DIY Beauty Dish for Alien Bee

December 09, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Recently I got the urge to make myself a beauty dish that would fit on my Alien Bee strobes.  I'm all about fashioning something for myself if it's within reason.  The Beauty Dish on PCB (paulcbuff.com) currently lists for $79.95 (w/o shipping).  It's not too terribly expensive.

I set out to research what I could use to make this happen.  Within seconds I had thousands of images, videos and results courtesy of Google, fyi - I looked up "DIY Beauty Dish".  If you're like me, I can weed thru the BS pretty quick and get to the real dissection of what's needed.  I found a video of a couple guys making a dish out of a huge mixing bowl, this was my launch pad.  I saw what they were doing but it didn't really apply to what I wanted.  They were making one specifically for a Nikon (what's that??) speedlight.

I started coming up with a list of what I needed: 16qt mixing bowl, light blocker, washer/nuts, long 5/16" rod.

1 & 2 - A 16qt metal mixing bowl and light blocker- I honestly wasn't quite sure where to look other than Walmart and the specialty stores (Spoons/Spice).  Walmart didn't come close to the size I needed.  In Spoons & Spice the largest bowl was a 10qt, BUT, the ladies there are awesome :)  She suggested I go down to the Restaurant Supply Store...brilliant!  At Standard Restaurant Supply (3500 South West Temple) I bought the a 16qt mixing bowl and an 8" pizza pan (light blocker).  They were both on the same aisle, how convenient. Total spent (w/o taxes) $12.45 - not bad.

3 - Washers, Nuts, and a Rod - At Home Depot I bought a handfull of 5/16" washers, nuts, and a 12" long 5/16" rod.  This will hold the light blocker, go through the dish and into the strobe.

Back home I measured the diameter of the standard reflector that comes with the strobe.  This was 3 1/2".  That measurement I took to the back of the bowl, traced and cut with a Dremel.  I think I went through 3 cutting wheels.  After a surgical precise hole was cut, I used a couple sanding blocks to smooth out the rough opening.  From there it was just a matter of drilling a hole through the pizza pan and dish.  Using a 5/16" drill bit it took just a couple seconds.

Here's my DIY Beauty Dish and a few example images:


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