Make a beautiful sculptural light piece, easily made with a unused broken monitor.
Step 1: Get a Hold of a Broken Screen.
Ideally you'll be following this Instructable because your screen has broken and now sits there useless, ready for landfill. If you're lucky enough not to have had this problem, then broken screens can be collected quite easily from computer repair shops.
Step 2: Disassemble Your Screen
Make sure you have a small Phillips screwdriver to remove the two small screws in the top corners. Cut any tape that's holing the metal frame onto the plastic to then gently pry the components apart. You should find within an array of different material sheets.
Step 3: Getting Your LEDs to Work
The LEDs will be found tucked away in the top of the metal frame. Remove them carefully - sometimes they're glued in quite well, so you might have to gently prise apart the metal to access them.
Each diode runs at 3.3V, but you need to figure out in which order they are arranged. The diagram shows the two most common ways found. To do so, use an adjustable bench power supply; turn it up to 6V (enough to power 2 diodes) and try the positive terminal of one cell and the negative of the one beside it. If it lights up, then it mean's they're in the same group beside each other, if not, move on to try different output terminals further down the strip. Continue this until you're able to work out how many cells are in each group by increasing the voltage in increments of 3V.
If you're unable to do so, the two total required voltages I found from this project was either 24-27V or 32V, so try the lower one and if that doesn't work, then go for the higher one - at your own risk. The transformer I used was from a broken printer, but you can easily purchase one or probably be able to just acquire one destined for the bin from a computer repair shop again.
With the circuit of the LEDs now figured out, it's time to solder lengths of wire to the connector end in order to power them in the lamp. On the connector, solder your output wire on the chunkier line (red wire usually) being very careful not to burn through the ribbon as it's quite fragile. Using more solder, connect the remaining thinner lined together and apply another wire (usually black) for output.
Cut off the end of your transformer's lead and apply a screw terminal, which will allow you to easily insert the wires from the LEDs.
Step 4: Create the Casing
The penultimate sheet of material in your screen should be a clear, thick piece of plastic. This is what we'll use to make the outer shell.
Measure the piece and work out how you wish your design to be - the segments can be longer and thinner or shorter and squatter. Play around a bit and see what works for you, being sure that it fits within the size of the material.
Once you've decided on the measurements, mark them out on the plastic and use a scalpel to gently start scoring them. Although tedious, it's very important you spend a lot of time patiently scoring the plastic, on both sides as it's quite brittle and can easily break in an undesirable place when you bend it to snap off the pieces.
Hold onto any scraps for the moment.
Step 5: Apply the Films and Assemble the Case.
Once all the plastic segments are cut, find the polarising film (the shiny silvery one) and cut out the shapes of the top segments from it. Repeat this by cutting out the shape of the bottom segments from the opaque sheet.
Glue these pieces onto the plastic backing with super glue - be sure to do this really neatly, with a thin line on the outer ends and small dots in the corner of the inner ends as the films lose their properties and remain transparent where the glue in applied, as shown in the images.
Once all the panels are down, use some general purpose glue (such as UHU) to glue the sides of the panels together to build the form. It's easier to assemble it beforehand with bits of masking tape and glueing the edges between the gaps first. You should end up with a prism-shaped base and top in two parts.
Step 6: Add the Metal Edges.
Using the metal from of the screen, the top and base of the lamp will be made. Cut up four lengths of the slimmer part of the frame, equal to the size of the edges at the top of your lamp. Using pliers, work to bend them in order to create a squared out U profile throughout, which can then be easily glued to the tops of the lamp.
With the base, use the part of the frame with the wider strip and repeat the same action. The wider parts will allow you to place any scrap pieces of clear plastic on top to create a bed for the LEDs.
You can choose whether to glue to the two halves of the lamp together or keep them separate, it should sit quite comfortably on top, but if it's likely to get knocked around, it might be worth doing so.
Turn on the power and enjoy the light show created.