To Buy or Build a Lightboard

Customers sometimes ask us whether they would be better off buying a complete lightboard or building their own.

For customers making educational videos or commercial content, a complete solution is often the best choice. For customers on a tight budget, our DIY Component kits can offer an attractive alternative. While we’ve seen self-built systems those are often best limited to a quick proof of concept. Read on for more about the factors that typically help customers decide.

Quality

Our complete integrated lightboards have been meticulously designed and manufactured for outstanding quality including highly polished glass and are built to withstand heavy professional use from top to bottom. Customers often comment on the impressive build quality of our products.

Our DIY component kits allow construction of a large, robust lightboard with easy-to-assemble components and included plans. Using locally sourced commercial grade glass makes the final product more economical. (Read more about glass). 

A number of people have constructed lightboards from scratch, which can serve as a proof of concept. We’ve had customers build their own lightboard as a stepping stone and then later replace that with one of our systems. We have seen some reasonably well-constructed custom builds.

For safety, we’d recommend anyone considering a self-constructed lightboard consult with a qualified design professional. Caution should be emphasized when working with a large panel of glass; a 4 x 8ft ⅜” thick sheet of glass weighs about 230 lbs.

Features

Accessibility and adjustability for people presenting while sitting, including people in wheelchairs and standing, with a wide range of stature, is often a point of interest from our customers. Height adjustable systems have been popular for these reasons.

Any fixed height lightboard encounters trade-offs regarding lightboard height versus the presenter height range. For users in shared spaces, there is another trade-off between accommodating tall presenters and staying under the height of existing doors. Our fixed height systems have been designed to fit through most commercial doors and yet be reasonable for most taller presenters, occasionally lightboards are set on risers to accommodate tall presenters at the desired camera position.

Portability-our lightboard products are designed to allow for portability whether that be across the room, across the building, or across the campus.

Time

Schedule

How many days do you have until you want a complete lightboard?

  • Our DIY kits typically deliver in a week or less. Locally sourced glass often takes 1-2 weeks. Be mindful of quality variability and potential delays if needing a replacement when sourcing your own.
  • Many of our complete systems can deliver and be set up in about a week, our largest 2 sizes are typically delivered about 2 weeks after ordering.
  • If you have a tight schedule there is rarely time for researching and constructing a new, untested design and then troubleshooting unforeseen issues, in particular if there are high quality expectations.

Labor

How many hours can someone dedicate to coordinating setup of a lightboard?

  • All of our lightboard products are designed to take the guesswork out of setup.
  • With our complete lightboard systems, you have a fully integrated lightboard from a single supplier.
  • Our lightboard products are designed and packaged with quick assembly in mind. Typical assembly times:
    • DIY kit based models: 2 hours
    • 34-63” Table top models: 30 minutes
    • 63” height adjustable system: 2 hours
    • 82/97” height adjustable systems ship pre-assembled in two sections to allow final assembly in under 10 minutes. Uncrating: 30 minutes.

Cost

For customers looking to build a lightboard on a budget, our DIY Component kits have been a popular option. Commercial glass is then sourced locally. (Read more about glass). 

While we’ve seen some reasonably well constructed custom builds, if accounting for all time included, this is typically a relatively expensive option without the associated quality that either our complete lightboard options or DIY component kits would provide.