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Group order for UV-LED enclosures

The history

I have built four UV-LED boxes over the last three years. The last three have been designed to use aluminum enclosures fabricated by a machine shop. The benefit of the aluminum is that the box itself serves as a heat sink for the LEDs and this is assisted by using fans to cool the lights during exposure. As a one-off endeavour, these boxes can be pricey since the setup cost is almost as much as the actual fabrication.

The plan

I have had several inquiries about doing a group order for a standard-sized box to reduce the cost since the setup cost is spread among a larger quantity of units. I have received and assembled a prototype box that has external dimensions of 20” x 30” x 6”, with cut-outs for a Borg relay timer, inlet module for the plug and either a 350W or 500W Meanwell transformer. The design will allow the illumination grid of LEDs to be 18” x 24”, or approximately Euro A2.

Prototype enclosure fully assembled

Since that time, I have assembled a so-called ‘4X’ box with the LED strips crammed as close as possible (3mm spacing). This amounts to 45 strips in this box, and it is super fast. It exposes palladium prints in 70 seconds and salt prints in 15-20 minutes! This unit requires a 500W transformer and is a little more difficult to build because of the dense spacing of the LED strips.

All of these boxes can be built without any soldering necessary, although I did do some soldered wire splices to save space in all my boxes. But soldering is not required and the three-way splices can be accomplished with 3-pole terminal blocks instead. The strips can be attached to the transformer via snap on LED connectors and 12-pole terminal blocks.

We have had a very positive reception for these boxes, and are offering them as a product at Mountain Intaglio. We will accumulate orders and ship them in batches three times a year. The ordering deadlines are March 31, July 15 and Sept 30. To get the cost of fabrication down, we need to order multiple units at one time, and this is why we try to combine as many orders into one fabrication run as possible.

You will have to supply the UV-LEDs in whatever wavelength you choose from any supplier you choose. Right now, the two main contenders are the Inkjet Mall Type 2 UV-LEDs and the Waveform Lighting RealUV LEDs. Three 5-meter reels of the Inkjet Mall LEDs on an 11mm spacing or four 5-meter reels of the Waveform Lighting LEDs on a 5mm spacing will produce almost identical UV illumination on a 18” x 24” grid.

You can find the boxes at Mountain Intaglio.

This is a sturdy unit that weighs in at under 20 pounds and will be of interest to anyone who wants a portable and sturdy UV exposure unit and has a day or two of time to assemble the unit.

A video thing: