DIY 104" 1.85 screen with integrated masking system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 57 Old 12-01-2008, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello. I wanted to share with everyone on AVS what I hope to be a very easy, cheap, and effective plan to make a DIY screen with a manual (remember cheap) masking system to allow for 2.40 content. Since I am not using a special lens, this masking system will be for a constant width image.

Hopefully within a year I will be building a new theater in a new home, so I didn't want to spend much money on this new screen, but at the same time I wanted to keep the screen and the front wall appealing.

My goals:
  • Increase screen size from current 92 inch screen.
  • Create a manual masking system that will allow user to set different aspect ratios.
  • Keep cost of the screen and masking system under $150.
  • Masking system completely integrated into the screen frame.

I only have a few drawings of my plans, so I prolly won't most those. But I hope to share plenty of photos.

Basically the masking system will be a turn-by-hand system using pulleys inside the frame. To lower the upper mask, I will turn the upper tube clock-wise to my desired position. Same idea for the bottom but turning counter clock-wise. Since the pulley systems are not attached, I will be able to completely cover the black bars on the top, while allowing for some of the bottom black bar on the bottom to be covered. I thought I make not always use the lower masking system completely since on 2.40:1 content the time bar and some subtitles are shown in that area.
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post #2 of 57 Old 12-01-2008, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a photo of the current (old) screen wall.


Photo demonstrating the current need for a masking system. It's doesn't look this bad in person, but the top and bottom bars are visible.


A photo of the screen wall deconstructed.


I first constructed a frame with 2x3 studs for the 104 inch 1.85:1 screen. The top 2x3's are 91 1/2 inches long. The side 2x3 are joined on the inside of the top and bottom boards and are 48 inches tall. Making the outside measurements of this frame 94' wide and 50 7/8" tall. With these measuresments I was able to use three 2x3 8 foot studs. This frame is attached to the studs in the screen wall with L-brackets. The 2x3's are attached with the wider sides pointing out. (The 2 inch side faces the wall.)


Next I created an outter frame using 1x4. The outside measurements of this frame are 94 inches wide by 58 5/8 inches tall. With this measurements, I was able to use two 8 foot pieces and one 10 foot piece. On the two side 1x4 pieces, I cut two 2 1/2 inch holes. Each hole is 1 1/4 inches from end of each board.


Cost for the two wood frames: $32.13
L-brackets: $6.50

Running Total: $38.63
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post #3 of 57 Old 12-01-2008, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Next, I cut two pieces of 10 foot long, 2 inch diameter PVC pipe to 97 inches in length. Later, I will show how the PVC pipe will roll the masking system up or down using a very simple pulley system. With the 1x4 frame constructed I used L-brackets to hang the outter frame on the wall. I had to make sure the 1x4 screen was hung high enough above the 2x3 screen frame so the PVC pipe could rotate freely.


I did not fasten the 1x4 frame to the wall. I wanted to be able to take this screen apparent while it was still under construction. So the L-brackets supporting the 1x4 frame were attached the the wall only.

Here is a better view of the top PVC tube and the two frames. I bought a PVC cap to put on this end of the PVC tube, and a female adapter for the other end (if has a grip to it to allow for turning)


PVC: $9.80

Running Total: $48.43
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post #4 of 57 Old 12-01-2008, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Next, I lifted the 1x4 outter frame off the L-brackets and attached my screen material to the 2x3 frame. I bought the screen material off of ebay, basically just blackout cloth. Again, since I wanted to keep the cost low and since I knew this was a short-term screen for me, I did not care for top quality screen material.

I attached the screen material to the 2x3 frame using an electric staple gun. I started stapling the screen to the frame in the upper right hand corner. Moved my way acress the top of the screen making sure I pulled the screen snuggle as I moved across the top. I then ran down the left hand side, pulled the screen snuggly down as I went. Then across the bottom of the screen pulling the screen down and to the right as I moved from the left tot he right of the lower left hand corner. For the last side, I began at the top right hand corner, moving down. Pulling the screen snuggle as I worked. Final outcome, a very tight screen mounted to the frame on the wall.


Just a quick check to see if everything appears to be right. The picture is washed out since I had the room lights on full and used the flash on the camera. But as you can see, the video appears to be about right without making any adjustments. I of course will redo all the projector settings once the screen is complete.


Here is a picture of the 1x4 outer frame mounted back onto the wall. As you can see, right now it simply rests on the L-brackets on the top and bottom.


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post #5 of 57 Old 12-01-2008, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I then marked on the screen were the outer frame will need to overlap the white screen. If you look close, you can see black marks on the screen.


On the side, the lower mark shows where the bottom of 1.85:1 content will stop on the screen. The upper black mark on the side is where the bottom of 2.40:1 content will stop. The mark on the bottom of the screen is the constant width of both 1.85:1 and 2.40:1 video content. You may also notice a hook has been installed on the outter frame. I will be attaching a spring loaded pulley system to the hook. I simply bought the pulley and springs and constructed them myself as seen here...


I bought the pulley and springs at a local hardwear store. The pulley and sring system should allow for tension on the pulley system to help the cables from slipping. More details to follow.


I know I am not using all available screen space. I chose this size so that the overlapping frame can be made with 5 1/4 inch casing without having to be cut. Another goal of mine was to have to make as few board cuts as needed.

Screen material: $40 off of ebay
Springs and pulleys : $20 for four
Hooks: $2 for four

Running Total: $110.43
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post #6 of 57 Old 12-01-2008, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Next, I cut 5 1/4 inch pine baseboard to mount on the outer 1x4 frame. The baseboard will be covered by velvet fabric in the end, so cheap and primed baseboard works out well.


I also used some velvet left-overs from my first DIY screen to make the masking system. To do this, I cut two piece roughly 90 inches wide and 16 inches tall. I first attached the fabric to the PVC tube using duct tape to make sure the fabric was attached straight. After I verified it was, I rolled the PVC tube over and used gorilla glue to fasten the fabric to the glue. It seems to hold very well, but just in case I think I will also use a solid piece of duct tape across the tube.




Once the glue is dry and the duct tape applied, I can roll the fabric (masking) onto the PVC tube. Next on my list of things to do are to cover the over frame in velvet, install the complete pulley system, and install the masking system. Future progress and updates might be a week from now.

Baseboard: $38

Running Total: $148.43

Any thoughts or comments so far????
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post #7 of 57 Old 12-02-2008, 09:16 AM
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Looks great so far! I may consider doing this when I build my new screen. Your own masquerade for less than $200...not too shabby.
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post #8 of 57 Old 12-02-2008, 09:20 AM
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After you attach the baseboard will the rest of the screen wall surface extend out from the wall and be flush with the screen?
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post #9 of 57 Old 12-02-2008, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IA_Hi_Fi_Guy View Post

After you attach the baseboard will the rest of the screen wall surface extend out from the wall and be flush with the screen?

Once I attach the baseboard, the entire frame will extend about 4 3/4" out from the front wall. I have purchased black velvet curtains from Wal-Mart online ($30 total) to mount on each side of the screen. The curtains will make the wall and everything appear to be the same depth and also allow me to hide the PVC tube protruding out from both sides of the frame. So when I need to change the masking, I just pull back the curtain and change the masking.

If you are interested in this design, I have already made a few plan changes to allow for a smaller frame. The current frame is extra think (5 inches) due to the 2 inch PVC. This allows me to only turn the pvc tube twice to lower it about 6 inches, but it does make the frame thick. If you used 3/4 PVC, or something smaller, you would have to turn more, but the frame could be much thinner.
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post #10 of 57 Old 12-03-2008, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deewan View Post

Once I attach the baseboard, the entire frame will extend about 4 3/4" out from the front wall. I have purchased black velvet curtains from Wal-Mart online ($30 total) to mount on each side of the screen. The curtains will make the wall and everything appear to be the same depth and also allow me to hide the PVC tube protruding out from both sides of the frame. So when I need to change the masking, I just pull back the curtain and change the masking.

If you are interested in this design, I have already made a few plan changes to allow for a smaller frame. The current frame is extra think (5 inches) due to the 2 inch PVC. This allows me to only turn the pvc tube twice to lower it about 6 inches, but it does make the frame thick. If you used 3/4 PVC, or something smaller, you would have to turn more, but the frame could be much thinner.

I am thinking about working on something similar but please explain how you will turn the PVC pipe? I will need to use a smaller 3/4 inch pipe BUT I am still brainstroming on how I will turn it (PVC pipe). I thought about drilling a hole in the top PVC pipe but that will only turn it about half a turn and I will need more turns for sure.
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post #11 of 57 Old 12-03-2008, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtishd View Post

I am thinking about working on something similar but please explain how you will turn the PVC pipe? I will need to use a smaller 3/4 inch pipe BUT I am still brainstroming on how I will turn it (PVC pipe). I thought about drilling a hole in the top PVC pipe but that will only turn it about half a turn and I will need more turns for sure.

I am going to keep the PVC tube extended out past the outter frame. So I will be able to turn the PVC tube by hand as many rotations in either direction as I want.

The PVC tube will be hooked up to the pulley system using a metal cable with a rubber coating so that it does not slip on the plastic PVC. I know this is a really bad drawing, but this will give you an idea of how I plan to us the pulleys and the cables.


I plan on finishing the project this weekend or very early next week. Perhaps then any questions you have will be answered. If not, feel free to ask away.
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post #12 of 57 Old 12-09-2008, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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So I have made some changes to my first plan. Using a motto I always use at work while writing code, I've decided to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) my plans. First, since I will have gravity helping, I have decided that the top masking system does not need the pulley system. I will use the PVC tube and gravity to deploy the top mask.

For the bottom masking system, I had some concerns about the rubber coated cable becoming brittle over time or not having enough "grip" on the PVC tube to move as I turned the PVC. So I replaced the cable with very cheap rubber tie-down straps. With the tie-down straps, I was not able to use the pulleys, so I needed something to route the straps. I used spare pieces of metal conduit and nails.


I drilled a home in the outer frame for the nail to slide in and out of (in case I need to take apart the system or replace something. To provide easy movement, the conduit slides over top of the nail.

Over the weekend I also began covering the trim peaces of the frame. I used cheap pieces of pine baseboard, an electric staple gun, and cheap velvet fabric bought at a local store. I cut all the trim pieces to size. I then began attaching the fabric to the back/inner side of the trim pieces.



I did not attach the fabric to the outer side of the trim, since I want to attach the trim to the outer frame using a nail gun first. That way when I finish wrapping the fabric around the trim and outer frame, the nails are covered by the fabric. More photos on that process when I reach that step.

I got an email today that my curtains are in at Wal-Mart so I will be picking those up tomorrow night on my way to volleyball. Goal for this weekend is to trim out the frame and hang the curtains.

Velvet: $19 (on sale)
Rubber tie-down straps: $6

Running total: $173.43
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post #13 of 57 Old 12-09-2008, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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A quick photo of the frame trim pieces and an update of the front wall. I decided to paint the area below the screen to match the walls. I didn't have much paint left, or I would have paint the entire front wall just in case.




Oh, here is a picture of the PVC end caps. These will make the frame appear a little more professional (even though it will be hidden behind the front curtain). I'll show the "gripped" end pieces on the other side of the frame with the next update.
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post #14 of 57 Old 12-14-2008, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I made some progress this weekend. Things went slow Saturday due to running errands with the lil lady. I was able to get the masking cloth measured, cut, and pieced together. I also decided to buy some more paint and paint the entire front wall to match the other walls.


First thing this morning I installed the masking cloth in the frame, and attached the masks to the pulley system. Here are some photos of the masking system attached to the pulley system. This side will be the side I manually adjust the masking system. I bought a end cap with a "grip" on it.


This is the other side with a normal end cap.


The manual adjusting of the masking system seems to work pretty well. These is a little more resistance than I thought there would be, but this will assure the masking system doesn't move due to weight and gravity.

Here is the bottom masking system in place for 2.40:1 video content.


Same photo with the bottom masking system for 1.78:1 content.


I have to run some more errands now, but this afternoon I plan on installing the top mask and the velvet frame around the screen. Then I have a few friends coming over to view The Dark Knight. I can't wait. I just wish I could use the masking system, but due to the aspect ratio changes of the movie, I won't be able to.
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post #15 of 57 Old 12-14-2008, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I finally made some real progress today. I mounted both the top and bottom masking clothes. I ended up changing how I attached the bottom mask to the pulley straps. At first I put holes in the straps and just used spare metal pins to hold them together. However, after a few times of moving the mask, the system became out of sync. I then figured out I should attached the mask to the s-hook where the rubber straps join. This ended up working much better.


I also attached the velvet frame to the screen. I know have a 104 inch screen with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.


And I have a manual masking system for 2.35:1 or 2.40:1 content.


The masking system seems to work well. I'll have to wait and see if over time the two sides become out of whack. I'll keep my fingers crossed that they do not. I'm done working for the day since I need to clean up and have the room ready for The Dark Knight viewing. Sometime this week or next weekend I will hang the curtains on both sides of the screen. At that point I will try to post before and after pictures as well as photos of the masking system blocking out the black bars when watching 2.40:1 content.
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post #16 of 57 Old 12-17-2008, 12:24 PM
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Very cool!

Well done!

So much media, so little time...

 

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post #17 of 57 Old 12-17-2008, 12:24 PM
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Very cool!

Well done!

So much media, so little time...

 

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post #18 of 57 Old 12-17-2008, 08:24 PM
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Dude you came to play. Badass idea and I'm very impressed.
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post #19 of 57 Old 12-17-2008, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I hope to have the rest of the front wall finished this weekend (curtains and crown molding). I'll post more pictures then and then maybe work on the blueprints in case anyone else ever wants to build one.
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post #20 of 57 Old 12-19-2008, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, no real work done tonight because we wanted to watch a movie. I did replace some of the inner workings of the screen to make sure that a future screen could be made with a smaller frame. But to be honest, both myself and a good friend who also has a projector have come to like the thicker/wider frame on the screen. So I think if I had to build it again, I would keep the wide frame size.

I wanted to post these two photos which are taken to show the screens ability to mask a 1.78:1 video into 2.35:1.

1.75:1 screen shot


2.35:1 screen shot


Tomorrow's goal is to get the curtains hung. More pictures to come...
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post #21 of 57 Old 12-20-2008, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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CURTAINS ARE INSTALLED. I finally have the curtains installed and the last of the crown molding put back into place.


I took a few photos of the same movie scene as I did before I made any changes. To really get the effect of the masking system I had to use a flash with the camera. However, that faded the picture. So I also took a few without the flash. Here are the pictures showing what the masking system can do.
Screen shot without masking system (no flash)


Screen shot with masking system (no flash)


Screen shot without masking system (with flash)


Screen shot with masking system (with flash)


I am currently working on a video showing the masking system rolled into place. I'll post a like once I have that complete.
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post #22 of 57 Old 12-20-2008, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Video is complete. Shows me putting the masking system into place, and then a close up of how the masking system is removed.

I have never claimed to be a video editor, so don't except to much from this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGZjM-YdLGg
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post #23 of 57 Old 12-20-2008, 04:04 PM
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deewan,

Lookin' good man. Nice job & thanks for the photos & sharing about your build ! Bet you are loving theater.
A couple of questions, sorry if you have already answered them previously;
Which curtains (part#) did you get from Walmart ?

The thin metal bar that is inside your masking leading edge, where did you get that ?

Thanks!

John
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post #24 of 57 Old 12-20-2008, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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HDGTX - I had not mentioned the part number or where I got some of the supplies. So I'll try to go down the material list now and give a summary of where I got everything and a final price. I just looked up the curtains on the Wal-Mart website and it says they are out of stock. They were not available in store as far as I know.

Inner screen frame made of 2x3's (Menards)
Outer frame made of 1x4's (Menards)
Cost for the two wood frames: $32.13
L-brackets: $6.50
2" x 10' PVC (Mendards): $9.80 total (2)
2" PVC Female Adapter (Menards): $2.20 total (2)
2" PVC Cap: $1.74 total (2)
1/8" x 3/4" - 8ft Aluminum bar (Menards, but also saw them at Lowes): $17.96 total (2)
10' Primed Pine Col Baseboard (3): $38.70 total (used for velvet covered frame)
Screen material: $40 off of ebay
Springs and pulleys : $10 for two each (I originally bought four)
Hooks: $2 for four
Velvet: $19 (on sale at Hancock Fabric)
Metal cable: $6 (Ace Hardware)
Subtotal: $186.03

Other items used to finished the front wall, but not used for making the masking system or frame.
Velvet curtains: $33.41 (Regency Velvet Window Panel, Black.)
Curtain Rod: $17.80 total (2)
1 gallon Paint: $16.89
16 ft baseboard: $18.70

Subtotal $86.80

Grand Total for the entire front wall renovation: $272.83

So I went way over my original budget amount, but I also made a few other improvements I had not originally planned on.
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post #25 of 57 Old 12-20-2008, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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One final look at the start and finish of the project.

Before:


After:


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post #26 of 57 Old 12-20-2008, 06:48 PM
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Thanks for the info. A couple of more questions, no hurry -- enjoy your theater!

No sag in the center with the AL bar ?

Are you going to put back the outer curtain with the gold fringe, it looked pretty elegant ?

You sig line about the cross dim riff, what movie is that line from -- I am having a dense memory moment here ?

John
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post #27 of 57 Old 12-20-2008, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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No worries about the questions. I'm just glad someone besides me is looking at this thread.

There is no sag in the aluminum bar becuse I have it "standing up". In other words, the width or 3/4" side is vertical. So much like floor joists, the strentgh of the bar comes in it's thickness from top to bottom. If the bar would be used so that it laid with the 1/8" for height, it would sag like no other.

I still have the outer curtain with the trim. Right now I do not have any plan to put it back up. I prolly should since my mother spent 2 hours sewing it together for me. But honestly, I always felt it made the front wall look cheap. But everyone else, you included, seems to have liked it. So, long story short, I won't get rid of it, but it won't be going back up anytime soon.

Last, the quote in my sig is from the movie Ghostbusters. One of my favs.
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post #28 of 57 Old 12-21-2008, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deewan View Post

No worries about the questions. I'm just glad someone besides me is looking at this thread.

Oh I am lurking! Cool mask man, I will have to stop by sometime and check it out!

If I had it to do all over again, I'd still hit that shot.
Ht Build

Poker table and bar
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post #29 of 57 Old 12-21-2008, 08:18 PM
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Thanks deewan !


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post #30 of 57 Old 12-21-2008, 08:31 PM
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Very cool build. Even cooler that you came up with the idea by yourself. Pretty ingenious.

Stinks about losing the progress bar though.

Next up...rigging up some motors and programming a remote to do it automatically!
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