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Build a DIY screen out of recycled parts for cheap

October 11, 2019

This video is sponsored by squarespace, the
simplest way to make a professional looking website. When using a computer for any kind of serious
work, being able to hook up a secondary monitor can have some major advantages for multitasking
and overall productivity – it’s one of those things that you can’t do without once you
start using it. While this isn’t a problem for desktops, as
another monitor can just be added, laptop users generally have to just stick with just
the single main screen, which can sometimes be frustrating depending on what you are doing. So in this video, we will be building a DIY
secondary monitor for laptops, using recycled parts to keep the cost low – perfect for anybody
on a budget. It’s very thin and light, which makes it
easy to take around with you, and it’s also remarkably sturdy – this thing really doesn’t
feel like something that’s been built at home, but instead feels like a piece of solid
industrial tech, and it really looks the part as well. If you do make one of these, you will certainly
look like you mean business. To make it, the first thing we will need is
a screen from an old laptop. You can of course buy these separately as
a spare part, but as this is a budget build it makes sense to recycle one, particularly
if the laptop you’re removing it from is dead. To get it out is just a case of removing the
screen bezel, and then unscrewing the panel itself. Mine is pretty decent, as it’s not only
full 1080p HD, but also IPS, making for exceptional viewing angles and colours. Once you’ve got the panel, you need to look
at the back for the model number, and punch this into eBay with the phrase ‘control board’
after it. This brings up a variety of results, so sort
it by price plus shipping lowest first to ensure you get the best deal. Now, I want mine to have an HDMI input, so
adding HDMI to the search results will narrow the search down even more, giving the perfect
board at the lowest price. By the way, if you want to support this channel,
purchasing a board through the affiliate link in the description will send me a few pence
at no cost to yourself, so many thanks if you do that. This control board is the backbone of the
entire build, as it has all of the inputs you could want for your particular LCD screen,
allowing it to be used with pretty much any device. We can now start working on the casing – this
is very important as not only are the cables very delicate, but the screens are so thin
that they are flexible and need reinforcing. To do this, we can get some thin board – 6mm
MDF in my case – and cut it down to match the size of the monitor. As you can see, I’ve cut mine slightly taller
to allow room for the connector at the bottom. A little gap can now be made for this so that
it can later be routed through to the back. Now we can drill some mounting holes for the
control board. Keep in mind however that these holes need
to be countersunk on the front side so that the screw heads won’t be in the way of the
screen fitting flush later. Now this being a DIY Perks project we want
it to look cool aftewards, so what we’ll be using to give it an industrial look is
some vinyl wrap. This stuff mimics carbon fibre, so its texture
changes depending on the angle you look at it from. It’s very cool stuff, and you can find links
to it in the description. This can now be stuck to the board, using
a hairdryer to soften the adheisive for a more secure fit. As this wrap covers the mounting holes, we
can use a sharp point to punch through it, and then insert the screws from the other
side. These can now be tightened on to some short
PCB standoff pillars. The control board should now fit nicely on
top of these, and to secure it in place we’ll need some more of them, this time much longer
with both ends being female. As you can see, the tops of these standoffs
sit above the components on the board itself. The button board too can be mounted, only
this time secured in place with some nuts. We can now make a little cover for the main
PCB using a very thin piece of board, again wrapping it in vinyl, which can then be screwed
on top to protect the circuitry. The wire too can be protected by using some
cable sheathing, which also adds to the industrial look. Now, as this cable runs through to the front,
we can use some more thin board to build up a surround around it, so that later we can
encase it entirely underneath a piece of thin aluminium. With that done we can now mix some fast drying
epoxy and use it to stick the vinyl wrap down along the edges. While the wrap’s adhesive is decent enough,
adding this epoxy will ensure that it will never peel away. Once it’s dried, the excess can be trimmed
off with a knife. Now it’s time to stick down the screen itself
with some more dabs of epoxy on the edges – it’s a good idea to add some underneath
the cable too as this will ensure that it can never become loose. Once this has all dried, we can add some masking
tape along the edges of the screen – this is because we’re going to again use some
epoxy to stick down some thin strips of vinyl along the edges and down the sides, and the
masking tape ensures that no epoxy will stray onto the screen itself. Looking good. Now we can stick down that thin piece of aluminium
I mentioned earlier. As you can see, it has first been wrapped
in vinyl before being added. The excess wrap can again be folded over the
bottom edge and again stuck down with epoxy, finishing it off by again trimming it down
with a knife. The wire too can be glued in place on the
back. With that the screen is almost complete, but
as you can see it still needs some kind of support so that it can remain upright on its
own. To do this we can recycle the hinges from
the laptop the monitor came from – these are quite stiff so are ideal for our needs. To mount them, we can simply drill some holes
through from the front, and then screw them in place. The monitor is complete! Now it can be plugged into the laptop. As the screen also needs 12v for power, we
need to hook it up to a power adapter as well, although there is a way you can power it from
the laptop itself which I’ll get to in just a minute. As the workspace is now expanded over two
screens it makes it much easier to get some serious work done – situations where I find
a screen like this useful are when I’m editing videos, working on graphics, or building websites…
which leads me nicely on to the sponsor of this video; Squarespace. Using their many templates you can quickly
build a website that looks professional, all from a browser, with no extra software required. For those who want to customise things more
deeply they have plenty of under the hood settings so you can fit it to your own personal
needs. I am in fact building a DIY Perks website
with it and it’s actually starting to look really nice. So if you’d like a free trial for yourself,
visit or sign up using the link in the description. Also, using the offer code ‘PERKS’ at checkout
will give you a 10% discount if you do decide to go with them. Now, to power the screen from the laptop itself
we’ll need a little extender for the laptop’s power supply, and a voltage step down board. The extender first needs to be chopped in
half to expose the internal wires, after which we can get the input side and solder it to
the input of the voltage regulator, with red being positive and black being negative. Now we need a wire with a connector on the
end that fits into the screen, which we can again solder to the regulator – only this
time to its output. With that done they can be glued together
to keep it all secure. If we plug in the laptop’s adapter and monitor
the voltage of this output with a multimeter, we can adjust it so that it outputs 12v by
turning its built in variable resistor. Once that’s done the other connector can be
soldered to the input side of this board, which hooks it directly up to the first connector
we added. As my wire was a little on the short side,
I extended it before wrapping the whole thing in some heatshrink, which can then be held
over a source of heat to shrink it. Now it can be plugged in between the laptop
and its adapter, allowing the DIY screen to be powered at the same time. Now although I did build this screen specifically
for its portability for use with my laptop, I’ve actually found it to be very useful
as a secondary screen on my main desktop too, as it is quite small, yet is still full HD,
making for a high DPI not usually seen on desktop screens. So I hope you’ve found this project interesting,
and if you do make one of these then why not send me a picture @DIYPerks, especially if
you use a different colour for the vinyl wrap, as I’d really like to see how that looks. Now if you did enjoy this video then you might
enjoy this one too, where we convert some shattered, dead, destroyed laptop screens
into a fake window, which actually ended up looking pretty cool. Other than that, don’t forget to give a like
on this video if you did enjoy it, and also consider subscribing if you haven’t already. I’m Matt, and thank you very much for watching.


  • Reply DIY Perks October 20, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Holy moley – it's only been up a few hours and we're nearly at 3k likes! Thanks guys!

  • Reply Emeer Ezzat July 24, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Just watching this video and I’m forgetting that I didn’t take the hinges… oof 😅

  • Reply Forsythe III July 24, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    DIY Perks what kind of board or wood did you use?

  • Reply Jia Hajime July 26, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    How to make used microsoft surface's screen as external monitor? It will be great idea

  • Reply Puyung Gadget July 29, 2019 at 9:45 am


  • Reply Tom Barrett July 31, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    If it had an aluminum case you could probably raise a few hundred k on IGG

  • Reply The Cringey Pizzas August 1, 2019 at 6:39 am

    could this be used as your main, and only screen?

  • Reply Harjeet Singh Bhati August 2, 2019 at 11:16 am

    would you help me I bought the controller board according to the screen serial number but it only displays white there is nothing more than white light across screen the screen does get detected even extend works on it and the screen is working but it wont show anything except white background constantly when connected with controller board

  • Reply Siva Mani August 2, 2019 at 4:47 pm


  • Reply Mark Mark August 4, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Or get one at AliExpress for less than 150 with a built in battery 🔋

  • Reply Cros Chris August 8, 2019 at 5:17 am

    nice quality of video sir

  • Reply Katan Akuma August 8, 2019 at 7:06 am

    Great video. I've been thinking about doing this with my old laptop since it's power source died but didn't know how to go about it. Your explanation was clear and easy to follow. I guess I have a project for a weekend once the parts arrive. Cheers.

  • Reply Omar Ashraf August 10, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    What about using a step-up regulator to power the screen directly from the laptop usb port?

  • Reply Hannah Abrams August 11, 2019 at 6:54 am

    You are amazing

  • Reply Burai Navarro August 11, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    I found this interesting but when its time for the power supply, i found it troublesome and a hassle. Could you do an alternative in a way that it is powered tru a usb port instead of another power supply like the one used on this?

  • Reply W M August 11, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    Awesome video mate, you're a great content creator! I may or may not be brave enough to attempt this!

  • Reply hemant kumar August 12, 2019 at 2:52 am

    u are amazing

  • Reply W M August 12, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Perhaps a naive question, but wouldn't the laptop you are cannibalising the screen from have the exact controller board you need, so no need to order a new one? Is it possible to remove these and reuse them?

  • Reply PreezeFX August 12, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    that would look cool if you attach it on ur laptop and you can flip it

  • Reply Montisaquadeis August 12, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Portable screens are a WHOLE LOT cheaper these days then they use to be. For example I got one of these myself currently $160 compared to the $300+ they were just a couple of years ago which is a GREAT thing.

  • Reply Something From The Shed August 13, 2019 at 5:23 am

    I love your videos. been watching them for a while now. mite even try and a make one or two. Keep it up buddy

  • Reply Joris Keijser August 13, 2019 at 8:57 am

    Attach it to a Nintendo Switch dock please

  • Reply Levani August 13, 2019 at 12:06 pm


  • Reply Michael Gibbons August 13, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Does anyone have any recommendations on alternatives to the vinyl wrap and laptop hinges? I don't have the hinges and the wrap seems like more trouble than its worth for me.

  • Reply Dal V August 14, 2019 at 8:02 am

    How does your house look like a minimalists? I would imagine a lot of spare parts

  • Reply Øyvind Olsen August 14, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Hmmm, this is awesome! And adding a chromebit on the back will make this pretty f**king sweet!

  • Reply Anirudh Jain August 14, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    I am using it with my raspberry Pi 3b+ so that I can use it while traveling….also the screen is touch sensitive

  • Reply Em Rose August 15, 2019 at 10:14 am

    This is really creative!
    I'll make sure to look into this project!

  • Reply Juan Obando moya August 16, 2019 at 2:43 am

    How can I get it to work with my Samsung DeX station without connecting the monitor to the wall socket for power

  • Reply Safe Ze August 16, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    Im have make this

  • Reply Boris BIELECKI August 17, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Great project. Do you think it can be modified to use the battery of the laptop? To make a fully autonomous screen.

  • Reply Benjamin Stephens August 17, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    I use the HDMI Cable from my Laptop to the Flat Screen, and there I have it! A 65" Monitor!

  • Reply Benjamin Stephens August 17, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Very nice and creative! I like it.

  • Reply Hussein Dhooma August 17, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    OMG i'm so addicted to your videos, been watching non stop

  • Reply mh35 August 18, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    I'm going to do this hack but with a 10.1 inch screen from an old Dell Inspiron mini and a raspberry pi 3 built in since that's the only screen i have 😉

  • Reply Liberty Action August 19, 2019 at 5:44 am

    There are coaches because they cant play themselves. LeBron is a beast but he's dumb as rocks. He joines the NBA in like 8th grade. Coach K is a smart dude but he can't dunk.

  • Reply Mochi's Game Hut August 19, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Way too expensive

  • Reply Anand Krishnan August 20, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Could you please made one for me…. i am frm india…..

  • Reply Jonas Schwabe August 20, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Which cable for power?
    Mine has 12V input, but which cable do I have to use? Please advise.

  • Reply Kevin Gordon August 21, 2019 at 12:10 am

    I'm just going to wrap all my shit with that farbon fiber, looks amazing!

  • Reply Elliott Bork August 21, 2019 at 2:20 am

    Could you explain more about how the connection works

  • Reply Vpham August 21, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    can I use these controller board to temporary replace my dell 2709w ultrasharp controller board , my board fried a while ago and need a replace board!

  • Reply Tho H. Ho August 22, 2019 at 5:04 am

    Great video! I will make my own one, but I find it looks cooler leaving bare plywood finish than vinyl cover.

  • Reply Its a Rome Thing Everyday August 22, 2019 at 7:10 am

    I'm so glad I found your channel, your content is very straight forward, which I really like alot when it comes to diy projects, Liked

  • Reply Christopher Farrell August 22, 2019 at 8:13 am

    1.2k dislikes – the mind boggles. I can only assume they are jealous of your abilities.

  • Reply iddqd August 22, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    nice, but not cheap

  • Reply LOVE DIY August 22, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    dear bro. how can i connect speaker on this board

  • Reply ProvidedDeath10 August 22, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Are you able to make this portable?

  • Reply coop presling August 23, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Absolutely love it mate, I built one myself and I am VERY satisfied with it. Amazing creativity and great narration defitenly helps putting things together when you are actually told what to do and shown. Thanks mate keep up the amazing videos😇🙂

  • Reply josmo fy August 23, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    what's with the 1.3k dislikes :(( ???

  • Reply Nitesh Sah August 23, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    I have vertical stripes covering almost half of on my laptop screen. Can't it be repaired?

  • Reply Michaël RUBIN August 24, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Hello, there1 Great video… and I may post a link to mine when I finish my DIY screen.
    By the way, please how did you do this effect onthe video at 1.33, the pencil mark getting stuck on movement of the camera. Sorry if I can´t make myself understood, English is not my mother maguage. I need to know the name of the technique and the name of the software too. Would be very kind.

  • Reply Mr Invader August 25, 2019 at 12:29 am

    nooooo waaaayyyyyyy! that's amazing!

  • Reply Raynish Ramcharan August 25, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    Could you make a video on converting a broken LCD tv to a monitor, with broken o mean with a still working screen. I have a 40 inch LCD tv that won't turn on but still has a good screen, I want to make good use of it, did my research but it's hard to find any guides on this project.

  • Reply Universe C sky August 27, 2019 at 1:47 am

    i made this and i dont have a case, i also dont have tools to make one

  • Reply Freestyle Rolling Media August 27, 2019 at 2:43 am


  • Reply 五味 August 27, 2019 at 2:25 pm


  • Reply Andy Pandy August 28, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Well tidy!

  • Reply Archit Pandit August 29, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    I want to do this but my bezel is THIC and has no screws. So I'll literally have to break it apart

  • Reply OGThwompy August 31, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    Could this be powered witha power bank?

  • Reply martin mystere September 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    I recently replaced my laptop display to an IPS panel and have the old TN (1366*768) sitting idle…. once i manage to be able to build a frame for it… I'll continue to do this.

  • Reply Mir Moiz September 1, 2019 at 3:15 pm


  • Reply Pornhulio September 1, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    awesome DIY! But i can choose the board with SPD1 and SPF1-5. Any clue about the meaning?

  • Reply Haoquan Liang September 2, 2019 at 2:46 am

    I watch the section of how to power the monitor by the computer like 4 times. I got a hypothesis, Correct me if I am wrong: the power for the monitor is now using the same power adapter with your laptop. It could be a potential problem if your laptop is under heavy load and need all the power from the adapter, while the external monitor is also relying on the same power source. You computer could run into power limit throttle.

  • Reply Youssef Haitham September 2, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Question what if we didn't connect it to a power adapter

  • Reply Abu Bakr Guy September 2, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    It would be cool to connect 4 or 8 of these recycled monitors to make a huge screen!

  • Reply armando116 September 3, 2019 at 2:48 am


  • Reply Chris Action! September 5, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    Can someone explain me what the last cable he added to the adapther was for?

  • Reply soufiane ibn yaich September 7, 2019 at 10:16 am

    I hooe my comment reach you , can this be possible with old laptop screen that use wacom pen and style use the pen as a graphique tablet ?.?.?.?

  • Reply HifiCentret September 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    You can give the two hinges some layers of heat shrink tubing in order to protect the table from scratches.

  • Reply QABSurf TV September 9, 2019 at 1:33 am

    Hi good night Bro 😊 I love your channel I'm from Guyana I love to play around with your cool gadgets

  • Reply Don Ramon September 9, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Is there a way to remove and still use the backlight with the control board and display?

  • Reply Lasman Show September 11, 2019 at 1:49 am

    lenovo thinkpad L – buisnness series

  • Reply G. AVENUE -OFFSET MALLORY September 13, 2019 at 7:53 am

    U make very detailed vids!

  • Reply feiz danesh September 16, 2019 at 9:28 am

    ya hossein

  • Reply Spencer Green September 18, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    @diyperks can i use aluminium instead of mdf board?

  • Reply Mickael Dendele September 19, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Hi dude! Where did you find power supply stuff for self-powered?

  • Reply Jia Hajime September 19, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    @DIY Perks I got one question. How about we make pressure sensivity screen from used surface screen, does it works for drawing?

  • Reply Fred Farnackle September 20, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Top video, very informative.

  • Reply Federico Chiavegati September 20, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    I tried doing this but the monitor itself seems to have no sign of life. I'm getting a green/red light on the controller telling me if it's on and off but nothing shows up on the screen itself

  • Reply André Cronje September 21, 2019 at 2:34 pm


  • Reply D-MTM September 21, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Flight simulator music at background.

  • Reply Ana Wa7ed min alnass September 21, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Can i use this for ps 4

  • Reply jvnjsh4 September 25, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Please give me the link of the wallpaper of the right side desktop on your video thumbnail? Please?

  • Reply Minecraft TV September 26, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Make some kind of PS4 Slim cooling mod or some other affordable mod for the console.

  • Reply Slade Takala-Lamey September 28, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Hi, thanks for the wonderful idea. I made my own for camera work, here's the video. I credited you of course.

  • Reply your comment might not work so please September 29, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Now sell it in AMAZON at very cheap price,which other companies are doing at very high price.

  • Reply Koroi 117 September 29, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    As a high school teacher who constantly has to prepare exam papers, do grade analysis and a digital art hobbyist. .. this is the most useful DIY I've watched in a long time.

  • Reply Eduardo Santini September 30, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    man you are genious

  • Reply Creative indonesia September 30, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Diy Perks: i you can Build Time!😊

  • Reply Jim Smith Sr October 2, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    Excellent video. Very enjoyable and informative.

  • Reply Eduardo Santini October 3, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Ok I get your Idea, buy a touchscreen IPS screen from another notebook, install that on the back screen of my notebook, now I have a dinosaur game tablet when I close the screen of my computer, insane. ok, the battery does not get more than 2hrs 🙁

  • Reply DroneXFun October 4, 2019 at 12:48 am

    With the addition of a 3s(12v) lipo you could take it anywhere.

  • Reply MRO October 4, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Credits should be given to him 😛

  • Reply Uo God October 4, 2019 at 9:15 pm


  • Reply Sound Machine October 5, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Can I use a touch screen and make a touch screen portable monitor

  • Reply Kamlesh Jadhav October 6, 2019 at 7:11 am

    Sir, please make a dual-screen mobile. Transform Multiple Screens into One Big Virtual Display using an old mobile or mobile screen. how to use old mobile.

  • Reply steve walker October 6, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    I’m about to go through your back catalogue of videos. Totally procrastinating from the Sunday lunch 🤣🤣👍

  • Reply 1Eurofighter12 October 6, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Nicely done!!!

  • Reply Rafael r. paese October 6, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    You should make a video about how use more than one screen to make a bigger screen (like, creating a screen with two screens)

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