Project Log – UV LED Exposure Box – Building The Box

UV LED Exposure Box – Building The Box

Warning - this is a work in progress!
You won't be able to just follow these steps and get something that works.
Don't follow these instructions.

Unpainted UV Box - OpenThis article is the second in my series on building a box for making PCBs from UV-sensitised copper-clad boards. Eventually  I’ll cover everything from construction through to developing, etching and preparing for assembly.

  1. Intro and Design
  2. The Box
  3. The LED Panels
  4. The Controller
  5. Lists, References and Acknowledgements

All the files are available on GitHub.

The Plan

I pretty much copied the overall design directly from DJHammer’s article over on Instructibles. I modelled the whole thing in SolidWorks to make sure I got all the parts the correct size and that everything would fit inside correctly. It’s not overly critical – at the end of the day we just need to get a 100mm x 160mm PCB in there, and a little controller.

The Bottom

This is the bit that will hold the electronics, the control panel and the bottom LED panel.

Here’s the main “outside” bit of the base we’ll see:

UV Box - Base

And this is the control panel. The PCB gets mounted to this, and the buttons and screen poke through:

UV Box - Panel

These are the inserts to the base that give the control panel and the acrylic window something to sit on:

UV Box - Inserts

The Lid

The lid is a simple box:

UV Box - Lid


MDF SampleThe main body of the box is simply MDF. I bought one the 6mm sheets from B&Q, and got them to cut it down to size a bit. I only did that because I only had a compound saw to cut it down with myself so was limited in the size of panel I could cut. A note of warning here: don’t ask them to cut it to the size you want – they seem to be ±10mm, so don’t ask for any board to be less than 220mm to be sure that you don’t get too much wastage.

Strut HingeI found a couple of really nice strut hinges on eBay (the type you get on flight cases) that prop open nicely at 90°, which looks much nicer than the lid flopping all the way back.

AcrylicFor the windows, I used some acrylic sheets from eBay. They’re easy to get hold of in the correct size (200mm x 160mm), but it’s also easy to cut down. 4mm seems to give a nice rigid bed to put the artwork on. If you can get glass cut to the right size, it’s probably better to use that.

Button Head ScrewsThe hinges are held on with nuts and bots, as putting small self-tapping screws into MDF is like trying to nail jelly to the wall. I used some M4 bolts just long enough to go through the 6mm MDF and the thickness of the hinge. Note that a couple of them need to be a bit longer due to the double thickness at the back of the base.


Unpainted UV Box - BackUnpainted UV Box - ClosedUnpainted UV Box - Open2

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