An Outdoor Lightbox, Third Version

The second lightbox was a good success. But then, one dark winter night, a windstorm blew down an old hemlock tree in the front yard. The tree just missed the house, merely busting off a few siding boards. But it totaled the family car, and it splintered the lightbox.

fallen tree remains of the light box

After the tree service cut up and hauled the downed tree away, I carefully picked lots of broken glass and plywood out of the dirt and examined the remains of the box. Amazingly, the LED strips and the electronics were intact — and still blinking away. So, over the following days, I built a new box and installed the salvaged parts.

Along the way, I made a few minor improvements:

new box as installed

This time, I did not line the interior with mirrors. I can always add them later. But I did add a photocell so the controller can shut off the lights in daytime. (It's hot-glued atop a metal stake, visible near the left edge of the photo above.) The lights can't be seen in daylight, and it saves a few watts of electricity.

I also discovered that parchment paper (sold in grocery stores next to the aluminum foil) makes a pretty good light diffuser. For future projects, it will be a tossup whether to use it or packing foam.


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