Make a UV Lightbox

UV Lightbox's are quite expensive bits of kit, but they are the best way for the hobbyist to make their own pcb's. Fortunately you can make your own lightbox for a modest outlay of approx £30

All you need are a couple of UV lamps plus holders, starters, a sheet of glass and a box for it all (some plywood)

It is best to use lamps specific to UV Exposure units. These can be bought online from various suppliers, usually for less than £20 for a pair of 15W lamps. Once you have these, go to your local hardware store and get a couple of mains striplight units of the same size and fitting. Normally these are 12 in units, but make sure they have the same fittings for the lamps as there are a couple of different types.

Next design your box size to accomodate these lamp units. Place the lamp units as close to each other as possible. 2 Lamp units is fine for anything up to euro sized 16cm x 10cm boards. Bigger boards will need more lamps. The sheet of glass should be approx 6-8cm above the top of the lamps. Use a couple of wood battons (strips) above and below the glass and at each side to hold it in position. Only screw in the top ones (dont glue them) so they can be removed to allow the glass to be taken out in order to replace the lamps.

Place a sheet of white paper under the lamps to help reflect the UV Light

Wire up the the lamps (in parallel)  to a mains plug. You could of course design your own timer system, but a watch really is good enough.

Add a lid and a piece of foam to hold down the boards are you are complete.

Test your exposure times with small pieces of uv board. Depending on the power output of your lamps this should be between 2-4 minutes.

UV Light Box