Wednesday, May 16, 2012

diy copy stand resources

I've had quite a few people email me over the past few months (ever since my big scrap room overhaul post went up) about the copy stand I use to photograph my layouts.


You can read the whole story of how I acquired my Bogen TC-1 + light arms in this post, but it's not going to help most people to know that I lucked out and Darren found mine at an engineering surplus auction and only paid $12 for it. In reality these things are pretty expensive, and I've often wondered what sorts of DIY options were available.

In that vein, I did a little research and came up with four DIY options that look fairly inexpensive and not terribly complicated. I'll admit up front that I haven't tried any of them, but hopefully they'll be helpful to some of you looking to build one for yourself.


  • This version at Curbly looks to be the easiest to build.
  • This stand at is one of many versions that are shown. Some fairly cheap and easy routes here, too.
  • Coin collectors have a need for copy stands, too, leading to this post on Coin Community.
  • You'll find lots of copy stand tutorials with very detailed instructions at Instructables. Be sure to browse their site for several other options.

While I'm no expert on building the stands themselves, one area that I can make a recommendation in is the lighting. I use four CFL bulbs that are pretty much dead-on equivalent to natural light at a temperature of 5500K. I see a lot of variation in temperature when trying to shop for bulbs using terms like "sunlight" and "daylight" equivalent (so don't trust those words!), but most CFL bulbs have the actual light temperature marked somewhere on the package. If you find that magic 5500 number you should be good to go.

If you build a copy stand using any of these methods (or if you've designed your own DIY), please drop by and share it here- I'd love to see what you guys come up with!