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Advice needed for a DIY-type replacement screen for projector (1 Viewer)

Josh Steinberg

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So I have a slightly unusual, makeshift approach to my home theater, and I'm in need of some ideas.


I've got an Epson 5030 projector that used to project onto a pull-down screen that hung in my living room. I went with a pull-down screen because I've also got a 50" television that I use for non-movie viewing. So I had the screen on brackets which extended out from the wall just far enough to clear the TV, and I'd pull the screen down when I wanted to watch a movie, and put it back up afterwards. For about a year that worked fine. Unfortunately the walls in my apartment suck, and the brackets finally fell out. (This wasn't exactly a surprise but I was hoping it would hold a little while longer.)


Unfortunately, I live in an apartment in NYC as a renter, so there are very strict limits to what I can and can't do. I do need some kind of a replacement projection screen, but I can't drill any more holes into that wall. It's drywall and there's a small space behind it, and then some kind of brick wall behind that. (There wasn't enough space between the two walls for a toggle bolt or something similar to spring fully open.) Hanging something heavy duty is out, both for the sake of trying to get some of my security deposit back, and also so I don't have to listen to the landlord complaining about the damage I've done.


As a temporary measure, I've used pushins to put up a white bedsheet stretched very tightly to avoid wrinkles and whatnot. It looks... well, it looks like a bedsheet, but it's better than nothing.


I also know that I will only be in this apartment for another 12-18 months, so I don't want to spend a fortune on a solution that will only be used for a year. So no $1000 screens or custom equipment for me.


I was initially leaning towards a floor-standing pull up screen like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Elite-Screens-ezCinema-100-inch-Diagonal/dp/B000PHLC7I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448760524&sr=8-1&keywords=elite+ezcinema+plus
(I know that Elite isn't the very best in projection screens, but the previous screen was an Elite and was fine for my temporary dwelling. I plan on doing something more fancy if/when I buy a house, but until then, simple and inexpensive has worked for me.)


And I suppose it will work, but it's $350, and I know it's gonna get used for the next year or so and then that's it. So it seems like it would work as a last resort but maybe I should try something else.


The other option I thought of would be to put the TV on some kind of table or shelf unit that has wheels, and then when I want to watch a movie, I could simply disconnect the HDMI input and power cable from the back of the TV, wheel the TV away from the wall, and project onto the wall. I'd just need to get some kind of better screen surface. I know I could get a fixed frame screen for a few hundred bucks, but that seems to put me in the same position as a pull-up screen - an expensive solution that will only be used for a short period.


Has anybody had any success with painting a screen onto the wall? I was thinking if I did that, the cost of paint has to be cheaper than a brand new screen, I could customize it to be any size I wanted, it doesn't require installing or purchasing any hardware, and I can simply repaint the wall when I'm moving out.


So what do you guys think... pull up screen or painted wall? Another option I haven't thought of? Or is this one of those situations where in trying to avoid spending $350 on a temporary screen, I could end up spending more time, money and effort on a replacement idea?
 

RichMurphy

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Two possible cheap and maybe wacky ideas:


If your hanging pulldown screen wasn't damaged when it fell out of the wall, could it possibly be hooked onto a garment rack and wheeled into place in front of your TV when needed? This would of course depend on the size of your screen. Living in a New York apartment, you may not have the space to store this when not in use.


A cheap temporary substitute for a screen I used many years ago was a 48x 96 piece of white foam board, with black plastic edge trimming. These are found in art supply shops It wasn't quite a Stewart Filmscreen, but it did the job for a while. It could be hung on a wall without making any permanent damage.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Hi Rich - the screen took a tiny bit of damage but is mostly okay.. it got a slight crease in it during the fall, but I think rolling it up solved most of that. The garment rack is a good idea, but alas, there isn't a place to store such a thing when not in use - I think my fiance would kill me. But that's the kind of "thinking outside the box" idea I was hoping to stir up here, I appreciate the suggestion.


I'll look into some foam board - the screen itself was 108" diagonally so I wonder if they make the boarding in an equivalent size. If not, though, that's still a great idea, maybe there's other kinds of foam or fabric that could be easily affixed to the wall.


As you can probably tell from my original post, I'm really stuck on the fence about how I want to handle this. The pull-up screen from Elite seems the easiest solution but not cheap, but then again, is $300 that bad for 18 months of viewing? Mounting a board or a different kind of fabric directly on the wall seems like it could work, but then I need to get a new piece of furniture and will have to physically move the TV each time I want to watch a movie. But if I get a pull up screen, I'll have to physically set that up each time too. At the moment I'm having trouble figuring out which is the lesser of the two evils.
 

RichMurphy

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The only other inexpensive solution I can think of would require more holes on your wall: It sounds like your original brackets were installed just on the drywall itself and not through the studs supporting the drywall. This is probably why the screen fell down. If you liked your former set-up, I would seriously consider finding a handyman to reinstall the brackets through the studs. While he/she was there, you could ask for an estimate to repair the drywall damage and possibly repaint the wall just before you move out.


And congrats on your impending marriage, presuming your fiance is not literally a murderer. :)
 

Josh Steinberg

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It's a weird wall - no studs that we can find. Had some reasonably intelligent people look it over, and it's weird apartment construction - the actual structure is behind this wall, but it's not consistent.. in some areas, it's brick less than an inch behind the drywall, in other areas it's a little more and then concrete. I can patch up the holes I put in, but I'm done with those brackets.


Been giving some serious consideration to painting… I really like the larger size that the sheet is covering now. (My screen had been 108", the sheet is measuring about 120".)


Thanks for the congratulations.. I may drive her crazy but not literally to murder, at least not yet :) Any woman who will let you set up a projector and a screen in a one bedroom city apartment is a keeper!
 

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