The idea behind this was to create an aesthetically pleasing frame for an old screen that I had lying around. No chance was I going to create a standard boring square frame and hang this on the wall. It has been done before… A few weeks prior to making the surfboard frame I had seen a really nice piece of static wall art with a massive photo framed into a surfboard. It looked unreal and was the inspiration for this surfboard PiFrame.
- Suitable wooden panel approx 18-20mm thick. (I used 1800×600 Panel, 18mm thick)
- An old LCD monitor (Preferably with buttons including power on the bottom or back. not on the front.)
- A Solid wall mount (I used a small VESA mount extendable arm – yes it holds the weight fine….)
- RPI2 with Raspbian installed.
- 5v PSU – (I used good quality Meanwell enclosed PSU)
- HDMI cable
- USB wifi module
- 240v IEC cable – Y cable with two inputs.
For the Initial board, I decided to use the workshop CNC router to speed up the process. The first thing we did was decide upon the shape for the board. The classic thruster shape seemed like the best choice as we could scale it down to fit the 1800×600 wooden panel easily. After drawing up the basic board shape in solid works I moved the drawing over to Aspire. We use Aspire to create our tool paths for the CNC. We then measured the outer edges of the monitor without compensation. The LCD monitor needed to press fit nicely into the wooden panel.
Cutting out the basic template is pretty quick and easy with the CNC router. After we have the basic frame, a quick sand all over using 80grit and 120 grit sandpaper…..then some wet and dry. A base coat of blue paint was applied and a light wash of white. Another quick sand to give it the ‘weathered’ look and a coat of clear varnish have the frame ready to seat the LCD monitor and electronics.
The cut-out for the LCD into the frame was just about perfect and the monitor pressed in nicely, at this stage we didn’t really even need to secure it to the screen as it was a very nice fit. (You may want to affix the frame to the monitor!) Mounting of the hobby enclosure was through 4 x self-tapping screws. Just make sure you do not punch through the front of the frame. The electronics hobby box was a bit of a mash together as you can tell, but if you spend a bit more time on it, I’m sure you can mount everything a bit nicer than what I have.
For the wall mount, we decided that the most flexible option was the LCD monitor swing arm. You need to be careful with the weight on these things, however, after a bit of experimenting, we found that the short arm was perfect and stable enough to hold the weight of the LCD, the frame, and the electronics.
- Raspbian OS on RPi
- Sign Up for an account at DAKboard.com (This is a BETA web configuration I used to display items in the frame)
- Install Chromium web browser on the PI. (A perfect browser for Kiosk mode – see Dakboard.com for install)
I stumbled across a little web site that specializes in turning a monitor into a useful device that is actually aesthetically pleasing. It involves setting up an account and setting the Pi’s web browser to kiosk mode and loading the page in full screen. Once loaded it can show data such as Date, Time, Weather, iCal calendar entries, and link to dropbox or Flikr to display HD background photos. Not a bad setup, but I stress that it is in BETA and has a few bugs. I believe there are other projects floating about that can do similar. (Post them in the comments, I’m keen to explore other possibilities.)
Let me know if you want a detailed article on all the installation steps including the step-by-step install of the software. Please comment below.