DIY lightbox

So digital sewing patterns are very handy, can print whenever needed, cut out your size and reprint when a new size is needed. However the down side is that it’s common to stick 40+ A4 sheets together for an adult pattern.

Typically the side or corners have marks you overlap to make sure the pages are aligned. Now on a sunny day this can be done against a window so you can see the marks through the page, but is tricky to get right on a dull day, our windows which are shaded by large trees, or when sewing in the evening.

A lightbox would be perfect, ideally bigger than A4, so you can line up several pages where they’re in a block. A ready to purchase A3 lightbox can be bought for ~£60 locally.

The ideal solution to this is a flat LED ceiling panel, as they are a good size (60cmx60cm), easily available and popular in business enviroments, so the price is kept fairly low.

The model I picked was the Pro-Elec PEL00204, however this is no longer available.
The important features are:

  • Low brightness (Lumens, lm), your going to be looking at it from a short distance
  • Cool white colour, again your going to be close to it when working, you don’t want it to be uncomfortable on your eyes. You could also check the colour temperature for this
  • 230V voltage rating, this means it has an inverter included with the light, so ready to be plugged into mains without anything additional

My original plan was to enclose the unit in/on a base to give it stability, however when it arrived I was surprised how sturdy it was, and have decided that this isn’t necersary, however a different unit might be different. Also the cable comes from one corner, so you could put it on a base with a cutout for the power ensure it’ll sit flat. I make sure I work on the opposite corner, so I don’t put weight on it, and it hasn’t caused any issues.

So this was the LED driver which came with the panel:
This will come with one rated for 230V.

I wired this up with a normal UK 3pin plug and electrical wire to the AC in side, this is just a screw down terminal.

I’ve added 2 cable ties to hold the wire to the driver to perform strain relief

And we have a fully working lightbox 🙂

Now I have perfectly lined up patterns!

Katie Written by:

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