Can you tell me the best and most cost effective way i can build my own HT screen?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Edward C, Aug 13, 2003.

  1. Edward C

    Edward C Auditioning

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    I would like about a 110" diagonal screen.[​IMG] Or give me a link to a good diy webpage. thx
     
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    http://www.surplusmachinery.com/theater/AV.htm#Screen

    It doesn't really go into the construction of the screen itself.. but it'll give you an idea.

    Another common DIY material are 4X8 sheets of PLAS-TEX from Parkland Plastics. It's a vinyl panelling normally used in showers and such. Perhaps a little easier to work with than the blackout cloth, but (from what I'm reading) not as good of a surface.
     
  3. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    http://dustin.bunnyhug.net/screen.php

    That cost me a little under $100CDN. Cost will go up another $50-$70 if I decide to paint it with one of the high heat enamel spray paints that are recommended when using digital projectors. Part of that cost will also be some sample painting tests to make sure I'll like the end result.
     
  4. Stuart Mundy

    Stuart Mundy Agent

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    My Two bobs worth, framed sheet of MDF painted white with a touch of grey in it, firmly attached to the wall.
    Heavy though!
     
  5. BenSC

    BenSC Stunt Coordinator

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    I took a 4x8 dry erase board (work junk) and framed it with some wood. Pulled a white sheet tight over it and stapled that to the wood. I then Painted over the sheet with a matt white finish. Thinking about repainting with a little gray in there. All in all I'm very pleased since it cost me next to nothing.
     
  6. TimForman

    TimForman Supporting Actor

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    Did you post your question on the HT Construction and Interiors section yet? Many of those members have made their own screens.
     
  7. Christer W.

    Christer W. Extra

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    I built my own screen using blackout cloth and 1x4's. Joann's fabrics has blackout cloth. It runs about 6 dollars a yard. I got three yards. It has both a matte "cloth" side and a shinier PVC coated side. I used the shiny side out.

    The fabric comes in 54" widths. It has a fair amount of stretch to it, which is why I made my frame 54" tall. As I was looking to make a 16:9 screen, that yielded a 95.5" wide screen for a diagonal of 109.77".

    I bought the straightest, cheapest pine I could find. I think the boards were $4 each and I needed 5 (one each for the top and bottom and both sides, one for two braces I ran top to bottom one third of the way in from each side. Mitred the corners with my brand new mitre saw (could have just butted them together, though), literally used my staple gun to hold together the wood-glued seams while it dried overnight. I used the mitred corner scraps as interior braces for the corners. Efficient use of material, I thought! Next day, pulled out the staples, centered the frame over the cloth on the carpet (have to keep the cloth clean!) and started to staple away.

    To make the stapling work, I began by stapling at the midpoint on both the long and the short sides. From there, I just worked my way to the corner from each midpoint. The cloth easily stretched around to the back of the frame about an inch in from the edge. Some guys have complained over the effort it took to stretch out the cloth and staple at the same time, or that you should have someone help out. I don't know what they are talking about. I had my wife to help me based on these anecdotes, but she just wound up on the couch watching me.

    Everyone in my family was shocked over how big the screen was. Especially parked next to the 53" Mits. RPTV. Even thought my HT is not finished, I have begun to assemble the gear so that when the carpet boys finally have their shot at it and are done, the theater will be up and running the same night.

    I got my projector (Panasonic PT-L200)last week and jury rigged my equipment with only the front three speakers. Everyone was impressed! Some of the posters here talk about painting the screen gray, or getting filters for the projector to enhance shadow detail. I don't know. I will need to watch a lot more movies to get a feel for how it might be tweaked. I think it looked great.

    Anyway, the screen is pretty good, weighs nothing, and cost less than 40 dollars total. If I want to paint it, I can, and if it doesn't work out, so what? Another 18 bucks for another piece of cloth and I am back in action.

    If you go a solid material, you run into problems. The materials offered above are only 48". To get to a 110" diagonal, you wind up at almost 99" wide, or a 2.05:1 ratio, good for cinemascope, but too short in height for a lot of DVD's and an odd looking 4:3 solution; the bars will be enormous on the sides - almost 18".

    Parkland does make a 5'x10' material. The downside is that it comes direct from them, rolled up. Getting it flat seems to be an issue, and the shipping is not cheap and can cause damage along the way. There are tales of guys having to return 3 or 4 sheets until they get one that is usable.

    Another interesting idea that has been done is to basically mask out on your existing wall a black border in flat matte paint. . The screen area can be painted in an ultrawhite flat finish or even a gray if you are looking to enhance the blacks of an LCD projector. For more drama, paint the rest of the wall a dark pigment The black border and contrasting wall paint create the illusion of a separate screen. Saw some photos of one a guy did over on AVS forum. Very convincing.

    Hope some of this helps.
     

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