home-and-kitchentechnology

DIY Smart Mirror: How To? 

Who doesn’t like a hot and steamy shower, but having the mirrors of your bathroom get all fogged up can be very annoying. You’re already in a rush while getting ready in the morning, wiping down the mirrors, again and again, is a lot of time wasted. 

What if you want to catch up on youtube videos while getting ready? 

Well, you can’t keep one of your hands occupied to hold your phone or you might get late! 

Don’t worry, we’ve got a solution for all of your problems:

A DIY smart mirror that does it all, 

  • Built-in stereo system 
  • Hidden screens to watch anything you want
  • Eradicates any steam built up

You heard it right, such diverse qualities in just a mirror that you can make it yourself i.e DIY.

So let’s dive in and have a look at how exactly you can make this magical mirror. 

  1. Building the frame 

So the very first step for building this amazing smart gadget is to build the frame for the mirror itself. Now for the demisting method to work we need this frame to double as a clamping system, because of this, we will construct the frame from scratch using a medium density fibreboard known as MDF. 

Cut these boards into strips as shown, one set of strips will be made from a slightly thicker board and is to be cut a little less wide, this is done so that it can fit on the other wider and flatter piece.

Wood glue is the best fit to stick the pieces together, you can even use some pegs to hold the boards in place whilst drying. Once the pieces are dried, it’s now time to chop them down to the required size. Use a 45-degree angle for each of the cuts and use more glue to stick them together, another great way to hold it down while drying is using staples. Yes, you can easily take them out once the job is done!

Now that our frame is almost done we need to fit another piece of board to cover the back of the frame. We also need to add a few pilot holes, remember not to go all the way through the front, this will allow us to add some threaded inserts which will add strong threads for the machine screws utilized for the clamping system.

Before putting all the pieces in place, we need to add a fresh layer of paint, after sealing the pieces with a watered-down PVA mix or an MDF primer. Do at least two coats along with sanding it down and use an undercoat as well. Once all this is done, smooth it with the final topcoat of glossy type paint, as the product will be used in a wet environment. 

2. Add the mirror 

Once the paint is dried and the frame is good to go, you can now add the threaded insert onto the back. It's now time to add the mirror surface, for which you are going to need a two-way mirror, this will allow brighter objects behind the mirror to be seen as it will allow some of the light to pass through while reflecting the rest. 

3. Demisting method

The most advantageous property of this smart gadget is that it doesn’t steam up, for this to work we need to build a watertight chamber for which we require lengths of solid rubber o-ring gasket cord. Insert it into the frame and trim it down according to the required size and join the ends with super glue to make a strong seal.

Now for the other side of the chamber take a sheet of non-mirrored acrylic and add a black vinyl wrap to it, this will restore a lot of contrast to the mirror making it look like a normal mirror rather than a two way one. Now just simply place it on top of the gasket, it should look something like the picture below. 

4. Adding the screen 

It’s time to work on the back panel, and the first thing we need to do is to add a screen. The one used here is from an old laptop and to cast an image onto it, we bought a separate driver board that allows us to use the screen as a normal standard monitor. This screen is to be placed on the back panel, next we need to mark the screen out, cut an outline using a jigsaw.

Once this is done, you can simply drop the screen in. Don’t forget to hang a bracket for the mirror to hang off the wall. This part can now be painted in a similar way to the frame. 

5. Power System 

We should probably start working on the mirror’s power system.

Working with Electricity in a wet environment a.k.a The Bathroom !!!

I can sense your fear but worry no more, we’re merely going to use an off-the-shelf power bank to power it, as the power level and voltage will be very low so that it is completely safe for a hot and humid surrounding. 

For holding the power bank we've designed a 3D printed bracket and glued it onto the back but you can employ any other material like MDF pieces or anything you find convenient. 

Right adjacent to this, glue a power switch, one end of which will be soldered to the positive output of the power board. And next, you can solder the negative side to the negative output and the positive side to the other wire from the switch.

Test this out on a multimeter, you should be able to see a voltage output coming from it and after pressing the button on the board, cycle through the output voltages and you’ll have to leave it at 12 volts. 

Now that this is done, we need to drill a hole on each side of the support bracket and through this mark onto the acrylic that we added the vinyl to, these points can now be carefully drilled out. Use a knife to remove the surrounding vinyl and glue down a tubing nozzle, these are what will later allow the water in and out so make sure the tubes are properly sealed. 

We now need to use some tape to mark out the perimeter of the screen, this is done so that the vinyl will hide the screen’s bezels and only the LCD part is seen through the final mirror.

6. Assemble it all

Now it’s time to assemble the whole thing, with the back panel in its place there should be around a 1-2 mm gap around the edges. This is because our gasket is lifting up the back acrylic, what we can do is make use of machine screws to squash it down and clamp it in place. 

It's time for the final step, yes, you heard it right we’re almost done without the super-smart DIY mirror, let’s get it done!

7. Speakers System

Let’s make a powerful speaker system. Our speaker system needs to be very thin so that it can fit at the back of our mirror. We will use small 1-inch speaker drivers which you can get from dissembling any old gadget you’re not using at the moment or just buy them online. We need to make a bracket to mount these speakers by either using a 3D printer or cutting it out of MDF.

Utilize a space bit to make any holes required, once it’s all wired up some MDF pieces can be used to construct an enclosure around the speakers, you might need to add some stuffing inside to produce a smoother and solid sound.

The last step is to paint it, again as this will go on the back you don’t need to be very neat, once done it should look something like this.

The gap in between the two speaker enclosures is the perfect spot mounting the drive board for the screen which can be done by some long PCB pillar standoffs. 

The back of my board has a 5v output to which I soldered a micro USB connector this is done so that it can feed 5v to power a Chromecast which is considered the backbone of the mirror’s video functionality as it will receive a stream from your smartphone and push this forward to the display board, also when idle it can display the current time and weather which can come in handy and is super convenient.

The last thing you need is an amplifier that will power the speaker, once all wired up it can receive its audio signal from the display board’s headphone socket.

Before fitting this into the back panel, peel off the vinyl so that the screen is seen through both acrylic layers. Simply use some tape on the sides and some tiny foam pads to very lightly press it toward the acrylic when the speaker is screwed and put in place. 

Once the power socket from the USB board has been plugged in, we just need some tubing to fit over the nozzles we added, this will help in letting the hot water in and out of the watertight chamber for the demisting effect. One tube needs a cap moulding so that it can fit onto a hot tap while the other one acts as an overflow.

Super cool round edges, loud and clear audio that can easily overcome the sound of your shower so that you can enjoy your music or podcasts while getting ready for the day. With that done our smart mirror is finally complete! And gives out a very minimal look, with great functionalities, this is just the most magical mirror one can ever need. All that is left to do is hang it in your favourite spot in your bathroom, and let the compliments roll!

Links:

Mini Speakers: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...

Mini Amplifier: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...

(use only if powering more than 5 speakers for each channel)

Slim USB-C power bank: https://amzn.to/2lNDS0F

USB-C Power Board: 

eBay US: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...

eBay UK: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-534...

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