July 19, 2015 | By Alec

While the creative geniuses over at Adafruit are well known for sharing fun, original and nerdy designs that are perfect for completing Halloween and cosplay costumes, they use their building skills for a lot more than that. The Ruiz brothers are also known for assembling mini and convenient computing solutions, such as this Raspberry Pi Mini Computer. Their latest project, a DIY secondary pc monitor in 3D printed housing, is even more useful as a perfect addition to any crowded desktop.

This very functional project essentially revolves around an 7" HDMI display backpack and a 3D printed enclosure to form a DIY montor that has a hundred and one applications. ‘This display monitor is very helpful as a second display for a computer, camera and of course a Raspberry pi,’ they suggest. For why confine your work to a single screen if you can create some DIY convenience for about $100?

Key in this project is obviously the Adafruit HDMI 7" display backpack, a clever little piece of hardware typical of Adafruit’s webshop as it features all the driver and mounting options for any DIY project. ‘Its a mini HDMI monitor! So small and simple, you can use this display with any computer that has HDMI output, and the shape makes it easy to attach to a case or rail. This backpack features the TFP401 for decoding video, and for the touch version, an AR1100 USB resistive touch screen driver,’ they write. This TFP401 is essentially a beefy DVI/HDMI decoder that can take any type of video and pipe out a good image. The screen runs a resolution of 800x480; plenty for most types of software or for playing Minecraft.

Of course you’ll need a few other parts to build one of these useful screens, but being Adafruit all of the parts can be easily ordered on their website. Aside from the actual monitor, you’ll also need a display backpack, 2 SPDT slide switches, a DC/DC step down, a JST extension, a camera battery holder and some adaptors to hold everything. Links for all can be found on the project webpage on Adafruit’s webpage here.

Should decide to tackle this very useful project, following Adafruit’s solid instructions should result in a fairly easy building session. Obviously the circuit diagram needs to be correct, but with so few parts there is little that can go very wrong. To container itself consists of two 3D printable parts that can be downloaded as STL from the Adafruit website; both are optimized to print without support and take about four and a half hours to complete at 10% infill. Any type of filament can be used to suit your on wishes and supplies, including PLA and ABS.

Assembly is pretty straightforward as well; simply ensure all the parts fit (you might need to file down the USB opening a bit), do some cleanup if necessary and screw together. Depending on what you want to do with your screen, you can then attach it to a tripod and add a very cool mini monitor to your desktop. Give it a try!


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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