Milled plasterboard / drywall ceiling box for LED lighting - do it yourself

Manufacturing of a ceiling niche made of gypsum plasterboard for LED lighting using a router, we connect parts of a plasterboard box using polyurethane foam. Like perfect, even and straight drywall corners.

Making a ceiling light box from plasterboard using milling

On the manufacture of the box, I will start a little from afar, because when creating it, it is necessary to take into account various nuances that may turn out to be very important in the subsequent operation of the ceiling.

When designing a box, it is imperative to take into account where the power supply and the tape control controller (if any) will be located, read more about the installation of the tape itself in another article.

The power supply unit of the LED strip, however, like the strip itself, is far from eternal, therefore it is important to place it so that in the event of a malfunction, replacing the unit would be extremely simple and would not turn into a dance with a tambourine when you have to break the ceiling plasterboard and look for where is this damn block.

Therefore, many place compact power supplies right in the box itself, where the power supply must be freely placed and not cover the LED strip passing by it.

The disadvantage of this option is that the power supply will collect all the dust on itself, which can subsequently adversely affect its normal cooling and operation, in a situation if your unit is open.

Also, the tape passing by the block can overheat in this place and glow unevenly, since the block can partially cover it with itself.

Well, do not forget that the power supply for a more powerful tape has large dimensions and sometimes even fan cooling, and such a unit is probably completely wrong to install in an open dust collector of the box.

The second option for placing the power supply unit, which seems to me the most correct, is to take it out of the box to a completely different place, where less dust will settle on it and there will always be free access to it.

Such a place may be an adjacent room, or a furniture cabinet into which from the ceiling, wires leading to the LED strip will be brought out in advance.

So, having decided on the place for placing the power supply and taking this into account, you can estimate the required dimensions of the box itself, by the way, in a particular case, all the tape control, the power supply and the controller are located in the part of the ceiling, which will be removable and be a decorative element in one of the niches ...

When calculating the box, you also need to take into account the distance between the side of the niche and the upper level of the ceiling, this distance should provide free access for mounting the tape itself or for installing the power supply.

The height of the side of the box can be arbitrary, it depends on the height of the ceiling of the second level, but nevertheless, the height of the LED strip and the aluminum profile must be taken into account for its cooling, if a sufficiently powerful strip is installed.

The inner depth of the box, where the tape will be located, can also be arbitrary. But for example, if you do not want to see the back wall of the box, then the depth of the box should be made more, you must not forget about the power supply, taking into account the aluminum profile of the LED strip laid past it.

Specifically, in my case, the distance between the ceiling and the side is 60 mm, while the outer height of the side itself is the same 60 mm. and an internal useful height of 35 mm, the total depth of the box from the rear wall was 58 mm with a useful depth of 33 mm.

Plasterboard milling process for making LED ceiling light boxes

On the gypsum board sheet, I mark the places for milling, when the sheet is folded, a single element of the box should be obtained.

When calculating milling lines, I must take into account and lay a distance of at least 2 mm between two folded sheets, this distance is needed for the foam that will serve as glue when assembling the structure.

Plasterboard milling is carried out using a conventional router, on which a dust collector is installed connected to the cyclone filter of the vacuum cleaner.

You can read more about making a simple cyclone for a vacuum cleaner here. I must say right away that working with a drywall milling cutter without a vacuum cleaner is a pleasure, the fog of gypsum dust will be decent.

For milling, I use a slot cutter with a 90 degree angle.

Now, the most common of the commercially available cutters is the BOSH brand cutter, but it costs very decently, therefore, if you search, you can find analogues that will cost you much cheaper.

When buying a cutter, be sure to take into account its height and diameter, for example, my Chinese one - has an outer diameter of 31.7 mm with a working height of 16 mm.

When milling gypsum boards, it is important to perform the milling depth clearly to the bottom paper layer. Otherwise, the gypsum board can fold into an angle not at 90 degrees, but a little more.

Therefore, if the cutter is used only on drywall, it is much easier, in such a situation, to cut off the lower part of the cutter by 1 mm, due to which, when bending the gypsum board by milling, an ideal angle of 90 will be obtained. The main thing when trimming the cutter tip is not to overdo it and not remove excess.

To set the depth of the cutter protrusion so that it does not damage the bottom layer of paper, I set the cutter on two pieces of gypsum board located along the edges of the cutter base, and to subtract the thickness of the paper, I put a square metal ruler under the cutter.

It is advisable to place the blank for milling on a comfortable and solid base, so that the sheet does not bend and is securely fixed.

According to the markings outlined in advance, I install a wide metal profile, which will be a guide for the router.

I fix an improvised guide from a metal profile at the edges with clamps, so that the profile does not bend, I fix it in the middle with a self-tapping screw to the gypsum board sheet.

I make a groove, passing through it with a cutter in several passes. I try to move the milling cutter smoothly and without jerks. Gradually moving the guide, I make the required number of grooves.

After all the grooves are made, I remove dust from them, thoroughly cleaning them with a brush and a vacuum cleaner.

After cleaning from dust, I make a test folding of the box and making sure that the box folds accurately, I thoroughly prime all parts not covered with paper.

The primer is a very important point, you should not neglect it, since a non-primed and dusty gypsum surface will not provide normal adhesion and subsequent proper connection of parts to polyurethane foam.

After the soil has dried, using a gun with polyurethane foam, I fill the milled grooves and future mating points of the GKL parts covered with paper.

When gluing parts of the box, I use only low secondary expansion foam, since highly expanding foam can spoil everything and deform the structure.

Immediately, after applying the foam, I fold the box along the milled grooves, make sure that all the parts are in place, and fix them with clamps.

After the foam dries, I cut it off with a wallpaper knife, while trying not to cut through the drywall paper.

The connection of the milled parts of the drywall to the polyurethane foam is a convenient technique, such a connection, provided that the parts to be joined are properly adhered, holds quite securely, and even a small effort will be required when trying to break the connected parts.

Now the box is ready for installation on the ceiling, about the installation of gypsum board, and other stages of creating the ceiling.

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