The Cell Phone as a Bench Tool

Top of article

The Value of Raking Light

A cell phone flashlight used to cast raking light on a foil stamping set-up to reveal surface details

The flashlight on a cell phone is a very handy aid when I need raking light to see deboss edges. This often comes up when I'm doing the layout for a blind stamp of a title. If I'm doing foil, I can just strike foil on my layout sheet but I don't want to heat things up when it's simply a blind stamp.

A cell phone flashlight used to cast raking light on a book cover to reveal surface details

The weave of this cloth interacting with the resolution of the digital image has produced and interesting moire pattern in this shot

Also, when I'm trying to clearly see the edge of a deboss that will accept a tipped in image or something similar, the flashlight makes things much clearer.

This is much simpler with my ancient phone encased in its blocky cover. I can simply stand it on edge. But you should be able to prop your sleek, modern device up or build a little stand out of a scrap of binder's board.

Diagram showing how to make a simple support for a cell phone with a piece of cardboard

Any scrap of binder's board or corrugated board can be quickly fashioned into a support to allow you to get raking light from your cell phone's flashlight.

Top of article

A Temporary Light Table

Plexiglass resting on two paper-covered bricks with a cell phone flashlight underneath to fashion a temporary light table

There are large windows to the right of my bench, so I set a shield of board to block the light so it doesn't overwhelm my flashlight.

We don't all have space for light tables. And windows aren't always convenient to use as temporary light tables (I assume some of you work after dark).

And even if you have a light table, you might be like me and have it covered with many bits and projects. Your current need for the tool may not justify cleaning it off.

In such cases I use two bricks (covered with archival corrugated board), a piece of plexiglass, and my cell phone flashlight to make a temporary light box.

View from the top of a temporary light table

Top of article

Publication details

Last updated: 2016-11-15 | Published:

Would you like to be notified of new posts?