Friday, January 05, 2007

It all started with a light...

I've been to Lidl this week and apart from all the other "must haves" I bought, I picked up a clamp-on light. At first I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but as a quilter one can never have too many lights; and in the basket it went. Well the cogs in my rather fuzzy brain got going this morning (roughly 6:34 am...I happen to look at the clock) and I got to thinking about the idea of making my own lightbox. Awhile back, a very good friend had sent me instructions to make an extension table for my sewing machine and I thought that the same principle might work for a lightbox. The first thing I needed to do is find a piece of 6mm perspex which was quite easy as our local glass shop not only sold it, but would cut it to what ever size I wanted and charged me accordingly. In my case I paid £12 for a 50cm x 50cm piece. Next it was off to the plumbers looking for 1/2" PVC pipe and it is there that I hit my first snag. Not only did they not sell any of the bits I needed, but I don't think the fellow behind the counter was all that impressed that I wasn't planning to do any plumbing...so slightly red faced, but head held high I ventured off to the local DIY shop to scour the nuts and bolts and find a different solution. I happen to find 6mm connecting screws, (shown here) which are designed for joining 2 pieces of wood together...presumably kitchen cabinets. I thought that one of the white plastic ends screwed into the bottom of a bolt would make a very good foot. I knew we had some 6mm bolts at home, so regrettably I didn't buy any...but as you can see from the picture the ones I used are far too short and to increase the gap under the lightbox I have used soup cans. The next time I'm near the DIY shop I shall get some long 6mm bolts so that I won't have to be sure to have 4 cans of soup in the house any time I want to use the lightbox. To make the lightbox more fabric friendly I used a metal jigsaw bit to round the corners of the perspex and then used sandpaper to smooth the edges. Again using a metal bit, I drilled 4 - 6mm holes 2" from the corner to accommodate the bolts. Then it was construction time. At last I peeled off the protective plastic cover, inserted a bolt, then on the underside placed a washer and then a fastening nut and finally "the foot". So there you have it...a lightbox for under £15...bargain!

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