Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nice Lights At Last

Arcana stepped in to weave today, freeing me up to work on the new booth lighting. Last October I bought a nice-looking set of lights from Ikea on the way home from my most successful show of the year. Yeah, it was sort of an impulse purchase, but I knew I'd want them eventually. It has just taken longer than I expected to actually use them.

The first step was to rebuild the booth frame so that the overhang was the correct size, but mounted down where I could reach it. There are lots of short pieces left over from the cutting of the correctly-sized pieces. I just use them to cobble together a framework to hold up the overhang.

And here is the pile of parts from Ikea. Of course I had to rework some of them for use on a booth instead of a home.

First, I coated the metal rods in clear duct tape to provide an extra layer of electrical insulation. Then I added white duct tape to give me a measurement for the mounting of the wires and mask the piece of tubing that will be visible between them. Then I used my trusty zip-ties to attach the mounting hardware.

It was then just a simple matter of applying tension to the wires and attaching the fixtures. These fixtures look like the professional setup in high-end retail establishments, but they are made from very cheap plastic. This lets them ride on very cheap wires that aren't under very much tension.

But aren't they pretty and clean-looking?

This setup is meant to be permanently installed in a house with a junction box supplying the electricity. To make it work in a mobile setup, I wired it to a lamp cord and mounted the whole thing on a board. This board will be painted to match the booth and mounted on the outside of it, letting me treat this thing like any other lamp in term of how it's used: just plug it in and leave it be.

To pack it up, I just undo the turnbuckles, unhook the wires, and carefully pack the fixtures in a padded box.

Goodnight, lights! See you next week!

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