Banishing The Mud

A solution to my lighting problem has been the main train hobby task that’s been occupying me since I last posted. After the electrician visited me the day after my last post I spent some time trying to decide the most cost effective way of providing ten flat “ceiling” spots to allow the installation of ten LED down-lights. These are cheap, don’t produce much heat and are highly efficient compared to the old style halogen lights. I was aiming to throw an even spread of light along the entire length of the part of the layout that will sit in the crook of the room which is the result of the vertical wall only traveling up about 1m before it starts to head off at 45 degrees to the peak of the ceiling. There is no flat ceiling to install down-lights into as standard (read for this cheap) LED fittings only gimble by about 15 degrees. Not enough to counter the 45 degree angle of the ceiling. There are specialist fittings that have goose necks but these are about six times the price of standard down-lights at around $75 each. $750 for just the fittings before I pay for the installation was a down-light too far! 🙂 I didn’t want the lights shining into operators eyes and I also wanted them be high enough that no one was going to bash their head on the fascia I knew I would install to mask the light from operational eyes.

Once I’d determined the angle of the ceiling was 45 degrees I came up with a design for a pelmet “box” that would allow the installation of the lights into the ceiling. I was originally going to run the pelmet right down the length of both sides of the room but decided against this mainly due to the fact that it seemed like such a waste of money and materials and it would have been very heavy. I was worried that installing such a long wooden structure into unsupported plaster board might bring the whole ceiling down around my ears. So instead I’m making ten 300mm long ply and MDF boxes that will house one light each.

This is one of the light boxes I’ve made to install the lights into. This is prior to the installation of the piece of MDF into which the light fixture will be fitted and also before I’ve filled holes, sanded and painted the box the same blue as the walls. This first install is just a test so the electrician can come and check everything will fit.

I started with a long strip of 12mm ply wood down which I routed two 45 degree angles along both long edges. I then cut this up into 300mm long chunks. I also then cut up ten pieces of 6mm MDF for the front “fascia” and 20 end triangles for the ends. I pre-drilled fixing holes for the toggle bolts I used to hold the box in place on the ceiling and also drilled out a large 25mm hole in the center of the ply back plate to allow the wiring to enter the box. When the boxes are complete there will be a small sheet of MDF covering the bottom and this will have the light inserted into it through a hole I’ll pre-cut before they are screwed into position. The box is just over 300mm wide, the front fascia is 140mm deep and the lip at the bottom drops about 35mm below where the light will eventually be masking it from the eyes of someone standing in the aisle off the layout room.

This shot gives the light box a bit of context regarding size. There will be four along this side of the room and six on the other with them all being about 1m to 1.2m apart. When sanded and painted I envisage they will be virtually invisible.

The electrician is coming back in two days to check my work and then we’ll book a date for the installation of the lights. In the short term the lights will be switched on and off from the wall socket but after I install the bench-work I’ll have him come back and install a switch mounted on the fascia of the layout to save me crawling under the layout to switch the lights on.

1 thought on “Banishing The Mud

  1. Light boxes look good. I just installed 10 LED PAR 30 recessed lights in my Boston son’s basement along with other rewring of prior DIY circuitry left by previous owners. After lighting, installed 70 1x6x8 beaded ceiling planks to get things fit for habitation. Shame is it is a playroom for 3 year old grand daughter and not a RR room!

    Home improvement is fun I am told.🤣

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