Sunday, May 31, 2009

The "Secret Project" to Make Something That Will Make One Part of This Hobby Easier...

OK, longest post title ever...but it basically sums up what I've spent a few hours working on lately.

Here's a pic (taken with the camera on my phone, which is "eh" at best for this sort of thing) of the almost-completed light-box I built to make taking close-ups of minis easier.

I was going to go the "cut up a cardbox box to make the frame" route, which certainly works and does what a "light box" or "photo box" is supposed to do...but for some reason, that just didn't seem like sturdy enough (and yes, I know just how crazy that sounds). I figured if I was going to take the time to actually build something like that, I might as well make it so I only have to build it once. I know me, and knowing me, I'm pretty sure if I'd built one out of cardboard I would have damaged/destroyed it before getting more than one or two uses out of it.

I had a couple of ideas floating around in my head for a possible design. I was thinking about making the frame out of PVC tubing, or something similar. Not wanting to re-invent the wheel, I paid a visit to one of my most favorite sites in all the Internet: Instructables. A quick search yielded a potential design using electrical conduit, but that seemed perhaps a bit too involved. However a little more searching and I discovered this design, which utilized expandable window screen units and was "folding" for easy storage/travel and actually looked very professional. We had a winner!

I wasn't able to find "squard" window screens, so I had to modify one of the screens with the trusty Dremel to make it square for the back panel, but other than that I followed the plan from the instructable pretty closely.

I'm very pleased with the results. I picked up a "utility light' (basically a light-bulb socket and an aluminum reflector) and a couple more "Daylight" (6500K...supposedly, anyway) compact flourescent bulbs and I can pretty well flood the interor the light box with bight, diffuse light.

All that remains to be done is adding the "diffusing material" (yep, I used a cheap bed sheet, too) to the back panel (which I'm going to do today) and then do some trial runs. I'll post up some the results of the trial runs either today or tomorrow.

Anyway, that's my latest little tangential project to enhance my hobby experience. What little side projects have you taken on make something that will make some part of the 40K/WFB hobby easier, better, or simply more "professional" looking? Have you ever had an idea for something -- a new tool, some object, or maybe even a new process or way of doing things -- that you think would enhance your hobby in some way? If you have....share it! You never know what kind of inspiration you may get -- or give!