Introduction: Touch Screen Smart Coffee Table Tablet
This is a project I have had in my mind for years. I saw a large touch screen version of Fruit Ninja at an arcade recently and thought it was something I definitely needed to make. I came across some instructable articles also and I decided to finally give it a shot. My kids also use ABC Mouse online a lot, which is easily used with a touchscreen. So I figured I would make a large table in my living room for family usage. I was torn between using a 32" screen and a 40". I finally settled on the 40" when I found an inexpensive refurbished tv on Groupon. I then found a touchscreen overlay online and figured this would be an affordable project. I already had a computer to use with the system but probably could have gotten away with a stick pc for basic operations. However, more intense games would definitely need a faster processor.
When I started planning out the table, my 6 year old said that the table needed to lift up. So I figured I had to ad that feature, which I think made my table unique and different from the other tables here on instructables. So here are my steps for making my table.
5.5" x 0.75" Select pine
3.5" x 0.75" Select pine
Step 1: Table Top Constuction
I started by making the top first. I cut the 5.5" wide pieces to the size of the monitor and taped it together to get a good sense of the size and cut.
I made 45 degree cuts on the ends and assembled it like a picture frame. I am not an experienced wood worker and in hindsight I think it might have been more sturdy if I would have made straight cuts. I am not too sure, but if I were to make another table in the future I might try the other way.
I routed a little more than .5" off of the inner lip of the top so that the tv and touchscreen overlay would sit closer to the top of the table. It also gives a nice pocket for the screen to sit in when the table is elevated.
Next, I made the tv support using 1.5" pieces of wood, L brackets, screws and wing nuts. This way I am able to remove the tv as needed for repairs or upgrades.
Step 2: Table Base Construction
The base was made using the 5.5" boards for the main support and the 3.5" boards for the legs. I used a jig to make angled holes for the screws which I think worked well for base support. After making the base, I added the legs and left 1" of space from the top of the base to fit the top when it sits on it.
Step 3: Wood Stain
For the coating, I used Varathane Stain + Poly light walnut. This shade matched my entertainment in the livingroom and I was pretty happy with it. It definitely needed multiple coats. The second coat seemed to make a lot of difference. I let the stain dry overnight before I began assembly.
Step 4: Assembly
I attached the top to the base using the 60 pound torsion hinges. These did a pretty good job holding up the top and making it stay upright. Unfortunately I have little kids who love to push on this, especially the screen, and so the top would naturally come down. So I added the soft close lid stays which helped. For future builds, I would probably look into hydraulic lifts or some sort of motorized lift. For now I use a stick to keep it in place against the pressure of 3 overly excited boys hitting the screen.
I used L brackets to add support to the corners of the top since it takes the bulk of the stress when it is being lifted.
When I installed the tv, I placed a thin piece of acrylic in between the touchscreen overlay and the tv screen using double stick tape. This protects the tv screen and also protects against spills. It cleans off easily with wipes and paper towels.
Step 5: Configuration
For the PC, I originally used an old Toshiba I5 laptop I had. The system initially worked great, but the laptop had overheating issues so I swapped it out with a refurbished Dell Optiplex I7.
I am running Windows 10 Pro on a i7 2.8ghz processor with 8GB RAM. I loaded Bluestacks on the PC and was able to run most of my android apps on it as well.
I attached the tv remote with Velcro on the side leg. The pc is always running and pushing power on the remote when it is attached to the leg triggers the ir receiver on the tv. I also attached a USB-UIRT and loaded my TV, Stereo and XBox remote control functions into the Eventghost software. On my Windows home screen, I created buttons to turn on my entertainment unit and house lights (using zwave switches and a Micasa Verde hub.)
Here is a link to how I made the Zwave and IR buttons on the Start screen.
Step 6: Upgrades
My wires got a little crazy as I kept adding different components to allow my table to do more. I am looking into replacing and shortening some of the wires, now that I know how much to get.
Once I swapped out the PC I used the HDMI and the DVI out and ran one to the table tv and the other to my main livingroom tv. I loaded the KODI movie database software and can send videos on my tablet table to the big screen as well. This was a great addition as it allowed my kids to easily select their favorite programs and play them on the big tv or my projector (which is coming soon).
Step 7: Final Costs
So someone asked me in the questions below, how much this project costs. So I figured I would post the answer here as well.
I made several different upgrades and changes during the process. So here are two prices. A full break down of my actual costs and a rebuild cost (if I were to make it again knowing what I learned the first time.)
Overlay $250 (for 20 point touch, could save $ by using a 10 point touch)
40" tv $235 (refurbished Samsung, I was considering a 32")
Computer $0 (I already had one)
Wifi adapter $25 (pc didn't have one installed)
USB speakers $10 (Amazon speakers, could save $ by using tv speakers)
Wood $110 (2 trips back to home depot for redesign)
Wood stain $40 (bought 2 cans, wasn't happy with the first color I bought)
Power strip $10 Cables $0 (Already had cables lying around)
Keyboard $0 (already had one)
Torsion hinges x2 $40 (next time would probably add a 3rd hinge)
Soft close hinge $40 (not sure how much these helped)
Total project $760
Project if built from scratch (Rebuild)
Overlay $120 (10 point)
40" tv $235 (refurbished Samsung)
Computer $120 (PC stick works, I tried it on a smaller test system)
Wifi adapter $0 (comes with PC stick)
Speakers $0 (The tv speakers sound pretty good using HDMI)
Wood $50 (Better planning on design)
Wood stain $20 (Apparently you can buy samples at Home Depot)
Power strip $10 Cables $6 (HDMI)
Keyboard $30 (Logitech Wireless, could always buy a cheaper one, but these are my favorite)
Torsion hinges x3 $60
Total project $651
So as you can see my costs weren't that far off. My original goal was to spend around $5-600, but due to a couple of unforeseen changes it went up a little. Still, anything under $800 for a build like this is a reasonable price since something like this costs around $2000 on the commercial market. I am tempted to build a smaller 32" version that doesn't lift up. My guess is it would cost me around $550. Most expensive part being the tv.