Nerdiy's 3D-Printed Framework Turns an IKEA RIBBA Into a Seeed XIAO ESP32C3-Powered ePaper Dashboard

Designed to make hardware installation as easy as possible, this clever 3D-printed adapter is perfectly sized for the components in use.

Pseudonymous maker and self-described "head of German overengineering" "Nerdiy" has designed a 3D-printable insert to convert an IKEA RIBBA 5×7" picture frame into an ePaper dashboard for a Home Assistant smarthome.

"The more you get into the topic of smart home [technology], the more you ask yourself how you can bring all this data into your normal life in the most convenient and attractive way possible," Nerdiy writes of the project's inspiration. "I came up with the E-Ink frame insert [detailed here], which can be used to build a battery-powered [ePaper] display."

Two 3D-printed parts and a handful of hardware neatly converts an IKEA picture frame into a smart ePaper Home Assistant display. (📷: Nerdiy)

Having already built a "magic mirror" — in which a backlit LCD panel is hidden behind mirrored glass, activating on request to show "floating" information — Nerdiy was looking for something more portable, lower-power, and permanently-on. Madelena Mak's ESPHome Weatherman Dashboard project proved perfect, with a few minor tweaks, but there was still the hardware to consider.

"To simplify the hardware setup a bit," Nerdiy explains, "I created a 3D printable insert with which the [ePaper] display and the complete electronics can be installed precisely in the IKEA RIBBA 5×7" frame used."

Inside the low-cost frame, sandwiched in place using the two-part 3D-printed insert, is a Seeed Sutiod XIAO ESP32C3 microcontroller board, a Waveshare ePaper HAT to drive a suitably-sized electrophoretic display, and a battery connected to an Analog Devices MAX17043 I2C battery gauge. The microcontroller pulls in environmental information, including the readings from a local temperature sensor, over Wi-Fi via queries to Home Assistant — and a switch on the rear allows the microcontroller to be placed into a manual sleep mode when updates are no longer required.

The frame's rear cover includes cable management, ventilation, and points for wall mounting hardware. (📷: Nerdiy)

The 3D printed inserts not only make installation of the hardware within the frame a cinch but also provide some clever tweaks to the usual project: the microcontroller's USB cable, which can be used to flash new firmware or charge the battery, is run through a cable guide, there are holes for commonly-used picture hanging hardware to wall-mount the device, and even an air intake to ensure the microcontroller doesn't overheat.

More details on the project are available in Nerdiy's GitHub repository and Reddit post, while the STL files are up for sale on the maker's website for €6.99 (around $7.50.)


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