Designing a Light Table for the Lab

I was asked to come up with a new light table to be used in an aquatic toxicity lab.  The design needed to be:

  • Portable.  The lab is short on space, so the new tables should be small enough to sit on a workspace, and could get moved out of the way when they weren’t needed.
  • Waterproof. The lab uses a lot of water.  All the lab work done on the tables uses water samples, so the table must be resistant to water.
  • Easy to Clean.  The old tables had worn wood surfaces that would soak up water.  They also had grooves and crevices that trapped dirt and water.
  • Anti-Fatigue.  Lab Technicians spend a lot of time looking at samples on the light tables.  The old tables were converted to LED, but some of them flickered, some of them were too bright, and the technicians could see the individual LEDs through some of the tables.
  • Cost-Effective and Reliable.  As with any business, the lab didn’t want to spend a fortune on their equipment, and wanted reliability for daily use.   

My Design

  • Waterproof dimmable “touch” switch with LED light.  The switch can be easily operated, even with gloves on.  The dimmable settings allow each Lab Technician to adjust the light output to their preference.
  • LED Strip lighting.  6000k 12-volt DC white led strips are safe, cool, and disperse light evenly within the reflective foil-lined box.  LED strips are readily available and are easily replaced if one fails.  a 12-volt wall adapter provides power to the table. 
  • Waterproof Box.  The box is constructed with composite frame and bottom, and is sealed to prevent water intrusion.  The completed box is painted gloss white for easy cleaning.
  • Cast Acrylic “lighting-grade” top surface.  The top of the table diffuses the light evenly across the table.  The top is sealed with foam double-sided tape, which eliminates the need for fasteners on the work surface, and is removable if the table needs service.  
Sealed dimmable "touch" switch. (ruler is shown for scale).
LED strips and reflective foil backing provide even lighting.
Compact, safe, and simple electronics for reliability and ease of repair.

Like the Design?

If you’re interested in purchasing some light tables, or if you just want more information so you can build your own light table, use the “Send Me a Message” form on the homepage, or email me at