DIY Retractable Screen Ideas & Development - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 163 Old 01-08-2009, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Introduction.

During my own exploration of screen options for my living room I contemplated several different ideas for making a simple retractable screen. I ended up buying a very inexpensive electric retractable screen and painted it to get the gray screen I wanted. However I did mull over various ideas and they still come to mind from time to time. Before I completely lose interest in this hobby and fade off into the Northern Lights (I'm Canadian Eh!), I thought I would try to pass on some of these ideas and I might even be tempted to try some of them myself.

Before we get started here are some examples of my past attempts at interim removable screens:


Bed Sheet & Bungy Cords:



Slanted Screen Instead Of Keystone Correction:




Sportlight Material & Bungy Cords:

In this photo there is a sample of Da-Lite High Power (left square) and High Contrast Matte White (right square) in front of the gray sport light screen.


Here we have a couple of screen shots on the gray Sportlight material. It was a bit too dark but not a bad material. It also comes in a white similar to BOC.

So you can see that I went through all the typical trials of very simple cheap DIY screen solutions.

Now on to my more recent ideas . . . .
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post #2 of 163 Old 01-08-2009, 07:43 AM
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Was a $99 screen from Best Buy out of the question or something?

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1210378662257
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post #3 of 163 Old 01-08-2009, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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The first idea I will present is one that came to me recently when trying to think of a way for fellow AVS member, edan, to make a reasonable temporary screen. The idea is to use BOC(1) as it is known to be a good DIY screen material. It is also quite readily available everywhere and inexpensive.

Here is the basic idea:


Using simple 8' 1x2s and BOC that is typically 54" wide one could make a 106" screen this way. In the diagram I have shown the 1x2s as unfinished wood. They could be painted black or covered with black clothe hockey tape.

I have shown the material as being the full 96" screen width with black side borders. Again these could be painted on, or black clothe hockey tape. I think the hockey tape would be problematic on the ends. It is not stretchy like the BOC and therefore I suspect it would cause additional bagging problems.

To roll this screen up and hook the ends is probably a two person job. One person on each side would roll up the bottom bar and then use a hook or loop of material to suspend the bottom bar and rolled screen material under the top bar. Not very elegant but functional.

As you can see in the diagram I suspect that unless the bottom bar is rolled up very carefully it would cause horizontal creases in the BOC. I also anticipate some bagging issues at the sides of the screen.

I have given some thought to way to deal with these two anticipated issues but please feel free to post up any ideas or other issues I have not anticipated.

(1) BOC: Block out clothe is a white cloth with a vinyl backing. It is primarily used to line window drapes to block out the sun light. It is a rubbery material that has some stretch to it. As a DIY Screen material it is usually stretched over a simple wooden frame and stapled to the back.
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post #4 of 163 Old 01-08-2009, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kciaccio View Post

Was a $99 screen from Best Buy out of the question or something?

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1210378662257

I am in Canada so I searched the BestBuy.ca site. The price I found was $348.99 for a 106" manual matte white screen. Futureshop.ca also has this screen listed for $345.99

I purchased my 120" remote controlled screen from Eastporters.com and they still have them listed at $189.99 or you can get their newer EluneVision electric retractable for $299.99 or go for the $169.99 manual retractable 106" screen.

In hind sight spending $169.99 + $50 shipping for the manual 106" screen would have been a reasonable starter or interim screen solution. I am sure I have spent many times that on paint and materials supporting this obsession. But this is a DIY Screen forum so this thread will cater to the idea of making something with readily available materials. But you point is well taken and others should give it some thought before committing a lot of time and effort to making an interim screen.
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post #5 of 163 Old 01-08-2009, 08:15 AM
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Tiddler,

In post #3 where you show the diagram of the screen....

1"x2"s I don't think would be necessary. I think you are trying to get the material sandwiched to hold in place right? If a person were careful, they could find a 1.5" to 2" dowel, cut it in half lengthwise and fufill the same purpose.

Now your concern of wrinkles are gone.

Next would be how to address to side tension?

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post #6 of 163 Old 01-08-2009, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highside View Post

Tiddler,

In post #3 where you show the diagram of the screen....

1"x2"s I don't think would be necessary. I think you are trying to get the material sandwiched to hold in place right? If a person were careful, they could find a 1.5" to 2" dowel, cut it in half lengthwise and fufill the same purpose.

Now your concern of wrinkles are gone.

Next would be how to address to side tension?

I agree that a split dowel or two half rounds would be ideal. If you have a router and corner rounding bit you could round off the outside corners of the 1x2s.

NOTE: I am assuming that when we attach the BOC to the bars we will stretch it along the bars to insure there are no vertical wrinkles.

As far as the bagging sides go there are some very simple solutions.

If we are willing to go for longer bars we could make the screen wide enough to get the entire 106" image area between the baggy sides. Then either cut the baggy sides off in a concave curve or just paint them black. If we are not willing to go for 1x2s that are not the standard 8' length we could reduce the size of the screen. A 100" screen is 87" wide. That would give us 5.5" of material to sacrifice on the sides. That might be enough.

Once you start thinking of cutting the sides in a concave curve it leads one to ponder simple tab tensioning ideas.

Anyone?

When we go to the fabric store to get the BOC what could we get that might allow us to make a side tensioned screen?

Does the side have to be curved to create side tension, and if so how deep a curve is necessary?

I'm getting the urge to do some experimenting! Oh man she's gonna kill me if I come home with screen making materials!
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post #7 of 163 Old 01-08-2009, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Since I have thrown out the notion of painting black borders on BOC, I wonder what would happen if you painted the back of the screen black? Would you get a light neutral gray screen? What if you painted it white? Would you get a brighter white screen?

Hmmmm . . . Hey Harpmaker, do you have any scraps of BOC around? Could you give this a try and see what effect it has on your spectrometer measurements?
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post #8 of 163 Old 01-08-2009, 09:51 PM
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I can try it Tiddler, but I don't expect it to have any effect since my BOC blocks light extremely well.
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post #9 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Harpmaker!

If the BOC is completely opaque then no I don't think it will make much difference either.
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post #10 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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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:
  1. Easily acquired materials.
  2. Minimal tool requirements.
  3. Easily constructed on the living room floor.
  4. Minimal or no mess created.
  5. Fairly inexpensive.
  6. Smooth Flat Screen Surface.
  7. 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.
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post #11 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 10:27 AM
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$157 each!!!! or $1.57 each?

HOLY SH*T

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post #12 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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$157 each!!!! or $1.57 each?

HOLY SH*T

Typo fixed.
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post #13 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

My curiosity has gotten the better of me.

I hope you have survived your wife finding you with ever more DIY screen materials And that said, I will share what my wife wants to try, as it was very fun to see her excited about a DIY screen fabric project

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

So to begin with the goals are:
  1. Easily acquired materials.
  2. Minimal tool requirements.
  3. Easily constructed on the living room floor.
  4. Minimal or no mess created.
  5. Fairly inexpensive.
  6. Smooth Flat Screen Surface.
  7. Easily stowed when not in use.

First, I am in total support of this project and its design goals! I would think lots of people would want a cheap, easy, decent, and easily stored screen. Just slightly beyond your tool specifications, do you think that it would be OK to add things to the project that are easy/cheap to have done? For instance, a home improvement store will give you a couple cuts for free, so we could say "cut wood to length" and it will still be cheap/easy.

Or for my example, my wife wants to try sewing a hem along the top and bottom, to create pockets to slide dowels into. I haven't called any alteration shops, but my wife rolled her eyes when I asked her to confirm it was cheap You specifically said "no sewing machine" requirement, and I wonder if you think this idea makes some cheap "sewing outsourcing" fit your requirements.

And what is the thought on creating two pockets above and below? That's what were going to start with and see how it goes. It won't be stretched to the sides, at least not without some further ideas. Is the lack of horizontal stretch going to be a big issue? I guess we will see
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post #14 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 07:25 PM
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I know I posted the Best Buy comment about the $99 screen, but I have made one screen on my own that I use for when I show an outdoor movie. I purchased a large sheet of white canvas from a frabric store for $30 and installed eyelits(I think they are called that) so I could hang it. It works great.
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post #15 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I agree that getting cuts done at the store is within anyone's grasp.

I also agree that the sleeve top and bottom is a good way to go. Bud16415 has some photos of his original bed sheet screen. He did the sleeve and dowel idea.

I was trying to avoid using up anymore of the height than absolutely necessary. The method I am about to try should only use an inch of material top and bottom.

I also considered the sleeve idea but did not think I could sew it perfectly straight. If you could get it done by an awning company then it would probably be very straight.

If you want to add some horizontal tension then you could either attach the sleeve to the dowel or add a grommet and some springs or bungee cord. You would have to make the bottom dowel a bit longer.
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post #16 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kciaccio View Post

I know I posted the Best Buy comment about the $99 screen, but I have made one screen on my own that I use for when I show an outdoor movie. I purchased a large sheet of white canvas from a frabric store for $30 and installed eyelits(I think they are called that) so I could hang it. It works great.

Do you have any photos? I did not install eyelets in mine. I sewed loops of nylon strapping into the corners and the sides.

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post #17 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

I also agree that the sleeve top and bottom is a good way to go. Bud16415 has some photos of his original bed sheet screen. He did the sleeve and dowel idea.

I was trying to avoid using up anymore of the height than absolutely necessary. The method I am about to try should only use an inch of material top and bottom.

I think using minimal height is a noble goal. I'm not sure how much fabric we will be using, I suppose we need to take a SWAG at dowel thickness/weight. I'll check Bud16515's photos for ideas. For my purpose, it's going to be awkward (nearby furniture) to go wider than 75-80", so height starting at 54" is plenty for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

I also considered the sleeve idea but did not think I could sew it perfectly straight. If you could get it done by an awning company then it would probably be very straight.

According to my wife, it should not be hard for the sleeve to be straight. Getting your stitching straight could be trickier, but that's not important. Hah! Ok, now she says she might want to get some cheap plastic guides for making long straight hems from Michael's... This seems like a project similar to making large drapes, so I may ask the shop I was at earlier this week what they think (and if they do it).

I'm going to order the BOC from the friendly ladies, because my wife doesn't want to sew this weekend anyway... I'll report back with any further feedback on DIYness or easy outsourcing
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post #18 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kciaccio View Post

I know I posted the Best Buy comment about the $99 screen, but I have made one screen on my own that I use for when I show an outdoor movie. I purchased a large sheet of white canvas from a frabric store for $30 and installed eyelits(I think they are called that) so I could hang it. It works great.

I think your point about $99 screens is a good one, because we also need to keep in mind the highest total cost before you should really just buy a cheap projector screen

And yeah, like tiddler said, do you have any pics of your canvas screen? That sounds pretty easy if all you have to do is hang it because it's so heavy!
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post #19 of 163 Old 01-09-2009, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Basic Assembly Report

I started by picking the two 1x3s that I thought would look best on the front of the screen. Then I marked a line on the boards that I would align the edge of the BOC with.



I used a paper stapler to tack the edge of the BOC to the top bar. Then I folded the BOC up and aligned the two edges. Since the edges are exactly parallel, folding over on itself and cutting both where the ends of the board are, will result in a square end cut.



Then I started all the screws in the back half of the top bar. The back half is then attached to the front half sandwiching the BOC in between.

I ran into a problem at this point. The screws near the ends caused the wood to split. To avoid this wrap some black cloth hockey tape around the ends of the bars.

Once I had the top and bottom of the BOC attached to the bars I rolled the screen up with the bottom bar. I attached the hook & eye fastners on the ends and mounted eyes for to hang the screen.



I managed to hang the screen by myself without waking up the boss, and even unhooked the ends and lowered it.

It looks pretty bad in these pictures with light coming from the side. Even the face on flash photo looks terrible. Some form of side tension would make a real improvement.




As bad as it looked I know this is a matt finish material so I decided to throw some images on it and see just how bad it looked in use.









NOTE: I did not recalibrate for this screen.

No doubt any full screen solid color images will show the waves and wrinkles but most of the time I was somewhat surprised and impressed at how good it looked. As an interim solution I think I could live with this.

Tomorrow I will cover the bars with some black hockey tape.

Now if we can only come up with a simple way to add some side tension.
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post #20 of 163 Old 01-10-2009, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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After sleeping on it . . .



Now all I need is one more 8' length of 1x3 (which I can cut at the store), some long black boot laces, and 4 bolts with wing nuts & washers.

At my local Home Depot they have a miter box and hand saw available in the molding isle. Is it safe to assume that all Home Depot stores do this?

I would also like to add a sanding sponge to our list of tools. Is that getting too extravagant?

I guess it should be apparent by now that black cloth hockey tape (or equivalent) is a required material for this project. If you are looking for an alternative it must not be very thick or stiff. It's not black but cloth medical tape from the drugstore comes to mind as an alternative. It might even have a stronger adhesive.
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post #21 of 163 Old 01-10-2009, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

Basic Assembly Report

Wow, tiddler, you are quite the DIY animal We were up perhaps at the same time, but we were watching The Dark Knight on this crappy vinyl rollup shade

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

No doubt any full screen solid color images will show the waves and wrinkles but most of the time I was somewhat surprised and impressed at how good it looked. As an interim solution I think I could live with this.

That's good to hear. Actually, I'm not surprised, as I have lived with this vinyl rollup shade for a few days of testing, and if it didn't have the roller marks, it would be almost completely livable. And watching the Dark Knight, it really was only distracting a couple times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

Now if we can only come up with a simple way to add some side tension.

I'm excited to see what you've come up with, since I don't quite get what your planning from your pictures this morning But I'm really tired, so I take the blame.

Now that you've shown how easy your idea was, I think I might try the white canvas next. My wife seems to want to potentially just build a rollup BOC screen and live with it for a couple years now. My only counter was that I have no woodworking skills to make that look nice

Oh, and I don't think adding a sanding sponge is a big deal, they're only a couple bucks IIRC.
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post #22 of 163 Old 01-10-2009, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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edan, when you talk about the roller marks in the blind, what do you mean? Are they horizontal waves due to the blind being rolled up?

Is there the usual wooden bar in the bottom of the blind? What happens if you apply a little downward pull, do the roller marks flatten out? If so then maybe all you need is a weighted bottom bar.

I see in the UK people are using the Tupplur Roller Blinds from IKEA. I can't seem to find the same product on the Aerican website though. They might have it in your local IKEA store though.

Maybe this photo will show you what I am thinking:


LL
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post #23 of 163 Old 01-11-2009, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I thought before I take the un-Tensioned BOC-01 screen apart I would gather all the tools together and snap a photo.



You will notice a couple of things in the photo that were not mentioned before. I really don't think you can get away without a drill, 1/8"& 1/4" bits, and Philips driver bit. You really need the 1/8" bit for starter holes to prevent cracking the wood and the 1/4" bit for clearance hole or the tension adjustment bolts.

I also added a simple hand rasp and sanding sponge. This will allow me to round the corners of the bottom bar to reduce the creasing that is caused by rolling the screen up using the bottom bar. It will create a bit of mess but nothing like a router.

I went to Home Depot this morning and picked out two 12' 1x3s that were straight and in reasonable shape. I took them over to the molding department and measured out two 12' sections on ech and cut them off. The idea being that now we would have a 10' length that the screen would be attached to with the original 8' length. The two 12" pieces would then be used on each end to support the tab-tension cable.

I also had a look at the canvas drop cloths in the paint department. After we finish investigating the tab-tension possibilities with the BOC, I would like to repeat the process using the canvas. It is not white but the weave is tight and I think it might take paint fairly well.



It is also possible to buy large enough drop cloths to make a bigger screen, or have enough extra cloth to make a retractable with some drop.
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post #24 of 163 Old 01-11-2009, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edan View Post

I think your point about $99 screens is a good one, because we also need to keep in mind the highest total cost before you should really just buy a cheap projector screen

And yeah, like tiddler said, do you have any pics of your canvas screen? That sounds pretty easy if all you have to do is hang it because it's so heavy!

I will try to take a pic today and post it. You are right it is heavy, and that is a plus on keeping it straight when it hangs from my garage. I put a lot of grommets at the bottom and looped nylon tie raps and I slide a 1 inch pvc pipe thru them to give it even more weight. If it is windy out I use fishing line and tie down each corner to keep it in place.

The canavas works so good that I keep the projector in the garage and shoot the movie thru the canvas for people to view in my driveway. i just invert the picture using the settings in the projector so if subtitles or any print in the movie can be read normal out in the drive way.

I actually bring my ps3 out too and play games online out in my driveway.
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post #25 of 163 Old 01-11-2009, 09:33 AM
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Just thought I would jump in - I have a diy roll-up screen.

It's driven by a somfy motor to retract blinds - works really well. And also remote controlled, and stops are programmed in. The whole screen rolls up and is hidden. See below:





The screen is made from white vinyl that I painted using one of the screen paint mixtures from a couple of years ago. I painted a black frame around the screen as well. The bottom is a pocket with a long metal screw to add weight and keep the bottom straight. The problem I have is that the edges curl. The weight of the material is great because of no wrinkles, but the curl is driving me crazy. I though cutting the edges concave would reduce the curl, but it just made it worse:





So I just need something to pull the edges out - much like a tensioner to remove wrinkles. I am thinking of adding some kind of thin rigid lengths of wood or something at even intervals up the side of the screen to keep the screen pulled out.

Anyone have any other ideas? I tried a tab tensioner, but I don't have enought weight on the bottom to make it work right (and I think adding the requisite weight would make it too heavy to lift...)

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post #26 of 163 Old 01-11-2009, 09:40 AM
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I would figure out something to hook onto the bottom that I could take off when retracking the screen back up.
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post #27 of 163 Old 01-11-2009, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I reassembled the screen using the longer 1x3s and hung it. I attached tabs on one side. I made these from hockey tape. To try it out I threaded the long skate lace through the tabs and used big paper clips to hold the end of the lace.

There is a balancing point where the tension on the lace starts to lift the bottom bar and when there is enough tension to pull the screen sideways enough to make a difference. To be honest the most I think I saw was that the tabs prevented the edges from curling forward.

In this photo there is no tension on the tension cord:


In this photo there is as much tension as I could apply without lifting the bottom bar:



Thoughts At The Moment

I really feel that this is more effort than it is worth. This is especially true since this is supposed to be a quick and easy interim screen build. Using BOC I think there is little to be gained by trying to tab tension it. In fact the longer the screen hangs there the flatter it seems to get on it's own. The only problem is the curling at the sides. I would be inclined to simply make the screen wider so the image can be placed in the flat area. That would mean side borders of about 8" - 10".

My instincts are telling me to try the canvas drop cloth before going any further. Keep in mind the drop cloth will need to be painted to make it white or a neutral gray. Since latex paint is essentially a form of rubber, that amounts to rubberizing the canvas.

After this experimenting I would be inclined to make the simple un-tensioned BOC screen using the 1x3 sandwich bar method. That is if I was just going for an interim screen. It is easy to roll up when not in use and only requires a couple of wall or ceiling hooks to mount it. The materials were very inexpensive and the tools required are pretty minimal.

If I was inclined to enhance it a bit I would only cover the bars with hockey tape and possibly go with a 10' wide screen. The wider screen would allow for 12" border areas on either side where the material curls back or forward. That leaves a usable image area of about 106" 16x9. It would require buying 12' long 1x3s and cutting them down to 10' at the store. Otherwise it is basically the same as the 8' version.
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post #28 of 163 Old 01-11-2009, 11:54 AM
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Tiddler - leaving it alone is certainly a possibility. Make the screen much wider than needed and paint it black. Sit the image in the middle - there is a point where the curl ends and the screen is just absolutely perfectly flat. If I recall correctly, my experiments with try to fix waves, etc. was very difficult - as soon as you try to fix the edges of the screen, it messed up the middle, etc. Just letting it hang naturally and using the middle sweet spot may be the best option.

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post #29 of 163 Old 01-11-2009, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Scherrer View Post

Tiddler - leaving it alone is certainly a possibility. Make the screen much wider than needed and paint it black. Sit the image in the middle - there is a point where the curl ends and the screen is just absolutely perfectly flat. If I recall correctly, my experiments with try to fix waves, etc. was very difficult - as soon as you try to fix the edges of the screen, it messed up the middle, etc. Just letting it hang naturally and using the middle sweet spot may be the best option.

It's really 6 of one and half a dozen of the other, because the space taken up by the extra side border width is probably about the same as the space needed for the tab-tension curve etc.
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post #30 of 163 Old 01-11-2009, 05:06 PM
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My husband and I are working on an electric retractable screen and ran into a problem we hope someone smarter than us can figure out.
First off, a couple of years ago we made a screen much like the ones seen on the links here. We made a huge 10' wide x 7'6' high (for both aspect ratio's of 16:9 and 4:3) screen out of 1x2's with 2 more running vertically evenly spaced from the middle and then wrapped Blackout material all around the outside and stapled to the back of the 1x2's. Also, used L-braces and T-braces on the back of the 1x2's. We pulled it very tight all around when stapling. You could have bounced a dime off of it!!!! Not one wrinkle!! Also, got a coupon from Hancock's material store for the blackout for 40% off. We didn't spend a $100 on the whole thing!! We added hooks and eyes (I think this is what you call them) and hung it from the ceiling. We also added the hooks to the bottom of the screen and lifted it up and attached it to the ceiling on the other end so it would be up and out of the way when not in use. Worked great but now I am sick of the way it looks on the ceiling and we now want to try to make a new retractable one.
Here's the plan:
We bought a Philips antenna rotator from Wal-Mart.com for $57.86 + shipping. We are going to turn this horizontallly and put a 2" galvanized pipe on the rotator end. On the opposite end, he bought a big 2 or 3" black rubber caster wheel with a nice bearing on it and took off the wheel and threw it away. (All he wanted was the bearing). Then, where the wheel was, he adjusted the opening (this took some hacksawing) to get the 2' pipe in. This is just to hold the pipe up and let it turn freely. Now he is building a long rectangular wooden box to house this all in. We have a drop ceiling and he is going to put all this up in the ceiling so you won't see any of it until we let the screen down. I am going to sew a big hem in the material so it will slide very tightly over the 2" pipe. We plan on doing the same thing at the bottom except use a 3/4" pipe at the bottom for weight. Again, sewing the hem so it is very tight on the pipe. I think this will be important so there won't be any wrinkles since there are no side supports.
SO HERE'S THE PROBLEM:
The antenna rotator only turns 360 degrees one way (one complete revolution) and then 360 degrees the other. Does any one know of a way to modify this so it will just keep turning until we get the screen down all the way to where we want it? We don't know much about electronics and this rotator is a remote-controlled unit and has an extra box with it that has a digital display on it that starts at 0 degrees and when finished making its revolution it says 36 degrees. Does someone know a way to bypass this? The model is Philips remote-controlled antenna rotator #SDW1850/17. If you Google this it will come up and tell more about it.
Or do you know of another type of motor that would be remote-controlled and hold a rather large pipe at the top? (Nothing too expensive)
I feel like I need the pipe to be rather large - again to prevent wrinkles when unrolling.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Sometimes, just when you think you are pretty smart, you feel really stupid!!!!

Thanks again,
diycouple
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