The Magik Porthole




Introduction: The Magik Porthole

A couple of weeks a ago I found an amazing project. Short movies of mathematic fractals made by Julius Horsthuis,

The idea was born to build a "porthole" that acts as a view into an other dimension.

For this project I used:

  • Raspberry Pi Zero / W
  • 8 GByte Micro SD card
  • An old 15´´ TFT - Monitor with 12V power supply
  • Step down voltage regulator
  • 2 push buttons
  • HDMI to VGA converter
  • USB drive for the video(s)
  • Some pieces of wood or MDF
  • Some decoration materials
  • Some screws
  • Some different sorts of paint

Tools needed:


Step 1: Building the Front Panel

The front panel is made of MDF.

I used my milling machine to cut the outer ring.

Than the hole was cut and profiled.

For decoration purposes I drilled 8 holes to mount some nuts.

MDF is a bit "thirsty" so I painted the ring three times with filler.

The outer pats of the front panel will be painted with stain so I leaved them raw.

Step 2: The Ring

The Ring was painted with brass paint.

After this the nuts where mounted with some 8mm screws from the back.

The monitor was adjusted to the center of the front panel.

Step 3: The Frame, the Raspberry and the Cabling

I glued a frame from 5mm MDF an glued it to the back of the front panel.

Some mount points for the TFT monitor are glued down as well. This is an individual part. The size if the frame and the mount points must follow the dimensions f your TFT.

The cabling is simple. I drained 12V from the connector of the TFT monitor and used a regulator to decrees the 12V down to 5V for the Raspberry Pi.

Step 4: Installing the Software

First flash your SD - card with the Raspbian Stretch Lite a minimal image based on Debian Stretch.

I am using Etcher for this. The program is easy to use and save to operate.

Before you remove the SD - card from your computer you have to copy two text files to the root of the BOOT partition of the card.

An empty file named:


this file will enable ssh on the first startup.

A file named:


That contains the following text:



scan_ssid=1 }

Please adjust the ssid and psk with your credentials.

This will connect the Raspberry Pi to you WLAN.

After this use PUTTY or something similar to make a connection to your raspberry.

If the connection was established run:

sudo raspi-config

and adjust the name of the pi, resolution etc.

After this install the software video looper:

You can follow theses instructions or use the instructions from the linked website of Adafruit:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y git

git clone

cd pi_video_looper

sudo ./

Reboot the Raspberry Pi.

After reboot the Pi will prompt you for an USB drive containing some films.

MP4 will be fine.

The Power Down Button:

To power down the RasPi safely it is necessary to install a tiny script.

Please follow the instructions from this website:

OK! you are down! But.....


what about the videos...

Step 5: The Videos

I downloaded some videos from:

and joined them together to one big movie.

Or you can download some videos from the web and build an aquarium :-)

Even normal movies are looking nice on that round TFT design. :-)

Have fun everybody!

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    4 years ago

    This is rad. Thanks for sharing.


    4 years ago

    That is awesome. I want one. Right above my bed.