Here is the summary:
Take an old (really old) laptop apart. Cut a couple pieces of Plexiglas, add a bunch of screws to hold it all in place and then add the laptop parts. What you end up with is seen below.
CivilNote, P266 MMX (OMG its MMX), 160mb of ram (32 onboard + 128 upgrade), 10" LCD
Hard Drive: ($20)
5gb CF Microdrive (completely silent)
Two relatively small pieces of Plexiglas ($10)
Bunch of screw (depends on the motherboard of the laptop your using) ($1-2)
4 nicer looking screws (I used brass.. all available at a local hardware store)($5)
NOTE: I'm assuming that windows/linux/macOS is already installed on your hard drive and you can boot into it without needing to enter a password.. because it would be kinda strange having to log into a picture frame :)
Step 1: Tools Needed.
For building the Picture Frame, I used a small portable screw driver and drill bit.. Photos below.
You can use any screw driver as its only going to be used for mounting the parts.. not a lot of work..
For the drill bit, I would suggest using a 1/4" as I bought 3/16" screws. This can also be changed to your liking.
Step 2: Chose Your Prey
- Gut the laptop for usable parts.
You will need to keep the motherboard, and everything on it.. thus RAM, CPU, and any cards (mini PCI) that may be included.
You will also need to remove the LCD from its casing and unplug it from the motherboard.
You can either keep the hard drive or use a CF card like I did.. the CF card is nice because its silent.
You will not need the keyboard, mouse, battery or any part of the casing.
You will not need this as you will be adding a touch screen and can control the computer with that instead.
Step 3: Parts Needed.
- Motherboard +CPU
- Hard Drive (Pre-installed OS that can load without password)
- Laptop AC Adapter
- LCD + all related parts (power converter and backlight plug)
- Touchscreen (same size as your LCD); easy to find on ebay.
- PCMCIA Wifi card if its not integrated in your laptop.
- IDE to CF adapter; no need for this if your using the original hard drive.
- Plexiglas 2 pieces(add 2 inches to the height and width of the screen so that you end up with a 1 inch border around the computer); you can get this pre-cut at your hardware store or use a jigsaw to cut it.
- Mounting Screws; some of the screws can be salvaged from the laptop and used for fastening the motherboard to the Plexiglas, if you need more they can be found at most computer stores (future shot, best buy, circuit city)
- 4 mains screws+more that will hold everything together. Again this is something that you will need to determine based on the laptop your using.. Mine were 3 inches long. (see picture)
- Various other items (two sided tape, foam tape, usb extension, wall mounting cable) ALL OPTIONAL and can be changed with whatever you have lying around that you think will do the same job.
Step 4: Line Up and Drill Plexiglas
You can test how well lined up you are by sitting the two pieces together, attached with the brass tipped screws, on a counter. If properly lined up, it should sit without any "wobble" (sorry, no better word to describe it).
Mount the screws (not thumb screws) to one piece of plexiglas. This will be the rear piece. All depending on how you are wall mounting your finished product, I added a picture frame cable between the two top screws and 4 foam feet so the frame would sit on the wall without any rattling. By doing this, you can continue mounting all other steps, without ever having to flip this part over.
Sorry that I dont have a better photo of this step as I had already completed the project before thinking of creating an instructable to go along with it. I'll know for next time.
Step 5: Mounting the LCD and Touchscreen
IMPORTANT: Ensure that the touchscreen is mounted so that it can be used.. Its very easy to confuse which side is the right side without testing it first.
Using double sided take, attach any LCD components to the rear of the LCD. In the images below you can see that the power converter is taped to the back.
IMPORTANT: only add the tape to the outer edges of the screen and LCD to not interfere with the image.
MAKE SURE your LCD is mounted in a way that by just flipping it onto the motherboard, you will be able to connect it without having to bend any wires.
After mounting both items, attach the touchscreen adapter to the inner part of the plexiglas using foam tape (about a half an inch of foam and doublesided tape on each side)
Use a USB extension cable to attach the touchscreen to an available USB port after the screen is later mounted to the motherboard.
Step 6: Mounting the Motherboard
2. Drill the holes
4. Mount hard drive, RAM and any other part that can be mounted to the motherboard. Make sure everything is securely in position before mounting the motherboard as getting to these items afterward can be complicated.
3. Mount the motherboard and all needed or related items. I had speakers that were in the laptop that I also mounted above the motherboard. I used double sided tape to mount the speakers.
- Use at least 4 points so that the motherboard is mounted securely.
- Make sure the motherboard is not touching the Plexiglas as the heat could melt it. Use typical mounting screws. These can usually be salvaged from the laptop. See mounting screws below.
- I used a motherboard that does not require a fan, but make sure to include all original heat dissipation equipment (fan, CPU heat-sink)
Step 7: Power Button
Step 8: Mount Front and Back Together
2. Insert PCMCIA wifi card.
3. Mount front and back together using the thumb screws. (see below)
4. Plug the USB cable from the touchscreen into an available USB port.
Step 9: Complete Installation
2. Power it on
3. Hang it on the wall and enjoy.