A Lightboard is a product of evolution in the education industry. In fact, it was innovated by educators based on their needs in a virtual classroom environment. The essential function of a chalkboard or blackboard in an educational setting remains, but these platforms are simply not practical when an educator is recording material for online viewing later. While Lightboard was originally designed for this purpose, its functionality has dramatically expanded. In fact, it is now used by students, by teachers in a live classroom setting and in other others.
The cost of purchasing a Lightboard is prohibitive in many cases. After all, even a small Lightboard may cost several thousand dollars. A Lightboard that is large enough for more significant needs may cost more than $7,500. On the other hand, you may be able to make a Lightboard on your own for a fraction of the cost. While the concept of a Lightboard may seem complicated, the entire designing and building process may be completed relatively easily after you learn how to build a light board.
Create a Building Plan
A Lightboard is a rectangular piece of clear glass mounted within a frame. LED lighting is incorporated around the frame so that the glass is illuminated. A smaller Lightboard may be approximately 3 feet long while a larger Lightboard may be up to 8 feet long or larger. Generally, the smaller Lightboard displays are designed to be placed on a tabletop, and larger features are placed on rolling casters on the floor. Because there are significant variations in the sizes and frame designs for these boards, you must consider how you plan to use your board and the amount of space that you have available for your recording studio or in your classroom as a first step.
Many Lightboard kits are sold with a solid steel frame that is already cut to the right size, but steel can be difficult to work with for a do-it-yourself Lightboard assembly project from scratch. With this in mind, your Lightboard design may need to take into account the use of a wood frame to hold the glass. Wood may also be needed to use as the support structure or base. It is important to choose a material that will support the weight of the glass that you intend to use.
Gather Supplies and Materials
The boards for the wood frame must be thick enough to hold the LED light wire and the glass. You will use a router to create a recessed channel in the boards, so ensure that the dimensions of wood that you purchase will accommodate both of these based on your design plan. In addition to ordering this wood, you will need additional wood for the structure’s base. A heavier frame and piece of glass will require larger, heavier footing. An easy way to mount the frame to the base is with sturdy shelf brackets. If you plan to have a floor-standing Lightboard, caster wheels are a smart idea.
In addition to all of these materials, you will need screws, bolts, washers, wood glue and wing nuts. You will also need a router, a miter saw, a drill and a screwdriver.
Order the Lightboard’s Glass
For the best results, the glass that is used in your do-it-yourself Lightboard project must be ultra-clear. Some people have successfully used picture frame glass as thin as 3 millimeters, and others have used aquarium glass that is as thick as 10 millimeters. Generally, the glass should be cut specifically to the dimensions that you have planned for, so you will need to find a source to special-order the high-quality, cut glass.
Assemble Your Lightboard
After gathering the materials and supplies, you are ready to assemble the Lightboard. Chisel a channel out of the four pieces of frame boards using your router. Then, mitered the corners of these boards so that they fit snugly together. Choose a point on both sides of the frame where the LED wires will feed out of the frame, and drill a hole large enough to accommodate the width of your wire.
You are then ready to assemble two pieces of the frame together to make a 90-degree angle. Use screws and wood glue as necessary. Run a light wire inside the channel in both of these boards. Repeat this step with the other two frame boards. Adhere the wire to the wood so that it remains in place as you continue to assemble the frame, and ensure that the LED wires run out of the frame at your chosen points.
You can place the sheet of glass into one half of the frame, and place the second half of the frame in place so that the entire frame fits snugly around the glass. Secure the remaining corners of the frame using wood glue and screws.
Now that the Lightboard frame is assembled, you can turn your attention to the frame. The actual construction of the frame will be dependent on the weight of the glass and frame, the style of Lightboard that you are building and other factors. Generally, you will assemble the footing first. This may be pieces of wood that will hold the board in a stationary position on a table, or you may attach rollers to the bottom of these boards for mobility with a floor model.
The shelving brackets will connect the base footing to the frame. On a tabletop model, the brackets may be affixed directly to the frame. On a larger model, you will need to incorporate legs into your plan. The legs will connect the brackets to the frame. Use screws, washers, bolts and wing nuts as needed to ensure that the entire structure is secure.
If you enjoy designing and building things from scratch, this project may be completed relatively easily within a few hours or less. On the other hand, if you are looking for an easier approach to a do-it-yourself build, consider ordering a Lightboard kit. Now that you know how to build a light board, you can save a tremendous amount of money on a board that will truly elevate your teaching abilities.