For some time now I’ve been using light stands made of 1-1/2-in. schedule-40 PVC pipe and fittings. A single 10-ft. section of pipe is enough to make the stand shown in the drawing. To shed plenty of light on my work, I use either a 300-watt or a 500-watt quartz halogen lamp affixed to a metal outlet box with a switch in it. The box is attached to the top of the stand by way of an electrical fitting known as a chase nipple, and is screwed into a PVC bushing with 1/2-in. female pipe threads. The bushing nests in a 1-1/2-in. PVC coupling. The bottom of the column has a PVC tee fitting with its own outlet and cord. A 3-in. long piece of PVC pipe below the tee completes the column portion of the stand. I glued all the joints in the column and the base, except for the intersection between the two. This makes it easier to break down the stand for transport. This light is equally useful for outdoor work, but if you plan to leave it outside you should use weatherproof boxes for the electrical fittings.
Steve Harman, Okanogan, WA