How to make a touch screen table

Written by sue stepp
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How to make a touch screen table
Touchscreen technology allows the user more creativity. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Using a computer mouse with a computer limits creativity. When someone tries to write with a mouse, the lines come out rough and wiggly. A touch screen table gives the user a larger work surface and better control for drawing details. Touch screens allow a finger or stylus pen to draw directly into the computer. Making a touch screen table is easily accomplished. You can build a touch screen table in about an hour using a few inexpensive materials.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 1/8-inch Plexiglas 12 inches X 12 inches
  • 11 1/2- inch X 11 1/2-inch tracing paper
  • Tape
  • 2 cardboard boxes, 11 1/2 inches wide X 11 inches long X 16 inches high
  • Scissors
  • Webcam
  • Computer
  • Open Source finger-tracking software

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  1. 1

    Lay the tracing paper on the Plexiglas, centring it. Run a line of tape along the edge of the paper on the Plexiglas to secure it. Set this aside.

  2. 2

    Cut and remove the top fold flaps from one of the boxes. On the other box, fold the flaps down on top so it is closed. Run a line of tape across the top of the box, sealing it closed.

  3. 3

    Stack the box without the top flaps on top of the closed box. Make sure the top box has the open side facing up. Tape around the two boxes, so they are securely bound together.

  4. 4

    In the top box, cut a hole on one side near the bottom. It doesn't matter which side of the box you feed the webcam cord through. Feed the cord through the hole. Put the webcam into the top box. Position the webcam so that it faces upward in the centre of the bottom of the box. Tape the webcam to the bottom of the box.

  5. 5

    Put the Plexiglas with the tracing paper on top of the box, paper side up, and tape the edges of the Plexiglas to the box. Connect the cord from the webcam to the computer.

  6. 6

    Click on the link in the Resources, and download the Touchlib software. Click on "Download," and click "Save." Open the saved file and click "Install." Follow the instructions through the series of pop-up windows. Click "OK" until you complete the installation. The installed program opens with several windows. Personalise the touchscreen on the screen that comes up. Test your touchscreen table by drawing with any pointed tool or with your finger on the tracing paper, and watch the image show up on the computer screen.

Tips and warnings

  • Make the box look nice by painting it with acrylic paint or applying self-stick vinyl before adding the webcam to the box.

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