This was quite the challenge. I do a bit of crafting and building for different Arduino/Pi projects, but it’s usually on a small scale. And those usually don’t involve woodworking. I cannot stress enough how bad I am at woodworking. That being said, I’m pretty proud of how this turned out even with its blemishes.
The rough idea was to build a sort of shadow box to house my screen and its components. The Raspberry Pi driving the whole thing would be attached to the back–both to help with heat and make it easy to remove for maintenance.
The screen is approximately 6”x9” and I couldn’t find anything for sale with those dimensions so I had no choice but to build my own. At Lowe’s I found these pre-cut boards that are 1.75” wide and 0.5” thick. That worked out perfectly for giving the interior plenty of room for cooling and cable management, with just enough width for the screen mounting tabs. I cut these strips at 45 degree angles and assembled together into a box shape using glue and a small finishing-nail gun. This part was far easier than expected but it was immediately clear that even with nice equipment it’s still very difficult to make a perfectly square box.
Because of the unusual dimensions and mounting tabs on the screen, I needed to make a lip or frame to cover up the ugly parts. This could have been done with a much smaller strip of wood or moulding. I stumbled across this decorative moulding at Lowe’s which makes the front a little more stylish. Just like with the box, the moulding was cut at 45 degree angles and assembled together with wood glue. This time my cuts were noticeably inferior and you can see multiple gaps in the pictures. I was able to cover up most of this with putty but it’s still visible when you look up close.
After staining the box and frame with a flat black espresso stain I had to figure out how to bring this all together. The plan changed about a dozen times here, as every idea in my head just wasn’t working out in practice. One of my biggest issues was figuring out how to attach the frame to the box without a) damaging the screen or b) making it non-removable, in case I needed to get to the screen later on. I ultimately settled on using corner braces on the box as a touch point for hot glue. It is semi-permanent enough but with a solid hold.
The back wall went through many iterations as well. I was trying to make it removable, sturdy enough to hold the Raspberry Pi and prop up the entire assembly. After many mistakes, I found a cheap picture frame at the dollar store and attached the back to some leftover illustration board. This material was very easy to cut through for cables (power to the screen and HDMI from Pi to screen have to go inside) and holds everything up at a nice viewing angle.
The Pi is attached with two velcro stickers, a last minute idea that has already helped a lot.
It’s definitely not the cleanest build you’ll see, but it more than works for my purposes. When the slideshow is running and you’re viewing from a normal distance most of the messiness isn’t visible anyways, and on this project it is what is inside that counts.