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Austin DIY HT Projects

Discussion in 'Home Theater Forum Meets' started by Nils Luehrmann, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    It seems that the last few meets have been largely focused on DIY HT projects (like speaker building, acoustical absorption panels, screens, etc), and it sounds like there are many other DIY projects that members are either working on or have an interest in, so I thought this thread (much like the Austin Movie Night! thread is dealing with members who want to get together to share their HT rooms, I thought this thread might be a great place for fellow members to not only share DIY project ideas and implementations, but to also arrange group gatherings where by we all help a member with a particular project. Not only is this a great way to help our friends, but it is also a great learning opportunity for those thinking about similar DIY projects for their own systems.
    I thought the best way to get the ball rolling is for those with DIY projects, and those planning on DIY projects to list them and see who might be interested in either offering advice, lending a hand, or just want to watch, listen and learn.
    Right off the top of my head I know Jonathan is in the middle of some big HT projects (Screens, CRT Calibration, HTPC). Colin is planning on doing a SMART II calibration/modifications to his 10HT, and making a PLAS-TEX screen frame. Fredrick has a huge project in front of him with the conversion of his garage into an HT room.
    As for the DIY stuff in my HT system, her are some of the past, present and future DIY projects I have going on:
    SCREEN:
    With the help of Hank and his son I made a PLAS-TEX screen (anyone considering this option should feel free to ask me any questions you might have as well as possibly come by and test it out with your own projector to see if you like the results).
    4-WAY MASKING SYSTEM:
    I am in the process of making a 4-way masking system with the help from my wife, and will gladly share our experience with anyone interested.
    SCREEN MOVIE CURTAINS:
    My wife is also working on a design for curtains to go across the entire screen, and a valance to cover all the masking gear.
    BLACKOUT SHADES:
    My wife is also making pull down blackout shades for the windows.
    EQUIPMENT RACK/HT STORAGE:
    I made a ventilated equipment rack out of Elf System components and I am currently redesigning the shelving next to the equipment, and looking at building a sliding door for an enclosure.
    DVD/CD/LP STORAGE SHELVES:
    I have several hundred DVDs, CDs, and LPs and was having trouble finding an adequate way to store them. Thanks to a link sent to me by Hank, I found a solution for my DVDs, and now I am trying to find a solution for cabinets to store my LPs and other Misc. HT gear.
    POWER OUTLET FOR CEILING MOUNTED PROJECTOR:
    I made myself a power outlet and did all the wiring for it, and anyone needing assistance in that, feel free to email me.
    VIDEO CABLE:
    Hank was kind enough to make me some superb component cable for which I look forward to helping him make cable in the future. Unfortunately I missed all of the process due to a very distracting child, but hope to get another chance soon. We also ran the wire from the ceiling mounted projector through the attic to the equipment rack. If you plan on pulling your own wire in an attic - watch out fore those 3" roofing nails!
    RECESSED ROPE LIGHTING:
    This is a project that I would gladly accept advice and assistance. I think I have a good idea how to do this, but I'm not exactly sure I am on the right track. Basically I would like to build a square boarder shelf around the walls of my recessed ceiling and place a long run of rope light inside it such that it would illuminate the ceiling but remain out of sight from every position in the room.
    MARQUEE POSTER FRAMING:
    I have several marquee movie posters (posters that are designed to be illuminated from behind). I have already had them framed between two panes of glass and in a deep black shadow box, but I am not happy with the result. I would like to have something that weighs less and is less reflective (Plexiglas instead of glass - frosted on the backside for diffusion the light source), and a box that can easily be opened up such that the posters can be changed out on occasions. Also, I want to use coiled rope light for illumination as it can be connected to a dimmer for light control. Any suggestions/assistance would be greatly appreciated.
    HTPC:
    Well, I have no immediate plans for an HTPC in my system, but I am interested in helping others put HTPCs together in hopes that should I ever want to add an HTPC, I will have enough experience to make it a more pleasant adventure.
    Well that about does it for me.
    I think this thread could become a great asset for all of us, so lets see how it progresses.
     
  2. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    Excellent idea! I'll follow up.
    Recent DIY Projects:
    • A five channel surround sound speaker system (of my own design)
    • A pair of subwoofers based on the Adire Tempest 15" driver
    • DIY blackout cloth screen and grey screen experimentation
    Future DIY Projects:
    • More DIY screen experimentation
    • DIY anamorphic lens building
    • Possible wacky speaker designs (horn loaded line sources or something odd like that [​IMG])
    Speaker building got kind of boring for me, and most of my interest lies with video these days. But I may get back into speakerbuilding at some point when I have more difficult projects in mind.
     
  3. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Screenwriter

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    Nils: Good idea, I just hope that three Austin threads aren't too many (Movie Nights, D-I-Y and the almost ever-present Next Austin Meet thread). How about combining the latter two into one: Austin HT Forum? Or maybe combine all three, wherein anything HT of interest to Austinites could be discussed, whether it be the next meet, the next movie night or members' ongoing projects? Might be easier to manage/access and posting news of importance wouldn't be missed by someone who might only frequent one of the separate threads. Just a thought. Could we get some discussion going, everyone?

    Component video cable: yes that was a fairly long run and the highlight of the installation was my son Sean's discovery of the roofing nail with his head. Never heard an expletive penetrate a ceiling with such revealing clarity and presence of soundstage! The bill is on the way.
    Rope light: I love that stuff! I installed some under the front edge of my deck just outside my kitchen. Nice glow and no direct light in your eyes when you're on the deck at night. Have you found wide enough crown molding yet?
    Lighted poster frame: as you know, I've got a frame done and plan to get the Plexiglas you mentioned - just need to design an easy access method, but I'm diverted now by:
    Next prototype of small full-range driver BoseBuster - just received shipment of 10 drivers.
    CarverCrusher small cube subwoofer prototyping with new on the market 8" subwoofer drivers with 12mm Xmax.
    Equipment rack: I've got the plywood sides with molding installed and stained rosewood. This is a nice "industrial" rack that now looks good enough to sit in an HT room. New D-I-Y interconnects and HF Soundwerks Snake Oil power cords being installed along with a new Brick Wall surge protector/filter.
    Bartered a deal last night: the kid who does my yard wants some "real" speakers, so for 5 lawn mowings, he'll get his bookshelf speakers.
    And of course time out for beer and tequila.
     
  4. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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    The multitude of threads has it's benefits as well as drawbacks. But the good thing is, I'm planning a DIY project of my own and would really appreciate some help or advice.
    I have a dedicated listening room in my apartment (audio only) that's smallish (11 x 14) and way too bright. I want to build some acoustic absorption panels. I'm thinking 3 feet wide and 8 feet tall for the front and side walls. Unfortunately, I missed the meet that focused on these although I've obtained some good plans from some other sites.
    An extra hand or two would be a great, especially since doing anything the first time is laborious. When I swapped out the binding posts on my monoblocks, it took 5 hours to do the first one and 5 minutes to do the second one... You know how it is [​IMG].
    I was thinking about doing it this Saturday but I wouldn't mind waiting an extra week.
    Thanks,
    -Mike...
     
  5. Frederick_Falk

    Frederick_Falk Second Unit

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    I don't mind the seperate threads, but we might want to post in the DIY section that there is an on-going thread here about DIY meets.
    Right now I am in the wait and learn mode as I am not ready to tackle the garage yet. I have a good idea of what I want to do but there are still a few obstacles in the way that need to be ironed out before I start putting up walls. I have a couple of different ways I can do the room and have not decided which would be best for me.
    So, I offer up my services to any others that are doing any sort of A/V DIY projects as this will also give me a way to learn from others. Then I will feel more comfortable when I do my own HT room.
    Other than that, I don't really have any DIY projects in the wings except I may try to do a masking system on my Sony 36" TV.
    One last thing. Colin has a list of emails of eveyone in our area. When we do another DIY mini-meet, how about sending out a notice to everyone and have those that want to attend RSVP? That way no one can say they didn't know and miss one of these very informative meets. Not to mention the lost manual labor. [​IMG]
     
  6. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Screenwriter

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    Frederick, study up on acoustic treatments and the D-I-Y projects on the net. I've printed out a couple. Ask Jonathan's advice - he is of the school that room treatment is as important as speaker design/selection/placement.

    I would vote for the next D-I-Y meet to be another acoustic treatment session. Wall panels: maybe different fiberglas -I've read that some of the rigid stuff may be too rigid.
    Corner bass traps: either cylidrical like most of the D-I-Y's on the 'net, or maybe some of Jonathan's idea of triangular configuration. Maybe diffusers also - more complex than absorbers, but just a thought.

    Construction takes time and you can't have a two-hour session that includes instruction and also build enough for everyone. Maybe those with specific "problems" to address can do investigating and have a good idea of what they need and the committment to buy materials and build at the meet.

    Or, maybe D-I-Y something different: how 'bout speaker stands? Hollow main post/tube for filling with sand/lead shot.
     
  7. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

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    I'll be building a sealed shiva sonotube sub in the next 1 or 2 months, and would absolutely LOVE to see/hear similar subs first. Construction pointers, "where did you get your sonotube", design ideas, and related shop talk. Mark Hayenga pointed me to the "local meets" forum for just this reason... apparently he's built 4 shivas and two tempests. Wow!
     
  8. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    I need to put in the time and get my Plas-Tex screen built. Here is what I plan to do, interspersed with questions about just HOW I am going to accomplish this...
    I have two 5' x 10' sheets of Plas-Tex (just in case I screw up on the first one). From that, I intend to make a 16:9 format screen with viewable area dimensions of 96"x54" (110").
    The border to the screen will be 3" wide fluted moldings (see http://www.houseoffara.com/products/prod-mflmould.asp for illustration), with 3.25" rosettes in the corners (see http://www.houseoffara.com/products/...#RosettaBlocks). (Nils: Much like the casings surrounding the inside of your front door.)
    These moldings look good and do not require mitering at the corners (good for lousy DIYers like me).
    I intend to paint the moldings/rosettes black.
    As I see it, I need a 102"x60" area of backing material. Since MDF is typically sold in 4'x8' sheets, this will not work unless I can get a 5'x10' sheet of MDF.
    Are there other (preferably LIGHTER) backing materials I could use?
    Then I intend to contact-cement a 102"x60" section of Plas-Tex to the backing material, then attach the decorative moldings on the front side of the screen.
    Any suggestions about mounting hardware to put on the back of the screen assembly? Something this heavy certainly would need to be attached to studs when hung on the wall.
     
  9. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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  10. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Screenwriter

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    Colin, when I looked into the border stuff for you I found fluted molding and rosettes at Lowes and Home Depot, as I recall. I recommended to Nils that he look at solid hardboard (pegboard without the holes). He did and it is too flimsy for his taste. It would definitely telegraph any waviness in a wall, but go look at it at one of those stores. MDF will be the flatest material, both initially and over time. We contact cemented Nils' screen to 1/2" MDF. Three people can hang it - no problem.

    Size: you can take a 49" x 97" (standard MDF size) sheet and edge-glue a 5" wide strip to one of the long sides and edge-glue an 11" strip to the short side. This can be done with wood biscuits. Does anyone have a biscuit jointer? Also a slot-cutting bit can be used in a router. I have some wood biscuits but I don't think I have a slot-cutting bit anymore. You'd need a flat surface to work on. I know it's a hassle, but it can be done. If you're adamant about your screen size, you can't avoid the fact that there isn't any 102" x 60" MDF or plywood or sheetrock available (to the best of my knowledge).
     
  11. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    Hey Colin,
    Some guys on AVS recommended GatorFoam as a backing material. I've never worked with it or even seen it, but it's supposed to be 4x8 foam type material that's very flat and stiff and usually used by sign makers. I was looking into it as a backing material before I made my current MDF screen frame, and Laird Plastics (www.lairdplastics.com) carries it locally.
     
  12. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    Jeff,

    What is your room/system setup? I generally steer people away from sealed Shivas. If you're set on a sealed sub there are drivers better suited to that alignment.
     
  13. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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  14. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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  15. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    I agree with J. I've built two ported and two sealed Shivas; my fav alignment for that driver is 3-4cf vented and tuned to the low 20's. Lotsa power handling, nice and clean bass, no need to tune lower since a 12 is pretty worthless below 20Hz and tuning lower would probably hurt power handling more than anything else.

    I think the Tempest is a fair bit better driver though, my Shiva came in pretty far out of spec (Fs=26Hz,Qts=.46). Contrary to advertising I hear this is pretty typical of the driver and is what a lot of the original units shipped with on their spec sheets (have since discontinued that practice). My Tempests, on the other hand, are dead spot-on Fs=18Hz and Qts = .35 (which is actually indicative of a slightly stronger magnet (Qe is also low) but series resistane factors in in the real world and kicks it up a bit).

    Oh well, I gotta get back to steam cleaning the carpets.
     
  16. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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  17. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    Actually I was just getting the placed cleaned up for one [​IMG] When you really think about it, it's no more futile than work or school or anything else we occupy our time with.
    BTW guys, this grey screen was a HUGE success. My buddy Drew popped over last night and said he thought it looked 100% better than the old blackout cloth screen. Don't be afraid of the grey you FPTV guys!
     
  18. Steve Stogel

    Steve Stogel Supporting Actor

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    I'd be very interested in a little "DIY Screen" meet. I've got a Sony 1251q, and I'm thinking that I'd like a 45x80 Plas-Tex screen. I was also contemplating going for a 52x92 screen, so maybe someone (Colin) could build two (Colin) screens (Colin), and I could (Colin) just buy the one (Colin) that is of slightly less (Colin) quality. I was thinking maybe Colin would be interested, because I seem to rembember he had two 5x10 Plas-Tex sheets. Just a thought (Colin).

    Steve
     
  19. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Steve -

    I get the hint...

    I'm open to a DIY screen-making get-together. Hank provided some useful hints, though we need to line up facilities with a table saw and a biscuit joiner (Hank - hint, hint). I'm free any weekend except this coming one (August 31-September 2). And then I need some way of moving a 54x96 screen to my place (hint to somebody with a truck ... I haven't acquired the standard Texas form of transportation yet)...
     
  20. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Screenwriter

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    Colin, when you get your pickup truck, don't forget the gun rack [​IMG] If you still insist on larger than the standard 49" x 97" MDF size, you will need to do what I suggested above. A biscuit jointer would make it fairly easy. Rather than build the monster at my place, buy a a sheet of 1/2" MDF (the Pflugerville Home Depot is the one place that had 1/2" when I was looking) and see if they have scrap that could be cut to the sizes you need to splice onto the big sheet. Otherwise, buy a second sheet and have them cut the two splices from it. If you can't borrow a pickup, rent the store's - I think they're $20 - pretty cheap.
    Still need a biscuit jointer or a slot-cutting bit for a router. If anyone's got a bit, I'll volunteer to bring my router and some biscuits and help you.
     

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