Small Display Case





Introduction: Small Display Case

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This is a small display case consisting of two halves:
  • the bottom half shaped like a tray, with four additional vertical pillars,
  • the top half with the glass plate.
The two halves fit together, thanks to the pillars, without needing any hinge nor latch.

The motivation to build this display case from scratch came from several reasons:
  1. After envisaging buying two picture frames, it turned out that (1) I could not find frames that are thick enough, (2) frames made in China means kerosene, (3) I cannot get the exact size I want, and (4) it would cost 2 X 20$ for wooden frames of nice quality.
  2. I had remaining wood from a former project. So the cost is just the glass (approx 8$) and the investment for a router bit to make the grooves (20$)
  3. Building from scratch is more fun!

Step 1: Needed Stuff

As said before, I had remaining wood from a former project. But the list is pretty simple:
  • Wood bars. Preferably hard wood (beech, oak, etc.)
  • MDF or plywood plate, e.g. 5 mm thick
  • Glass, 3 mm thick. The best is to measure the needed size at the end of Step 3. Ask the shop to cut it to size.
  • A few screws and dowels
  • Wood glue (modest quantity)
  • Linseed oil (modest quantity)
  • Saw or electrical jigsaw
  • Sand paper, sanding machine (or sanding block)
  • Framing vise (optional)
  • Router and router bit for 4 mm wide groove

Step 2: Cut Wood to Length

To get 2 frames:
- 2 x 2 x long bars
- 2 x 2 x short bars

For the pillars:
- 4 x shorter bars

The bars that I have (from a former project) have a particular cut. I used this cut as a recess in the frames corner, for the pillars.

Step 3: Assemble Frames

Assemble each frame, optionally with the help of a framing vise for best alignment.

Use dowels and screws. Drill holes for dowels, pre-drill holes for screws. Glue the dowels into the short frame sides, by means of a drop of wood glue.

Mark each piece with a pencil in order to remember their ordering.

Measure the required size of the board and glass plate (taking the groove's depth into account).

Disassemble the frames for the next step.

Step 4: Make Grooves

Make the grooves with the router. Use a bit for 4 mm wide and 10 mm deep grooves.

WARNING! a router is an extremely dangerous tool. It rotates much faster than a drill, and can cause nasty wounds.
- Wear protection glasses and work gloves
- Tighten wooden parts in a very stable vise
- Hold router with both hands
- Exercise on some scrap wood

Step 5: Sand and Oil

Re-assemble both frames.

Sand the joints for perfect alignment. Sand chamfers wherever wanted.

Apply linseed oil.

Step 6: Cut Bottom Board and Top Glass

Cut the board to required size.

Step 7: Assemble Bottom Part

Insert the board into the bottom frame.

Remount the frame, secure it with screws.

Place and adjust the pillars, secure them with screws (pre-drill holes).

Step 8: Assemble Top Part

Mount the top part: assemble the frame with the glass. Secure the frame with screws.

If necessary, sand the corners so that they fit "quite freely" into the pillars.

Step 9: Finished Product!

Populate and enjoy the new display case!

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    21 Discussions

    been planning my next water cooled xbox in one of these for the past 2 years

    LOVE IT!!! This would be a great case for me to display some geodes I am getting ready to cut in half!!!

    Oh my God I had one of those calcuputers in nuclear power school...awesome.

    Very nice little case and scalable too. I might use this idea to make a coffee table.
    Thanks for the instructable.

    3 replies

    For a coffee table, I would suggest using tempered plate glass. Much stonger, and less apt to break if someone drops something on it. You can usually get this glass from building recyclers (wreckers) when they tear down old store fronts. any glass shop can usually cut it to your needed dimensions at a very reasonable cost.
    I cannot believe there were 6 comments on the contents of the case before anyone even talked about the project!!

    Nice I'ble, I too would want to make a coffe table for memento display.

    That's a good idea (The building wreckers). I was thinking of using acrylic for the safety aspect, but of course it marks easier than glass. Thanks for the tip.

    Thank you. I'm looking forward to seeing your table, please remember to post a picture here.

    From a woodworkers' point of view... Very nice project! Simple, well-thought out. Nice work.

    These two babies look to me like Sharps. The one on the left side, seems to be a PC-1500, the right one seems to be a predecessor of my 1401.
    The 1401 is more of a calculator, with all the math functions on individual keys on the upper right, whereas on the displayed unit, you only find the cursor keys.
    Both units are Basic programmable, the PC1500 has a additional Z80 inside.

    Gentlemen, thanks for trying to guess. Some hints:
    • Click on the [ i ] on the top-left corner of the images and choose maximum resolution: You'll see they're both Sharps! Radio Shack rebranded some Sharps and Casios under the name TRS-80, but not these two.
    • How many character lines do each LCD have? PC-1500 and 1401 have only one.
    • Right, the left one has a Z80, but also an LH5803...

    You're right with the 1401's one character line.
    I used it at school, besides a HP.

    I just found out, that my "PC1500" is actually a PC1600 with 4 character lines.
    I used it as a replacement for a punch-strip reader in a old NC-milling machine. (with quite some assembler code...)

    I still have them, just not in such a nice display case...

    Yep, on the left, the Sharp PC-1600. A quite overkill beast, meant as successor to the PC-1500: two 8-bit CPUs (1 x LH 5803 for machine code compatibility with the PC-1500; and 1 x Z80 as the main CPU); 4 lines of display; one optical serial interface; an analog input line; a 40 pin connector (access to data and address bus); and an incredible choice of peripherals (plotter, diskette drive, video interface, to name a few). But it got no commercial success.

    What role did your PC-1600 play, with the milling machine? BTW I did a lot of assembly code, but with the PC-1500...

    On the right, a PC-1360. Slim, no-frills, with four lines of display, two extension bays. A very elegant little machine. The last one of the super-quality Sharps. The next ones (e.g. PC-E500) were with rubber keys and all-plastic cases.

    The PC1600 was used to connect the quite old cincinnati milling machine's punch tape reader to a Atari via current loop serial interface in a machine shop.
    They used to edit their programs on a teletype with tape reader and puncher, a "modern" matrix printer and a one line display.
    The editing on the Atari was a huge leap in user friendliness in programming there.
    I interfaced the teletype to the Atari first. That way, they were able to transport the programs to the milling machine.
    But the cincinnati was the only machine left, without a serial interface and some storage capacity, so i used the PC1600 for that.

    I've got Sharp like that somewhere. The battery life was excellent, and even after 3 years, it would still start! And my 4 year old son played with it, dropped it, dribbled into it... and it still works... I'm jelly :)


    Very nice looking case. Strangely, I saw this as I was thinking about how I was going to display some RocknRoll stuff my fiancee got me (autographed) so that it could be seen without being open to the elements. Your project looks classy, easy enough (or maybe just really well explained/instructed) and adding a seal/gasket between the two frames would keep out any moisture as well. Unfortunately, I am about to be involved in a move, but when I get to build I will try to post a picture of it for you. Again, great project and very great instructable!

    3 replies

    It might not be a bad idea to use some UV blocking glass either, plus toss in a few of those silica packets you get in shoes and bags.

    You both raised some good points! As it was not intended to store sensitive objects, I never thought about the moisture and UV... Against moisture, you could use polyurethane varnish for the inside (because the wood itself maintains a certain humidity), and add a small bag of dry rice, sugar, or silica granulates.

    Great ideas! I hadn't thought about moisture from the wood and/or already in there. I will have to remember that... also the UV factor. I won't lie and say they are prices... just priceless to me! LOL. Thank you for the suggestions and making me aware of those factors.

    This is very, very nice, and it looks like something even I could do!