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Old September 20th, 2007, 10:43 AM   #1
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DIY soft lights in UK

Has anyone attempted to build such a light in the UK?

I'm thinking of something like the NanoSoftlite by (the ever so slightly irritating!!) Victor Milt (http://www.victormilt.com/id54.html).

If so, would you happen to have a UK-specific parts list and sources for those parts?

A friend has just offered to help me build one and at the same time give me my first basic electricity primer! He's asked for a shopping list but I'm not sure where to begin.

Thanks in advance of any suggestions.

Ian . . .

Last edited by Ian Stark; September 20th, 2007 at 11:39 AM.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 11:35 AM   #2
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couldn't get that link to work. You could always look at the coollights site
www.coollights.biz
although its not a UK site theres lots of useful articles about building your own softlights and the bits you need
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Old September 20th, 2007, 11:41 AM   #3
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My mistake - the right bracket got included in the URL html, sorry. Link works now.

Coollights site looks good, cheers Paul.

Ian . . .
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Old September 20th, 2007, 11:47 AM   #4
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If you want to build that light, why can't you just use the list it gives? Just convert the measurements if you need to, there are lots of tools online for that - just google for it :)
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Old September 20th, 2007, 12:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for that Lisa. Actually, we haven't abandoned our use of inches over here just yet so I can probably manage that part OK ;-)

This, however, is the conversion I am trying to make:

(Home Depot) x (UK) = ?

i.e. where should I be looking to buy these items?

Also, as our electricity supply is different, are there UK-specific alternatives I should be looking for?
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Old September 20th, 2007, 01:25 PM   #6
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Ah ok. I was confused.

Hmm. Home Depot is just a really big "home improvement" store, I can't imagine not having 15 in every city. Hahahaha.

The electricity parts would probably be the only conversion you'd need, and I have no idea on that for sure. The other parts could maybe be ordered off Amazon or the Home Depot website? I am pretty sure Amazon has a UK version that ships from there, maybe that would be a place to start?

I know, I'm not much help. Just brainstorming.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 01:44 PM   #7
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Hey Lisa, not at all, that's very helpful advice!

A few years ago I lived in Columbus, OH and before that in Stamford, CT so I'm very familar with the number (and scale) of the Home Depots in the States!! You probably need a tour guide to get round one in a day, am I right?!

Cheers,

Ian . . .
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Old September 20th, 2007, 03:33 PM   #8
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Ian,

I started down that route and give it up for a few reasons...
1. Once the light is built, what do you use for a stand (Height, pan, tilt adjustments)?
2. How robust is the light going to be? Will it withstand continuous pack-up, unpack, transportation etc.
3. The light box needs to be deeper than the deisgn in Victor Milt's design and you should use reflective material on the inside of the box (to increase efficiency of the bulbs).

I'm convinced CFL (if you buy the correct bulbs) are a very good alternative.
I'm assuming you read my other post where I detailed the specs of CFL.

In the UK the power consumption will be half of that in the US since the UK uses 220V instead of 110V. So a 100W output CFL will consume only 12W of power (versus 23W).

Other than where to buys stuff in the UK, if you have other questions, I'd be glad to help.

Shiv.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 05:26 PM   #9
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It's tough to know the correct supply place in the UK but it's hard to believe all there aren't electrical shops around that carry many of the items--which are fairly simple by the way. Just need a bunch of E27 "edison" sockets and some switches and zip cord (2 conductor) wire.

The foam core design you're talking about seems unstable or fragile to me and of course doesn't look all that professional--especially the gaffer taped edges.

Why not use corrugated plastic which is what many of the Kino Flo portable models use? Also known as "coroplast." It's easy to find--usually available in many thicknesses and colors at sign maker shops. Some plastic supply houses may carry it too. Of course, the black color will be the most commonly desired one to use. You'll want 4mm to 6mm thick type, but could use thicker if you want an even stronger unit. No worries about weight. This stuff is about as light as you can get. Perhaps lighter and certainly tougher than foam core:

http://www.mdpsupplies.co.uk/corruga...c&parentcat=32

http://www.twinplast.co.uk/

http://www.goran.co.uk/html/products.html


Next, if you want barndoors that fold up and stay in place like normal barndoors, use gooseneck pipe (also known as soft pipe in some parts of the world) for the barndoors. It's a lot of extra trouble but this is the best option. Like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Signal-Flex-Go.../dp/B0002L52GY

Protect the edges with either aluminum channel extrusions (if you can find suitable ones) or just sheet metal bent in half and then riveted to the edges. You can also fasten the corners together with thin sheet metal angles. In a pinch though, you could still use the gaffer's tape idea too for edges as well as fastening the corners together. The black gaffer's tape against the black corrugated plastic will not stand out so much as it did on the foam core design.

You can paint the metal black with flat black barbeque paint or some kind of tough epoxy black paint.

For the reflective surfaces (if you want them), use sheet mylar available at some gardening supplies. How about that--it's available in the UK:

http://www.growell.co.uk/p/0309/Myla...-Sheeting.html

Otherwise, a sheet of white corrugated plastic might work as well for a white type reflective surface behind the sockets.

Continuing on with the wiring aspect. With plastic, or foam core for that matter, there is no case ground since the case isn't conductive so just wire all the silver sides of the E27's together to one side of the zip cord and all the gold sides to the other side of the cord.

Cool Lights will be carrying a lollipop mounting on our site soon so you can use something like that for the back as the mounting options for the original foam core design mentioned were not that great. Otherwise you could use something like a Vesa monitor mount or a plate with a rod stick out of it and them mount the rod to a grip head.

Hope this helps.
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http://www.coollights.biz
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Old September 21st, 2007, 01:40 AM   #10
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All, many thanks.

Richard - above and beyond. I'm sure many others will find that info useful.

Cheers.

Ian . . .
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