Introduction: Make Your Own (kind Of) Transparent Display
Transparent displays are an extremely cool technology that makes everything feel like the future. However there are a few draw backs. First, there just aren't that many options available. And second, because they're typically OLED displays, they can't make black graphics.
This tutorial will walk you through hacking together a mostly transparent display out of an LCD. If you've seen a true transparent display, this hack may not live up to your expectations, but it's still pretty cool.
The image in this section is a photo of the final product (on the right) and the transparent OLED display carried here at Crystalfontz.
- A display to make transparent (we used the CFAG12864U3-NFH)
- Polarizer significantly larger than your display
- Exacto knife
- Whatever you need to bring up your display:
- Breakout board
Step 1: Remove Back Polarizer
Using the exacto knife, get between the back polarizer and the display and pull the transflective polarizer off of the display. Unlike our pictured engineer, you should wear some hand protection to keep your fingers safe.
Step 2: Clean Your Display
Clean off your display to remove any dust so it doesn't get trapped under the polarizer.
Step 3: Procure a Second Polarizer
We harvested a second polarizer off a junk TFT. It's important that this polarizer is significantly larger than the newly transparent display. If you have another source for polarizer, that'll work too!
Step 4: Determine the Best Angle for the Polarizer
Rotate the display relative to the polarizer until you find the optimal transparency. This is why it's important to use a larger polarizer so the polarizer can accommodate the display at any angle.
Step 5: Press the Polarizer Onto the Display
If you harvested a polarizer from an existing display it already has adhesive on it and you can simply carefully adhere it to the display. Take care while applying the polarizer or bubbles will form between the display and the polarizer.
Step 6: Cut Away the Excess Polarizer
Using the x-acto knife cut along the edge of the display. Again, using some safety precautions during this step is recommended.
When cutting the polarizer near the tail, be aware that there are traces connecting the tail to the display and cutting these traces will ruin your display.
Step 7: Wire Up Your Display
Connect your display per its datasheet and marvel in its translucency!