2010-05-24

diy collapsible softbox

Not wanting to spend the money for a professional softbox I decided to go the diy route. I had a few criteria I wanted to meet. I wanted something large, portable, and the ability to use two flashes. I searched out a few other designs to get some ideas, particularly some designs from DIY Photography.net. For the size and shape I based it off this model. It is a 40"x24" face and about 20" deep. The idea would be to construct the box so it could fold into triangles. Initially I was thinking of using some sort of plastic, but in the end went with foam core and gaffers tape for the joints. Each "wall" was actually two pieces to fold into a smaller size. With some simple geometry I figured out the dimensions I need and started to cut the foam core. Once I had the pieces cut, it was time to tape them all together. The outside edge has a long strip of velcro to hold it together. The inside was painted flat white which helps bounce the light since foam core is quite translucent.


Next step was the bracket. I made this out of steel and brass as it's what I had lying around. After making a model out of paper (thicker 5x7 notecards) I went to cutting and shaping the metal. Most of it is bolted together with the exception of the steel square bracket that is welded. Nuts are also welded to the bracket to hold the flash. For the flash mounting mechanism I copied another design from DIY Photography.net. I wanted to softbox to be mountable vertically and horizontally so I added brackets to support the flashes so they don't pivot around the bolts. The face of the bracket is slotted. Velcro straps were made to attach the body to the bracket. For the diffuser I used ripstop nylon and velcro to attach it.

If I were to make another one I'd make a few changes. I see little reason for a rectangular design. I'll have to see the different between shooting with the softbox vertical or horizontal. I also purchased coated ripstop nylon. Further testing will show if I get color cast from it. If so I'll replace it with non-coated. I also didn't give the shape and dimensions much thought. I also need to add supports at the bends since it tends to sag.

Here are some pictures:
The bracket mounted on my light stand. You can see the slots to mount the body and bolts that hold the flash.

Softbox with no flash mounted.

Detail of the strap design.

The softbox mounted with one flash without the diffuser screen.




all apart

test shot

Here's a shot from a series I did of my friend's jewelry.

more photography on my blog

1 comment:

Max said...

Nice job Jakub!