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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.

Videos


Steps


Medium aaab2c68 e6f8 461d 9fac f29d74a298ff

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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Medium 3bd7e3d3 7dde 4c3b 97cf 878bc8ece3d0

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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Medium ae982534 531b 4f3b 893d b573b5d46465

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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Medium 778ec1f0 57f5 485c 872f ae0643861ecc

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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Medium 19bf643a b2ab 4354 b311 147c66774498

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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Medium 58c9448b 8146 4010 b156 179ffed9f0c6

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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Medium 2e916671 3307 48f1 9a35 51a57481c1e0

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


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Medium 0d218001 683c 4cc7 aefb 6013c2427bdc

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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Medium 2bc6d2ff cfc9 4a76 83a4 16b27c8dd3fc

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


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Medium 3f87a479 2379 436b 8fe9 93115fa5dd07

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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Medium f5b0ce48 a1b5 46e0 804c 29ea7fb25fe4

Remove backing and stick on USB lights.


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Medium a32762c8 0f57 4f53 b127 1c173304d429

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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Medium 4333ba13 4b44 4123 a778 4cabc688aaed

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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Medium 334666c8 fa90 4b7d bdf6 6659297b46a3

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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Medium b15d328a 9b4c 4201 8ea1 f6c4540f0f45

Round over all edges with a palm router and a 1/4" round over bit.


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Medium 41bfd341 7924 42ba 8d5a 581b4a215477

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


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Medium 69c41f43 f393 438f 96fa dd2c7569e3b5

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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Medium 3766cc5a 7bc6 4d0b 8484 9d96b1d81183

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


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Medium 74219a8d ef1c 4cf5 bba6 f5f3b6ff3577

Pre-drill and screw back in place with #6 x 1/4" wood screws.


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Medium 648850d0 457a 4cc6 adf5 91cd82739891

Time to enjoy the new battery powered light box. This is great for tracing or playing with translucent shapes.


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Comments (4) 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.

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Rogue Engineer

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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