I am 1/3 of the way to having my very own lightbox

Today I felt very fortunate to be at this college.

I attended a workshop with handful of other Viscommers today – Nic and Kate from third year, and Kate from first year.  It was pleasant first off just to spend some time and chat with other people I wouldn’t on a regular basis; secondly to meet the lovely Roger Berry (he is very enthusiastic about animation and was insistent that I ask around at the various animation studios in the North to see if I couldn’t get a look-see around their insides); thirdly, I got to cut and measure and sand and glue myself into the possession of the bare-bones structure of a lightbox.

The day was such fun.  I have been up since nine, and usually if that was the case, I’d be falling into the sleepy lull right about now (I find getting and staying awake very difficult at times), but today, after that workshop, I am full of beans!  I want to go through the process as I remember it now so that I don’t forget it all like I did with the screen printing induction I had over a month ago.

Firstly, Roger told us about light.  He explained the different kinds of devices we have for creating light, how they work, and why particular kinds of lights work better for some situations that others.  My favourite part was when he explained how LED light works; how when you shine it through frosted glass – because the surface has been un-smoothed – the light is dispersed in all directions.  This was all to underline the importance of the acrylic material we would be using for the lightboxes, as well as the importance of what kind of bulb we should be using to make the lightbox as effective for our particular needs as possible.

I wanted a slanted box, Kate (3rd year) wanted a slanted box, Nic wanted a slanted box, Kate (1st year) wanted a flat box.  Roger explained the processes we’d be going through and did some math-magic on the whiteboard to determine what measurements we’d need (I took these down in my notebook, but had to use that page for mopping up my gluey mistakes, so I don’t have that no more).  We filled our ears with his words, and bunged them up with the bright-green, squishy ear plugs before advancing into the main machine room.

The first tool to conquer, the MOTORISED RIP FENCE:


Helpful guide

Helpful guide

This is what we used to cut up our MDF into the appropriate blocks.  As we wanted slanted tops on our boxes, the best method of making this was to make one large box, and slice it diagonally down the middle to make two slanty boxes.  As well as it needing to be box-shaped, we needed a little lip around the inside for the acrylic sheet to fit snugly into.  To create this, we used this machine (I don’t think it has a name yet):


It created this little sub-step.

It created this little sub-step.

After this, Roger took us back to the ripping monster, tilted the saw and got us to saw ourselves some smooth edges on our wooden slabs, so that they would fit all snugly together when arranged into a box.  A lovely joining surface.  We brought the components back to the front work room, and glued it all together.  We used these festive-looking clamps to hold the boxes in place long enough for the glue to dry:Lightbox



Waiting for the glue to dry solidly.  Having a jerk chicken sandwich and americano from Froth&Fodder.  Smoking and chatting.

Lunch was enjoyable – I must try to do it more often.

Secure boxes

Secure boxes

Nic and Kate (3rd year) got to use the bandsaw to slice the double-boxes in half.  Roger cleaned up by sanding down and evening out our bottom edges – the A3 size of the box meant it was too cumbersome for the large sanding machine, so he did it by hand.  At this point, we were asked if we wanted to go off and commandeer the Motorised Rip Fence unaided to make our box-bottoms.  It was thrilling – tentative at first, but then confident, sensible and efficient.

More gluing, and then the most satisfying experience of the entire workshop.  This tool:Lightbox8

I am sad I didn’t get more photos of it at work.  Its purpose was to obliterate any edges of wood that weren’t in line with the main box walls.  So smooth.  Also using the industrial hoovering device to keep the air clear from the cloud of minuscule MDF motes was great fun.

Here she lies:Lightbox9

My pretty.  The acrylic order has not arrived in yet, but it should be in next week for us.  I need to paint the inside white and go buy a bulb – next time I go to visit Roger I’ll ask him what exactly we should be getting.  Then make a hole at the back for the energy to flow through, then paint good omens all over the outside.

Thank you to all who made this day possible.


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