Macro / Portraiture ringlight for under $15

Forums Forums Get Technical Hardware Macro / Portraiture ringlight for under $15

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    Again: Home Depot, inspired, etc. And to think, I only stopped off to get a 75-cent part for a different project.

    1) What you need: A circular fluorescent tube with a ballast that will install in a lamp, a package of shelving corner brackets, an el-cheapo extension cord, a hose clampe slightly larger than your favorite macro/portrait lens, and crimp-on barrel-lug lugs (not pictured). Also, ignore the package of machine screws, simplicity replaced them with two 1/2-inch hose clamps. You’ll see.

    2) Separate the ballast from the tube.

    3) Cut and strip the ends of the extension cord.

    4) Cut and strip ONLY ONE of the wires between th ballast and the tub connector.

    5) Take note of your extension cord. If it is compliant with USA codes, one wire will be smooth, the other will have ridges. If both are the same, you will need to trace along one wire with a magic marker so as to be able to differentiate between them. Choose one of the wires and attach a barrel lug. Repeat with the other end. MAKE SURE IT IS THE SAME WIRE AT BOTH ENDS

    6) Crimp the lugs to both halves of the ballast wire.

    7) Repeat steps 4-6 with the other wire. Gently tug on your barrel lugs to ensure they are snug.

    8) Wrap a minimum of a double-layer of pvc tape over the lugs. This will prevent anything from getting into the ends and creating a fire or shorting hazard.

    9) Hold the tube and plastic bracket in front of your favorite macro/portrait lens. Mark the bracket slightly wider than the lens. Cut the bracket at the marks.

    10) Affix the corner brackets to the plastic tube brackets. Initially, I planned on using #10 machine screws, but decided on 1/2 inch hose clamps for simplicity after discovering they had enough holding power for this project.

    11) Use the large hose clamp to attached the brackets to a non-moving part of your lens. Telescoping parts may be okay, but you definitely want to avoid rotating parts.

    12) Place the tube in the brackets, connect the ballast wire to the tube, and screw the ballast into a convenient light socket. Declare loudly “Let there be light” as you turn on power to the socket. Take great photos. Profit.

    Bonus, Not pictured or accounted in price: The only cheap circular fluorescent that came with a ballast was a 2700K mercury vapor light ($7). I bought that kit, but replaced the bulb with a 6500K Natural Daylight bulb (another $6).


    Okay, it’s cool and all, as usual, but I gotta echo the comment in this week’s contest and say

    //dude. you. need. a. manicure.


    Okay, it’s cool and all, as usual, but I gotta echo the comment in this week’s contest and say

    //dude. you. need. a. manicure.

    or some GoJo and a stiff brush.


    Thus far I’ve only peripherally introduced my husband to your creative side by showing him a couple of things that you did. Okay, I showed him the soda can filter thingy. I’m not sure I want to show him any more. He’s an engineer, or at least going to school for mechanical engineering, and you might just give him some ideas, and I don’t know if I want any more floating through the house (though I must say I have benefited greatly from his imagination and ides with a custom desk, foot stool for my foot pedal for work, shelving for work materials, just to name a few).

    Will be directing him here tomorrow so he can see. He might have a few thoughts. He will also be allowed to use my spiffy new camera, but he’s the only other person I’ll allow at this point, and only when I’m not using it, or if I need to ask/show him things. He doesn’t photograph now like I do, but he used to, and he’s good at technical things.

    Damn engineers. How does Kestrana do with all this?


    For those who aren’t handy, I absolutely LOVE mine that I got on Amazon and it was only $36. The nice thing is it will switch between having one side on at a time or the entire circle.


    I am so trying this.

    “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” – Red Green

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