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Luthier light --- DIY version

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Ernie Martel convinced me to buy a Luthier light, which I will do, however, meantime, I need to fit a soundpost. The auto repair light I was using has a stiff wire, so that it can EASILY damage the f-hole edge.

 

I looked at this thing and decided to try an LED from Radio Shack. Lo and behold, it needs 3.2 volts, which is exactly two AA batteries in series.  I got some small diameter insulated wire.  Put the batteries end to end, taped together. Cut away the insulation on the ends of the wire. Solder the wire to the LED.  Make or find a plastic tube for the batteries. Put a wad of paper towel in the bottom of this tube to act as a cushion and spring.  Now just tape the wires to the + and - terminals of the battery pack. You will see that just by pressing the batteries together contact will be made and the light will go on.

 

I used a rubber band to hold the thing "ON". 

 

Now, this is NOT a competitor with the Luthier light sold by our MNET member fiddledoug here. My design works for me because I only use it occasionally. A working luthier needs something more robust and less finicky. But the LED only cost 5 USD at Radio Shack. I am sure it is dirt cheap somewhere else.

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If you want to dispense witth the batteries, then you can get LED lights that are powered via the USB port on your computer at the Dollar store.

 

Here is one but it looks like it is over 200+% more expensive!

 

Flexible USB LED light 998USB-13LED for notebook / laptop, 13 bright white color LED bulb

 

998USB-13LED-3.jpg

 

Not sure if it will fit inside a violin, but maybe a cello?

 

There are plenty of single LED deals out there.

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Ernie Martel convinced me to buy a Luthier light, which I will do, however, meantime, I need to fit a soundpost. The auto repair light I was using has a stiff wire, so that it can EASILY damage the f-hole edge.

 

I looked at this thing and decided to try an LED from Radio Shack. Lo and behold, it needs 3.2 volts, which is exactly two AA batteries in series.  I got some small diameter insulated wire.  Put the batteries end to end, taped together. Cut away the insulation on the ends of the wire. Solder the wire to the LED.  Make or find a plastic tube for the batteries. Put a wad of paper towel in the bottom of this tube to act as a cushion and spring.  Now just tape the wires to the + and - terminals of the battery pack. You will see that just by pressing the batteries together contact will be made and the light will go on.

 

I used a rubber band to hold the thing "ON". 

 

Now, this is NOT a competitor with the Luthier light sold by our MNET member fiddledoug here. My design works for me because I only use it occasionally. A working luthier needs something more robust and less finicky. But the LED only cost 5 USD at Radio Shack. I am sure it is dirt cheap somewhere else.

Why don't you just buy an led strip, john?

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But the LED only cost 5 USD at Radio Shack. I am sure it is dirt cheap somewhere else.

For example, here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-x-5mm-2-Pins-White-LED-Light-Lamp-Bright-15000-Mcd-/130816021517?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e753e140d. If you like, you can connect one of these with this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/EE4069-2-AA-2A-Battery-Holder-Box-Case-On-Off-Switch-/310496351139?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item484b0653a3 , making neat set with switch, for less than 2 bucks.  If you put there some shrinking tube, you will get something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/261357229668?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT And, of course, with LED strips you can make even better thing, but I made what I described and I am happy.

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Ernie Martel convinced me to buy a Luthier light, which I will do, however, meantime, I need to fit a soundpost. The auto repair light I was using has a stiff wire, so that it can EASILY damage the f-hole edge.

 

I looked at this thing and decided to try an LED from Radio Shack. Lo and behold, it needs 3.2 volts, which is exactly two AA batteries in series.  I got some small diameter insulated wire.  Put the batteries end to end, taped together. Cut away the insulation on the ends of the wire. Solder the wire to the LED.  Make or find a plastic tube for the batteries. Put a wad of paper towel in the bottom of this tube to act as a cushion and spring.  Now just tape the wires to the + and - terminals of the battery pack. You will see that just by pressing the batteries together contact will be made and the light will go on.

 

I used a rubber band to hold the thing "ON". 

 

Now, this is NOT a competitor with the Luthier light sold by our MNET member fiddledoug here. My design works for me because I only use it occasionally. A working luthier needs something more robust and less finicky. But the LED only cost 5 USD at Radio Shack. I am sure it is dirt cheap somewhere else.

Also,  hobby shops have lots of sub-miniature lamps at 12 volts that are used in model railroads.  I took 2 or three of ones about half inch long and only about 4mm diameter.  The hang on the end of the battery pack leads and work very easily.

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I use a 3' LED strip I got in Lidl, sold for lighting shelves in cabinets. I cut off the last 2'8'' of it, leaving about four lights. It plugs in to a power socket, and has a long lead with a switch. 

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I've had a multitude of interior lighting over many years, and haven't yet encountered anything as good as the "Luthier Light".

Around 40 bucks. Yup, I could do it cheaper by spending something around 150 to 300 bucks in lost work time, which a professional needs to weigh. Hello!

 

Yes Doug (who sells them), you can quote me by name on your website if you wish. I'm happy to endorse good products. Haven't yet endorsed anything for money.

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I've had a multitude of interior lighting over many years, and haven't yet encountered anything as good as the "Luthier Light".

Around 40 bucks. Yup, I could do it cheaper by spending something around 150 to 300 bucks in lost work time, which a professional needs to weigh. Hello!

 

Yes Doug (who sells them), you can quote me by name on your website if you wish. I'm happy to endorse good products. Haven't yet endorsed anything for money.

I am always willing to buy good tool, but my hourly fee is not as high as yours, so I have to think about alternative/DIY solutions. Intentionally, I haven't described how I made (before I've seen Luthier Light on MN) inspection light very similar to Luthier Light, respecting the time spent in developing, producing and marketing this excellent tool. Beside that, 40 bucks is not the price for me. I have to pay 45 bucks more for the shipping, so, for the sum of around 85 bucks (taking into account that I can make such light in 30 minutes and that the max sum I can get for my consultation as a local environmental expert from, for example, USAID is US$240 per day - so, my work costs US$15, and costs of material is around 5 bucks), i'ts clear that I should make it by myself if I know how to do that. US$85 is a huge sum in Bosnia, where I am. 

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I am always willing to buy good tool, but my hourly fee is not as high as yours, so I have to think about alternative/DIY solutions. Intentionally, I haven't described how I made (before I've seen Luthier Light on MN) inspection light very similar to Luthier Light, respecting the time spent in developing, producing and marketing this excellent tool. Beside that, 40 bucks is not the price for me. I have to pay 45 bucks more for the shipping, so, for the sum of around 85 bucks (taking into account that I can make such light in 30 minutes and that the max sum I can get for my consultation as a local environmental expert from, for example, USAID is US$240 per day - so, my work costs US$15, and costs of material is around 5 bucks), i'ts clear that I should make it by myself if I know how to do that. US$85 is a huge sum in Bosnia, where I am. 

Are you including the time it takes to order, or run errands for parts? And some time for experiments and scewups, before you come up with as good a product?

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Perhaps I should chime in here. First of all, I'd like to say that shipping costs are pretty much beyond my control. I tried using USPS international service for small flat rate boxes at a shipping cost of $27(this is the USPS rate- does not include my extra time to fill out customs forms or drive to the post office). The problem with that was that about 30% of them went missing in shipment. This meant that I had to ship a second order at my expense. Some of the missing ones came back to me (with all kinds of international stamps) after 5-6 months as "could not be delivered" or "not picked up". I had to go to the more expensive, insured shipping to make sure my customers got what they ordered in a timely manner. As far as the lights go, I'm not making a ton of money on them. Sure, you can make something similar, but will it be as good as what I'm offering? Maybe it will, maybe not.

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Are you including the time it takes to order, or run errands for parts? And some time for experiments and scewups, before you come up with as good a product?

No, I have not. Anything from your list. But, as I said before, I am a hobbyist, not a professional, so my time was paid by my pleasure and an important part of this pleasure is process of thinking about the various ways of making various tools (I am sure that you understand that very well). And, don't miss the fact that I often simply have not enough money for buying something I'd like to buy, rather to make it by myself. I highly respect intellectual part of the story, so I haven't described what I haven't described.

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Perhaps I should chime in here. First of all, I'd like to say that shipping costs are pretty much beyond my control. I tried using USPS international service for small flat rate boxes at a shipping cost of $27(this is the USPS rate- does not include my extra time to fill out customs forms or drive to the post office). The problem with that was that about 30% of them went missing in shipment. This meant that I had to ship a second order at my expense. Some of the missing ones came back to me (with all kinds of international stamps) after 5-6 months as "could not be delivered" or "not picked up". I had to go to the more expensive, insured shipping to make sure my customers got what they ordered in a timely manner. As far as the lights go, I'm not making a ton of money on them. Sure, you can make something similar, but will it be as good as what I'm offering? Maybe it will, maybe not.

Oh, I've not seen you post before I answered on David Burgess's post, I apologize for that. First of all, I'd like to say that your product is one of "must have" things that every luthier have to have, IMHO. Interestingly, I made similar thing for myself, but, you have to take into account that I made it when I worked on the experiment that included recording the changes of volume of biomass samples fast heated in the small, closed boxes. I strongly support your work and I understand all the issues connected with the international shipping. USPS rates are very well known to me, because the most of the things I use comes from USA, in flat rate boxes or envelopes. I don't intend to sell what I make for myself and I am sure that the quality of my DIY light is not even close to the quality of yours, but, this "poor man solution" works for me and just for me. 

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I can certainly understand where you're at with the economics of this. Perhaps, if you come to the US, or have a friend coming, you might consider getting one. I try to ship within 24 hrs. of an order (not if I happen to be away from home), and the $6.50 shipping will get it anywhere in the US in 3 days or less.

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I can certainly understand where you're at with the economics of this. Perhaps, if you come to the US, or have a friend coming, you might consider getting one. I try to ship within 24 hrs. of an order (not if I happen to be away from home), and the $6.50 shipping will get it anywhere in the US in 3 days or less.

Actually, I am pretty certain that I will buy it, because my process of purchasing equipment goes like this: first step is making DIY version (if possible, of course) and seeing how often I use this tool. If this particular tool is in use very often, I am going to buy "the real thing". That happened recently with my spool clamps (I am going to order Herdim's or similar clamps set), endpin clamp (I am going to order one from IV), neck clamp (I am still looking for the right one), scrapers are still under supervision, because I am not sure if I can buy something better that these I've made by myself etc. Regarding your products, I am pretty certain that something better does not exists at the market and that this "something better" is not even needed. The price is appropriate and affordable, but shipping costs, customs and its strange rules (around the world) became a strong limiting factor for our games. I wish you all the best, Franc

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Dough's lights are the best on the market. It's a tool every violin maker should have, and the price is very reasonable.

Maybe Dough should find a whole seller in Europe to reduce shipping costs to the folks over there.

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Maybe Dough should find a whole seller in Europe to reduce shipping costs to the folks over there.

If one want to deal with premium sellers/dealers in Europe, one can see that the shipping IS NOT cheaper than the shipping USA-Europe, if one don't live in one of EU countries. Dick GMBH ask me 25.50 € minimum for 1 kg parcel, Tonewood.sk or Touchstone Tonewoods something like that also, as well as Thomann. Maybe just Gear4Music has a more affordable options. I mostly buy from International Violins and they use USPS small packets (US$ 26 up to 4 pounds). This world is small, but not so small I'd like it to be.

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"Maybe Dough should find a whole seller in Europe to reduce shipping costs to the folks over there."

 

I've had offers from distributors to sell the product. The problem with that is that they usually want about a 50-60% wholesale discount for the product. When I figure out my material cost, and labor, I'd be working for about minimum wage at 60% discount. If I figure out what I could save by bulk invoicing and shipping, it doesn't give the distributors enough profit margin. Thier alternative would be to raise the retail price. Nobody gains anything.

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Dough's lights are the best on the market. It's a tool every violin maker should have, and the price is very reasonable.

 

That's a pretty powerful endorsement.

Schabbon will be one of the teachers in the Oberlin Restoration Workshop this summer. The other guest teacher will be Joe Grubaugh.

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