Building a lightbox…

I found this being discarded… It’s about 650 mm square. I’m pretty sure it’s a lighting module you’d find in those square modular grid ceilings in offices and the like.

So, I cleaned the dirt off it with a damp cloth, and hooked it up to a power lead… and all the tubes work!
All the ballasts, starters, wiring – and the fluorescent tubes! – are there, all intact, and all working. And all free.

(Yeah, yeah – big image does 900 damage. Sorry.)
(I moved the lamps closer together to see how it would look when rebuilt with smaller dimensions.)

So, let’s build a lightbox.

The fluorescent tubes plus their socket assemblies take up the full width of the current steel housing, which is about 610 mm.
The current steel housing is heavy and bulky, so I’ll replace it with a wooden box.

Since the tubes plus their sockets are about 610 mm long, I’ll make it 450 mm x 650 mm, which is A2 paper size plus a little extra around the edges.

I’ll be using 16 mm white melamine laminate chipboard, since it’s reasonably priced, Bunnings sell it, it’ll be perfect structurally, and it’ll reflect and diffuse the light beautifully with no painting required. A piece about 850 mm x 650 mm will be required… I’m not sure how big a sheet is.

Of course, Ye Bunnings can also cut it for you, which is not excessively dear and a nice option since it’s easier to get a cleaner cut this way.
Five pieces will be required, obviously: 650 mm x 80 mm x 2, 482 mm x 80 mm x 2 and 682 mm x 482 mm.

2200 mm bit of wood beading, 8 mm x 10 mm or whatever they have at Bunnings, I’ll have to have a look. The glass just sits on this.
Glass or acrylic sheet: 650 mm x 450 mm.

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