Intro: LCD Coffee Table
- Stream anything from Mac OS or iOS with an Apple TV! (Airplay mirroring)
- Use it as a fully functioning PC! (with a bluetoothkeyboard and mouse)
- Control your table from your tablet or phone! (with LogMeIn)
- Turn things on or off using an app on your phone or a small remote! (with Belkin WeMo or a remote power strip)
I have always wanted to do this, and when I got a 27 inch monitor for cheap, I decided to browse YouTube for some ideas. ( http://youtu.be/SxvrpkABloY?t=9s ) The best one I found I decided to build, and here is the result!
*EDITOR NOTE*: I got the glass cut finally and have posted the finished project! :D
I've got a lot of comments on my photos, be sure the check them all out!
Step 1: Disassemble LCD and Grab Some Wood There Bub...
Careful when taking apart any TV or LCD panel!! I cannot stress this enough! Disassemble the plastic housing around the TV or LCD panel. Don't worry if you need to chip the plastic or break some buttons, just make sure that you don't have to fiddle with a remote or pressing of any buttons to get the TV or LCD to recognize your input device. Min was a TV, so I tested hooking up a PC, a Mac, and an Apple TV to test the three ports (HDMI, VGA, and DVI) to make sure I didn't have to fiddle with any buttons for the TV to turn on and recognize my source.
If you can't get around the pushing of a button to turn something on, think about a switch. I suggest using the wireless Belkin Switch Memo for ease of use and price. ( http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Automation-Switch-Apple-iPhone/dp/B0089WFPRO )
Once the TV or LCD panel has been disassembled, think about getting a plank of wood. My parents had this piece sitting around, but if you are getting a piece from Lowe's or Home Depot, think about the thickness of the wood, the finish, and the durability. We're going to be using screws for the assembly, and you don't want something cracking or splitting. Also think about the finished look, do you want to keep it fresh or stain it? Paint it maybe? Think about it before you buy.
Next, think about the wood. My parents had this piece laying around, but if you're going to buy a slab, think about the thickness, the finish, and the quality of the wood. Remember, we're using screws, we don't want to split the wood. Think about the finish. Do you want to paint it? Stain it? Keep it fresh looking? Also, take into account the kerf, or the thickness of the blade, when you cut. Get a pice of wood with some extra length, don' get it exactly the right dimensions. Cutting wood to the same dimensions -> ( link )
Step 2: Pop in the LCD Panel...
When you've cut your pieces of wood, assemble them together with four screws on each side. I countersunk mine by drilling partway into the wood with a larger bit, puling out, then screwing in my screw. You'll see why later.
After the box is put together, you can flip it over, plop down the LCD on a flat and smooth surface, and screw in the ledges for the LCD to hang on to. See the photos for an idea. Yours will be slightly different, but the same general idea.
At this point you can simply put some glass on top with some rubber stoppers, make another ledge for a PC laptop, grab a bluetooth mouse and keyboard and be done! I chose to go further though. Continue on to the next step to see more.
Step 3: Adding Some Flair...
So you've got this far! Congrats! Now lets put some flair on it...
The edges. This coffee table has to have something to focus its attention to the center. The gray edges don't do that. I went to Lowes to find something to cover it. I found the perfect solution! Trimquick Deepscore ( link ) Basically its the plastic trim that goes around windows. It has a very adhesive side and is easily trim able with a razor blade. Very cheap too!
After painting the plastic black, I cut the edges 45 degrees and painted again. The finished result is amazing!
But thats not all... We're going to make it wider...
Step 4: Making It a Real Table...
Making it wider is simple. 45 degree cuts from the same type of wood. Make sure to get as accurate as you can with the cuts. We filled in our mistakes with putty and it's not so bad.
For attaching them, we used six L brackets. Can't see them from the top or sides, so it works out very well. Cheap too.
When fitting it all together, the corners are going to fit close, but maybe not perfect. Use some wood putty to fill in the gaps, then sand it out to get it smooth. The putty dries fast, so jam it in, and use a putty knife to scrape off excess. Sand off the excess and just all the edges in general.
To keep the corners together, we used the extra triangles from the 45 degree cuts and screwed them in underneath. Check the photos to get an idea.
(There are 13 images, make sure you click Show all 13 images to see them)
Step 5: Finishing Touches!
Ah, the end. It was fun. Staining it is fast and easy. Pick a nice color and test it on some spare wood to try it out before taking the plunge. Tape off the LCD panel and the trim before you stain. Polyurethane coat the stain after it's dried.
Call up a local glass shop and get a piece of 3/8 inch glass to put over the top with 4 or 8 rubber spacers and you are finished my friend! I got my glass for about 45 bucks.
For extra effect, I added a LED light right underneath the edge of the table and roped the excess back inside to give it an underglow.
Get any laptop and speakers and hook up that bad boy to the LCD ad you're ready to rock! For cable management and heat, make sure you lift up the bottom four corners with wheels or books to let air in and space for the power cables. Get a power strip and route it inside the box for maximum cable hiding efficiency.
Have fun! Add some cool underglow lighting or subwoofer! Put a media center PC in it! Do what you will! Post in the comments your version!
Special thanks to my parents for the help and Modder420 from Chocolate City Customs for the inspiration ( link )
Step 6: Configuring Your Computer... You Should Call This a Gob, Guy!
So even though this concept of putting a computer in a box and placing glass over it isn't a new idea, I made it different in that I added some extra flair to it such as the remote control power strip, the under glow lights, and the extended overhang to make it appear as a regular coffee table. It's an ongoing project and I'll be adding and perfecting things as things progress. Check out some photos of the mounting of the computer. I decided to go with the free computer I was given. It was a good price and a small ATX form factor. I zip tied and routed some cables out of the way, but its difficult to do this stuff upside down or leaning into the table. I screwed the motherboard directly into the wood, although there might be a better way to do it. (Thanks for the comment about grounding the screws) I left some wiggle room so there isn't anything getting too hot to burn the wood.
Using a laptop would be better, even better would be to use an Apple TV and stream your Mac to it, but alas, I wanted a full computer that I could run MAME emulation.
I drilled some triangles I had left over to the corners of the table to lift it up for heat escaping. The first triangle was drilled to the bottom leg corner, then the second triangle was screwed to the first. After it's stained and sanded, it looks pretty good.
Bluetooth and WiFi are the only things really needed for this. Logmein.com is a free site that lets you control everything remotely from any iOS device or computer. You can even install a program that allows you to use your phone or tablet as a mouse and keyboard.Another thing thats recommended is changing the bios to start up after a power outage and no prompting if there isn't a keyboard attached.
If for some reason you don't have the auto power on after power outage as an option, you should have the power button routed someplace easily accessible. I will only be using the power button, but if I want the computer to start up as everything else does, I can change it later in the bios.
- Have fun and show me what you can do! -