Introduction: DIY Transparent Side Panel From a Recycled Monitor!
I saw a really cool video of a PC case called "Snowblind", that had a transparent LCD Screen as a side panel. I was amazed over how cool it was. The only problem was that it was really expensive. Therefore, I tried making my own! In this instructables I will go through how I made it, and how you could make your own. The best of all, since it was made from an old monitor that was thrown away, it was basically free! I just added some LED strips on the inside of the case to get better contrast on the screen. You could probably re-use the monitors backlight, but it's safer and easier to just get some cheap LED strips.
Step 1: Watch the Video!
I made a video documenting the process, please check it out!
Step 2: Get the Parts
Here is a list of parts that I used:
Case: NZXT H510
- Monitor (Dell Ultrasharp 1905FP - 19 inch / 1280 x 1024 / 4:3): Monitor that was thrown away, so I got it for free
Step 3: Dissasemble the Monitor
The first step is to disassemble the monitor. The disassembly is pretty well documented in the video I made. I have also added some pictures so you can see the steps. The steps of disassembling the monitor will not be the same for every monitor, therefore I will not go into detail of every step.
It's just to remove all the screws you see, and pry off the front frame. Be careful with any ribbon cables going to the front frame.
Next, remove the circuit boards, the PSU and the controller.
PS: DO NOT DISASSEMBLE THE MONITOR UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. THE PSU COULD STILL HAVE SOME CHARGE IN THE CAPACITORS THAT MIGHT ELECTROCUTE YOU.
Step 4: Find the Power Connections
You will have to reverse engineer the controller to find the power connections, and solder a new power connector on. This way, you can use the ATX power supply that powers your computer. I used a multimeter, where I had one probe to the ground plane (For example around the mounting screws), and used the other probe to search for 5V or 12V power on the pins coming from the power supply.
I used the Molex connector, because it has both 5V for the LCD controller, and 12V for the LED strip.
Step 5: Modding the LCD Panel
First, remove the frame of the panel. It is fixed with clips, so just bend the frame a little and lift the frame up. Next, separate the front LCD from the backlight. For the next step, you will have to be careful. This step involves removing the anti glare film. It is glued to the panel, and therefore it's easy to break the LCD when trying to remove it.
To remove it place some paper towels on top, and then carefully pour water on it until the towels are soaked. Let it sit for around 24 hours. After 24 hours, try to start pealing the layer from the corner. If it sticks in some places, place a wet paper towel on that space and wait some more.
Then you are done modding the LCD! Now, you can hook it up to the panel and test it. Just be careful with the ribbon cables going from the LCD PCB to the panel.
Step 6: Mounting the LCD Panel and LED Strips to the Glass Side Panel
The side panel of this case fits the LCD perfectly. Just line it up to the side facing the back, and to the top, and use some tape to tape it to the glass. Then, use some vinyl on the outside where the LCD is not covering the glass.
Next, use some double-sided tape to fix the LED strips to the inside of the frame. Then, solder them together in series. You can now solder on a wire and connect them to the 12V line of the Molex connector.
It's really important to have lots of lights inside the case, to make it easier to see the LCD. Therefore, try to fill the case with even more LED strips.
Step 7: Mounting the Controller in the Case
You are now ready to assemble everything. In this case, the controller fit nicely in the hard drive compartment, so I glued it there and fed the ribbon cable through the hole in the inside of the case. That way it was pretty much hidden inside the case.
Now you can carefully mount the side panel back on the computer. You might have to drill a new hole for the thumb screw in the back to make it fit properly.
I used a DVI to HDMI cable that I ran through the bottom of the case, and then into the graphics card.
Step 8: DONE!
You can now power up the computer, open the screen settings and set it up for dual screens. You might have to flip the display 180 degrees too. When you have done that, open Wallpaper Engine and set a wallpaper of choice!
Black and white wallpapers works the best:)
Second Prize in the
Recycled Speed Challenge