DIY Strobe mount for Softbox

Do you already have a softbox for your studio lights (Elinchrom, Interfit, Bowens etc) , but also want to use them with your strobes / flashes (Nikon, Canon, Sigma etc) ?? Well read on for a 5 minute DIY mount that only costs £1.48 !!!

Step 1:- What you need

  • B&Q’s own brand “Tile Sponge” at £1.48
  • Bread Knife
  • Stanley Knife
  • Felt tip pen
  • Mounting ring from your softbox
  • Your strobe / flashgun (in this example the Canon 580EX II)
  • Step 2 – Mark out the mounting ring

    Place the mounting ring on the sponge. For Elinchrom D-Lites, the ring is same width as sponge. Using your Felt pen mark around the outside edge of ring.

    Step 3 – Cut out mount

    You could be fancy & try & cut a perfect circle, but by keeping things simple you actually add to the grip of the sponge mount , to the softbox. I recommend making only 5 straight cuts. The 1st is across the bottom of the circle to give a square. Now at each corner of the square cut at 45 degrees, just touching the edge of your circle. Use your breadknife for this, ensuring you keep the cut vertical through the sponge.

    Those peaks that are left outside the circle, are going provide that extra “spring” back of the sponge, when placed in the lightbox later, ensuring a nice snug fit.

    Step 4 – Mark out the strobe / flash opening

    Place the strobe head face down in the middle of the circle & using your felt pen draw around the outside. Now, if we cut out this opening, although the strobe would fit inside the hole, because the sponge is uncompressed, you would find the strobe would easily move & twist inside the mount. We don’t want that , so :-

    Mark out the opening to be cut, approx 10mm inside the original outline. Also mark out diagonals in each corner. Using the stanley knife cut out the section marked in black above. Now with the bread knife again make the cuts in each corner along the diagonals. This is to allow each side to be compressed when fitted to strobe / flash, without ripping the sponge.

    Step 5 – Fit new mount to Strobe / Flash

    Your new mount is ready. It’s important you fit the mount to the strobe / flash first. note from the side shot, how the depth of the sponge is exactly right for the 580EX. Almost as if it was made for it ;)

    Step 6 – Fit mount to the soft box

    With the strobe fitted in the mount, now offer the mount up to the mounting ring of the fully assembled soft box (shots above show ring only purely to show the fit). You are going to need to squeeze the foam in slightly for it to fit, but this ensures a firm fit. Push the foam through until flush with the back of the soft box ring. This has 2 effects. 1st the extra depth now inside the soft box expands & provides some stability to the mount. 2nd being the flush back ensures the soft box mount is flush with the main body of the flash, once again aiding stability.

    End result should be like this :-

    So does it work ?
    You bet it does :)

    With the 53cm soft box, the strobe can easily hold the weight.  Note though, that which ever method you use to attach the strobe to the light stand (eg. hotshoe), will take the leverage from the weight.   Once again with the 63cm soft box the strobe can take the weight, but I do not think the hotshoe could take the extra leverage.  For the larger soft box I attached the strobe to the upright of the light stand by some bungees. That worked a treat.

    Although not shown in the photos, attaching a stofen diffuser to the strobe, will help reduce the inherent hotspot you get from a small light source in a softbox (unless you have internal baffles)

    NB. Note the foam used in a Tile Sponge seems to be firmer than most normal sponges.  I would not recommend going softer than this sponge, otherwise your softbox will be flopping all over the place.

    Anyway, hope that is of some use to others.  Please let me know how you get on with Interfits, Bowens etc.  If you find some better ways of doing this,  please let me know.

    Happy strobing :)

    Other links you may find of interest

    Free Flash Gels

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    25 October, 2008 - 8:27 pm ConorwithoneN - Nice work. Really like that you've shared the steps. So great for a Brit to do this - so many of the Strobist discussions are so US-centric. Let me know if you find out what tileboard is in B&Q speak...

    26 October, 2008 - 9:35 am Dave - No probs. Re description of Tile Sponge, it's used for clearing off grout from any tiling you have done in kitchen, bathroom etc. The actual dimensions are 130mm x 190mm x 50mm. The important bits are 130mm is perfect fit for Elinchrom mounts, whilst 50mm depth is perfect for Canon strobes / flashguns. B&Q in UK, is a large "Do it Yourself" outlet. They even own the DIY.com domain name

    5 November, 2009 - 11:17 pm Irven lewis - HI HI THANK YOU VERY MUCH' THIS IS WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR....... IT WORK'S GREAT' I BAD FOR £1.00 IRVEN

    4 June, 2010 - 3:32 pm DiyPhotographyStuff.info - This is a great idea!!! I'll write about it one my blog too!!! Why not tring this method for softboxes with a speed ring that has some attachment thing to a tripod?

    6 June, 2010 - 8:12 pm Dave - Thanks. Seems like you have an idea for how to achieve this ;) Come on, have a go & let us know how you get on :)

    11 June, 2009 - 7:07 am elinchrom softbox met speedlight - Belgiumdigital forum - Digitale fotografie - [...] elinchrom softbox met speedlight bijvoorbeeld http://www.davidjameswilliams.com/ph...t-for-softbox/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/22159864@N00/3018602485 __________________ (__/) (='.'=)Fear the [...]

    4 June, 2010 - 4:02 pm Great blog by David James Williams | DiyPhotographyStuff - [...] the softbox ring, easy and simple. If you’re a DIY fun you should read that post, here is a link to that. David actually put the flash into the soft box but connects the flash to the tripod, while [...]

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