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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 31 Oct 2010 (Sunday) 19:09
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DIY: Compact Fluorescent Ring Light

 
TMR ­ Design
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Oct 31, 2010 19:09 |  #1

I finally had time to take some shots of the completed Ring Light. There are still patches of Plasti-Dip that need to be cleaned off but I'm letting everything fully set before trimming or cleaning.

This was a lot of fun to build. I took my time and mapped things out pretty thoroughly. The material for the ring is a composite plastic. Originally it was going to be wood but this turned out to be much better. The plastic is easier to work with and it's lighter than wood.

There are 12 fixtures mounted to the ring and large holes were cut to allow for wiring access and also to remove as much extra material as possible. Wiring is done in parallel all the way around the ring with the first light wired to the power box.

The power box is just a plastic project box with a panel mount IEC receptacle and an on/off power switch. The set of wires inside the rear of each fixture is coated in liquid electrical tape and the wires going between each fixture have a spiral cable manager keeping them together and concealed.

Plasti-Dip was then poured into each of the holes to protect the wiring and to ensure there was no possibility of shorting or touching contacts or any exposed copper. In the event that I need to change a fixture or do a repair the Plasti-Dip can be peeled out to perform the repair and then replaced. If it's at all loose or gets mangled in the process I can just pour some more Plasti-Dip in to seal it over again.

I wasn't sure if the weight of the bulbs would cause flexing of the plastic but I didn't want to take any chances and wanted it to be rigid. I came up with the idea of using aluminum channel to add vertical and horizontal bracing. Once the braces were added the whole ring became extremely rigid and the braces didn't add much weight at all.

After quite a bit of searching I found a swivel mount that would work and accept a baby pin. Finally, a handle was added to make it easier to lift, mount and carry.

Enough talk... on to the Ring Light.

Front and back of the finished product.

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And now for some shots as the Ring Light was being built.

The ring is 26" in diameter with a 16" center opening.

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Robert
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Oct 31, 2010 19:10 |  #2

Ring light images (continued)

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Robert
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Oct 31, 2010 19:10 as a reply to  @ TMR Design's post |  #3

And of course, a sample image shot with the Ring Light.

IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4151/5069030313_0c42cb963a_b.jpg

Robert
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Nov 01, 2010 03:43 as a reply to  @ TMR Design's post |  #4

AWESOME build, Rob!
Looks just like the one I did, but I did decide to go with wood.
Mine is 36" in diameter and I use 12 - 100w Flourescent Bulbs.
I will also be adding an enclosed diffuser system so I can choose to have "individual bulbs" showing in the eyes and a "ring light" showing in the eyes.

BTW, I like your build a lot better than mine, LOL.....


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Nov 01, 2010 06:50 |  #5

The Loft Studios wrote in post #11202703 (external link)
AWESOME build, Rob!
Looks just like the one I did, but I did decide to go with wood.
Mine is 36" in diameter and I use 12 - 100w Flourescent Bulbs.
I will also be adding an enclosed diffuser system so I can choose to have "individual bulbs" showing in the eyes and a "ring light" showing in the eyes.

BTW, I like your build a lot better than mine, LOL.....

Thanks Mark. I was actually inspired by the YouTube video you had posted in another thread here.


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Nov 01, 2010 08:01 |  #6

Very nice Rob. When can we start ordering? :lol:

I was actually going to use the same exact bases but they ended up being too wide as I wanted my heads to be as small as possible and to fit 9 lights each.

Would I be able to run the wires like that with my sockets that already have pre-cut, hardwired wires that stick out a few inches?

I like how you mounted it. It's quite simple. Nice job!


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Nov 01, 2010 08:27 as a reply to  @ SuperHuman21's post |  #7

Wow.. That is an awesome project and excellent outcome...


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watt100
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Nov 01, 2010 09:06 |  #8

definitely taking DIY lighting projects to another level




  
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Nov 01, 2010 09:31 |  #9

SuperHuman21 wrote in post #11203304 (external link)
Very nice Rob. When can we start ordering? :lol:

I was actually going to use the same exact bases but they ended up being too wide as I wanted my heads to be as small as possible and to fit 9 lights each.

Would I be able to run the wires like that with my sockets that already have pre-cut, hardwired wires that stick out a few inches?

I like how you mounted it. It's quite simple. Nice job!

Thank you. I'm taking pre-orders.... LOLOLOL

I like these fixtures (these are the plastic versions, not ceramic) because they're easy to mount and have the dual terminals for parallel wiring. If you have fixtures with hardwired leads then you're going to have to do some pigtailing to get power to each light since one light can't directly feed the next one. Same concept but not quite as neat.


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Nov 01, 2010 09:33 |  #10

shankarhokie wrote in post #11203410 (external link)
Wow.. That is an awesome project and excellent outcome...

watt100 wrote in post #11203584 (external link)
definitely taking DIY lighting projects to another level

Thanks guys. I've wanted to build a ring light for a while now and finally got motivated to design something that would work for me.


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Nov 01, 2010 10:17 |  #11

TMR Design wrote in post #11203708 (external link)
Thank you. I'm taking pre-orders.... LOLOLOL

I like these fixtures (these are the plastic versions, not ceramic) because they're easy to mount and have the dual terminals for parallel wiring. If you have fixtures with hardwired leads then you're going to have to do some pigtailing to get power to each light since one light can't directly feed the next one. Same concept but not quite as neat.

Haha. If I needed one of these or if I do then I know where to get one ;)

Hmm. Yeah, the ones I saw were plastic. What do you mean about the pigtailing, I pigtail the one wire to another socket?


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Nov 01, 2010 10:22 as a reply to  @ SuperHuman21's post |  #12

Very nicely planned and executed DIY, Rob. Can't say that I'm crazy about those catchlights, though.

On a technical note, I'm curious how you cut the 26" plastic donut. The circle cuts look very precise.

Dave F.




  
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Nov 01, 2010 10:37 |  #13

regarding the sample image photo (post #3) I notice the catch light in her eyes identifies the ring light, will you leave this effect or photoshop on the eye?


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Nov 01, 2010 10:40 |  #14

Rob,
That's neat.
One thing I like is the large center opening.
How far behind it can you get with a longer lens?
12 socks should permit lots of light with the CFLs.
What kind of exposure are we talking?
Wonder how it would work to use the Morris edison base slave lights.
They are relatively low power and slow recycle time but still would put a lot of light on a subject when mounted in your ring fixture.


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Nov 01, 2010 10:40 |  #15

SuperHuman21 wrote in post #11203942 (external link)
Haha. If I needed one of these or if I do then I know where to get one ;)

Hmm. Yeah, the ones I saw were plastic. What do you mean about the pigtailing, I pigtail the one wire to another socket?

What you have is ideal for wiring in series but in series, whereas what I have lets me easily wire in parallel will all the contacts and connections happening at the base of the fixture.

Pigtailing is really just taking two wires and twisting them together to give yourself another lead or split and usually the joint is screwed in to a wire cap.


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DIY: Compact Fluorescent Ring Light
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