Hanging the Light Box

This week has been dedicated to another box of Salt Block plates. The first step is prepping the plates- making another pass of the sander and selecting for plates with no blemishes. Then the plates are grouped for the four sides and bottom, laid flat and fiberglassed. The edges are squared with a grinder- measured to fit with each-other. A 90 degree angle of MDF is re-erected at the worktable’s edge as a jig, and I glass two sides panels to the bottom side and let these set. Once hardened I grind/fit the next plates, secure them in place and glass them as well. At this point the box is formed!

Next I add the steel hanging form: this was today’s job. First I measure the interior of the box for the narrowest dimension, then cut angle iron to match. Then I miter cut the steel for 45 degree angles and go about welding them together into a square. Two steel braces are welded across the middle of the square, and I weld the hanging eyebolt between them.
Then the light pole is added, which will hold the LED light tape. I tried a different method for this box, using square aluminum tubing, rather than two pieces of aluminum angle. Although simpler in idea, the execution was rather complicated. I held the right part in my hand at Home Depot, then put it back- a run of square steel tubing that fit inside the aluminum tubing. So I used steel angle iron, and had to weld nuts in place to shim the aluminum tubing- it took awhile to figure out just what was necessary- about as long as driving back to HD and getting the part I put down, but sometimes that trip back to HD becomes a personal affront. It all worked out after the necessary swearing and fiddling about. The aluminum tubing is easily removed from the steel frame so the lights can be applied/replaced. I put this one in so the lights will shine at the corners of the box, rather than creating “hot spots” along the middle of the panels.

Once the steel form and light bar are ready I prop them up inside the salt box with wooden shims set at the bottom of the box. Then I wrap fiberglass strips around the steel and resin the fiberglass to the inside of the box. Then I hung the heat light above the box to help the resin to kick off.

Yesterday I dropped off an 8″x8″ square of salt stone at a local water-cutting shop with a memory stick of the sample Lorem Ipsum (fill text that spells/means nothing). The stone is backed with fiberglass and sprayed in clear crylon to mitigate dissolution by the water process. They will mirror the letters and cut them from the back, or “etch” them in so the cut remains shallow. This allows the letters to appear when backlit. I hope it works- as this is a big part of the wall hanging units.

I also ordered all the LED lights- I had to come up with exact lengths as the manufacturer will add all the plug-ends for me. 108 Plug-Ends that I don’t have to solder: that takes one major headache off the lit elements!

While the rain and setting fiberglass had me waiting around, I also got online and ordered another couple sawbucks worth of hanging hooks, weld-on D rings, and all the parts to fly the salt stones.
Then, heading into the evening, I had one last re-do required by the newspaper for a letter to the editor to try and save the youth-arts program I directed a few years back (luckily E was home by then and helped my fried brain to make the adjustments), plus they needed a different head-shot which wound up taking a lot longer to come up with than the edit.

Now that my little geek-break is over, I’ll start backing all the salt stone slabs with fiberglass- then sand down their faces as I did with the circles. Then, assuming the water-cut etching of letters works out, they will all be ready to head out for lettering.

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