ESD-safe photo backdrop and light tent?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Paul Goble, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. Paul Goble

    Paul Goble Guest

    I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital photos of
    electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you don't know what I'm
    talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an example of a light tent.)

    The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts. One
    little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Every
    part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD (electrostatic charge)
    dissipation tests.

    I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for the
    backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser. Inexpensive
    would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe materials I could use?

    Thanks,
    Paul
    Paul Goble, Nov 17, 2006
    #1
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  2. Paul Goble

    Hebee Jeebes Guest

    I would get whatever light tent you want and then get an anti-static mat to
    put in it to set your items on. I have seen some with a grounding cord as
    well. BTW I have the ezcube and it works pretty good. It is important
    however to have good powerful lighting. I use halogen shop lights (the two
    headed yellow ones on floor stands) as well as clip on lamps with metal
    reflectors. Because of the mixed lighting I have to use a gray card when
    shooting to keep the white balance from going wonky.

    R


    "Paul Goble" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns987E708361452pgcommunication@130.29.134.111...
    > I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital photos of
    > electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you don't know what I'm
    > talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an example of a light tent.)
    >
    > The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts. One
    > little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Every
    > part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD (electrostatic charge)
    > dissipation tests.
    >
    > I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for the
    > backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser.
    > Inexpensive
    > would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe materials I could use?
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Paul
    Hebee Jeebes, Nov 17, 2006
    #2
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  3. Hebee Jeebes wrote:
    > I would get whatever light tent you want and then get an anti-static
    > mat to put in it to set your items on. I have seen some with a
    > grounding cord as well. BTW I have the ezcube and it works pretty
    > good. It is important however to have good powerful lighting. I use
    > halogen shop lights (the two headed yellow ones on floor stands) as
    > well as clip on lamps with metal reflectors. Because of the mixed
    > lighting I have to use a gray card when shooting to keep the white
    > balance from going wonky.
    >
    > R
    >
    >
    > "Paul Goble" <> wrote in message
    > news:Xns987E708361452pgcommunication@130.29.134.111...
    >> I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital
    >> photos of electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you
    >> don't know what I'm talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an
    >> example of a light tent.)
    >>
    >> The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts.
    >> One little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in
    >> damage. Every part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD
    >> (electrostatic charge) dissipation tests.
    >>
    >> I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for
    >> the backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser.
    >> Inexpensive would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe
    >> materials I could use?


    Cotton sheeting with no synthetic fibers doesn't create static. The
    light tent in the link is apparently made of cotton muslin, so might be
    OK. Ask the light tent supplier.

    If you live in a desert area, consider using a humidifier in your studio.

    When in doubt, ask your customer what they use to keep static from
    accumulating where they handle their products.

    --
    Pat O'Connell
    [note munged EMail address]
    Take nothing but pictures, Leave nothing but footprints,
    Kill nothing but vandals...
    Pat O'Connell, Nov 17, 2006
    #3
  4. Paul Goble

    Cgiorgio Guest

    "Pat O'Connell" <> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
    news:...
    > Hebee Jeebes wrote:
    >> I would get whatever light tent you want and then get an anti-static
    >> mat to put in it to set your items on. I have seen some with a
    >> grounding cord as well. BTW I have the ezcube and it works pretty
    >> good. It is important however to have good powerful lighting. I use
    >> halogen shop lights (the two headed yellow ones on floor stands) as
    >> well as clip on lamps with metal reflectors. Because of the mixed
    >> lighting I have to use a gray card when shooting to keep the white
    >> balance from going wonky.
    >>
    >> There are lots of "Antistatic Spray" products on the market which leave a
    >> thin, permanent, invisible high resistance film on nearly any surface,
    >> usually distributors that sell tools for electronics will also carry this
    >> item. Or just google for "Antistatic Spray" + your area.
    Cgiorgio, Nov 17, 2006
    #4
  5. Paul Goble

    Paul Goble Guest

    R, thanks for the idea.

    Most anti-static mats I've seen have a non-slip texture which is quite
    visible in close-up shots. Have you seen any with a smooth, matte
    surface?

    At all times, I have to keep my ESD-sensitive objects at least 1 foot (30
    cm) from any potential source of static. So the tent does need to be
    made out of a "safe" material, or at least something that can be made
    safe with some sort of topical spray (e.g., fabric softener). If the
    fabric is 100% cotton, that might be a possibility. If it's something
    like polyester, I have my doubts.

    Since my subjects don't move, and I only need resolution equivalent to
    about 2 MP, and since most of my work is in black-and-white, I hope to
    use a tripod and long exposures to avoid the need for powerful lights.
    Is that just wishful thinking? With any luck, that'll provide a good
    reason to ask my boss for a better camera. :)

    Paul

    "Hebee Jeebes" <> wrote:

    > I would get whatever light tent you want and then get an anti-static
    > mat to put in it to set your items on. I have seen some with a
    > grounding cord as well. BTW I have the ezcube and it works pretty
    > good. It is important however to have good powerful lighting. I use
    > halogen shop lights (the two headed yellow ones on floor stands) as
    > well as clip on lamps with metal reflectors. Because of the mixed
    > lighting I have to use a gray card when shooting to keep the white
    > balance from going wonky.
    >
    > R
    >
    >
    > "Paul Goble" <> wrote in message
    > news:Xns987E708361452pgcommunication@130.29.134.111...
    >> I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital
    >> photos of electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you don't
    >> know what I'm talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an example
    >> of a light tent.)
    >>
    >> The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts. One
    >> little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
    >> Every part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD
    >> (electrostatic charge) dissipation tests.
    >>
    >> I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for the
    >> backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser.
    >> Inexpensive
    >> would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe materials I could
    >> use?
    >>
    >> Thanks,
    >> Paul

    >
    >
    >




    --
    Paul Goble
    Learning Products - Agilent Design Validation Division - Colorado Springs
    Paul Goble, Nov 17, 2006
    #5
  6. Paul Goble

    Hebee Jeebes Guest

    It feels more like a parachute type material but heavier. It isn't cotton or
    they are getting cotton from another planet.

    R


    "Pat O'Connell" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hebee Jeebes wrote:
    >> I would get whatever light tent you want and then get an anti-static
    >> mat to put in it to set your items on. I have seen some with a
    >> grounding cord as well. BTW I have the ezcube and it works pretty
    >> good. It is important however to have good powerful lighting. I use
    >> halogen shop lights (the two headed yellow ones on floor stands) as
    >> well as clip on lamps with metal reflectors. Because of the mixed
    >> lighting I have to use a gray card when shooting to keep the white
    >> balance from going wonky.
    >>
    >> R
    >>
    >>
    >> "Paul Goble" <> wrote in message
    >> news:Xns987E708361452pgcommunication@130.29.134.111...
    >>> I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital
    >>> photos of electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you
    >>> don't know what I'm talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an
    >>> example of a light tent.)
    >>>
    >>> The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts.
    >>> One little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in
    >>> damage. Every part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD
    >>> (electrostatic charge) dissipation tests.
    >>>
    >>> I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for
    >>> the backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser.
    >>> Inexpensive would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe
    >>> materials I could use?

    >
    > Cotton sheeting with no synthetic fibers doesn't create static. The light
    > tent in the link is apparently made of cotton muslin, so might be OK. Ask
    > the light tent supplier.
    >
    > If you live in a desert area, consider using a humidifier in your studio.
    >
    > When in doubt, ask your customer what they use to keep static from
    > accumulating where they handle their products.
    >
    > --
    > Pat O'Connell
    > [note munged EMail address]
    > Take nothing but pictures, Leave nothing but footprints,
    > Kill nothing but vandals...
    Hebee Jeebes, Nov 18, 2006
    #6
  7. Paul Goble

    Hebee Jeebes Guest

    No I haven't seen an untextured mat. As for the material based on what you
    said and what it feels like to me it might not be a good idea.

    Have you thought about going to a sheet plastic place or to the hardware
    store to get some semi-opaque plastic sheets, cut them and then glue them
    together to form your cube. We have a Tap Plastic outlet here in Santa Rosa
    that sells texture free clear and white plastic sheets. They will cut it
    size for you if you need it and they have glue for it. I don't see why you
    couldn't create 5 sided cube with the white plastic, the light should show
    through. If you can't find that kind of plastic then how about the plastic
    sheets they use in florescent lights. My local hardware store has several
    types to choose from, though they are textured but it would a high tech look
    and it comes in clear and semi-opaque white.

    The plastic I would think would be safe. It is also cheap so you should be
    able to build a modest sized cube for probably less than the premade light
    cube.

    R


    "Paul Goble" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns987E8E4D680Fpaulgobleagilentcom@130.29.134.111...
    > R, thanks for the idea.
    >
    > Most anti-static mats I've seen have a non-slip texture which is quite
    > visible in close-up shots. Have you seen any with a smooth, matte
    > surface?
    >
    > At all times, I have to keep my ESD-sensitive objects at least 1 foot (30
    > cm) from any potential source of static. So the tent does need to be
    > made out of a "safe" material, or at least something that can be made
    > safe with some sort of topical spray (e.g., fabric softener). If the
    > fabric is 100% cotton, that might be a possibility. If it's something
    > like polyester, I have my doubts.
    >
    > Since my subjects don't move, and I only need resolution equivalent to
    > about 2 MP, and since most of my work is in black-and-white, I hope to
    > use a tripod and long exposures to avoid the need for powerful lights.
    > Is that just wishful thinking? With any luck, that'll provide a good
    > reason to ask my boss for a better camera. :)
    >
    > Paul
    >
    > "Hebee Jeebes" <> wrote:
    >
    >> I would get whatever light tent you want and then get an anti-static
    >> mat to put in it to set your items on. I have seen some with a
    >> grounding cord as well. BTW I have the ezcube and it works pretty
    >> good. It is important however to have good powerful lighting. I use
    >> halogen shop lights (the two headed yellow ones on floor stands) as
    >> well as clip on lamps with metal reflectors. Because of the mixed
    >> lighting I have to use a gray card when shooting to keep the white
    >> balance from going wonky.
    >>
    >> R
    >>
    >>
    >> "Paul Goble" <> wrote in message
    >> news:Xns987E708361452pgcommunication@130.29.134.111...
    >>> I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital
    >>> photos of electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you don't
    >>> know what I'm talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an example
    >>> of a light tent.)
    >>>
    >>> The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts. One
    >>> little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
    >>> Every part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD
    >>> (electrostatic charge) dissipation tests.
    >>>
    >>> I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for the
    >>> backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser.
    >>> Inexpensive
    >>> would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe materials I could
    >>> use?
    >>>
    >>> Thanks,
    >>> Paul

    >>
    >>
    >>

    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > Paul Goble
    > Learning Products - Agilent Design Validation Division - Colorado Springs
    Hebee Jeebes, Nov 18, 2006
    #7
  8. Paul Goble

    tomm42 Guest

    Paul Goble wrote:
    > I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital photos of
    > electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you don't know what I'm
    > talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an example of a light tent.)
    >
    > The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts. One
    > little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Every
    > part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD (electrostatic charge)
    > dissipation tests.
    >
    > I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for the
    > backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser. Inexpensive
    > would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe materials I could use?
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Paul


    Try a Balcar Igloo, rigid plastic, large enough openings for all but
    large instruments. Flods flat for easy storing. Kind of expensive
    though.

    Tom
    tomm42, Nov 18, 2006
    #8
  9. In article <Xns987E708361452pgcommunication@130.29.134.111>,
    Paul Goble <> wrote:

    > I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital photos of
    > electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you don't know what I'm
    > talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an example of a light tent.)
    >
    > The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts. One
    > little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Every
    > part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD (electrostatic charge)
    > dissipation tests.
    >
    > I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for the
    > backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser. Inexpensive
    > would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe materials I could use?
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Paul


    Get a humidity regulator.

    If these are finished products, not discrete components, that can't
    handle minor ESD I sure wouldn't but them.
    Kevin McMurtrie, Nov 19, 2006
    #9
  10. Paul Goble

    Cgiorgio Guest

    My first suggestion was to treat whatever you want to use (commercial light
    tent for example) with an antistatic spray. I bet that they use air ionizers
    where they normally handle these components. That is the preferred method in
    clean rooms with high air flow which would otherwise promote fast static
    charge buildup.
    Can't you borrow one or two from them for additional safety?

    They probably use air ionizers

    "Kevin McMurtrie" <> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
    news:-sjc.supernews.net...
    > In article <Xns987E708361452pgcommunication@130.29.134.111>,
    > Paul Goble <> wrote:
    >
    >> I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital photos
    >> of
    >> electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you don't know what I'm
    >> talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an example of a light tent.)
    >>
    >> The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts. One
    >> little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Every
    >> part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD (electrostatic
    >> charge)
    >> dissipation tests.
    >>
    >> I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for the
    >> backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser.
    >> Inexpensive
    >> would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe materials I could use?
    >>
    >> Thanks,
    >> Paul

    >
    > Get a humidity regulator.
    >
    > If these are finished products, not discrete components, that can't
    > handle minor ESD I sure wouldn't but them.
    Cgiorgio, Nov 19, 2006
    #10
  11. Paul Goble

    J. Clarke Guest

    On Sun, 19 Nov 2006 10:11:05 +0100, Cgiorgio wrote:

    > My first suggestion was to treat whatever you want to use (commercial light
    > tent for example) with an antistatic spray. I bet that they use air ionizers
    > where they normally handle these components. That is the preferred method in
    > clean rooms with high air flow which would otherwise promote fast static
    > charge buildup.
    > Can't you borrow one or two from them for additional safety?
    >
    > They probably use air ionizers


    They also use static mats and wrist straps and ESD-safe fabrics.

    IMO the OP's best bet would be to give Burlington Barrier a call
    <http://www.burlingtonbarrier.com/Products/products.html> and ask for
    technical sales. For the quantity he needs for a one off light tent I
    wouldn't be surprised if they just sent him some samples.

    > "Kevin McMurtrie" <> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
    > news:-sjc.supernews.net...
    >> In article <Xns987E708361452pgcommunication@130.29.134.111>, Paul Goble
    >> <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> I'd like to buy or build a light tent to use when taking digital
    >>> photos of
    >>> electronic products for the manuals I write. (If you don't know what
    >>> I'm talking about, see http://www.ezcube.com for an example of a light
    >>> tent.)
    >>>
    >>> The problem is, many of my photos involve static-sensitive parts. One
    >>> little spark could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Every
    >>> part of my setup must be able to pass stringent ESD (electrostatic
    >>> charge)
    >>> dissipation tests.
    >>>
    >>> I need a blemish-free, opaque, nonreflective, white material for the
    >>> backdrop, and a translucent white fabric for the tent/diffuser.
    >>> Inexpensive
    >>> would be nice. Does anyone have ideas of ESD-safe materials I could
    >>> use?
    >>>
    >>> Thanks,
    >>> Paul

    >>
    >> Get a humidity regulator.
    >>
    >> If these are finished products, not discrete components, that can't
    >> handle minor ESD I sure wouldn't but them.




    --
    X:\Newsreaders\sig.txt
    J. Clarke, Nov 19, 2006
    #11
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