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Lightbox for my ZS80


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After struggling to use my laptop screen to take my flats after every imaging session I decided to make a lightbox to make the process a bit easier.

I bought a pack of three little LED lights that you turn on by pressing the back in, you also change the 3 x AAA batteries by unscrewing the back plate - ideal for permanently fixing into the box.

The box is made from 5mm foamboard stuck together with a hot glue gun. The diffuser sheets have one layer of laminating pouch stuck to each side of the board. The open end of the box has two sheets of foamboard with holes that snugly fit the dew shield on the 'scope and a third one with a slightly smaller hole that stops the 'scope going too far into the box.

Dimensions are; 190mm x 190mm x 475mm, 2 sheets with 103mm holes, 1 sheet with 95mm hole, 2 diffuser sheets with 150mm holes, 1 sheet for the light - hole diameter as required. Back diffuser is 230mm from the light and the second one is 315mm from the light

The light glued into the end board;


The back of the light that you press to switch the light on and off;


Parts cut out ready to assemble;


The main parts assembled and diffusers glued onto support sheets;


I experimented with the position of the diffusers before permanently fixing them, I also added a diffuser over the light itself - this setup appears to give a very diffuse light;


I also made a 'lid' to keep the dust out of the box when it's being stored;


Here's a single flat, with auto levels in PS;


The next project is to make one for the 10" Newt using four of these lights and a single power supply / switch :(


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Thanks for the comments guys, hope to see some pics of all your lightboxes in here soon :(

It was so easy to make, I've never worked with foamboard before; it cuts really easily and the hot glue gun made it so simple to assemble. To get the holes round and concentric I marked the centres of all the boards and used a circle cutter set at the required radii.

That looks very interesting Ian, but for a numpty like me is there any chance of showing us a pic of it in use ??

TIA Karlo

Not at the moment Karlo, everything's packed away and looking at the forecast it could be a while :) You just point the 'scope upwards (to minimise the strain on the box and the 'scope), slide it over the end like a dew shield, switch the light on and take a bunch of exposures. Have a look at George's flats primer on getting the exposure length right.



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Cheers Ian, will do. Another numpty question, why the number of panels in the box and the different sized holes?

Karlo :withstupid:

The front 2 are a snug fit on the dew shield of the frac and the 3rd one in is slightly smaller than the dew shield and this stops the 'scope going too far in and damaging the diffusers. I initially tried it with one diffuser and then added a second to get the light more err... diffuse :)

I wish I could draw it in photoshop, or even on paper and scan it for you, but I don't have the skill or the scanner :( The fifth image shows the finished thing without the lid stuck on, 'scope goes in the front as you're looking at that pic.

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Well Starflyer...you inspired me to get of my but and finally make one for the Megrez72...

I have made it so the "diffusers" slot in so they can be removed for cleaning etc... and have formed a hinged top so that I can easily get in there..

The "Flat" is taken camera wide angle ...


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'Gordon Bennett' Peter, you don't hang around do you :(:)

It looks the 'business' :thumbright: though.

Just a thought, having an obsy, why do you need a 'light box', when a piece of matt white card, or cloth, hanging in front of the scope, and evenly illuminated by a light shining on it (not through it), does just as good a job :? .


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I have tried using a "target" in the obs and having a white plastic obs it worked quite well still use it for the 8" ... i just fancied soemthing that I could use on the 72 in the house for when I am cleaning optics and sensors...

Took me about an hour an a half to knock up this morning before work...

These two images are with the 350D and 1000D through the same optical train using the light box......

I think the 350D needs a clean but the 1000D is pretty darn good after stripping it last week as are the optics and filters on the widefield imaging setup...


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Always like to have a stock of useful stuff around...

Like Ian's its built form white foam board

The diffusers have a A4 laminating pouch material on both sides and I can have up to three of them in there. They can be removed for cleaning.

I have created slots for them to fit into using strips of foam board.

If you had a few different sized refractors then the same idea could be used for the mounting rings.

The hinge is just a few layers of packing tape and the box is held closed using elastic bands on each end...

I stripped and cleaned the outer surfaces of the Megrez 72 , FF III and all the filters yesterday...

Looks like I'm doing the 350D tonight :(


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Excellent job Peter, you're officially the SGL DIY king :king: I wish I hadn't glued my lid on now :(

I bought a heap of foamboard from.... The Foamboard Store. I knew I'd want one for the 10" newt too so I bought 20 A2 sheets. It was well packaged and arrived the next day by courier.

You were the inspiration George - thanks again for the primer :)

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Thanks for the link Ian very good prices on there ... what can I build next... I have been thinking about how to do one for the 8" using a ring of self adhesive LED strip lighting around the aperture reflected back off the White foamboard and then "diffused" time to call my LED supplier in the morning..... :(


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Bitsbox take some beating on small quantity LED prices.

I buy in 100,000 to 1,000,000 quantities but they aren't run of the mill LEDS very tight spec on spectral and intensity ouputs I haven't got an use for white ones yet though so will have to scrounge them :(

The samples I have got run of 24V... and cant easily be changed to run of 12V as they have SMT IC drivers on the flexible pcb strip...


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