Introduction: Kitchen PC With Laptop Twist

Picture of Kitchen PC With Laptop Twist

I wanted to build a Kitchen PC, but needed it out of the way. I saw the Sony undercabinet tv's and had this idea. The brackets are simple L brackets that I put in a vice and hammered into the shape you see in pic 1. It looks pretty ugly from this angle but no one over 4' will ever know. I drilled the holes down from inside the cabinet so it doesn't have screws pointing up.

Step 1: Mount Laptop Upside Down

Picture of Mount Laptop Upside Down

The brackets are simple L brackets that I put in a vice and hammered into the shape you see in pic 1. It looks pretty ugly from this angle but no one over 4' will ever know. I drilled the holes down from inside the cabinet so it doesn't have screws pointing up.
This picture doesn't show the cords, but they were hidden under the cabinet lip with zip ties and double sided tape.

I also mounted a USB Hub with DS tape for the wireless adapter and wireless keyboard/mouse.

Step 2: How Did You Reverse the Display??

I didn't use any genious hardware hacks, just a feature of the graphics adapter software. It allowed me the switch rotate image 90, 180, etc. The graphics card didn't seem to support the rotate function built into windows. If your notebook doesn't allow this I found a program called PivotPro which seemed to do the same thing.

Step 3: Software

Picture of Software

*Mastercook - Recipes etc
*Google bookmarks allow bookmarking recipes when using main PC and using in Kitchen
*WinAmp (now Itunes, I know, I know) - for listening to tunes
*PowerDVD for movies
*Yahoo Widgets for weather forecast, grocery lists, and displaying photos
*Windows Slideshow Screensaver - plays our awesome vacation pix to when pc's not in use.

Step 4: Speakers

Picture of Speakers

There was a gap between the cabinets that allowed me to run the speaker wires above the cabinets. I hid the speakers amongst the crap, I mean decorations.

Step 5: Finished

Picture of Finished

If you make the font gigantic you can use the screen from the island but for the most part we use it from up close. This makes a great pc for quick email checks, checking weather, and recipes. People are always impressed when they see the pix scrolling by also.

This was built entirely by parts I already had laying around except the L brackets which cost about $2 for 4. Enjoy!


minus5252 (author)2011-11-26

I love the simplicity of this project. Easy-peasy, living greasy!

Nice idea with the mounting of the USB ports.

eternelboredom (author)2007-04-23

Awesome project! I built mine with a rail system, and the computer can slide into the rails. Also, I bought a TV tuner and now I have a 17" LCD TV for $36.00. My problem is that there is no way to spin the display on the nVidia GeForce FX Go5600. I found Pivot Pro, but is there a free hack i could use?

dmoreno2 (author)eternelboredom2011-07-16

maybe you can use the VLC media player since you can rotate what your are playing and also have an option to enable a capture device maybe your TV tuner can work with it. + is free

see-saw (author)2008-05-24

Great idea - you could add this keyboard with integrated touchpad so you could lose the mouse.

dmoreno2 (author)see-saw2011-07-16

Nice idea...since lots of people have their cellphone with them all the time; use a mobile app to control the pointer and keyboard from your cellphone btw I'm using "sensor mouse" for Android.

ajs1980 (author)2011-01-25

You can find inexpensive tablet pc's on eBay now running under $100 at times which would allow you to position the screen closer to the front edge of the cabnets making it easier to see. It also would have the added benefit of a touch screen or atleast stylus controle.

If not slap a magnet to the back of and stick it on the fridge when not using it. keyboard and touch pad together makes for a great kitchen PC and its the size of a standard remote.

prestron (author)2007-03-22

In Windows XP you can enter Ctr+Alt+Up/Down/Left/Right to orient the monitor on any side. I don't know if there is any XP compatible graphics cards that can't do it, but I've never seen one that can't.

kbhasi (author)prestron2010-12-23

for me, it only works on Intel graphics cards because the drivers are the one that give the ctrl-alt-arrow, as i saw in the control panel for it.

Derin (author)prestron2009-07-06

My radeon 9600 seems to be unable with Catalyst installed.

aussie2u (author)prestron2007-10-30

I did something similar (inverted laptop) for a long car trip we were taking. I thought it would be a great DVD player for the kids. Everything looked great and Windows XP inverted the image properly until I actually got onto the road and played the DVD. It seems DVD's (on many laptops) bypass the rotate functions and "talk directly" with the hardware! Point here is that if you want to look up receipes, surf the net, AND watch a DVD while it's under the counter, check your laptop out first to make sure both functions remain inverted.

project109x (author)prestron2007-06-03

yeah we do that to the new guys at work, but this laptop didn't support it!

jrgallion (author)2010-07-23

I like you kitchen PC. Has anyone made something simple like this? It's simple but, it would be interesting to make something of my own. Cheers, Jason

Yerboogieman (author)2010-01-09

Now I'm jealous, The wood under my cabinets is clearly not strong enough.

Yerboogieman (author)2010-01-09

Nice! I just need to fix the power port on my old laptop.

I added this instructable to my group "Featured".

jhalel (author)2009-08-13

Only note, she asked how YOU did it.

LilFairman95 (author)2009-08-07

if you need good software to rotate your screen search google for "irotate" i used it on my old laptop

az1995 (author)2008-06-13

Nice idea =) I would do that.... but I'm only 13... Anyways, instead of installing some software thingy, I found that if you press ctrl, alt, (down arrow key)... it turns everything upside down. To undo this, press ctrl, alt, up arrow key. You can also use the left/right keys. =P

geterkikzkid (author)az19952008-06-15

WTF??/ Which OS do you use?

az1995 (author)geterkikzkid2008-06-16

Not sure what "OS" means, but I'm typing on a Vista... When you press ctrl, alt, (then an arrow key)... it turns the screen that way... =)

moopet (author)az19952008-09-06

That's an atI thing, not an OS thing.

moopet (author)moopet2008-09-06

ATI driver, sorry for the typo.

Derin (author)moopet2009-07-06

It won't work on my PC with CCC (ati's control center) installed.

earlvanze (author)moopet2008-09-21

It's also an Intel thing. And an nVidia thing.

akumahai (author)az19952008-09-07

OS means Operating System, so yes. Vista is the correct answer. It doesn't work on all computers.

awang8 (author)geterkikzkid2009-02-20

Intel and nVidia notebook GPUs allow you to do this.

lifelike27 (author)2009-05-26

Here's an idea, Why not add two magnets on the top of each corner of the keyboard and two more on the wall above so then when in the kitchen and you need some extra space for cooking just snap it up there or put them directly on the fridge. Same goes for the mouse, but put the magnet somewhere on the side. You can then use the scroll wheel or the up and down keys of the keyboard to view a long recipe that doesn't fit on the screen

Myself (author)2007-02-28

I was hoping you had some secret easy hack to physically turn the display around so it'd be closer to the edge of the cabinet. Do you have to crouch down to see the top of the screen way back there? I've got some old laptops around, with good displays but not enough RAM to run a modern OS, that I'd love to use for this. I'm looking at MaxiVista or VNC to drive the kitchen station as a slave off my desktop, or possibly terminal-server software. I don't know where to begin on that aspect, though I really would like to be able to get some use out of the older machines. As for barcode scanners, the CueCat is priced right! ;)

royalestel (author)Myself2007-02-28

Couldn't you use a tablet PC for that? If you stuck a dock under there, you could just mount your tablet whenever you came in, no harm, no foul. I can't use this instructable because I can see my computer from halfway across the house (small house). But nice idea nonetheless.

project109x (author)royalestel2007-02-28

Thats true the touchscreen would be nice too, but I wanted something that wouldn't kill me (out a grand!)if it got ingrediants or anything on it.

lamarjean (author)project109x2009-02-16

You can buy just the touchscreen and control hardware alone, install it your selself if your the least bit techno savy. I added touch to my undercounter laptop and love no keyboard nor mouse. Total out of pocket, $200 including TS, full sheet velcro and a shorter cable!

Myself (author)project109x2007-03-01

Get yourself an old Toughbook. From the factory, all models have a touchscreen option, but only some are equipped with it. On the used market, just read the specs. I don't know whether flipping the display will cause the touchscreen inputs to be upside-down relative to what you thought you were clicking. (I wonder if calibration could figure that out?) Worst case, you'd have to pull the display apart and flip the digitizer around, which would introduce cable-length headaches. Only serious laptop hardware hackers need apply. :( The thing is, most of these machines are washable. The "semi-rugged" business machines, not so much, but the truly outdoorsy Toughbooks can be used in a rainstorm. When I get shop grit in my keyboard, I just rinse it out... Do you use any sort of remote-control software to manage the audio playlist from other locations in the house? I'd imagine VNC would work well, but I was thinking specifically of synchronizing the output with other players on other PCs. There appear to be a few Winamp plugins for this.

kevrone (author)royalestel2007-03-18

I think this would be a great idea for my new apartment. I own a Fujitsu T4010 and with a few simple rails this could totally work. Tablet = no need for keyboards plus a swivel screen, yay! My only concern would be that it'd be above the sink...damn you Moisture!!!

project109x (author)Myself2007-02-28

I like the scanner idea, I even have an old cuecat-- didn't it connect serial?? I started with a 233 p2 and win98, but I would like to hear about maxivista if you get it running

Myself (author)project109x2007-03-01

MaxiVista works as advertised. I bought the full version so I could use it at work, with giant-wide spreadsheets stretched across 2 laptops. (If making spreadsheets that require 140 columns is the worst sin of project management, you've got pretty good project management.) Check out the trial version and play with it. Windows' multi-monitor handling is a bit clunky, and assumes they're all connected at all times. If your network falls apart, all the MV-driven displays revert to the primary and you have to manually reset everything. If your wireless is even the slightest bit flaky, go with wired for this, trust me. The nice thing is that the MV viewer can run on a really minimal win98 box, 32M RAM is plenty, since it's just a display redirector. It has a checkbox for display rotation too, so an extra display hack isn't needed. The CueCat was available in a PS/2 wedge version, and in a USB version. I have experience only with the former. Google for "declaw cuecat" to find instructions on bypassing the signal-obscuring components so it outputs plain text. If you're looking for barcode scanners though, you can also find a lot of old Symbol gear on eBay. I just picked up a SpectrumONE accesspoint so I can experiment with some relics.

Cartuner55 (author)2007-11-11

you can also use DesktopX to use widgets

siman880 (author)Cartuner552008-07-19

thats what i use

Thomas82 (author)2008-03-17

Very nice, but wouldn't it be cool to have a screen built into your countertop? Covered with hardened glass?

DanAdamKOF (author)2007-03-01

I saw this project outside of instructables before, I swear. Nice!

jammaki (author)DanAdamKOF2007-05-27

You did. Popular Science or Mechanics did an article about using a laptop in this way. I'll search through my archive and see if I can't dig up the issue month/year. or you can probably search their sites.

project109x (author)jammaki2008-01-28

This is all I could find.
Kind of cool idea, but not aesthetically what I was after. Under the cabinet is way better if you have room.

jammaki (author)project109x2008-01-28

For sure. I really like your under the cabinet approach better.

ltkrause (author)2008-01-28

This was a great idea and you inspired me! Instead of the brackets, I used small plant hooks and really small bungee cords to hold the laptop up. I also put velcro on the bottom of the keyboad to put it under the counter out of sight when not in use! Thanks for the inspiration!

project109x (author)ltkrause2008-01-28

Thanks! Thanks for sending in a pic! Its a year later and I'm now in a different house. Kitchen laptop was one of the first projects! We still use it on a daily basis even though its far from the best pc in the house- its just so damn convenient!

rucket (author)2007-05-05

couldn't you use velcro instead of drilling holes and using brackets ?

project109x (author)rucket2007-06-03

I suppose that may work but i wouldn't trust it to hold my laptop up. The force from adjusting the screen would also make me nervous.

C-glenny (author)rucket2007-05-08

Yeah that seems like it would make it much easier! No damage to the cabinets.

misty_bishop (author)2007-03-11

Maybe I am not up to date, but how did you get the screen upside down?

phreakin (author)misty_bishop2007-05-17

there are several progams you can use to do it some laptops already come with the program in the video cards stuff try right clicking on your desktop and clicking properties and look around in there for it

lookatmygrlyfont (author)2007-04-10

nice job dude

theHankster (author)2007-03-01

I know that is a low cost project, but how cool would it be to add this Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard from and free up more counter space!!

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