LCD Shadow Box

LCD Shadow Box Effect

The purpose of this page will be to provide information about creating a shadow box effect with a translucent video screen as the top glass. This is a great effect that is being used more and more especially in arcade games. This is great for displaying information and providing a scare at the same time. This will be for information on the effect only and not a complete build log for a full project.

LCD Display
Bright White LED strip
Power Supply
Wood or other materials to make an enclosure
Video and video Source

The selection of the LCD you use is very important. The internal structure, wiring and circuits vary greatly my size, shape and manufacturer. This will impact how you need to make the enclosure for your display. The display that I used for these pictures is probably one of the worst display you could probably find, but I got it for 5 dollars at the thrift store. The row driver on this monitor it attached to the column driver using a 1 inch flat flex cable.









Each Display with most likely have a unique way that it is disassembled, You will need to do a little trial and error to get your selected display apart. You just need to be careful not to damage anything important during this process. The main steps to taking it apart is to remove the base, Then remove any screws that are securing the case together, Then you will need to use a flat head screw driver to pry apart and clips holding the outer shell apart. The stand and the back casing should come off fairly easy. These piece’s can be set aside or discarded.

Modern monitors have fewer components inside so this steps will change based on your selections. Most of the time the power supply and control board will be screwed to the metal housing of the display. Some monitors will use an external power brick, The only board you will find inside would be the display driver. You should be able to remove the screws securing the boards to the metal plate, and any wires connecting extra components. Once you can freely lift the boards out of the display you will need to set them aside. You will also want to save the button board since you will need it to control the display later.

The next step in this will be to remove the LCD panel from everything else. You will need to be extremely careful while doing this for multiple reasons. First being that the LCD panel its self is quite thin and fragile. The second being that the column and row drivers are all connected by thin delicate flat flex ribbon cables that if damaged will destroy the display.

There will most likely be a few small screws holding the boards to the display as well as securing the case together. There will also be a bunch of small metal indents that are holding everything together. Once all screws are removed you should be able to lift the display boards but they will still be attached to the panel. Using a flat screw driver you should be able pry the clips holding the metal apart this will separate the casing. Inside of the case there are several layers the only really important one will be the LCD panel which is the top layer. You should be able to remove the panel and its controller boards away from everything very carefully and set it aside. The rest of the layers can be discarded or used from other projects. Their is usually a decent piece of plexiglass used in the light dissipation layers.

You will need to reconnect all the boards together and to the LCD panel to make sure that it is still working properly. Be careful when doing this as the boards are exposed and you don’t want to get shocked.

Back Lighting and casing:
To be able to display anything behind the LCD panel you need a bright white light to allow to see anything on the screen and behind it. LED strips with a diffusion filter would offer you the best even light for your display. You can buy all kinds of LED strips online, Cold whites are perfect for this purpose. You want to make a complete loop around the inside of the box so that there are no dark spots with the display. The LED strip will need to be connected to a power supply that meets its requirements.

You can make your casing from what ever material you want you will basically want to create a shadow box where the front glass is the LCD panel. A good color choice for the inside of the box is white to allow it reflect the light around. You can display pretty much anything you want in this box, Printed rules, instructions or other things. When i have more time I want to experiment with placing a second LCD display behind the top display glass.

Just be sure to be careful with all the connections and the glass while installing it in to your enclosure.

What to display:
You can display pretty much any video that you want. One important thing to keep in mind when making or selecting one is that you will want a white background to it, as well as a white screen in-between videos. This will help the panel to appear clear so that you can see the information or items placed behind it.

Test Videos: