Before disassembling the laptop, it is important you
measure the display area as accurately as possible. In fact,
measure it twice or three times to be sure you get the
measurements right. This is the area of the display
between the plastic parts that frame it, where content can
be displayed. You will understand why this is important
Next, take a deep breath and begin disassembling
your laptop. You should do the disassembly on a clean flat
surface and try to minimize your movements to avoid
static. A grounding strap — while not absolutely required —
would be a good precaution.
For some reason, I found the whole disassembly
process really fun. Take your time and be careful not to
damage anything. Your laptop was designed to snap and
screw together so you must perform that process in
reverse. If things seem stuck and won’t come apart, you
have probably missed a screw somewhere; look closely
and you will eventually find it.
Special attention is needed when you disassemble
the display. You need to remove everything to get to the
raw LCD panel. Remove all of the plastic surrounding
the display, the hinges, and even the metal bracket used
to mount the LCD panel. You should be left with the LCD
panel, its cable(s) with connectors and, in my case, a
backlight controller built onto one of the cables.
When all is said and done, you will end up with a pile
of parts; some you will need, most others you won’t.
The stuff you will need includes: the LCD panel
with its cables and backlight controller (if separate); the
laptop’s logic board with RAM and Wi-Fi board (if not
built in); all fans; the power switch assembly; the hard
drive; and the laptop’s power supply (brick).
■ PHOTO 2. LCD display taped to front MDF panel.
The stuff you don’t need includes: the laptop’s
battery; the keyboard; the track pad; CD-ROM drive;
modem; and the small mountain of plastic and metal
parts, screws, and fasteners.
Then Comes Construction
The first step is to make or buy a matte that fits
into the shadow box frame that has the opening cut to
the exact dimensions of the display area measured
Next, cut two pieces of MDF so that they both fit
easily into the shadow box. One of the MDF pieces is
used to mount the display and the other is used to mount
the laptop’s logic board. Line up one of the MDF pieces
The Art Rays program enables your LTPF to generate
dramatic imagery without human intervention. In other words,
Art Rays allows your LTPF to generate its own art dynamically.
(And you thought only Bill Gates could have this type of thing!)
Art Rays uses raytracing to produce unique, one-of-a-kind,
three-dimensional images. See the photo for an example Art
Rays’ image. In fact, I have written a version of Art Rays called
Art Rays Lite as an iPhone app available in the iTunes app store.
Check it out if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch.
Of course, you have to appreciate ray-traced images to
enjoy what Art Rays does. There isn’t enough space here to
even start to describe the variety and types of images Art Rays
generates. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so I
have made a video of Art Rays images available on the Nuts &
Volts website ( www.nutsvolts.com) to help you decide whether
to install Art Rays or not.
Art Rays is based on MegaPOV which is itself based on the
amazing POV-Ray — a free raytracing program. You should download POV-Ray, then read and agree to the license
agreements before installing and using Art Rays. NOTE: Art Rays is provided for personal use only. No commercial use
of Art Rays or Art Ray images is permitted without written permission from the author.
To install Art Rays, download the zip file associated with this article from the Nuts & Volts website and unzip it
into the root of drive C: on your LTPF. Next, create a shortcut to the file c:\artrays\ ArtRays.bat and place it into the Start
folder of your LTPF user. Art Rays will then run automatically when you power-up your LTPF.
■ A ray-traced image generated by Art Rays.
January 2010 35