February 22, 2005

DIY Projector Screen

I completed building my DIY projector screen and it is now hanging from the ceiling in the home theater room. It consists of a 2x4" fir frame, held together using a pair of L-brackets in each corner. This frame was covered with black felt, and blackout cloth (free of blemishes) was stretched across the back using a canvas puller and staples. The frame is hung from the ceiling using eye-hooks and steel cable rated for a total maximum weight of 240 pounds. It is stablized against the wall using the speakers and 13" wooden rods.

Szu-Huey helped with screwing together the frame, pulling the blackout cloth, and hanging it from the ceiling. We've watched a few things so far, without calibration, and it looks excellent. The screen has a very good level of uniform gain, and the viewing angle is extremely wide. I think blackout cloth must be better than professional projection screens, although I haven't seen many.

Posted by josuah at February 22, 2005 11:12 PM UTC+00:00

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Author Profile PageJosuah says at March 23, 2005 2:40 AM

I got an email asking about the projector screen construction, so I am adding my response here:

The black felt and blackout cloth I bought from Hancock Fabrics. Joann's also carries them. Any fabric store will have them. Hancock and Joann's are two chain stores, so you're likely to find one of them where you are. I bought my canvas puller from Michael's, another chain store that has a lot of crafts and hobby stuff.

Yeah, the thickness of the frame doesn't matter as much as long as the frame is properly reinforced and held tight by the wood and metal you use. 2"x4"'s mean there is a 4" black frame for my screen, which can look good. You may also consider reinforcing the entire back with really thin plywood after putting on the blackout cloth. This will keep the entire thing flat and also reduce the chance of the blackout cloth staples from loosening. If you use screws, then you can easily remove the plywood to fix things. I didn't do this, so I'm not sure if adding plywood would make the cloth a little messed up when it touches the plywood.

But 2"x4"s aren't that heavy. Hanging it from the ceiling was a two person job, but moving it around before stapling the blackout cloth I could easily do myself. I wouldn't want to carry it around myself after the blackout cloth was stapled because there would be a risk of making the staples come out or stretching the cloth. I'm not sure how much my screen weighs, but I don't think that much. I can easily lift it by holding the top and bottom edges (which are closer to each other than the left and right edges).

The interior of my screen is 45" x 80" for a 92" screen. Since 2"x4"'s are 1.5" x 3.5", that means my actual screen + frame dimensions are 52" x 87".

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