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Making my own screen......... How ?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by dUnKle, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Just about to get my first ever projector and want to get a good quality screen for it.

    Have been advised that they are rather simple to make at home in good old DIY fashion but no one can give me tips how.

    So can anyone here help ?

    I will be keeping my TV for regular TV watching and want the screen to drop down or be positioned rather easily in front of it for when I want to watch a movie.

    The screen is to be about 60" wide ( left to right ) and like I say needs to be easily put into position when its needed.

    What about black out material - seems rather cheap to buy - but how much would I need and how can I install it so its not always there ?

    Some people say a large piece of MDF painted is a good idea but unfortunatly this would not be practable as it would not be a perminant thing and there would be no place to store the screen when not in use.

    So can you help ?
     
  2. meep

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    Duncan,

    I built my own screen after much research here and elsewhere. Have a look at my website where you can get more details and find links to some other sites dealing with screen construction techniques.

    On the issue of material, I auditioned several grades; white painted wall, fragments of blackout material and actual screen material.

    If found the blackout material to be just above the white painted wall in terms of image brightness. Picture also seemed indistinct in terms of sharpness/presence.

    I ended up purchasing 1.3 gain material from a commercial screen supplier. Given that other elements are easily and cheaply obtainable from the local hardware store, it's worth streaching to proper material, if you can afford it. The difference, in my situation, was immense. Real night and day stuff.

    Good luck with the project

    Peter
     
  3. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Like Meep, I also made my own, but stuck with the blackout cloth as the screen material.

    I built an 84x47.25 screen using 70mm x 18mm x 2.4m lenghts of wood from B&Q (£6.99 IIRC).

    I cut two lengths 84 inches,and three lengths to act as the sides and a center brace to make a height of 47.25ins.

    I got three meters of blackout cloth from Alders for £15.

    I glued and screwed the frame together and when the glue had dried, I stretched the blackout cloth over it. You really need help with this, and and a staple gun to attach it to the rear of the frame as you stretch it out.

    Start at the middle and work out. There's a bit of a technique to it so you don't get any wrinkles, and I had to redo one half to make it wrinkle free.

    Pics are on my web site, and it only cost me £28 in total (including screws, staples and glue).

    Proper screen material will probably look better, but not having looked into the prices, I can't say how much better value you will be getting. Stewart screens are very expensive (but excellent) and the screen material will probably be equaly expensive.

    The whole thing is very light, and can be hung on the wall like a picture, so you can take it down when you're finished with it.

    Someone has even suggested putting a picture on the back so you can just turn it round when you need it. :)

    What pj are you getting by the way?

    HTH

    Gary
     
  4. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Nice idea - black out material is cheap enough to actually buy and find out its no good

    Uunfortunatly I cant have mine hung on the wall or similar but has to be of a roller type system
     
  5. meep

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    Duncan,

    You're right about blackout being cheap enough but try to get your hands on a smaple of REAL screen material to compare.

    Alos, with your rollup requirement, you're adding huge complexity. I have not come across anyone who has done DIY rollup:(

    Could you consider a ridgid screen which, as Gary suggests, is removeable (they are really light), or implement some form of "swing" mechanism which folds the screen up to the ceiling when not in use?

    Peter
     
  6. paiger

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    I am also looking to go the roller route. I figure a long length of thick dowel, top and bottom and some hangers on the wall (shlefs in my case) for the top pole. If it needs pulling tight, you could maybe atach some of those elasticated bike ropes with the hooks to the bottom poles and pull it down to something.

    This would be my only real option as something permanent will not do and I need to be able to store it, maybe in it's own bag behind the sofa. The only problems I can see would be creasing and ripples in it but I will be giving it a go soon.

    S
     
  7. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    Blind shops sell DIY roller-blind kits, consisting of the rollers, the brackets and the raising/lowering mechanism. These are surprisingly cheap compared to finshed blinds, and would almost certainly be better than mucking about with home-made rollers.

    The shops also sell the spray necessary to stiffen whichever fabric you use, to make it hang properly.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  8. marc_ely

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    I have recently made my own screen and it is a bit different so I will share some of this in case it inspires you!

    My screen gets put into position in the living room when it's needed. When it isn't it's stored in the garage.

    I looked at a solid wooden frame version but calculated the weight to be quite high (15Kg+) and as I have to lift it about and store it etc I thought I'd look a lighter method.
    I made my frame from 1" Aluminium box section tube. My screen is about 2m x 1.5m. The method and materials are:

    - Cut box sections to length and arrange on a flat surface
    - Use steel brackets on the outside of the corners and drill/screw the frame into a rectangle with good 90degree corners!
    - I then used some Aluminium welding rod (technoweld is the tradename) and I welded up the frame. This creates a rigid yet light frame.
    - I then got some thin wooden strip (6mm thick by 25mm wide) and I screwed this onto the rear of the Ali frame.
    - I then covered the frame with some black material I had. It is secured into the wood on the back with ordinary staples.
    - Finally I used blackout material and stretched this across the BACK of the frame. Again I used normal staples to secure it while pulling it taught.

    This gives a 2mx1.5m screen with the screen "recessed" into the black frame to help cut light reflections from the edge. It weighs about 4.5Kg. To store I put dust sheets over it and store it in my garage.

    I have been very impressed with the blackout material - a nice bright image from my LCD projector.

    Overall cost was about £45 - mainly in the Alluminium.

    Hope this is of interest.
    Marc
     
  9. Alaric

    Alaric
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    Hi There,

    Marc - Watch out with the steel and aluminium, it causes electrolitic corosion. You can get paint that will inhibit it, but its a specialised stuff. Probably best to put something plastic inbetween if you can and it won't be seen.

    Was thinking about using an Aluminium frame myself as I can get it cheap from work, as we make aluminium sandwich panels as we use box among other things.

    I take it a frame is better than a rigid panel for putting material on ???

    Cya,
    Lee
     
  10. marc_ely

    marc_ely
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    Hi,

    Well the Ali/Steel is hidden under the black frame covering and I dont expect to keep it that long anyway.

    In fact I am finding the projector is getting used rather more than normal so I am now looking to make a pulldown screen instead! Same material and using a roller-blind kit (or two).

    Cheers,
    Marc
     
  11. snelly

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    guys,

    I looked at the roller option too.

    I got a length of chromed 25mm steel tube, some white metal holders for this tube (basically brackets to hold the tube out from the wall about 75 mm) and a blind kit (i cannibalised the brackets from this.

    A 7.5 ft length of blackout fabric served as screen all in cost me about £40 in parts.

    The whole thing rolls up nicely and looks ok although better with a pelmet around it. However I did not get round to stiffening the fabric.

    Anyway I bought a proper screen because someone was selling one very local to me.

    If someone wants to collect the bits for a few quid from Surrey they would be very welcome...

    Tim
     

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