Light tables serve as an excellent tool to transfer images from one piece of paper to another. With a light box or table as your work surface, you actually backlight your original image so you can read it through another layer of material.
Applications for Light Table Usage
Depending on the size and construction, light boxes can be used for tracing an image from paper to watercolor paper. This type of light box application requires light pressure tolerance.
For larger needs, an inspectionlight tablecan be put to work for projects such as large stained glass applications, reviewing mylar drawings or studying blueprints.
Ultimately, your light table requirements need to consider the following features:
- Size of backlit workspace
- Material you need to light
- Working height
- Working angle
- Light source
Materials and Construction of Your Light Box
The glass is actually quite a durable material; tempered glass will provide an even safer surface. However, if you plan to use your lightbox for anything heavy or to apply pressure to it, purchase accordingly. For example, stained glass artists use light tables to trace and score shapes before snapping the glass. Scoring takes the pressure, and a wide expanse of glass is more susceptible to damage by pressure. Consider investing in a heavy plexiglass topped table for such an application.
The frame of your light table will need to be heavy enough to support the glass and whatever pressure you need to apply to it. Features of your light table frame to consider might include a tilting top, gaps for venting heat, and easy access to replace burned out light bulbs.
Your Working Style
Before reviewing the ads of “light table for sale” consider your working style. Some workers are extremely organized and like to have everything put away; others tend to use an “archaeological” filing method, as in “I know what I need is here in one of these piles!”
If you are a stacker and are working with architectural drawings or mylar, consider investing in a tilting light table. These tables offer a mechanism that allows you to alter the angle of your table and will let you work either sitting or standing. By keeping the table top angled, you won’t be able to stack anything on top of it.
For those who have to work flat, such as stained glass artisans, be certain to invest in a light table cover. Heavy duty light tables are generally made of plexiglass, which can tolerate pressure better than glass, but which can be easily scratched if exposed to tools or other corrosive objects.
The expansion of LED technology has made it possible to construct a light table that offers intense light with little heat build-up under the glass. In addition, many inspection light table applications are large enough to use four-foot fluorescent tubes, also an efficient source of low heat light.
Should you find a used light table for sale, consider the light source carefully. Study the ventilation of the table and consider your workspace needs as well. Heat build-up under an old table can be a safety concern. In a large room, the heat from a single bulb is negligible, but under glass, the wrong bulb can quickly get extremely warm. Your small office or studio may be impacted by the light source in your table.
A light table or light box can be a great tool for technicians and artists alike. Carefully consider your space needs and working style before investing in this valuable workspace tool.