My curiosity has gotten the better of me.
I popped into Home Depot this morning and looked at the 1x2 lumber. With a bit of patience you could find 4 pieces that are straight and not too rough. But they just seemed to be too flexible for our purposes. The 1x3 lumber was cleaner and the added stiffness just seemed right. I was able to find 4 pieces that were in reasonably good shape and straight without too much sorting. Here in Canada the 8'x1"x3" boards are $1.57 each.
I also picked up a box of 1 1/4" drywall screws. You could use nails but I want to be able to take mine apart easily. Drywall screws are cheap ($2/100), and small gauge so they are easily driven and less likely to split the wood.
Then I dropped into a local fabric store and bought some BOC. I didn't measure it yet but the clerk said it was almost 60" wide. She also showed me that it has a black layer sandwiched between the outer white layers. Compared to my actual retractable screen this cloth is fairly thin. It has a little stretch to it but not a lot. The clerk said BOC used to be thicker and stiffer but the new stuff is much softer and more flexible. Unfortunately that works against our purposes here. This BOC was $11 Cdn a meter. That seems a bit high, is suspect in the US you can find it for about half that price.Let's Take A Step Back
My intension for this thread was to start by addressing a beginner's desire to rig up something usable but fairly easy and not too expensive. I would go even further to suggest these first simple ideas and trials should be possible with minimal tools and only the living room floor of an apartment to work in.
That is why I have started with cheap 1x3 strapping instead of the select pine that is cleaner and usually straighter. The select pine also tends to have very clean sharp edges while the strapping has about a 1/8" radius on the edges. For rolling the screen up that is an advantage.
So I encourage anyone with ideas on how to improve upon this initial cheap quicky version to post them. However don't be surprised if I don't incorporate these ideas. As we go along the goal may evolve into a refined solution that one might consider for longterm use, but for now the idea is to rig up the best interim screen we can.
Now you may be thinking that the best, least expensive, and easiest interim screen is just a primed wall, or some light neutral gray paint on the wall. I would have to agree with that. In fact I think that is a given for most people, even newbies that have just skimmed through a few threads here. The question that seems to get posted more often and repeatedly is "What can I rig up in my apartment or dorm room, that will not involve painting or more than a couple of nails to hang it on the wall?" The other requirement I often see is that the screen can be easily removed or stored somewhere. This is true for people who are in a position to install something more permanent also. In my own case I wanted something to use to try out the projector and get a feel for the screen size I wanted. BUT! It had to be removable so we could still watch our TV. This first simple roll up BOC screen would have been a good interim solution for my own situation and I think for many others in a similar situation as well.
So to begin with the goals are:
- Easily acquired materials.
- Minimal tool requirements.
- Easily constructed on the living room floor.
- Minimal or no mess created.
- Fairly inexpensive.
- Smooth Flat Screen Surface.
- Easily stowed when not in use.
I'm thinking most people will or should have a pair of scissors, a stapler, screw drivers, and maybe a hammer. If they don't have these basic things then they are worthwhile purchases anyway. I also suspect most people would not want to be doing a lot of sanding, painting, gluing . . . etc in their living room, so we will avoid any of that sort of mess making. Whether you are a starving college student or middle income family man, keeping the cost down is a requirement because you either don't have money to burn or you will not want to spend a lot on a screen that is just an interim solution.
I should also point out that in keeping with the frugal theme of this first version, any solution to the floppy sides will have to be possible without significant addition cost, difficulty, or the requirement of a sewing machine etc. However I am sure we will explore some more elegant solutions in the future, along with some ideas for a more traditional top roller retraction system. For now we will see if we can't make an adequately flat smooth BOC screen quick and dirty and for cheap.