Hey guys, thought I'd post my efforts at creating a light box.
I'm currently modding my old Chieftec Dragon case and wanted a light box for the bottom of the case. The two main criteria were that it had to be as shallow as possible (I had cut a large window in the side panel of the case and didn't have much room to work with vertically) and that the light should be as uniform as possible across the whole top surface.
This was my test-setup, 3mm mirrored acrylic at the bottom with 5mm white acrylic cut (using a bandsaw) for the sides and top. I ran a length of LED strip (5050 SMD, 60/metre) around the walls of the box, facing inwards.
This is the first test and shows that the light was not uniform across the top surface - I wanted to avoid the "dead spot" in the middle:
So I came up with a different solution. I could tape the LED strips face-up and although this would create a point of light shining upwards onto the top panel; if I had lots of these strips placed close together then the light should still be evenly distributed.
I spaced the strips out so that each LED would be the same distance from its neighbours both in the same strip and adjacent strips:
The LED strip connectors were too bulky for the left-hand edge shown in the picture above and so I soldered wire directly from the terminals of one strip to the next (don't have any photos of that at present).
At the other side I had more room and so I could use the standard connectors that you may have seen already. However the wires were too long for what I wanted and so I snapped them off the crimps inside the plastic housing and soldered new (white) wire on instead:
Here is a pic of it all lit up to check the solder connections:
And here it is working :-) (obviously I will remove the protective film over the top before the case is finished) Note how evenly distributed the light is.
It's easy to make light panels look good if the exposure of the photo is set high, because it all looks white (in my first experiments the photos would often look good even though in reality the light was patchy). This photo shows the panel as it really is - perfectly uniform light distribution :-)
Final pic to show how it looks in the case:
Let me know what you think! I hope this helps if you are thinking of building your own light panel.