Instructables
Picture of Coffee table with built in touch screen
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I recently decided that I wanted to build a media center PC. I wanted something that would be easy to use and look fantastic in my living room. After seeing a similar design elsewhere I decided I would try my hand at building a coffee table with an integrated monitor.

I tried to keep things simple as possible. I chose plans that were available for free online and modified them to fit the form factor I wanted.
I used tools I had available but these tools will vary depending on the plans you choose.
I used drills, a table saw, a chop saw, a pocket hole jig, a palm sander and a jigsaw.
 
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Step 1: Planning

Like all projects you should always go in with a solid plan. Before picking out my table design I did a fair amount of research on touch screen monitors, touch screen add-ons for regular monitors and multi touch surfaces in general. I chose to use the Acer T231H for a few reasons. Its reviews were fairly good, it was a size I felt would work well and its corners are very square, making it easier to fit into the table.
I decided that I wanted to mount a mini PC under the table. I chose the Asus Eee Box EB1021. It is small, it has built in wifi, it comes with USB 3.0 and has HDMI output. It also comes with a VESA mounting bracket which made my life a LOT easier when it came to final placement.

Find the plans for your table. There are plenty of free and paid plans online. I chose this set of plans: http://ana-white.com/2012/05/plans/itable

If you decide you want a bigger or smaller table adjust your plans accordingly. I chose to make my table 3’ x 4’ foot with 18” high legs.

Draw out your table using the measurements you have decided on. Make sure you clearly mark where you want your monitor to sit and where you want to mount the PC. It is a good idea to wait until you actually have the electronics in hand so you can get accurate measurements. I modified the size of my table just slightly to accommodate everything I wanted to do with it. The more time and thought you put into this part the better your finished product will be.
fretted2 years ago
Would this still have touchscreen capabilities if you covered it with a thin film like they use to cover cell phone fronts i dont know if you could get a chunk big enough to cover it but it's a thought it could certainly be trimmed up the edges to protect it from spills on the edge !
thakobyan2 years ago
This is a great tutorial! Good job man!

One question though. I want to make some custom tables for my restauraunt.
My problem is how i'm gonna keep it safe from scratches and mostly from spoiled coffees, water etc.

Do you have any suggestions?

And btw, what do you think is cooler? A 23" touchscreen in the center of the table or 2 9.7" tablets for each person?
RDunfee (author)  thakobyan2 years ago
A really good finish will be vital for protecting the table itself. I am not sure how you would protect the screen while still retaining the use of the touch screen.
I have been using the table for a few months now. When I have more than a few people over I always make sure I cover the screen with a piece of glass. You can still use it as a regular screen but there is less chance that someone is going to spill liquid on it.

One thing I have noticed with my setup is the viewing angle. A monitor/screen with a large viewing angle it would be best for a project like this. Unfortunately, the one I chose looks pretty dark when viewed from a sitting position.

As far as your setup goes I would almost suggest covering the entire table with a sheet of glass You will lose the touch screen capabilities but then you won't have to worry about spills, scratches and the potential for stolen tablets (if you decided on the 9.7" tablet route). A regular screen could still display information for your customers (and you could even fit a much larger one in there) but it would need to be controlled from another point.
jxmorris122 years ago
This is so cool. Did you leave the logo ("acer") in on purpose? I feel like it may look better without.
RDunfee (author)  jxmorris122 years ago
I chose to keep it on there just because its such a pain to get off. I was worried that by attempting to remove the logo I may scratch the glossy black finish of the monitor