Magic Mirror

Rob Steiner 2016-06-01
Magic Mirror

After my car audio system overhaul, I had a few pieces of scrap wood laying around. This resulted in two projects, one of them being the Magic Mirror! I had plenty of straight cuts from the project and grabbed a few pieces of scrap wood for this one. With the wood, an extra monitor off Craigslist, some glass online, a Raspberry Pi, and even more twisting of my father’s arm, we achieved the Magic Mirror experience!

How it works is pretty awesome. A piece of two-way glass is used with a monitor pressed against the one side. When the monitor is powered on, it will “bleed” through the glass! Imagine the possibilities.

Supplies

For this one I needed basic wood supplies and some powerful tech!

  • 24” Flat Monitor
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Two Way Glass
  • Thick Construction Paper
  • Some Plugs
  • Extension Cord
  • Small L-Braces

Process

The process we followed for the mirror could have certainly been smoother. This project was a little rough. Especially making very precise cuts so that the glass sits firmly. Investing in right-angle braces is just about a must to make sure the corners go together perfectly. Also, making sure the depth of the monitor doesn’t exceed the depth of the mirror is a good idea too… Luckily, I didn’t have that issue, but instead a minor stroke when the idea crossed my mind after making cuts.

Anyways, first thing first! Gut the monitor. Did some research online and went to town popping off the plastic bezel. Monitors can get pretty freaking slim if you take off their shells…

Easy stuff…Now for the extremely frustrating part. Luckily, I was there to calm my father because I think he was getting more frustrated than I! Making the cuts was pretty easy using a jig for perfect lengths, but making sure the cuts fit perfectly together was not. Come to the stage right-angle braces!

With our corner perfectly aligned, we’d slowly tighten the brace. Making sure not to disrupt the perfectly aligned corner, easier said than done… Keeping in mind there is glue on the corner, and it is a race against the clock with minimal room for error. Once the right-angle brace ws tightened, we screwed in the L-braces.

Also, the above picture shows the neat groove running along the top-inside of the mirror frame. A perfect groove to slide in the mirror. A very tight fit! Luckily, making the groove wasn’t entirely to bad. My father noticed the mirror is as thick as a typical table saw blade. We setup another jig, ran the pieces over the table saw, and made the perfect groove!

Now that the mirror is together it is time to make it magical! How so? Put a monitor behind the glass with a Raspberry Pi powering it. This part my father and I didn’t thoroughly think out, but we managed a working solution by the end of it. We ended up grabbing a few pieces of scrap wood to prop up the monitor and keep it pressed against the glass.

Now for some slick wire management! After getting some strong Velcro to hold the Rasperry Pi in place, we plugged everything up and ran the wires. A small hole was drilled at the bottom of the mirror frame so we could run a singular power cord out of the mirror. Once everything was in place, as expected we zip tie it all!!

Now we are getting close… We can see the finish line! One thing left, make sure no light gets through the backside!! There are better ways of doing this, but we opted for a couple layers of thick construction paper. This will stop any light from bleeding through the backside of the mirror and make the monitor really pop.

We are now ready for full throttle power! I grabbed the Magic Mirror source from the repo, did a few configuration settings on my Pi, and executed the application!

Voila! A basic Magic Mirror that helps with styling my hair in the morning and tells me the news/weather/traffic/server statuses.

Cya,
Rob