A smart mirror can show your calendar, weather and news as something from a sci-fi movie.
Beautiful, configurable and custom built
Powered by a Raspberry Pi, you can build your own with some simple tools and hardware. Smart mirrors have been around for a while, and the most prominent version comes from Michael Teeuw. The idea is quite simple; you should build a frame and a box. Inside the box, place one-way glass (often seen on TV in police drums), a monitor, a Raspberry Pi and the cables needed to operate your installation. Michael and other contributors have created an open-source Magic Mirror platform that you can install. Once installed, you can customize it to view calendar, weather, news and more. The software installation is simple. It only requires a series of code.
The harder parts create the frame box, set the Raspberry Pi and then customize the software to display your desired information. But even someone with little or no experience of woodworking and code can build this DIY project with a little patience for a weekend or two. The longest parts are passive, like waiting for glue and stain to dry. You spend about three to five hours working actively on the frame and installing the software.
And we show you exactly how.
The materials you need
Depending on what you already have, this project can be either cheap or expensive. If you bought each item in the following list, you would spend around $ 700. But because we had everything in hand except glass and wood, we spent only $ 140. And remember that you don't have to buy the tools. If you have a friend who owns some, ask if you can borrow them.
To get started, you need the following:
- A monitor: preferably at least 24 inches and one you don't care about losing. Slightly thinner and lighter is better, but this screen of Scepter would work. You must remove the stand. It is also helpful (but not necessary) to remove the frame from the monitor.
- Two-way glass: Your glass should be slightly larger than the monitor's dimensions. The product we linked to Amazon is a generic size, but we were lucky enough to order from a local glass supplier.
- A Raspberry Pi 3
- A Raspberry Pi Case
- Wood Paint or Color
- Polyurethane (on dyeing)
- Wood Filler (on dyeing, get speckled wood filler)
- Sandpaper in 80, 120 and 220 grit (omit 220 if you choose to paint)
- A miter saw (or handsaw and protractor) 19659014] Cable ties
- Cable ties
- Short wooden screws
- Tape measure
- Tape measure
- ruler or other straight edge. Nylon strap
- A screwdriver
- Heavy frame hooks (if hanging)
- Ear, eye and respiratory protection. Add a steam filter if you apply polyurethane without ventilation.
- Wood to build frame and box: We recommend hardwood like Maple or Walnut at least one inch thick. You also want something thin like plywood to make the back of the box if you don't hang the frame. How much wood and how big depends on your monitor (see more when building the frame.)
For a more simple building, we have some advanced options. These are not necessary, but they will help:
Building the frame
To begin with, make a basic frame (like the one you can find hanging on your wall). Then add a simple box to hold the mirror, monitor, Raspberry Pi and wiring. When finished, the structure may resemble a very thorough medicine cabinet.
Dissasembling the Monitor
The first step to building your frame begins with your monitor. The size of your monitor determines the size of your glass and the length and width of the wood you need. If you plan to remove the frame from your monitor, you want to do it now. Each monitor is different, so we cannot give exact instructions here. You will want to search for seams along the edge to pry apart, and every step of the way tries to be gentle. You should have something like this when you are done:
Determination of wood size
After removing the frame (or skipping that step), measure the screen length and width inside the edges of the screen. Measure either along the metal frame on the inside or the frame's inner edge if you did not take it apart.
Write them down, and double the numbers. The last number is the total length of wood you need. For example, the width of this monitor is 11 and a half inches and the length is 19 and a half inches. Dual means 23 inches and 48 inches of wood respectively. It is best to buy at least a few inches than you need to find pieces and mistakes.
Next, to determine the width of the wood you need to buy, place your monitor on a flat surface, the side of the screen down. Now measure up from the flat surface to determine how thick your screen is. The wood you buy must be at least the broad, preferably a little wider.
The box requires a similar length to the frame so you can double the amount again.
In this project, we bought four boards that were three inches wide and one inch thick. Two boards were measured 36 inches long, and the other two were 48 inches long. The extra length means plenty of room for mistakes. If you have a large vehicle, you can buy two long boards (84 inches in this case).
Miter cuts for a picture frame
Tip: Glue that seeps out like this is a good sign that you have applied enough glue. Wait about fifteen minutes to glue the glue and scrape it off with a putty knife or plastic butter knife.
Repeat the process with the other boards and put them together.
Check the instructions on your wood glue, and let the frame be bundled at least the minimum time it requires. The longer you leave the wood, the stronger it will be, but more than 24 hours is usually not necessary.
When the glue is dried, remove the tape and check your corners. If you see any gaps, then it is good. You can fill them with wood fillers.
Wood filler is exactly what it sounds like. It consists of wooden pieces, glue, plastic and other contents. The goal of wood fillers is to overfill the hole. Do not worry about any wood filler that spreads around the gap, which will be removed by grinding later. You can use a putty knife or a plastic kitchen knife to spread it over the wood.
Tip: Wood fillers should have a yoghurt-like texture. If it is hard and caked as in the picture below, mix in 3 parts mineral content and 1 part mineral oil to rejuvenate it.
Read the package of your wood filler again. Usually you need to wait an hour for sand and a day to stain. Once you have waited long enough to sand it, use your 80 sandpaper to remove the excess glue on your frame.
Congratulations, you've built a frame. As a quick test, put your glass and mirror on the frame to double check what is properly seated on it and do not fall into the rectangular hole.
Tip: If you have a router table, you can use a Roman Ogee bit to add decoration to your frame.
Now is the time to build a box.
Building the box
Now that your frame is ready, it's time to build a box. The good news is this is much easier than cutting the wood and putting the frame together. The basic idea is to build a rectangle of wood that is large in the outer edges of your frame:
You start by cutting two pieces of wood that run as long as the long boards in your frame. Measure your frame at the edge from the end to the end. Then measure the distance on one of your uneven boards and draw a straight line with a ruler or other straight edge. For this cut, put your intermediate saw to "0" to make a straight cut.
Tip: Just like a 45-degree angle, most mites have saw a "hard stop" at zero; you should feel that it clicks into place.
When you put your board on the saw, do not try to cut directly on the line. Cut next to the line, on the side of the board that is "extra" (not the piece you cut off).
In the picture above, the cutter will be to the right. The line shown is extra wide for clarity, but note that the blade only cuts to the left of the mark. It is better to cut a board a hair too long and trim down than to cut it too short.
Once you have cut your first board, you can place it on the second board and use it as a measuring stick. Just drag your line with the straight edge you created and follow the above procedure again when connecting.
Mount your boards on your frame and feel the edges to determine that they are flush and not too long. Trim as needed. Then measure the gaps between your two boards to determine the length of your last two pieces. Again, draw lines and cut off these lines and trim as needed.
You should end up with something like this:
Again, make a test fit on your glass and monitor with all your finished components. Place the glass and monitor on the frame, then place these four cards around it to double check the hardware fit inside. It's okay if they're not good looking, we'll take care of it in later stages.
Now you should glue the boards together. As we mentioned earlier, the ends of a board (final grain) will absorb glue, degrade the joint. Apply glue on both ends of both shorter pieces, wait five minutes and apply again. Then hug the longer boards in position. Try to make sure they are flushed (all edges rise).
As above, wood glue has a slow drying time, so you must maintain a constant pressure. If you have F-Clamps, you can now use three to four to apply pressure to the boards. If you don't, bungee cord will do the trick. Carefully fold the cable ties around the rectangle, trying to keep the corners at 90-degree angles. Then attach the hooks:
You will want to use strong, tight zippers. And depending on the strength, you might want to use more than one set. The above bungee cords are brand new and fit tightly around the box, so you were enough. But you can add more for good goals.
Wait for the glue to dry (according to your glue directions) and remove the cords. Check again that all edges are flush and your rectangular box is flat. If the edge of a board runs up or down, you can sand it flat.
Tilting the drawer to the frame
Tilting the drawer to the frame is relatively straight forward. Squeeze the glue into a line all the way around the narrow edge of the box and spread it out over the tree with your finger or a brush.