Check out the model I made for my upcoming Spandex screen. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-23-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,
For the past 6 months I've been projecting my Epson 8350 onto a white sheet stapled to some 1x4s hanging from the ceiling of my basement. Football season is rapidly approaching and it's time to upgrade to a real deal of a screen. I had been planning on buying a 106 in AccuScreen from Amazon, but recent comments have commented on the need to use all 4 wall clips to keep it square and happy. I need to fly my screen in front of an alcove that houses all of my speakers, and I really don't want to build a false wall so the AccuScreen is out. Last week, I found a thread on Reddit espousing the greatness that can be a spandex screen. AMAZING, this is exacly what I'm looking for . Acoustically Transparent, and seemingly idiot proof to staple to a wooden frame w/o waves.

Yesterday I ordered 3 yards each of Moleskin Matte (Silver) and Moleskin Matte (white) from SpandexWorld.com. I plan on having the silver facing out with the white backing behind it, as suggested in the reddit thread and a few more I read here. My biggest issue with my sheet-based setup so far has been the lack of depth in my images and I've had to turn down the default brightness settings in Cinema mode, so I think I'm on the right track with that. Today I've been messing around with SketchUp trying to figure out what I need for my frame. Right now I'm planning on a 16:9 110in frame. My room could accomodate up to 124in (9 feet wide), but that may be a tad bit "too much". Any downside to building the screen as big as possible and then projecting a smaller image on it?

Ok, here are my plans as they stand now. Please tell me what I'm missing and doing wrong, or how clever I am. Probably more of the former.


I'll use 3 8ft long 4x1s, Poplar or Pine. Cut 1 in half and trim down to 47in lengths.


I plan on putting quarter round moulding around the entire frame so the spandex stands off from the actual frame, just like on the reddit post.


Right now I'm planning on using flat brackets and L brackets to form my structure. This is my biggest concern. Is this ok or do I have to build cross beams into the frame?


The complete idea with dimensions to form a 110in 16:9 frame

Thanks for looking, let me know if you have any ideas or questions.
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-23-2012, 04:20 PM
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Should work as you picture it, although the angle braces look to be too much. I think the plates you want to use on the back would have to be enough.

Poplar is more expensive, but might end up being more stable than pine. Having a nice, stained frame looks fine when the light is on, but maybe it would be better for viewing (if you have a router) to use a router to round the outer edges of the poplar, and then paint the frame black.

I am unfamiliar with the spandex material.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 05:10 AM
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Absolutely, Lone Cloud is right.

Use Poplar. And pre-drill the holes for all the screws used in the brackets

To quote James T. Kirk;
"I'm laughing at the superior intellect"

http://www.invisiblestereo.com
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I'll ditch the angle braces and be sure to drill pilot holes before screwing the brackets on. I have router bits for my dremel, but no actual router or any way to work in a straight line over 8 feet. The different colors in the wood was just for me (and you) to be able to see the difference between the 1x4 frame and the quarter round. Do you think it makes a big difference to paint it all black if all of the wood will be encapsulated by the 2 layers of spandex? I plan on stapling the spandex to the back of the 1x4's so you won't be able to see any of the frame once it's all spandex-ed up.
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 08:32 AM
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Great project. The model looks good. The finished unit should be a great screen for you. I know I have really enjoyed my screen. I did use poplar and I don't regret it.

Alan in Boise
103 inch AT screen with 9.x playback. IB subs. Two with dual 15s and one with dual 12s. Screen channels with Minimus 77s. Minimus 7 on front wide and front high and wides and sides. Room is perfect size for smaller speakers like the Minimus speakers. Approx. 17x13x8. Tower speakers were taking up to much room. Onkyo 818 used as pre-amp. Power amp duties handled by HK 2.1 Kenwood KM-X1. Hafler DH200.
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I'm thinking I should take some before / after pictures to document the difference.
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 10:07 AM
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Professional screens and some guys in DIY also create a black border around their screens. I think this is basically a trick for the eye, but it does work.

I was not aware that you were stretching the material over the front. If you do, you might end up seeing the outline of the frame behind it- not because of color, but because wood is a natural material and you can't ever get it to keep a perfect and flat shape.
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbri9 View Post

Thanks for the feedback guys. I'll ditch the angle braces

Why?

Except for the need to use a sizable (24" x 24" )Carpenter's Square to be 'perfect', those Right Angle Brackets are your best friends. The degree of True'ness of the corners can be off a very small amount without issue if the design for the accompanying Trim is instrumental in the final framing of the image. However, the rigidity that such a "inside corner" brace adds is definitely an assist against low torque twist. The combination of outside surface & inside edge "brace joining" is exactly what is needed when a Frame does not have lateral or horizontal bracing.

When building these frames, and taking in the fact that the "Pull Force" needed to get spandex pretty taint is much less than Black Out Cloth or Mfg Screen materials, much (if not all) of the need for agressive bracing is needed.

A little irony here.

Fixed Mfg Screens often still have a slight twist. That's one reason the "L" brackets that accompany them are for. To correct and hold any slight twist the Screen's material might impart to the Frame. And most Mfg Frames purport to be pretty stout! Yet here on DIY, the frames we build must hang easily & straight, not twist, never warp...do everything a Mfg Frame can/should do, and cost less while doing it all.

Frankly, when a DIY'er resorts to thicker "cloth-like" materials, he's forced to build a stout, well braced frame out of good, hardwood Finish Timber. More costly. More involved. Hence one reason I never have bothered much with such applications...unless desperate for a "BIG" surface to paint upon.

Well with Spandex, 75% of all that goes south, away from being a concern. It's almost a no brain'er, and certainly a easy one person job to stretch out evenly w/no wrinkles. And that easy, low force pull means a well built rectangular frame without bracing is certainly more than adequate if made from the right materials and constructed with a minimum level of required corner Bracing.

Straight, hand picked, Kiln-Dried hardwood Finish Timber. Outside and Inside corner bracing.

The Fabric Stand Off edge can be eliminated if the Frame is made out-sized, allowing for spacer blocks at each corner and along the side in between. These are flush edged to the inside Frame, and are intended to serve as fastening points for the overlaid Trim.

Now if a "Zero Edge" look is desired, then the Quarter Round is a valid ticket. There is not real issue with bleed through coming up through the White/Gray Spandex layer from the wood underneath, and the rolled edge minimizes any surface variables. It is more work though, and requires the use of Miter Boxes or Miter Saws. But if painted White.....well there ya go.
Quote:
.....and be sure to drill pilot holes before screwing the brackets on. I have router bits for my dremel, but no actual router or any way to work in a straight line over 8 feet. The different colors in the wood was just for me (and you) to be able to see the difference between the 1x4 frame and the quarter round. Do you think it makes a big difference to paint it all black if all of the wood will be encapsulated by the 2 layers of spandex? I plan on stapling the spandex to the back of the 1x4's so you won't be able to see any of the frame once it's all spandex-ed up.

If you cannot (...and should not...) see any of the Frame, and the 1st layer of Spandex is White, then it's an obvious choice to paint the underlying Wood Frame a closely similar shade of White. As stared above, not being able to see any impression of the wood surface lying underneath two layers might be problematical....but even Zero Edge screens really have a small (thin) Black bezel.

Just construct the Frame so that your inside edge is at least 1/2" in from the dimensions of viewable edges of the formatted screen surface. Add those additional 1" x 4" blocks around the outside edges ( ...use Elmer's Wood Glue and tape then in place to secure them while drying...)

Stretch the Fabrics.....Cut / Wrap / Place your Trim around the Screen....and use a "Hangman ** " French Cleat to secure the Screen to the wall.

** Note: http://www.amazon.com/Hangman-Products-HM-30D-Heavy-Duty-Anchorless/dp/B000VWAYQC/ref=pd_cp_hi_0

This Hangman is the longest one you can get. White it's capacity is not needed, it's long span serves to make positioning much easier, and also adds some additional stiffening to the top span

Now if a "Zero Edge" look is desired, then the Quarter Round is a valid ticket. There is not real issue with bleed through coming up through the White/Gray Spandex layer from the wood underneath, and the rolled edge minimizes any surface variables. It is more work though, and requires the use of Miter Boxes or Miter Saws. But if painted White.....well there ya go.
Quote:
.....and be sure to drill pilot holes before screwing the brackets on. I have router bits for my dremel, but no actual router or any way to work in a straight line over 8 feet. The different colors in the wood was just for me (and you) to be able to see the difference between the 1x4 frame and the quarter round. Do you think it makes a big difference to paint it all black if all of the wood will be encapsulated by the 2 layers of spandex? I plan on stapling the spandex to the back of the 1x4's so you won't be able to see any of the frame once it's all spandex-ed up.

If you cannot (...and should not...) see any of the Frame, and the 1st layer of Spandex is White, then it's an obvious choice to paint the underlying Wood Frame a closely similar shade of White. As stared above, not being able to see any impression of the wood surface lying underneath two layers might be problematical....but even Zero Edge screens really have a small (thin) Black bezel.

Just construct the Frame so that your inside edge is at least 1/2" in from the dimensions of viewable edges of the formatted screen surface. Add those additional 1" x 4" blocks around the outside edges ( ...use Elmer's Wood Glue and tape then in place to secure them while drying...)

Stretch the Fabrics.....Cut / Wrap / Place your Trim around the Screen....and use a "Hangman ** " French Cleat to secure the Screen to the wall.

** Note: http://www.amazon.com/Hangman-Products-HM-30D-Heavy-Duty-Anchorless/dp/B000VWAYQC/ref=pd_cp_hi_0

This Hangman is the longest one you can get. White it's capacity is not needed, it's long span serves to make positioning much easier, and also adds some additional stiffening to the top span

To quote James T. Kirk;
"I'm laughing at the superior intellect"

http://www.invisiblestereo.com
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Cloud View Post

If you do, you might end up seeing the outline of the frame behind it- not because of color, but because wood is a natural material and you can't ever get it to keep a perfect and flat shape.

This is exactly why I'm going to use the quarter round moulding around the edges of the frame. The quarter round should be straight and consistent, more so than the 1x4s under it. The spandex will be stretched over both the 1x4s and the quarter round, which should prevent the viewer from being able to see the frame behind it.

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post #10 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 10:23 AM
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bigbri9,

You seem to be in the right path.

No need to over-engineer, but don't scrimp either.

Get'ter Dun ! cool.gif

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post #11 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, corner brackets are back in! wink.gif I'm not going to use the french cleat, as I don't have a flat wall to hang against. This is what pushed me away from buying a commercial product in the first place. I will be "flying" the screen from 2 eyebolts in the rafters of my ceiling. Right now I have traditional picture frame hangers on the back of a 1x4 I have stapled a sheet to. I'm confident I can do that again with this new frame once it's up. As for mitering the trim, I can use a speed square to easily 45 degree cuts with my circular saw.

MississippiMan, I don't quite follow what you mean about making the frame outsized and using spacer blocks, but I'm not sure it applies to my situation either. If you want, I can take my before pictures tonight and post them up.
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post #12 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbri9 View Post

Ok, corner brackets are back in! wink.gif I'm not going to use the french cleat, as I don't have a flat wall to hang against. This is what pushed me away from buying a commercial product in the first place.

MississippiMan, I don't quite follow what you mean about making the frame outsized and using spacer blocks, but I'm not sure it applies to my situation either. If you want, I can take my before pictures tonight and post them up.

Framew-BlockBackingforTrim.jpg

Lots of ways to effectively hang your screen from off a uneven wall, most all of which would look better than it being suspended by Wires.

Yeah...better relate all the specifics you can so we don't pitter putter abount. wink.gif

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post #13 of 14 Old 08-28-2012, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Mississippi - Thanks for posting that diagram, really helped me understand what you are talking about. Below are some pictures of my current "screen" and the space I have. Due to the off centered alcove, I'm pretty much set on hanging the screen from the ceiling. It's not hanging by wires, but a pair of turnbuckle eye bolts and J hooks so I can easily make sure it's level. At this point, I care a lot more about how the picture looks on my screen than how the screen looks in my space. One thing I do want to do is move the L and R speakers as far from center as I can while still having them equidistant from the center. My other option would be do go w/ the smaller screen and put L and R on the outside, but I worry that it'd be too close to the wall and would mess up the sound.


View from behind my viewing position.

Closeup on my hanging method. There is a 50lb picture frame hook on the back of the 1x4 that connects with the eye bolt.

A quick peek behind the current "screen". I currently have my L C R speakers sitting on an old desk hutch.

My spandex was just delivered to my house, and I hope on getting everything constructed and hung this weekend. I am ready for some football.

Bears
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post #14 of 14 Old 09-07-2012, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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And we're done! I got my screen built last Sunday, but I've been enjoying it too much to get back here and post. I guess I should have expected this, but the difference between my hanging sheet and the silver spandex screen is AMAZING. My blacks, they're black. Contrast, now I have that too. Light bleed, nope.

I followed my plans above, but scaled it up to a 118in diagonal by putting my existing 8 foot 1x4's inside of the 58in vertical beams. I then used some flat brackets and L brackets to attach the 1x4's, then gorilla glue and every clamp I own to attach the quarter round to the front of the screen. Getting the miter cuts right on the quarter round molding was the hardest and most time consuming part of the project, and I apologize to anyone waiting behind my father and I to trim their molding at Home Depot. Thankfully they had a large scrap pile that we butchered in way too many rounds of trial and error. My wife got to see first hand where I got my stubborn from. After that debacle, everything else was cake. We had no strategy for putting the spandex on, just pull, staple and repeat. This material is idiot proof, and I don't think one could screw up unless they tried.

Here's a small album I made of the construction process. Sorry I didn't get any shots of attaching the spandex, but it's super easy.
http://imgur.com/a/orNlK

If you have any questions, let me know. I'd love to help others as this forum was critical to my build process.
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