Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Creating a Photobox, Day Two

I need to clarify some things before I continue with my project. I am not a carpenter. I am sure there are better ways to build a box, but this is how I chose to do it, either due to tools I had on hand or with the experience level I am comfortable at. If you choose to undertake a project such as this, I welcome you to use this as a guide. I will try to help you avoid some pitfalls along the way, but in the end this is your project and feel free to adapt it as you see fit.

Day two starts with finish up the jigsaw work to make the holes in the top and sides of the photo-box. Once this is done it is time to make a decision. You can either add the hardware to assemble the box now, or wait until after the muslin is attached. I chose to put the muslin on first thinking the hardware would help hold it in place.

I assumed this would be the most difficult task of the project. I was afraid I would rip the muslin, have it somehow be off center, or simply not be taut enough and look bad. I was surprised that the process was not too bad. I used my air compressor and nail gun to drive staples into the MDF. I worked down the full length of a short side first, then pulled the muslin tight across the hole and put a single staple in the opposite side of the MDF to hold it in place. From there I went to the long side and methodically worked my way up each side pulling taut as I went. I switched sides every other staple so i could work evenly up the face of the board. I did not worry about wrinkles across the board since I could tighten them up from the last edge.

I should not have to say it, but make sure your work space is CLEAN before working with the muslin. I have no idea how to clean the muslin once it is mounted on the board. So now that the muslin is taut, I flip the board over, trim the excess, and use some spray adhesive I had from another project to keep the edges flat and out of the way. If you choose this be wary of spraying the exposed muslin, hard glue would more than likely cast a shadow.

Now comes the most frustrating part of this whole exercise. Assembling the box should have been fairly simple and I managed to butcher the whole process. The first smart thing I did was to put scotch tape over the spot where I was going to drill through muslin. I liken this to putting a pin through a balloon. The tape kept the muslin from wrapping around the drill bit. I drilled four holes through both the top and back, and matched the holes to a half inch hole on each side. So a hole in each corner in the top and back panels, matching two holes in the top and back of each side panel. In each side panel hole I hammered in the furniture mount. These ended up being a bad choice as they simply slid out, making assembly a huge pain in the rear. I plan to replace these with something more durable. I do not think the screw type mounts will work since I think they are wider than the MDF.

That was it. Once everything is screwed together it comes out fairly nice. The opening is the same width as a sheet of poster board, which is extremely convenient when setting up the white infinity background. This of course was by sheer accident, but now that I see it in action I wish I would have planned for it. The box itself is bulky but not too heavy. Do not try to move it assembled too much. The first time I moved it I pulled out the mounting screws (Again). Below is the final setup, my overall 'studio' setup, and a sample infinity white background.
So once again, thanks for reading.

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