Original artist table top

Original artist table top

This is a continuation of my previous blog on making a hand router. The real intention for me to make a hand router was so that I could make a light box for tracing illustrations which eventually I planned to convert into g-codes for engraving with my diy cnc machine.

What spurred me to create the light box was a piece of frosted tempered glass pane which I found recently. It would also had worked if I had used a piece of translucent plexiglass (perspex) as the cover instead of the glass, but of course the latter would hold its shape better as it is more rigid and less susceptible to scratches.

Completed groove cut on table top

Completed groove cut on table top

From my experience of owning a fabricated light box previously, I had found that unless I had plenty of space for storing it, the light box could take up some of my precious living space. With the idea of converting my artist table into a light box, the storage issue seemed not to pose any problem as it could function on its own as a table.

Tempered glass flushed over the table top

Tempered glass flushed over the table top

Noting the dimensions of the frosted tempered glass pane, I marked out the lines for cutting. What I intended to do was to make a recess for the glass pane to rest on, flush with the table top. This meant that the recess should be exactly the thickness of the glass pane. As the table top center would eventually be cut out to allow light to shine through, my plan was to cut the recess as a groove, and then cut the center of the table top away.

That’s where the hand router became very useful. Using the techniques of the hand router wood worker, I cut the boundary lines between the grooves and then shaved off the parts in between. The cuts and shavings were progressively deeper and deeper. The hand router was capable of being adjusted to the depths of cut that I wanted. This was continued until I had achieved the required depth.

Adding a screw on cool light

Adding a screw on cool light

Once the required depth of the grooves were achieved, my next step was to cut the center portion of the table top out. I did this using my jig-saw after drilling a few starter holes.

The glass pane was then fitted over the recesses. I had secured the glass to the table by gluing it at the corners using a bit of epoxy resin. Eventually, I will seal up the gaps by some silicone rubber. That completed the table top portion. My next tasks were to install the light source, wiring, and reflectors.

Light switched on without table bottom

Light switched on without table bottom

The artist table had a very shallow space for keeping my brushes, watercolor tubes, palette and other artist items. When I wanted to install a light source for my light box, I had to make the space deeper so that the bulb would not touch the glass pane. I did this by adding pieces of wood slats down from the 4 sides of the table, thus extending the depth. The light source was a cool bulb which could be obtained very easily nowadays which fitted over a screw mount.

In order to make the light as evenly distributed as possible, I fabricated 2 pieces of plywood and fixed them at angles of 45 degrees to the horizontal. I then pasted aluminium foil over the bottom, and angled sides so that they would reflect the light from the light source to direct the rays towards the frosted glass pane. The project was completed after hooking up with electrical wires, a switch to the power source of the table.

Now, it was time to test …