My first attempt to build a frame seems to have not gone well. I attempted to build a 90” 16:9 screen using 1x4x96 boards I got from Home Depot, unsure what type of wood they were. I cut the 2 long pieces at around 78 and 7/16”. I also cut 3 short boards (one for each edge and a middle cross brace) at 44 and 1/8”. I used some metal l brackets to hold it all together. Unfortunately, while I was checking for warp along the length of the boards, I failed to notice one of my long boards was warped along the short edge. Because I only put braces on the back side, and because the of the way I attached the boards it makes some of the short boards stick up in front of the long boards, which I believe would create noticeable marks/seems/wrinkles once the black out cloth is stretch across the frame. I tried my best to correct these issues with some different L brackets on the inside of each corner, but quickly realized if these were not screwed in precisely in the center of the board and perfectly straight that the screws would split the wood. I’m guessing I should have predrilled the holes for these screws to prevent that, but I am a new homeowner with limited tools(no drill bits at the moment) and even more limited experience working with wood. One other mistake I made, was using a calculator to determine the dimensions of the frame. From reading some other posts I realize now that since I already have the projector it makes more sense to measure the projected image and build the screen to those dimensions due to variations in projectors not all producing he exact same size image. One other concern I have, I will be using this in the basement of my bi-level home. The basement has a railing/shelf about half way up the wall going around most of the basement(although not on the wall where my screen will be. The problem this causes is I currently have my projector sitting on a stand which allows me to project an 86” image. But if I ever decide to ceiling mount, the railing would not be in the way anymore, which gives me more space and allows me to project a 90-92” image. So I was planning to build the screen for the bigger image and just deal with it while I am projecting he smaller image on it. Is this dumb? Should I just build for the image I can project now, and live with it?
One idea I was considering was getting a thin(3/16 or 1/8th”) piece of Masonite and attaching that to the current frame to provide a smooth surface to stretch the BOC over. I am not sure how the imperfections in the frame will affect this type of board though, maybe they would cause the Masonite to warp some in those spots, or have some other noticeable negative impact. Also I am unsure the best route to attach the Masonite to the frame. Is wood glue enough to keep it in place?
I only have about $10-15 total cost in the wood for this frame, so if need be, I am willing to scrap my first attempt and try again. I know a lot of the DIY screen guides I have seen on here and other sites often use triangle pieces of plywood at the corners rather than metal L brackets to keep the frame square. With my limited tools, I opted to not go this route as I didn’t have an easy way to cut the plywood. But I have recently learned that Home Depot will do some cuts for me, so the plywood option is a possibility for round 2. My other concern with the plywood is how it will affect the black out cloth as it is stretched, since some of the cloth will be stapled to the plywood and some directly to the frame. At the point where the plywood drops off to meet the frame I was worried this would create a crease in the cloth. But a lot of people seem to use this route, so I assume it’s not too difficult to stretch out that possible crease?
Even if I am able to get a nice true rectangle on this attempt, would it still make sense to use something like Masonite or MDF across the front face? Or is that a waste? I am not too concerned with the weight it would add, as this screen should be a permanent fixture on the wall in my basement.
My girlfriend likes the idea of putting up some movie style curtains around the frame to make it look more like a movie theater, and I am fine with that. But I noticed a lot of people use a black border around their frames, which from what I read can help to improve the look of the image for some technical reason that is beyond my means of comprehension lol. If this black border is beneficial, does that mean I need to make my frame a few inches wider t0 accommodate the border?