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Web Help: Build your own digital photo frame

Got an old laptop sitting in a drawer? Why not turn it into a digital photo frame? We show you how with a round-up of online guides...

Why shell out over £100 on a digital photo frame if you can make one yourself? Unfortunately it's a bit more complicated than most Blue Peter projects, and you'll need more than some toilet rolls and sticky-back plastic to make it happen, but you will have the Web to show you the way. We've rounded up three of the best online guides for your convenience.

All agree that the main thing you need for this project is an old laptop, or a cheap secondhand one from eBay. The laptop needs to have a decent hard drive, processor, screen and, ideally, built-in wireless capabilities, but it doesn't matter if the keyboard or battery life are shot.

The most comprehensive 'how to' that I was able to find was on Channel 9 Wiki. I like the fact that it shows you what all the bits inside a laptop look like and how to take them out. Ensure you read through the whole tutorial before launching in, though -- the guy shows you how to disassemble the whole of the laptop, but then realises that you only needed to remove a few bits. My only concern with this frame (pictured centre) is ventilation -- if you hang it against the wall, will the air be able to circulate around the laptop battery?

tc-one-thousand.com also has a good how to, although it's harder to follow as it doesn't have many photos. Still, the definitions are clearly written, so it's definitely worth checking out. I also like the fact that he leaves the keyboard and case intact -- why go to the hassle of removing things if you don't need to? Again, I'm worried about ventilation in the final frame (pictured left).

My favourite looking frame (pictured right) was constructed by an instructables member. I like the fact that he's thought about ventilation holes -- with horror stories about exploding laptops, I think it's a good idea to think about keeping the frame cool. I was slightly confused by his description of creating a matte finish, but apart from that it all made sense. Now I just need to find a shop where I can buy a 'shadow box'...

Have you tried making a digital photo frame? What technique worked for you? Share your tips by clicking on the Post a Comment link below. -Ingrid Marson