.


Lay out all the components as shown and hot glue them in place.
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Pre-drill and screw back in place with #6 x 1/4" wood screws.


Pre-drill and screw back in place with #6 x 1/4" wood screws.
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Time to enjoy the new battery powered light box. This is great for tracing or playing with translucent shapes.


Time to enjoy the new battery powered light box. This is great for tracing or playing with translucent shapes.
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Comments (5) Sign In To Follow Project


grover959
grover959

Another fantastic Rogue Engineer project. This is definitely on my to-do list.

ARudzki
ARudzki

Just a suggestion, you might want to replace the USB connector Type A receptacle to the more standard (on this type of item) Micro-B or Mini-B. That way you could use standard chargers and cables, rather than a Type-A to Type-A cable (which isn't all that common in the charging world.)... Anyway, great design, and I love the "simulated" frosted glass.

Rogue Engineer
Rogue Engineer

Thanks ARudzki! And yes, I agree with the charging port idea and did look for one but wasn't successful in finding one. If you know of a Micro or Mini USB port I'm sure other would appreciate a link below. Thanks again!

ARudzki
ARudzki

An option to try would be Samtec: http://suddendocs.samtec.com/catalog_english/scrus.pdf

They are a bit pricey (a bit? LOL), but you could also use their wording to do Google searches to maybe find cheaper versions from someone else.

Rogue Engineer
Rogue Engineer

Thank you!

MichelleO
MichelleO

No question is a dumb question, right? So why this step:
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.
Thanks for a much better option than the one I cobbled together with what I had on hand.

Rogue Engineer
Rogue Engineer

The frosted look helps disperse the light more evenly (IMO) and prevents the bright direct light.

schnauzerman
schnauzerman

That is a great idea. I have been wanting a light box and this will be just the thing. I do a lot of adult coloring and was trying to come up with a way to color with out the outline showing and this is just the thing.

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Rogue Engineer

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Project Information

Difficulty: Intermediate
Category: Crafts & Decor

Materials Used:

  • usb led light strip

  • usb to micro usb adapter

  • external battery

  • usb flush mount port

  • usb on/off switch

  • 1/4" x 2

  • 3/4" screws

  • 11" x 14" polycarbonate sheet

  • 1 x 3 x 6


also by Rogue Engineer


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