Automated D.I.Y. masking and acoustically transparent screen (Now with pictorial/video tutorial!).

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by mooro1973, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. mooro1973

    mooro1973
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    I finally did it!

    Finished masking system. Best ever improvement I've made to my home cinema.

    The movement of the masking just adds loads to the theatrical feel of the whole presentation. My screen area is now a black void when you enter the room, only revealing itself on command! The difference it makes to the perceived contrast of film is astounding. Video below.

    I have also gone a.t screen. With the sound coming from the screen, and not above or below it it is much more cinematic. Voices etc. actually seem to come from the actors mouths. Big kudos to Jag from Epic Home Cinema for bringing over some screen samples to play with last night.

    Played with React 2 and his new Filmex material which I went for in the end as very good value. As you can see from the screenshots it is superb. The React 2 did have better blacks in ambient light, but this is to be expected I suppose, and the Filmex is a.t. whilst the React is not.

    Total cost of the whole masking/a.t. screen I make under £500!!

    And satisfaction built in!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
    Automated D.I.Y. Home Cinema Masking and...
     
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    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  2. sammy the squid

    sammy the squid
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    Fantastic stuff Mooro (sorry, I don't know your name). Am I correct in observing that you've constructed a 16:9 screen and then have masking scope masking rolling down from the top and rolling up from the bottom?

    It looks superb in the video. I'm not sure what's happening in the snap before the video, but it looks like someone is having some fun!

    Asif
     
  3. soupdragon

    soupdragon
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    Whats cooler than cool? Ice cool!

    Love it, silky smooth and a big congratulations for your efforts, I'm sure your delighted :)

    That sort of system usually sets you back the price of a '1st car' and I really love it when people tackle this sort of stuff and DIY it themselves so big kudos to pull this off and get it working so well. Top and bottom working in tandem at the same speed gives a real professional look too :)
     
  4. mooro1973

    mooro1973
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    Hi Sammy,

    Yes it is a 16:9 constant width screen, with masking bars from top and bottom to give 235:1 etc.

    Re the picture - geeking in action.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  5. Jag @ Epic Home Cinema

    Jag @ Epic Home Cinema
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    Good to see you yesterday!

    Mooro had called to mention that his devore had arrived and he wanted to try out a few screen samples. I took along the React 2.1 (principally as he was curious as to what can be achieved in ambient lighting- the React 2.1 is particularly ideal for ambient lit rooms rooms, it may not be so important in a bat cave like Mooro's. It would neither work on a diy fixed frame since it needs to be properly tensioned.). We also tried out the Centre Stage xd but he settled for the Filmex. The difference between this and the centre stage is the lack of visible weave. You could be stood 3 feet away and you won't see the fabric or any form of perforation. I think Mooro's pic's speak for themselves.

    Two layers are required but can be attached with consummate ease The centre stage xd requires a single layer if you've totally blacked out the area behind the screen else it's suggested you attach a blackout layer just behind the centre stage xd. material.

    The masking system is seriously impressive and the perceived contrast has been vastly improved! i stayed behind to help set this up and basqued with Mooro in his moment of self congratulation.
     
  6. mcspongy

    mcspongy
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    I think in the pic above the video he must be feeding the little man who operates the pulleys to open and close the masking, wizard of Oz-style!! Looks great, mooro, keep up the good work.
     
  7. willson

    willson
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    Thats amazing, especially that its diy and done for that price :cool:

    Do you have any pics or details of the masking mechanism? :)
     
  8. frazk

    frazk
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    Really cool work! I attempted to think about how this could be done but that's as far as I got. It just seemed so much work I gave up on the idea!
    It looks really smooth and seems to work flawlessly. Now all we need is for some step by step instructions from you :)
     
  9. j1mgg

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    That is a really nice screen setup, and as said above, you need to gibe us more pictures and instructions of the pulley system.

    What size is your screen?
     
  10. couto27

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    Can you expain how you did it ?

    More pictures Please (dayight)
     
  11. mooro1973

    mooro1973
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    O.K.

    This is an easy, but fiddly job.

    Essentially I have two steel tubes top and bottom. The top is motorised. As it rolls down with tape attached to it, it pulls the "top bar" of the bottom masking up. When it rolls up, the tension on the tape is released and the bottom masking rolls down, since in the bottom bar are two springs.

    The parts list I used is here:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    First job is getting your tubes. Now if you have a span of over 2.5 metres, like I did, then you will need steel tubes, as aluminium will bend. The motor I used, the Somfy lt50, needs 2" internal diameter tubing. If you have a smaller span, you can use a smaller motor like the Somfy LT30 and 1.5" aluminium "rollease" tubes. The advantage of this is that they are ribbed internally to take the motor head. Do not, as I did, spend weeks trying to source 2" ribbed steel tubing in the U.K. As far as I can tell there isn't any. Instead get 2" tube, and be prepared to drill a few holes. It is simple, so don't let it put you off. I got mine from here:

    Mild Steel Hollow Tube Cut To Your Size Requirements

    Another issue that may cause you delays if you are anything like me, is working out exactly what lengths you need. I'll make it easy for you. For the top tube, measure your span, then deduct 5cm. This allows space to"swing" the tube with the motor one end, and the idler the other end, in. The bottom tube can be measured for your span minus about 2cm, and when installing you can adjust the position of the spring assist retaining brackets to get a good fit.

    Once you have the top tube, you need to insert an idler one end, and the motor the other:

    [​IMG]
    (motor top, idler bottom).

    The crown head is already attached to the motor, and you can see the idler next to its head. Word of warning, you need circ-clip pliers to get the retaining bracket onto the idler end - I spent two hours struggling to do this then went to the hardware store and literally the first thing I saw that I never knew existed was, yep, the circ-clip pliers!

    [​IMG]

    Note that both motor and idler require the tube to be notched so that they are secured when in the tube.

    [​IMG]

    I spent weeks wondering how to notch the metal, then just bought a cheap Silverline rotary tool, and notched it with the cutting tool. Doh!

    Once the idler and motor are slid in , they need securing with self tapping screws. Drill the holes first, and don't worry, the distance along the tube to drill is listed in the documentation that comes with the motor/idler.

    [​IMG]

    Then cover the screws with duct tape to keep them secure and stop them from fouling your material.

    O.K. now for the bottom tube. Essentially we are putting one of these springs in each end:

    [​IMG]

    The problem you may have is that they are meant for 1.5" tubes, and you may be using 2" tubing. Never fear. We can use 1.5" to 2" adaptors to solve this problem. We will slide these adaptors into the tube, essentially tuning the internals of it into a 1.5" rollease pipe!

    [​IMG]

    However the adaptors won't fit in the tube as they have a flange that is too wide. Panic not, do as I am doing in the pic above and destroy the flange with a pair of pliers. Now the adaptor fits, but how to get it into the tube and how to make sure it is the right distance in to take the springs drive head? Well what I did was this:

    [​IMG]

    I fitted the adaptor to the spring before inserting it into the tube, and used a small screw to ensure the spring would not pass through the adaptor whilst being pushed in. You need two adaptors for each spring, one that goes into the tube with the spring as above, and one that sits at the external end of the spring. The flange on this can be left in place. Both adaptors then need securing with screws to the tubing (get that drill out again!).

    Another gotcha! Be sure to mark the left and right ends of the tube, because you must use the right hand spring in the left hand tube and vice versa. This is because they are designed to go into top tubes that roll down, and we are using them to roll up and so against the direction the spring is designed for.

    Now we can put material onto the tubes. Easy does it! I used duct tape to attach the material (Devore in my case) to the tube, and then tried to cut a straight edge by eye. It did not work. What I recommended is attaching the material to the tube, making a small cut at the length required, then taking it off and using a square, cut your length properly. I wasted hours wondering why my material wouldn't wind on properly, and the reason was my inaccurate cutting.

    Now you have your tubes covered, you can place them into the appropiate retaining brackets. You should have something that looks like this:

    [​IMG]
    (Top with motor)

    and this:

    [​IMG]

    (Bottom with spring retaining bracket visible)

    You will also notice a white "U channel". I got this from BandQ. This enables the bottom bar (of the top material) and the top bar (of the bottom) to slide up and down a fixed and safe distance from your screen.

    [​IMG]

    The bars themselves are another issue. I recommend applying both after fixing your tubes in pace. The bottom bar of the top (!) can be placed and fixed with duct tape. The top bar of the bottom (!) however cannot be placed until we have added tension to the springs in the bottom tube. This is where you need three people! Two can roll the tube in the upward direction to add the tension and one can hold the tube once tension is added to stop it unwinding. Now with the tube held, the other two can add the top bar with duct tape again.

    O.K. don't let go of the bottom tube yet! We need to take the tape from the top tube (note I have reels either end to ensure safe and tidy spooling but I think you probably don't need these) and tie it to the top bar of the bottom material at either end. Try to make sure that you have equal amounts of material unrolled from the top and bottom masks when you do this so that your masking meets midway on your screen.

    Now the bottom tube holder can let go! The bottom tube will try to roll down, adding tension to the system, and ensuring the bottom material stays taut.

    Nearly there!

    Now it is a simple case of programming the upper and lower stops of the motor (explained in the motor documentation). I had to do a little bit of wiring as my motor originally was not remote controlled, so I added a module to achieve this facility:


    [​IMG]
    (All tidied up in a box from Maplins. The i.r lead (white) pokes out through a little hole drilled in the side border. Also using a step down transformer as the electronics are 110v).

    If you buy a factory remote controlled motor you will not have to worry about this.

    O.K. the whole mechanism should work like this:



    Now tidy up with a border, and go enjoy.

    PROS:

    1) Just looks cool
    2) Much improved perceived contrast

    CONS:

    1) The border to hide the mechanism needs to be reasonably wide so you loose some screen real estate.
    2) The borders also cast shadows left and right as they are a few inches from the screen. I plan to remedy this by getting strips of very thin ply, covering with Devore, and then placing this as a "false" border on the screen where the shadow falls.

    The above is nitpicking btw, and not noticed by any of my non-geek friends or relatives until I pointed it out.

    In short the most amazing addition to my cinema I've ever made.

    Hope the above helps you all on your journey to home cinema nirvana.

    Mooro
     
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    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
  12. couto27

    couto27
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    brilliant, thanks a lot..
     
  13. swiftpete

    swiftpete
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    Where's the video?
     
  14. mooro1973

    mooro1973
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    Youtube video at the bottom showing the mechanism.
     
  15. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Excellent job Mooro! Love it when members knock stuff together that works brilliantly but done on the cheap.

    Well done that man :thumbsup:
     
  16. degsod

    degsod
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    Brilliant job, how many metres of Filmex did you use ?
     
  17. Ideal AV

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    it's a cracking job this one and made to look very easy

    congrats on what looks like a great solution to what's usually a very expensive purchase

    well done that man :clap:

    do you think it would work with vertical sides masks?

    cheers Allan
     
  18. Jag @ Epic Home Cinema

    Jag @ Epic Home Cinema
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    Mooro purchased 5 metres for his theatre.
     
  19. Jag @ Epic Home Cinema

    Jag @ Epic Home Cinema
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    I'm not convinced it would work so well vertically. The velvet is tightened up on the roll and with the vertical gravitational pull down I suspect it will begin to slack. It'll require quite some tweaking to be perfect and even then I don't think it would work quite right. I say this as I was the 3rd hand when connecting everything up. I was as intrigued as everyone else by Mooros project so decided to stay behind and act as labourer.

    Hopefully he'll post his views later.
     
  20. mooro1973

    mooro1973
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    I have thought of a way of doing it for side masking. However you would need an extra set of tape from the spring assissted tube to the "bottom" bar of the motor end material. The springed tube would roll to keep tension on the motor end material. It would work I think.
     
  21. True Romance

    True Romance
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    Well don't hang about old boy, get cracking :D
     
  22. Sandra51

    Sandra51
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    For the side masking wouldn't standard electrified curtain track work ?
     
  23. Herbiefish

    Herbiefish
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    Superb, you must be mega chuffed with that! When do you start taking orders!?
     
  24. xar

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    Looks fantastic! I am about to get a screen built and dealer is recommending AT material from screen excellence (enlightenor I believe). In order to keep costs down I was entertaining the filmex material instead. Does anyone have a direct comparison or thoughts? I.e. The screen excellence material is definitely worth the extra? For reference it's for a regular 1080p projector in a dedicated room with no ambient light using in wall revel speakers.
     
  25. Jag @ Epic Home Cinema

    Jag @ Epic Home Cinema
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    May be worth giving me a ring a ding to discuss.
     
  26. johnjay

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    It just goes to show a chap with skills & a goods receipt at that cost, that the cost of actually getting it done by "The Experts" is in some cases extortion. The mark-up on certain products in this business just because the product in question is a little off the norm or there is little competition is a rip-off seriously.

    You pick up the phone to enquire about an online masking screen set-up because most of the time its "Call us for a Quote" & you will be told probably 15 or 20k, maybe more.
    Of course it will be an amazing thing of beauty & the finish will be top-notch but still crazy money to have a screen that can change from 16:9 to 21:9.

    The only problem with CIW/CIH is you need a big screen to begin with because when the masking appears, your screen viewing area becomes too small for 2.35:1 & vice-versa for CIH your 16:9 space is too small. So granted a bigger screen than usual is needed to accomplish multi AR.
    (Personally I prefer CIH as the viewing area is always becoming wider for 2.35-2.40:1.)
    But it still doesn't give the main reason why a Home Cinema screen can cost more than your average car.

    Well, well done mooro1973, if we all could do it people putting a home rig together wouldn't be getting fleeced.
    Of course I realise it must have been hard work & requires some experience. Amazing outcome just the same.

    Even the cost of a half-decent plain-jane screen is totally insane imo & why we see so many DIYers on youtube these days. Good for them!!

    Keep up the good work & again great result.:thumbsup:
     
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  27. Javelin77

    Javelin77
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    Hi mooro1973.
    I was searching for a way to make a notch on an aluminum tube for somfy lt50 altus and saw ur post . U said u bought a silverline rotary tool then u attached the cutting blade on it in order to make the notch ? Thats it ? I just can't figure out the part where u start cutting because it's hand tool not attached to clamp or so! Im only worried about safety ! So could u explain the notch process more? Thanks
     
  28. mooro1973

    mooro1973
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    That's it. Apart from wearing safety glasses, I simply held the tube in one hand and the rotary tool in the other. I marked the tube as per the Somfy instructions. It took approx 10 minutes for either end, slowly cutting and grinding.

    You are probably doing what I do......thinking too much. Once you get going it's easy!
     
  29. Javelin77

    Javelin77
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    I see i will give a try . Those plain round aluminum tubes are much cheaper than factory notched tubes almost half the price . So thanks a lot
     
  30. Javelin77

    Javelin77
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    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1418893734.035004.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1418893760.786912.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1418893782.611091.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1418893795.872685.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1418893809.477948.jpg

    Thought i'd share those pics . That 55mm tube made my life easier .
     

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