Instructables

$6 Ipod Nano Projector

Featured
Picture of $6 Ipod Nano Projector
First, I should start by saying that I got this idea from Killa-X's comments and photos on Tanntraad's "Make an Ipod Video Projector" Instructable.  What I really wanted to do was take out a functional LCD screen that was roughly "slide sized" and place it where the slide would have gone in a slide projector.

Imagine if you took that digital camera that you dropped and broke the lens but it still reads memory cards and does photo slide shows on its little screen.  If you take the backlight off the LCD you can project light through it so if you could fit it inside a cheap slide projector, you'd have a wall-sized digital photo frame.

I already had a slide projector from my $6 lens Instructable but I didn't have a spare digital camera to sacrifice so I decided to do a "proof of concept" projector using the backlight of the ipod as the light source.  Of course it was never going to be very bright but hopefully someone will take the idea and run with it.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Basic Concepts

A slide projector has a light source (in this case a 12v 50w bulb) which is reflected and diffused to make as much of its light directed and evenly spread across the focal plane (slide or LCD to be projected).  It's also necessary to separate the heat source (light bulb) from the focal plane because slides and LCDs can melt and burn.

I'd love to use all of this, but as I said in the introduction, I don't have a spare LCD to project so I'm using my "hand-me-up" Ipod Nano as my light source, reflector, diffuser & LCD.  This simplifies the process significantly as I just need to place the Ipod in the focal plane and then do some tidying up.  I think an Ipod with a larger screen and adjustable brightness (or hacked super-brightness) would be even better.

If you are old enough to remember using a slide projector, you put the slides in upside-down and back-to-front for them to be projected right side up and front-to-front.

Luckily the Ipod easily fits upside-down but the back-to-front proved impossible.  You'll see later that it's pretty obvious the projected images are reversed.
financial4 years ago
 is there a way to make the images not flipped?
Use a mirror as shown in my instructable
tewharau (author)  financial4 years ago
If you are trying to flip the image upside down, you could point the projector up and reflect it off a mirror to the wall.

If you are trying to invert the image left to right, you could "rear project" it onto a piece of frosted glass....  See my instructable on spray-on glass frosting.

A friend of mine had a piece of frosted perspex (plexiglas) standing vertical in the middle of his living room.  I asked him what it was for and he laughed and turned on a projector sitting on a bookshelf.  The perspex became a screen and you could see the video image on both sides (although one of them would be reversed, of course).
 or, you could put the projector on a box, and slide the ipod thru, so it fits exactly, with all of it covered..... 
maxpower494 years ago
i have done a poject like this only i used a lcd screen from ebay that was just a screen withe video in puts and i stripped it and put it in a old scool movie projector so it looks like the cool old ones but it is actually a digital projector i would post pictures but i don't have a camera i will when i get one tho
tewharau (author)  maxpower494 years ago
Excellent!  That is a very cool idea.  If it was an old 16mm projector, the LCD must be very small!  Does the motor still turn the reels around?  I wonder if they still make that cool flappy sound without the film running through it?
 very small lcd the the motor still turns the reels but i installed a separate switch to turn them on and off but i attached a piece so it flaps so it still makes the cool sound but sometimes when playing 360 it can get annoying
tewharau (author)  maxpower494 years ago
It sounds great!  Why don't you take some pics and post a slide show.  I'll be happy to put a link to it from the intro page of this instructable.
like i said above i don't have a digital camera but i will try to barrow one from my friend or the school
Gerde4 years ago
Hi tewharau,
great idea and realization.

Somehow I was thinking you would use the ipod display as an actual slide.

So what if you took apart an ipod, separated the electronics from the display and used it as a see trough slide, to be projected onto the wall by the projectors lamp.
(under the condition, the display is see through ...
let me check on my broken nano

bye Gerde
tewharau (author)  Gerde4 years ago
 Hi Gerde,

That is exactly what I wanted to do but didn't have a broken ipod.

I bought a camera with a broken lens so I could use the LCD out of it to make a slideshow projector, but then I found an instructable to fix it so I've been using it as a camera.

Please post pics if/when you get it going!

Gerde tewharau4 years ago
Hi again,
I just got done, taking the ipod apart.
To proove the concept I can say:
"Yes it is possible to remove everything from the LCD Display in an ipod nano* "
(* 1st generation with a simpler display, than they use now, argh)

anyway... here are the pictures, taken of my ipod,  some of them with a reversal lens adapter and a 28mm f2.8 lens  for an analog 35mm SLR



bye Gerde
ipod nano first gen in pieces.jpgLCD display closeup.jpgLCD display closeup2.jpg
tewharau (author)  Gerde4 years ago
 Hi Gerde,

That is excellent!  If you can separate (or fold up) the backlight and place the LCD in a slide-shaped casing, you should be able to drop it into place and (hopefully) have the IPOD on top of the casing so you can control it.

Remember that when projected, top becomes bottom, and left becomes right....so you'll need to have the screen upside down and "facing" the light source so it displays correctly when projected.

If you were nearby, I'd happily drop by my slide projector and we could have a go at making it work, but I suspect you are in Europe, so we couldn't be any further from each other.....

Keep up the good work, and feel free to make an instructable and I'll put a link to it from this one.
ERCCRE1234 years ago
Was this the projector you used to make a macro lens? I recognise the $6 sign witten on it
tewharau (author)  ERCCRE1234 years ago
 Haha, yeah, same one.... lucky I didn't have to modify the lens and could use it for this one too. 
is there a possible way to place a lense in front of the iPod so the screen wont be reversed?
how about just using a replacement screen from somewhere like fixmyipod . com (Not advertizing for them, but the only ones i could think of off the top of my head) ive seen them as low as $15.00 i know its a bit more than $6 but it will save your hand me up ipod for use latter, and when i tried to remove my screen from my 5G ipod i broke it :(, but good luck with this project it is a great idea
tewharau (author)  ArkAngel7624 years ago
Not that I know of, but if you disassembled the Ipod, you could turn the LCD screen around so it would come out right.
evogav4 years ago
Theres plenty of devices out now that have external displays for when an ipod is docked to display on. Find out what wires you need to connect up to make this work with a replacement nano screen. ie connect the replacement screen via a wire plugged into your nano.

Just a thought...
evogav evogav4 years ago
... and drop the external "homemade" screen into the slide housing...
pdub774 years ago
The only problem with projecting through an LCD of this size is resolution.  With such a small screen and resolution, the bigger you project the image the more pixellation you will get.  Still really cool, though.  I thought about doing the same thing with a cheap player and slide projector until someone told me about the resolution problem. 
tewharau (author)  pdub774 years ago
Absolutely right.  However, the resolutions are improving.  My old 2g Nano is 176x132 and the new nano is 240x376 (almost 4 times the pixels).  I'm sure the pixel counts in all those little LCDs in the cameras are growing too!

Of course, my original second-hand "home theatre" projector was 640x480 and I remember at the time thinking it was fantastic.  One trick I used to do was make it slightly out of focus so the pixels weren't obvious.  You can see on my sample photos that the picture is sharper at the top and the pixels are more obvious than at the bottom, which is slightly out of focus.

...and pixelization might be the new Lomo
pdub77 tewharau4 years ago
I am right there with ya.  I still wanna try this and resolutions get better every day, it seems.

The 'out of focus' idea is interesting and I can see how that would help.  Just have to get beyond the 1080 people.

Like I said, I still dig your work.  I don't always care about absolute perfection.  Really cool DIY is more often than not adequate (and more fun!).

Take care.
Lance Mt.4 years ago
 Veeerrryyy nice...

    -Cheers, Chris
PKM4 years ago
iPods with a defunct battery or hard disk (both easy to replace) are cheap on ebay- I haven't taken mine apart enough to know how easy it would be to put in the screen as a projector slide, but if you have enough dexterity I'm sure it's possible.

A potential problem to think about is heat- projector bulbs kick out a lot of heat and LCDs don't like being overheated.  A FL or LED bulb and/or some IR-blocking glass (available from projector-making-supplies places) could help with this, and perhaps a CPU fan to cool down the LCD.
tewharau (author)  PKM4 years ago
 Great ideas.  A high powered LED cluster would do the trick with almost no heat.  I think there is already an IR blocking glass  just before the diffusers.  I should get out a remote and a digital camera to check.....
cprocjr4 years ago
I'm a little confused. Does the projector light shine through the LCD? Or is the LCD itself the light source?
tewharau (author)  cprocjr4 years ago
 Yeah, it is a bit confusing.  I wanted to use the projector's light source and project through the LCD, but I couldn't bring myself to tear up my working Ipod.  I'm looking for something else with an LCD to shine through but this first step is just using the backlight from the ipod.

In the last paragraph of the Intro, the author wrote,

I decided to do a "proof of concept" projector using the backlight of the ipod as the light source.

So, for this project, the iPod's LCD backlight itself is the light source.

The author described what they wanted to do (rip an LCD out of a camera), and expressed hope that someone else might use this I'ble as inspiration to do that.

Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!