Make your own UV-LED exposure unit

Finished exposure unit

I have had a lot of interest expressed by workshop participants in the UV-LED exposure units I have built over the last two years. These exposure boxes are designs that I have had fabricated in heavy-duty 3/32” 5052 aluminum.

The cost of having these aluminum enclosures fabricated goes down as more units are added to an order. The single box cost typically has about 50% of the total cost in set-up charges. If more boxes are ordered at one time, set-up charges can be spread out over more units. Thus, it is more economical to place an order for 5 boxes than for a single box.

We now offer a product that is a box and timer module in combination with written and video instructions on how to assemble them.

  • This approach will provide a few advantages:
  • Will allow people to use other brands of UV-LED strips if desired
  • The power supply can be sized based on the UV-LED strip type and spacing
  • Will still result in a clean lightweight aluminum-shelled exposure unit with very stable and predictable UV light output
  • Other components can be sourced locally if desired, or ordered from the parts list I have assembled on Amazon

As I mentioned above, I will provide with the boxes a complete set of instructions on how to wire them together. It is not complicated, and can be easily accomplished by anyone reasonably adept with using a few hand tools, namely a wire-stripper, screwdriver and pliers. While soldering is not required, I do recommend soldering several of the pigtail connections that are needed just to ensure the durability of the connection.

UV-Lightbox 2.0

To get the cost benefits of bulk ordering, there must be a deadline for ordering the aluminum enclosures. In order to give everyone plenty of time to make a decision, we have arbitrarily picked three dates during the year as deadlines. The boxes will require about two weeks to fabricate and ship to my location. I will do the basic assembly of the box, which involves riveting on the rear panel and riveting on the hinge that attaches the door. What you will receive is a empty box with a Borg relay timer, ready for you to attach the remaining components.

The new box with 11mm strip spacing using the Inkjet Mall Type 2 strips will expose a pt/pd print in about 4 minutes. If you choose to upsize the transformer and go with a denser strip spacing the exposure times will of course go down. I am attaching pictures of the finished prototype so you can get a sense if this is something you might want to take on. The total size is 20”x30”. The illumination area is 18” x 24”. The weight is 14.5 pounds.

These will be durable long-lasting exposure units that are professional-looking and durable. You also will have the benefit of your total understanding of their operation - after all, you will be building it! They are not cheap, but will be far cheaper than buying a ready-to-go unit of similar quality. This will come at the expense of a day or two of your time in putting it together. Please let me know if you are interested, and if we have enough people, we will get the process going.

 Here are a few photos of the prototype box I built with 24 strips of the Inkjet Mall UV-LEDs spaced at 11mm. It will expose a palladium print in 3-4 minutes.


Since then, I have made a 4X speed box with 45 strips crammed as close together as I could get them. It required a 500W transformer, but the result is a unit that exposes a palladium print in 70 seconds!

4x unit


Customer's box-builds


Our first group of box buyers are sending us photos of their creations. Here are a few of their builds:

a 2X speed box:


A box with a sliding drawer: