Introduction: Mount a 2nd Display Into Your Desk

Picture of Mount a 2nd Display Into Your Desk

I always wanted to have a secondary desktop to manage all open windows and programs at one time.
But my table is too small (and most time too crowded) for two monitors standing around.
So i thought, having a display embedded flat to my desk, would be comfortable.

This is not a very detailed instructable, because i couldnt take enough and good pictures with my crappy webcam. In addition, every TFT monitor is constructed in a different way, so it wouldn't make much sense to show in detail how i fiddled around with the one i have used.

The idea is not new and it would be better if it was a touchscreen,
but it's much fun using it and was not expensive.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

At first i desided where the embedded screen should be placed and how big the tft has to be.
15" and a position between the keybord and the edge of the table seemed to be good.

Then i ordered the cheapest but working 15" TFT display i could find at ebay: An EIZO L350.
It is used, some years old and only analog, exactly what i needed, because my graphic card just takes one digital and one analog monitor.

I also bought a 28,5x36cm and 0,5cm thick Windowpane (usual glass)
and black silicone.

And i needed black insulating tape, some screws and attachments made of metal.

Step 2: Disamble the Monitor

Picture of Disamble the Monitor

Remove the stand and take apart the platic hull of the TFT.

Now the monitor is naked and you measure how big the hole in the desk has to be.

Step 3: Preparing the Metallic Housing

Picture of Preparing the Metallic Housing

Because some parts of the metal would reach into the table, i cut some of them a bit smaller.
Don't have detailed pictures, but this step would be different with every other kind of monitor.

To make the framework even and as one surface, i added some fitting polystyrene around the display.

Then i covered the whole framework with black tape.

Step 4: Preparing the Table

Picture of Preparing the Table

Now, saw out the hole just big enough to hold the modulated monitor.

I took the chance of a clean desk by giving my table a fresh glossy painting.

Step 5: Mounting the TFT

Picture of Mounting the TFT

To hold the monitor in position, is attached several pieces of metallic punched tape.

These are mountet to the table by screws and nuts.

Now its time to place the glass, it leaves a 1mm joint to the wood.

You can lower and higher the Display by turning the nuts.
So you lift the screen right in position.
I left the display exactly 0,5cm below the tables surface, because my glass plane needed that room.

I covered the backside of the monitor with a part of the original case.

And i mountet the display's adjustment buttons beside and the power button under the desk.

Step 6: Making It Waterproof

Picture of Making It Waterproof

Finally, the little groove between the glass plane and the table has to be filled.
I recommend black silicone, because it's waterproof and elastic.
(Unfortunately, i took the wrong material, which is black but not even and flat, when it's harden.)

Step 7: Enjoy Your New Workstation

Picture of Enjoy Your New Workstation

You're done!

While working on this, i worried about the viewing angle and if this would be ergonomic and economic at all.
But the result blasts away every second thought.
There ar many advantages of having a screen in your table.
And because the screen and the table are even, you still can use your desk in a regular way.
Or also use it as a light box for photo slide, to copy digital images by hand, or just as a animated glowing desk pad.

(to manage two or more desktops in Windows, i recommend the software ULTRAMON. You can set different Wallpapers and screensavers, arange programs permanently to a display and do much more)

Now can anyone sponsor me with a touchscreen display?

Comments

carrek123 (author)2016-10-18

Is there anywhere you can buy something similar to this online? I ask this because I'm building something similar to sell.

batvanio (author)2016-01-22

dexpotalso keep in good program supports more than one monitor and up to 20 virtual desktop each with their own icons, background picture, its own resolution and screensavers.

PS:

If you've used an old CRT screen You can use the light pen so that they become something like touch. Before so they worked when there was no touchscreens.

dzerener (author)2011-08-25

I'm interested in this...I just got a Dual-monitor system working using display fusion and my laptop but you were saying you could have more than 3? That sounds awesome. Having a multi-touch monitor embedded into the table with an array of monitors around that. Sounds like something from Batman or Iron Man. I would like to do something like this one day. Keep up the good work. :)

nigel_g (author)2009-04-20

I really like this! This might sound dumb though, but When you cut the hole out of the table, how did you do it so nicely? whats your secret.

ffsman (author)nigel_g2011-04-15

when you are cutting the hole, cut it around 1 cm (0.5" in) smaller, and then sand all the edges till you are satisfied with the size and the look of the hole!

the_prototype (author)2011-01-06

If you make a Multitouch out of that, you would absolutly have the most awesome desk evaa :D

BTW I found out how to use the "IR/Camera"-Multitouch (the one all the surfaces are using) with any LCD...
I will make a Instructables when finished experimenting and testing everything ^^

the_burrito_master (author)2010-10-18

This is nice! But i don't think I would like to do it because i like to have the keyboard within 7 inches from the edge of the desk.

Now if i had a 2 part keyboard and put one on each side of the monitor that's a different story ,man that would be sweet.

musick_08 (author)2010-05-02

This is awesome! im in the process of making a table with a monitor build in but i couldn't figure out how to keep it in place. thanks, this helps a lot!  Ive actually modded the 2nd display im putting in into a multitouch screen :D

krozzbeatz (author)2009-04-18

damn... god job man!! i use reason too... this idea really useful for me!!

jonnybeats (author)krozzbeatz2009-08-21

I use reason alot and this actually looks quite useful! Everything is right where you need it!

cyrozap (author)jonnybeats2010-03-03

are you two related? I'm looking at your usernames...

jonnybeats (author)cyrozap2010-03-03

No... Actually I only just realised that!

cyrozap (author)jonnybeats2010-03-03

lol. I was just kidding, but I thought it was an interesting coincidence.

PSPerson (author)2009-10-05

wii remote touchscreen would be a good idea to mount above it.

KWHCoaster (author)2009-02-01

Nice!! Getting a light table for free by displaying an all-white image is a nice bonus.

I've been wanting to put a computer & monitor at my workbench / drawing table and had been thinking off hanging it on the pegboard. But, I really like the idea of looking down at my reference pictures while sketching rather then continually looking up from my work to a monitor.

If you used Johnny Lee's "whiteboard" Wii Remote project, ( http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/ ) you could effectively turn the LCD into a touch screen for $45 + an IR LED pen + Bluetooth adapter and only use a wireless mouse when more precision is needed.

Off to my drawing board to plan my adaption.

FreshPineSent (author)2008-10-09

*applauds*

fatrickuk (author)2008-03-31

Very cool instructable. It's very practical for musician and some photographers. Rating +1

mrmath (author)2007-07-10

Now if you could only find a way to make a clear, touch sensitive overlay to put over your new "desktop". That would be sweet!

chadoliver (author)mrmath2008-01-24

What would be cool is a multitouch setup - see nuigroup.com. The only problem is that they can get quite thick: they use a webcam looking up at the desktop from below to see your fingers, so obviously fisheye lenses + more webcams = a thinner device. Lcds are admittedly experimental (they usually project the image) but I think they have got them working.

So much better that simgle touch - and actually quite cheap.

imvain2 (author)2007-09-15

Just came across this. I noticed the comments about a touch screen and remembered I saw an addon touch screen USB adapter, its kind of expensive though depending on the monitor type and size.

http://www.magictouch.com/

Kauz (author)imvain22007-09-21

i also came across that page, touchpanels are hard to find! But having such a plate on your table could be annoying beacause it would react every time you lay down your arms or something. And you shouldn't cut paper on it, which i do often.

zyon (author)2007-07-28

take a picture of the desk before knocking out the monitor area and use it as wallpaper. at a glance, it would look like unmodified desk.

lactoso (author)zyon2007-09-20

Ha!! Awesome idea! Lots of possibilities there. Have one of those AfterDark type screensavers with a cockroach crawling around or have a moving coffee ring stain.

Kauz (author)lactoso2007-09-21

I use Animated Water Screensaver, which simulates waves and rings by clicking and moving the mouse. Unfortunately Ultramon does not support this and other 3d screensavers for the second Desktop alone. But right now, i am builing a couchtable-pc with an integrated 10inch touchscreen, that will be the best System for this kind of application, 'cause then you can really 'touch' the water surface:)

stevoIution (author)2007-07-11

Would be awesome for top-down games and pen tablet drawing.

servant74 (author)stevoIution2007-09-15

If you really wanted to hack at it :) ... check out OLD Byte magazines (1970's when CGA was new). A light pen was made from an LCD and a switch. When the switch was touched, the display went blank and a single 'dot' was scanned across the screen to find where the pen was. ... slow but it worked. I wondered if it could be done using a binary search pattern to really cut down the time. ... Hmmm.

lactoso (author)servant742007-09-20

Servant74 - CGA wasn't introduced until 1981 or 82. I think I have my BYTE mags from that time, I'll have to check for that article.

Williz (author)2007-07-10

Surly just get clear acrylic sheet cut down to size attach to front of monitor and then mount in desk somehow? Not really too hard when I say but if I tried probably would be lol.

Kauz (author)Williz2007-07-10

just adding acrylic sheet in stead of glass wouldn't make an usual display become a touchscreen. Or did i get you wrong?

Williz (author)Kauz2007-07-10

I wasn't talking about making it touchscreen just having it as normal lol. but yeah if it was made touchscreen would be awesome.

Kauz (author)Williz2007-07-10

ok, right, i mixed up mrmath's comment and yours. But acryl isn't hard enough. So you could scratch it accidentally and it would bend if you put something heavy (like your elbow or a hot teacan) on it. so i chose 5mm glass. And yeah, touchscreen would be the final goal, but these are so expensive...

Williz (author)Kauz2007-07-10

True and lol depends what thickness of acrylic but yeah I suppose glass would be better for clarity also.

servant74 (author)Williz2007-09-15

The best for safety and clearness would be to take your dimensions for the entire desk top, to a local glass company (not Home Depot, et al) and have them make you a tempered glass desk top. Not cheap, but would look great and would not scratch easily. ... I was just brainstorming, and the storm brought me the idea of concrete. If you display had a tempered glass front, make a poured black concrete desk top, poured in place (a inch or so thick). They make counters for Kitchens that way some times. .... interesting ... just a thought.

Demonic_Crow (author)2007-07-11

Ok, I'm new with these double monitar stuff. I was wondering what exactly does your computer need to hook up 2 or more (if you can) monitors up. So you can have like separate windows screen on both. Using the same mouse and keyboard. Thanks

servant74 (author)Demonic_Crow2007-09-15

You could also put in a second display card. You might have to play with BIOS settings too. My boss has a 5 monitor Linux system (UBUNTU distribution, was on Mandriva) with one display card. Once the settings got right, it works great. I have used several monitors before. You figure out what to do with them, I can assure you of that :) ... My boss has a tall set of shelves behind his desk making a monitor wall. I have used them across my desk, in a row. I have thought a couple of monitors plus a projector as another display would be nice at times.

Kauz (author)Demonic_Crow2007-07-11

your graphic card has to support dualscreen, but most of them do that. You use the same mouse and keyboard for all monitors, as they act like one Windows Desktop, just bigger and divided into several screens.

NikonDork (author)2007-07-10

This would actually be a useful installation in a kitchen counter-top - with a nicely sealed pane of scratch-resistant glass. Maybe installed into a counter-top with a shallow drawer underneath that could be modded into a keyboard/mouse tray. Also Glass is 100% the way to go in an application like this. Working with all different kinds of materials at work - (Wood, Metal, Plastic, Glass) has taught me if you have to cover something that is constantly getting used/abused/touched and still have to see clearly whats underneath, glass is what you want to use. Plastic scratches very easily. Lexan and Acrylics will eventually haze from anything even routine cleaning with windex and a paper towel.

robomaniac (author)2007-07-10

Hey Kauz, That is a nice idea but not for me! I got WAY to much electronics JUNK on my desk! I can not even lay my arm on my desk to type on my keyboard :P Jerome