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Thread: Help eliminating glare on worktable from overhead fixtures

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member AcidWater's Avatar
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    Default Help eliminating glare on worktable from overhead fixtures

    I have a 4x8 work table that's used for all sorts of activities. The ceiling is not too far above it; the joist bottoms are 4'10" but hanging a light puts the bottom of the fixture more like 4' 4" above the table.

    I get glare when placing coated paper (magazines, etc) on the table.

    I've got 4' fluorescent fixtures with a white plastic diffuser. Tried hanging them down the center of the table, and just now moved them so one is along each edge. Still get glare. The location where the glare reflects from changes when I move my body; it seems to be a certain angle of reflection. If I tilt the object a little to reduce make the angle from table to my eyes closer to 90 degrees the glare goes away.

    Aside from wearing polarized sunglasses, what can be done to locate the fixtures to get rid of glare?

    Is there some specialized diffuser that I could get?

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    My dentist's office has wall-mounted fluorescent fixtures which are pointed up at the white ceiling, and the light reflects down. I was thinking of using something similar in some areas of my house.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member AcidWater's Avatar
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    Need to illuminate the TABLE not the walls. Bouncing off the ceiling only works for a high ceiling. Basement is less than 8' high.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Put the lights over your head so the light reflects away from you. Place them where you will not be in your own shadow, however. If the surface reflects light into your eyes there will ALWAYS be a glare.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #5
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    You might try experimenting with some Fresnel lenses. In a lighthouse or an overhead projector, they are used to direct a mass of light into a beam...but flip them over and they spread it out and diminish hot spots.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Reflective surfaces like your glossy paper will always reflect things. The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection...basic physics. Lights directly over the table WILL reflect directly back up - it's like a mirror. You need to sidelight things to bounce the light away from your eyes, but still illuminate the subject matter. But, that will potentially bounce it into your eyes as well...you may not get a choice of too many positions where the light is right.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member AcidWater's Avatar
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    Forgot to mention that there are people all around the table, so can't use a light behind one person.

    I've seen business lighting sights talk about their techniques; diamond diffusers, polarizing filters, etc.

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