Another find in my Dad's workshop — a day-of-the-week clock. What a concept. In fact, a very useful concept when you're working in a basement during a pandemic and the days start to blend together.
This clock used to live in my Grandpa's workshop before he passed away in 2014. He knew how to build everything. Here's a photo from when he helped me tear my room apart and put it back together when I was about 14.
What's a Softbox?
Lighting is one of the hard parts of DIY product photography. One retailer said they photograph products in the same spot at the same time of day using only natural light. Rainy day? No bueno.
To solve this problem, the capture rig includes a built-in lighting solution. The lid of the capture rig functions as a softbox, which is a go-to light source in photo studios. A softbox provides soft, even illumination and usually looks something like this:
I started off building an open plywood box and lining it with tinfoil to make the inside reflective. Next, I cut and placed strips of LEDs with a colour temperature of 6000K (daylight white). There are close to 600 LEDs in this bad boy.
I wired up the the LEDS in parallel to reduce the amount of current going through any single strip. Soo much soldering. Electrical tape prevents the wiring connections from shorting. One side of the circuit connects to power and the other to ground and then out to the wall adapter through a barrel connector.
Moment of truth...it turned on! And it's BRIGHT. It was satisfying to see it work on the first try after the lengthy assembly process. Electrical debugging avoided, phew.
The LEDs are a little too bright and harsh on their own. To get soft, even illumination, I needed to diffuse the LEDs. I ordered white "diffusion fabric" off of Amazon. This is the kind of material used in actual softboxes to scatter light.
I cut the fabric to size and stapled it to the softbox frame. It took three layers to achieve the kind of glow I wanted. Finally, I added plywood edge banding to tidy things up.
In hindsight, it would have been cool to make the brightness of the softbox "smart." I could have included an ambient light sensor and varied the LED voltage automatically to suit lighting conditions. For now, there's one level...💡BRIGHT💡.
Up next: Controlling the motor 🤖