My DIY Straw Grid for Speedlights

jhelmsjhelms Major grinsRegistered Users Posts: 662 Major grins
edited June 13, 2009 in Accessories
Using suggestions from various flickr users, strobist.com and instructables - I put together a cheap / easy DIY grid for my Nikon SB flashes.

Here's exactly what I did...

1) Ate a small box of Apple Jacks (those individual serving size boxes)

2) Opened up the box (tearing where the original seam was), painted it flat black - several very light coats

3) Laid the box flat, spread out some Elmer's glue where the first row of straws went. I just laid the straws down one by one on the glue, waited 30 minutes or an hour, and did another row (putting the glue down first).

I only did a row or two each day though - just to give the glue extra time to set up, not sure how much Elmers needs though, probably not that long?

4) After all the straws were glued together, I put some gorilla glue on the right hand side of the straws and the box, and glued just that one side.

5) A day later, after that side of gorilla glue had set, I did the top side the same way, then the next day the left side and finished the seam.

6) Lastly, I took some 2" wide gaffer's tape, and put 1" of it on the box, and that left 1" of it hanging off, which I stuck some velcro to. The velcro is 1" wide so that was perfect.


Here's a few more pics of the straw grid construction...



a) A few projects going on in this picture, but on the left you can see the test fitting of the cereal box, and you can see the straws all over the place
547596111_qzaME-M.jpg


b) painting the straws - did several light coats of flat black and shook up the box in between coats
549015339_ABaTc-M.jpg


c, d, & e) laying down the straws
552402891_nUmQE-M.jpg


552402401_pPUsB-M.jpg

552403155_7pN6P-M.jpg



f) I didn't cut them all the right length to begin with, so after I glued them down I dremeled them to 2" in length. That's a step that I'll skip next time by cutting them all the same at the start.
552407739_4FTxz-M.jpg


g) finished product
557250416_YuyJH-M.jpg




Few more angles of the finished product:


557250458_cxd4Q-S.jpg557250416_YuyJH-S.jpg
557249545_fR8dA-S.jpg557248283_a9rPf-S.jpg




Results of the grid in action:

Firing, side view:
557657366_CpYzW-M.jpg


Firing, looking head on:
557656670_wUEHc-M.jpg


Firing at the wall:
557657213_B7jMP-M.jpg
John in Georgia
Nikon | Private Photojournalist

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,542 moderator
    edited June 10, 2009
    Nice John. thumb.gif

    I hope this is encouraging to others to try the DIY approach.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ToshidoToshido Major grins Registered Users Posts: 759 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2009
    sounds like a lot of work...

    Why not just a snoot? Wouldn't that be similar results?
  • amg2833amg2833 Photo Engineer Registered Users Posts: 155 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2009
    I'd love to see some examples of it in practice.
    ANTHONY :thumb
    [AMG]photos

    [Yashica Lynx 14E | Canon 30D | Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 | 540ez | Cactus V4s]


  • divamumdivamum Major grins Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2009
    Excellent! Thanks for sharing - I've wanted to try one of these for a well.

    The process can probably be sped up by using a low-temp hot glue gun instead of Elmers. I may try this version at some point - having had the chance to use studio gear all spring, I really miss the grid attachment now I'm back to only my speedlights.... :)
  • BlurmoreBlurmore Goofy Grin Registered Users Posts: 992 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2009
    divamum wrote:
    Excellent! Thanks for sharing - I've wanted to try one of these for a well.

    The process can probably be sped up by using a low-temp hot glue gun instead of Elmers. I may try this version at some point - having had the chance to use studio gear all spring, I really miss the grid attachment now I'm back to only my speedlights.... :)

    Diva,

    I made one too, but out of black coroplast, you can get it at a sign shop, I think it is easier, requires less paint, and less glue than the straw one. In fact, I still have a big piece of coroplast left after maing a grid for my 430 ex AND my sunpak 622.

    560569264_tbXSB-L.jpg

    528103043_n75hV-L.jpg
    here it is in use with a bare 580ex on the right and a gridded 430ex on the left.

    492636370_QzBQt-L.jpg
    This is a single 430ex with black coroplast grid.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2009
    jhelms wrote:
    Using suggestions from various flickr users, strobist.com and instructables - I put together a cheap / easy DIY grid for my Nikon SB flashes.

    Here's exactly what I did...
    Nice DIY snoot! thumb.gifclap.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • ToshidoToshido Major grins Registered Users Posts: 759 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2009
    Still... Why not a simple snoot? What is the purpose of the straws?
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    Toshido wrote:
    Still... Why not a simple snoot? What is the purpose of the straws?
    Much better focusing quality. Pure optics. BTW, *real* snoots do have narrow grids inside... deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • ToshidoToshido Major grins Registered Users Posts: 759 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    Thank you Nikolai.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    jhelms wrote:
    Using suggestions from various flickr users, strobist.com and instructables - I put together a cheap / easy DIY grid for my Nikon SB flashes.
    My mind only wonders why you didn't start with the black plastic straws to begin with to save yourself the hassle of painting them...headscratch.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • Jeremy WinterbergJeremy Winterberg Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,233 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    My mind only wonders why you didn't start with the black plastic straws to begin with to save yourself the hassle of painting them...headscratch.gif
    Because you have to be foreign to think of such genius ideas Nik. We Americans aint da best thunkers 11doh.gif
    Jer
  • divamumdivamum Major grins Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    My mind only wonders why you didn't start with the black plastic straws to begin with to save yourself the hassle of painting them...headscratch.gif

    rolleyes1.gif

    My guess is... because they're actually quite difficult to find! Supermarket straws are cheap, readily availalble and... white :D
  • jhelmsjhelms Major grins Registered Users Posts: 662 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    Toshido wrote:
    Still... Why not a simple snoot? What is the purpose of the straws?


    I made a DIY snoot also (shows up in some of the photos above), but also as Nikolai pointed out, the grid has a much more pleasing output.

    Nikolai wrote:
    My mind only wonders why you didn't start with the black plastic straws to begin with to save yourself the hassle of painting them...headscratch.gif


    Divamum guessed right, I had a big box of the regular straws already, and also had the black spray paint (and I kind of like the way it smells). thumb.gif
    John in Georgia
    Nikon | Private Photojournalist
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    divamum wrote:
    rolleyes1.gif

    My guess is... because they're actually quite difficult to find! Supermarket straws are cheap, readily availalble and... white :D

    Well, unless googling is not an option http://www.prs-online.com/prodinfo.asp?number=509BWP-BX then yeah...ne_nau.gif
    I guess it depends on location... Here they are quite easy to find.. Party stores, for one, then large volume (e.g. Smart & Final) and such.
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    jhelms wrote:
    Divamum guessed right, I had a big box of the regular straws already, and also had the black spray paint (and I kind of like the way it smells). thumb.gif
    You can't beat the smell mwink.gifrolleyes1.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • jhelmsjhelms Major grins Registered Users Posts: 662 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2009
    I did end up finding some locally (party stores like you mentioned), PaneraBread, etc. after I made this grid, but my goal was as close to free or whatever I already had at the house.

    I also have some cloroplast (had plastic cardboard type material) yard signs that I've already cut and painted; so that I can make a couple of more grids for my other speedlights... thumb.gif
    John in Georgia
    Nikon | Private Photojournalist
  • divamumdivamum Major grins Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    I have just been all over this morning trying to find EITHER black coroplast or black straws. Nada. The sign store does sell coroplast, but only in bulk. Staples looked at me like I had four heads when I asked. Michaels doesn't have it (so they say, although I'm going to go try in person - the staff at our Michaels aren't always terribly on the ball).

    Party City had tableware in all colours, but straws come in multiple colours of white, white, and white.

    So, my question: is the black for aesthetic reasons, or for light control?

    In the meantime, I'm either going to have to go the spraypaint route, start stealing real-estate signs (JOKE! Not serious!) or wait until after the next election when there will be tons of lawn signs around. Sigh.

    Addendum: is there a preferred diameter? I know the grids I was using with the studio setup came in three different sizes of honeycombs. Do the smaller diameters create a smaller focused beam or larger? (Really dumb question, but if I don't ask, I'll never know!)
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    divamum wrote:
    I have just been all over this morning trying to find EITHER black coroplast or black straws. Nada. The sign store does sell coroplast, but only in bulk. Staples looked at me like I had four heads when I asked. Michaels doesn't have it (so they say, although I'm going to go try in person - the staff at our Michaels aren't always terribly on the ball).

    Party City had tableware in all colours, but straws come in multiple colours of white, white, and white.

    So, my question: is the black for aesthetic reasons, or for light control?

    In the meantime, I'm either going to have to go the spraypaint route, start stealing real-estate signs (JOKE! Not serious!) or wait until after the next election when there will be tons of lawn signs around. Sigh.

    Addendum: is there a preferred diameter? I know the grids I was using with the studio setup came in three different sizes of honeycombs. Do the smaller diameters create a smaller focused beam or larger? (Really dumb question, but if I don't ask, I'll never know!)
    Black is for light control. Snoots are supposed to be the ultimate spill preventers.
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,542 moderator
    edited June 13, 2009
    Grids are often used in front of a large diffuser to help provide some directionality, especially in terms of spill and spread, versus the diffuser alone. The black color, often a dull or mat black at that, helps to prevent internal reflections and only allow collimated light to pass. Grids also tend to be fairly short allowing their use at a close proximity to the subject. Grid spacing and size as well as depth control the actual collimation provided.

    Snoots are basically just a long black tube wich also provides collimated light but generally with a smaller opening which provides a more localized light.

    Fresnel lights are sometimes used and allow a more focused (and variable focus) effect.

    Instead of black straws or coroplast you can use corrugated cardboard, also painted black, to provide a similar grid design.

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/10/free-and-so-easy-diy-grid-spots-for.html
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • Shane422Shane422 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 460 Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    You might look at these too. They are only $6 per speedlight.
  • jhelmsjhelms Major grins Registered Users Posts: 662 Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    Shane422 wrote:
    You might look at these too. They are only $6 per speedlight.

    Cool find!

    I'll actually probably get one or two of those... thanks! thumb.gif
    John in Georgia
    Nikon | Private Photojournalist
  • divamumdivamum Major grins Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 13, 2009
    Serendipty
    I was out today with my daughter, searching for black straws.

    "Mom, why don't you just use the ones we have?"

    HUHHHHH?? eek7.gif

    Turns out there was a box of straws in teh basement from Ikea of all places, the mixed colours including black!! Net cost to me: $0.

    Ok, off to go play with the hot glue gun!
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