This week I decided to build a light tent, inspired by some photos from a Flickr contact, and some instructions from Bill Huber that are available online.
In my last post, I described some of the parts. In this post I’m going to talk about the assembly, including pictures. This is my version of the instructions given on Bill Huber’s pbase site, but with UK measurements and materials.
Here’s a summary of the main parts, which I purchased from Homebase.
- 2 x 2m 15mm PVC pipes (from the plumbing section).
- pack of 5 equal tee joints, from the Homebase Easy Fit range. It was cheaper to buy a bag of 5 than it was to buy 4 individually.
- 4 stem elbow joints (also Easy Fit). Important to get the stem joints, as they plug directly into the tees without the need for an additional length of the main pipe in between.
- self-tapping size 6 (3.5mm x 12mm) screws.
- 2 desk lamps with 40W “golf ball”-style bulbs.
- 2 desk lamps with 20W halogen bulbs.
I also picked up a cheap single white bed sheet from Tesco for less than £3. Today I managed to find some sheets of different coloured A2-sized card from Partners the Stationers (although I had to search around a lot… our local craft and hobby shop didn’t have any card of a suitable, and neither did the local branch of Partners). Total cost, incidentally, was around £45 including the lamps – not very cheap, but this is a nice flexible setup.
Once I’d got the parts together, the next stage was to assemble the frame. To do this, I needed to cut the 2m pipes into sections, which I did using a junior hacksaw. I think a pipe cutter would have been a better option, as the cuts would be cleaner… using a hacksaw meant that I needed to file the ends and then trim off any burrs with a craft knife, but that didn’t take long.
The two longest sections were 60cm each (width of the frame). I also cut two at 40cm (depth) and the four legs at 35cm each (height) – leaving a 60cm section as waste. Incidentally, I found a CD marker pen was best for marking the measurements on the pipe. You can also see the joints here, one of which I’d already assembled.
The top of the frame was easy to assemble: push each stem elbow into a tee; and then push the 60cm and 40cm lengths of pipe into the tees to form a rectangle.
At this point I just needed to push the legs into the elbow joints. I can tighten the joints, but still undo them and pull the frame apart again quite easily, which is handy for storage. One thing I didn’t do was to add any feet (yet), so I’ve filed the ends of the legs and will not be putting it on any delicate surfaces without covering them first!
Along the back section, I measured out 13.5cm gaps, twisted the point of a craft knife into it, and then screwed in three of the screws. These are used for hanging the backgrounds. I bought white, black, light blue, red, purple, gold and silver – each sheet of card was about 80p. I’ve cut some holes into the card using a hole punch.
The final studio / light tent. I draped the sheet over it, and positioned a halogen lamp either side. I’m using it on a table, with my tripod in the foreground of the shot. I’m also using a remote release on the camera. I really need to get a better tripod now, as mine is only pan and not pan/tilt…
In my final post on this topic (probably tomorrow), I’ll be showing some of the results :-)