This guide shows everything I did in order to build my Raspberry Pi Smart Mirror. With the Smart Mirror, I am able to access the weather, time, and news, as well as several other custom modules. I would like to thank Ms. Berbawy and the rest of my Principles of Engineering class at Irvington High School for helping me with the tools and knowledge for the project.
- Monitor 30.5cm x 51.2cm
- Two Way Acrylic Mirror
- Raspberry Pi 3 B+
- Wood Glue
- HDMI cable (3 feet)
- Plywood (I used 12in x 24in boards but any size is ok)
- 32gb Micro SD Card
- Mouse and Keyboard
- Woodworking Clamps
- 2 part epoxy
Step 1: Designing the Model in CAD
Before I was able to work on building the frame, I needed to design a 3d model in the Fusion 360 software. If you do not have Fusion 360, use another CAD software of the same caliber. After getting the dimensions of the monitor and plywood, I got to work. Since I will be laser cutting my wood, I designed “fingers”, or dove-joints, that would help interlock the cut wood like puzzle pieces in order to create a frame box. The model on the left shows the frame with monitor and mirror attached whereas the model on the right is just the finished design for the frame.
Step 2: Setting Up Software
While setting up the software, I referenced Zach's guide on how to install the MagicMirror2 Software to keep track with steps I needed to take in order to setup my Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and download the Magic Mirror software. The MagicMirror2 software is an open source software developed for smart mirrors. Since it is open sourced, third parties are able to add or code their own modules to make their mirrors more unique.
Once I downloaded the Magic Mirror software to my computer, I transferred the software from my downloads to an SD card, and inserted the SD card into my Pi. The Pi started blinking, and once it stopped, I gently removed my SD card and connected a mouse, keyboard, and HDMI cable to it. Finally, I made sure to connect the Pi's power cable and had to connect my Pi to my network.
Step 3: Preparing and Testing Parts for Assembly
After installing the software, I wanted to ensure I was not working with any faulty electronics and test if everything worked. I plugged the Raspberry Pi to a power source, connected the HDMI cable to the pi and monitor, and powered everything on.
Once I verified it was working properly, I checked the components and then disconnected everything focused on taking the bezel off of the monitor. This would eventually give the finished monitor a more flush fit with the mirror, helping diminish glare and increase brightness through the two-way mirror.
Step 4: Wood Work
Once I finalized my frame's CAD design, I imported my frame files onto Adobe Illustrator so I could format them for the laser cutting software. (An alternative to laser cutting is sawing) However, since each sheet of wood available to use in my classroom was too thin (1/8th in.), I had to cut all of the individual parts twice and then glue them afterward in
order to have structural integrity with each piece of wood gonna be 1/4 in. To glue my wood pieces together, I used the woodworking clamps provided by Ms. Berbawy, but any heavy objects could work (textbooks, etc.). Since I added “fingers,” or dovetail joints, It allowed me to connect the wood parts together without the use of any screws.
Step 5: Designing 3D Printed Brackets
When I tried mounting the monitor to the finished frame, the monitor was sliding up and down because I had left some room between the monitor and frame in case of any error. This is why I ended up 3d printing brackets to hold the monitor in place. Since I wanted to avoid screwing into the wood, I designed brackets on Fusion 360 that I could 3d print and epoxy down to the plywood so that the monitor could stay centered and in place after final assembly. While designing the brackets, my goal was to keep the parts as small as possible while still maintaining good structural support.
Step 6: Final Assembly
After I glued all of the wood parts that I had to cut out, I now had pieces that would make up the frame. Using wood glue and clamps, I put the frame together, mounted the 3d printed brackets, attached the Pi to the back of the monitor, and put on the back pieces for the frame. The 3d printed brackets were put as close as possible to the corners of the monitor to form the strongest structure possible. I attached the acrylic mirror and the brackets to the frame using 2 part epoxy. One thing I did have to add last minute was a block of wood to mount the raspberry pi onto so that I could avoid shorting the circuit if it were attached to the monitor directly. After I cut a small piece of wood to size, I attached two velcro strips to the bottom of the wood and the monitor so that I could take it out if I ever had to upgrade or move any components. I also added a small hole in one of the back panels to make it easier to route cables.
Step 7: Reflecting on the Project
Throughout this project, I was able to learn many new skills as well as improving on a lot of skills I sort-of had including woodworking, 3d design, and coding. This project was very fun to make and I highly recommend it to people who really wanna spice up their room or take on the challenge of a fun electronics build.
This was a testament to my skills in CAD and electronics and overall I am very happy with how it turned out. Hope you enjoyed this project just as much as I did!