Finally i get to write what I had in mind from the onset of this entire foray into the blagosphere.
- This is really designed for Americans. Everyone else without a Home Depot (the other 90% of the world), you can still do it, but don't expect to find the same parts.
- It's designed around an SB-800. When I say designed, I really mean that it just happens that an SB-800 fits into the opening. If you have, say, a Vivitar 283 or 285, you can't use the gutter piece. You'll have to find something else to fit the bigger flash head. If you have a Canon flash, your head is wider so it might not fit either. I'm brainstorming a fix, which is half- pointless since my beauty dish is already completed. Oh well, Home Depot is like 15 minutes away and if I need to, I'll fix it. Check the comments on David's blog to see what people with other flashes are doing.
- Fasteners: David briefly mentions using them to connect this whole contraption together without mentioning the best ones to use. Go to HD's screws n shit section, and look for green packs of machine screws. You want the pack labeled #4-40 x 1/2". I bought round heads for a slotted screwdriver, and it was 8 little screws with 8 matching nuts. I should have gotten phillips, what was I thinking. Loc-Tite (blue or red, pick your poison) might be a good idea for these, since the nuts are non-locking and a washer this small is pretty impractical. I used super glue. it's not entirely necessary since I dont think that the dish will be seeing a lot of vibration, but better safe than sorry.
- The screws I used may not work for you. There are ridges on the bottom of the CD spindle that I cut off with a dremel to make the whole thing sit more flush. I would recommend doing this unless you go for longer screws. it probably saved about 1/4" in height, maybe a little less.
- The reflecting assembly: the convex mirror I bought was labeled 3.75", David said his was labeled at 3.5". they look the same size to me in relation to the CD. I was going to use an old useless DVD of mine to cover the gap on the top of the CD spindle cover, but I decided against it. My DVD reflected blue , and I didn't want a blue cast to my beauty dish since I would be mostly shooting under flourescent ambient. I opted for a CD, which had a yellow-green reflection. I just felt it would be more neutral, that's all. do what you like. Although, you could get away with a 4-4.5" convex mirror and skip the CD altogether. try to find the most convex one that you can, the object is to get the light reflected out into the dish.
- Someone who posted on David's blog said they made a variable distance mirror assembly. That would be cool, or you could just get it right so that it reflects into the whole dish. I used a 50-cd cover, but due to the non-convexity of the mirror it seems like a bigger cover, like a 75 or 100, would work better. But it also looks stupider. so I went with the 50 and if i need the extra whatever I'll just turn the flash up or put a white tshirt over the dish and have a pseudo-soft box.
- Painting this thing: paint before you cut. You'll thank me later. trying to paint one side white and the other side black with a big gaping hole is just plain stupid and you'll be frustrated every time you flip the bowl over. As diffusion and reflection are the name of the game (seems almost counter-intuitive), you want to paint the inside ultra-matte white. expect some hot-spots or harsh shadows if you use anything below a regular matte or satin. I went with flat white and I'm just hoping it diffuses enough. paint the outside whatever you want, but flat black looks the coolest and will most likely match 100% of your gear.
- make a bracket to connect the beauty dish to the hot shoe/radio trigger/whatever. you can do this if you want to take strain off the flash head and hot shoe. it's best if it's adjustable so that you can fit it to as many of your flashes as possible. I didn't, but probably will eventually.