picture frame pc

dualblade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 19, 2000
Messages
4,180
about 2 years ago, i thought of the idea for a picture frame pc when my grandparents had complained that they never get to see our photos anymore. i take pictures, and so do my sister and my cousins, but they often stay in digital format and rarely get printed out. it occured to me that if i found a way to stick a laptop in a picture frame, i could give my grandparents a way to display all the fun stuff we've done as a family. i'd give it wireless networking, so my grandparents could transfer the pictures from their laptop to the frame, and then just use a wireless bluetooth mouse to start a slideshow or open a picture full screen.

fast forward a bit, and it was time for my firm to get rid of a few laptops. there was a machine that wasn't really useful as a laptop anymore (wouldn't charge batteries, keyboard was broken, cd drive was broken, a few other little things wrong with it), so i got to take it home for free (along with a few other machines - my firm's pretty generous). i used the junk laptop and made the picture frame pc for my grandparents. it came out so well and was so well received, that i recently decided to make another one with another half-a-laptop. i didn't take pictures of the first one, but before this one gets to my cousin i figured i'd take a couple of shots for those interested.

the art:
art.jpg


and the science:
science.jpg


i'll post later with a bit of a how i did it, although it might be obvious from the pictures. the parts were really cheap: $25 for everything (not including source laptop of course)
 

epikz

Bad Trader
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Messages
221
you might want to cut holes for power button/ usb/ ethernet whatever, it would look nice
 

dualblade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 19, 2000
Messages
4,180
actually, i'm trying to keep this as un-pc looking as possible. you can see the power switch that i modded in on the left side of the second pic. i'm just going to run a cable from the back of the pc to a usb hub for usb ports. i don't want to have anything technology wise showing from the front. this computer will be using wireless networking, although the network cable would be behind the desk anyway so i don't really need to cut a hole for it. you can see the network and modem ports on the bottom right

one of my gripes with alot of "living room" projects (ones made out of wood, or even just to blend into nice asthetics, is that often holes are cut for pc parts. nothing ruins a nicely stained wood project like cutting a huge hole for a 5.25" inch drive and putting in a drive with an ugly plastic front. i know that's not what you guys were suggesting here, but my point is that i like to keep these type of projects looking like art. i've gotten alot of good comments on it from family and friends - people who couldn't give a damn about pc's in general but really want one of these.

one thing i realized is that no matter how nice pc cases get (and i have a few nice ones), they still look like pc's. if you think of any futuristic show or movie you've seen, you see screens everywhere but never the computer case. that's because ultimately no one wants to see components. the reason my simple $25 3 hour project is so appealing to people is that the display looks really nice but on the outside it's just a pictureframe - an object that blends well with it's surroundings. it looks perfectly natural just sitting on top of a desk. this will likely be the first of many mods where i hide technology inside otherwise common surroundings. i'll call it my chameleon line of technology.

for my next project, i was considering mounting my 27" flat screen (my main monitor) on the underside of my desk surface, and putting a hinge on the desk so the screen can pop up as necessary. this would give me a large working area for when i need to work with books and paper (schoolwork), but transform into my computer center when i need it to
 

Jawadali

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 2, 2003
Messages
1,417
Nice mod! The work (especially on the front) looks real clean too.

I was planning a similar project for my college PC. Since the desks are usually really small, and since I have a semi-broken laptop (hinges broken, a few keys not working, busted floppy, etc.), I was thinking that I could make a "flat" PC what would be able to sit flush against the wall so as to minimize desk space.

I thought of using it in conjunction with a wireless keyboard and mouse set that I could move off the desk when needed.

I may bug you with a question or two when I get around to doing this (if that's ok with you).
 

Arcygenical

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
25,068
The major problems I had doing this were:

The power cable and the Ethernet Port...

I added a wireless card to solve the ethernet port (the frame doubles as an awesome itunes server now :D). The power cord really ruins the effect IMO...
 

3one5

Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
579
I'm thinking it would be cool if the PC just grabbed the photos from a folder on the internet. That way you could constantly update it with new pictures. Either that or you could set it up so you could remote into it and do the same. Great idea though!

What would be cool is to link up the entire family with linked frames!
 

Nivram

Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
586
One question--have you considered closing up the back side a bit with a wooden box? Seems a shame that with that super-clean front, that the back looks just like what it is.....a cobbled together project. Please believe me that I'm not dissing your work, as you've done a fantastic job putting it together and making it work, but I think if you made the back look as good as the front, you'd like it that much more. :)

Besides which, if the back is prettied up, you could hang it on the wall and/or set it on a table in the middle of the room, where folks could see the back. Great work, tho! :D
 

SC385

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 14, 2004
Messages
1,333
man, I am loving this thing. But i dont think i want to rip up my laptop for it since it still has it uses.
 
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