I'm finally getting around to posting some pics of my build. I've never followed up on any project I've done with the help gained from a forum so this is my first. I thought I should so I can maybe pay it forward and help someone else that may be in the same situation I was in before stumbling across this thread.
First off, I'd like to thank cuzed2 for starting this topic and making it possible for me to attempt my own light box with minimal design considerations and all of the suggestions for hardware. You definitely saved me an enormous amount of legwork. I'd also like to thank Moggie for his punctual and informative responses to my pm's concerning wiring and dimensions of his light box. I really find that the free flow of information created by this forum is one of the most powerful side effects of the internet and I truly appreciate it.
Now on to my project: I should begin by saying that I am coming from a background in cabinet making and my experience in that influenced many things in my box, from materials to construction methods. I wanted to make things simple and reduce any finishing (ie painting and such) as possible. To that point I chose to use 3/4" white melamine for the box material. I saw many builders painting the inside of their box white, or using silver material. I wanted to avoid any of this and thought the shiny white surface of the melamine would be sufficient at reflecting any light within the box. I also saw many different treatments to the outside of the box, from elaborate woodwork, to painting. I had some free black plastic laminate (think Formica for you noncabinet makers) and I contact cement clad the outside of my box to match the black frame color. I thought this would give a clean minimalist look as well as cover the screw holes from constructing the box. I used a CinemaWide frame from Spotlight Displays and was impressed with Robert's customer service and products and highly recommend them to anyone attempting this type of project, plus as AVS members we can take advantage of a nice discount! I used 3/16" white translucent plexiglass that I was able to get at a local sign shop and they even cut it to the 27"x40" dimensions for $40. I felt comfortable with the thicker glass compared to cuzed2's from pm's I had with Moggie and I do not think it affects the light output at all. As for lights, I used three 5m, 300led strips I got off eBay for $4.50 each, and cut them into 60 led lengths as Moggie did for his boxes. I also got 8mm connectors (10 for $4 that I cut in half and used crimp connectors on bare wire ends) for the 3528 leds from the same seller, as my soldering skills are not that great. While doing searches for the lights and connectors, I saw the same seller also had a remote control to turn on/off and dim the light strips for ~$6. I originally thought I would mount a toggle switch on the box, but thought the remote would be more convenient. I love it! It's RF and can control the lights from any where on our ground floor. Plus, if we have all the lights off while watching a movie, I can dim the strips to the preset 50% or 25%, or a gradual +/- dim if wanted. Finally, I got an 8A power supply off eBay to power the strips for about $18. So all together I probably had about $170 into the box. I think that was very affordable considering the prices of prebuilt units I saw before I attempted this project.
I've attached several photos of my build and am quite pleased with how it turned out. As a matter of fact, I've got the parts to make a second box to display a recently purchased Hobbit movie poster.
I hope I wasn't overly wordy with this post as it is my first attempt at helping others and displaying my results. Perhaps this will prompt me to also post a thread on my gear cabs I made for our theater/family room. I know they pale in comparison to the many great dedicated theaters on this forum, but they do serve the purpose and have design features not found in off the shelf entertainment units.
Anyhow, thanks for the help.