by MyDogJustice, published

silverLight by MyDogJustice Aug 18, 2012
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silverLight by MyDogJustice is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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My latest obsession has been collecting, and subsequently photographing silver coins. Coins have been one of the hardest subjects I've photographed. Its just the begining of a long process, but I wanted to design something that would give me consistent, even and low angle lighting all the way around the coin. Quick Rhino design later, some soldering and I'm in business! Simple electronics, simple print, stunning results! Gives a nice focused light at the center. The coin pics I've included were actually shot with a webcam. It was the easiest solution and provided the fastest feedback. Eventually I'll get out the big rig and take some really hi-res images. There is a cutout archway for sliding in coins that are already in graded slabs and an optional pedestal for open coins.

This light doubly functions as an odd little look through flashlight. I've used it quite a few times in the network closets already!


The parts I used were bought locally at Radio Shack. Total $12, so you could certainly do it for half the cost if sourced online. (I'm too impatient)

4 - 5mm white LEDs
1 - soft touch spst switch
1 - 9V pigtail
1 - 9V battery
2 - 5mm x 25mm bolts and nuts
1 - Each of the included stl models. (You'll need to enable support when printing the innerRing.stl
Resistors, wire, heat shrink as needed.

I also used Elmer's Tack. Its a removable Adhesive putty thats going to replace my hot glue gun. Soooooo much easier to work with. repositionable, sticky, insulates.

Use http://ledcalculator.net/ takes all of the math out of the equation!! Put in the values for your LEDs and it spits out the needed resistors. I've got my LEDs way undervolted because they were a bit to bright. Maybe the second version I'll add a potentiometer.

Outside: 130mm
Inside: 90mm
Height: 30mm
LEDs are at 20mm from the deck
Pedestal is 15mm high

Check out my dropbox for more photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a6spp8tg14nes7k/QcrdbozHM6/silverLight

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Your sample picture is fantastic! I'm in the process of designing a ring flash for macro shots, and this gave me some solid ideas.

This is going to be a present a friend and jewelry maker, I often hear about lighting struggles. He has a really complex setup that takes loads of space.

One possible improvement: put some half translucent paper between the leds and the object, this softens the light. If you don't have this, take regular printing paper and put vegatable oil on it. let it soak up the oil overnight and remove the excess oil.

Nice little project! I often need to photograph small parts and this might be good for that. What color/material did you use for the "lens"?

No lens on the project! The LEDs poke through the side. If I remember correctly, they have about a 30 degree spread. They actually cant down about 15 degrees so it ends up with a nice focused illumination center. Really simple

Ah. In the photo they totally look like they're behind a diffuser! Thanks :)

I've also thought about wrapping a strip of vellum inside to work as a diffuser. Havent gotten that far yet, but maybe its useful information for your project!