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post #1 of 25 Old 07-08-2014, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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DIY Screen Build

I'm planning on building a projector screen and wanted to document the process for fun and advice. I was hoping the MississippiMan's Sintra from Amazon panned out, but since it didn't I'll be building a traditional screen. My current plan is to build a ~60" x ~110" frame, stretch FlexiWhite and eventually paint it.

My projector is an Optoma HD131Xe mounted 14' 8" from the screen wall, 8" from the ceiling to the center of the lens.

The room dimensions are 17' 8" long, 11' 4" wide (virtual wall?) and 8' high.




I would appreciate any recommendations, advice and criticism. I would also appreciate links from supplies that might be useful available on Amazon, as I have some gift credit to spend for this project. I haven't started procuring anything related to the screen yet, hopefully I can make some progress this weekend or next.


7/15: Turns out that Carl's Place has a shop on Amazon, so I picked this up using some of my gift credit. Score for savings.

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post #2 of 25 Old 07-22-2014, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
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The Flexiwhite came in today, otherwise I haven't made any more progress.
Does anyone have a specific recommendation for a staple gun to secure the fabric to a poplar wood frame?
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post #3 of 25 Old 07-22-2014, 11:23 PM
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Look for a Arrow "Over Hand" Stapler.....( use 1/4" T50 Staples )

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #4 of 25 Old 07-30-2014, 06:39 PM
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Look for a Arrow "Over Hand" Stapler.....( use 1/4" T50 Staples )
Why did you not go with drywall? Is flexiwhite a better surface? I am pondering a build myself and had assumed drywall was best choice.
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post #5 of 25 Old 07-31-2014, 07:37 AM
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Why did you not go with drywall? Is flexiwhite a better surface? I am pondering a build myself and had assumed drywall was best choice.
Screen size and the condition of the drywall surface.....as pertains to how much must be done to create a suitably smooth surface to paint on...both dictate how feasible using the wall might be.

I use Drywall whenever I can....but also avoid doing so if the effort outweighs the gains....or the absolute need to do so (sheer size of screen)

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post #6 of 25 Old 07-31-2014, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post
Screen size and the condition of the drywall surface.....as pertains to how much must be done to create a suitably smooth surface to paint on...both dictate how feasible using the wall might be.

I use Drywall whenever I can....but also avoid doing so if the effort outweighs the gains....or the absolute need to do so (sheer size of screen)
So if option is to hang pristine drywall that is what you would do?
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post #7 of 25 Old 07-31-2014, 10:12 AM
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So if option is to hang pristine drywall that is what you would do?

Anytime I can, as evidenced by the number of Drywall screen projects I post about.

Like this one:
130" Diagonal 2.39:1 Silver Fire v2.5 1.0 Drywall Screen

The overriding issue most often to be considered is if there is a joint required within the Screen's viewing area, and how well that joint is Taped / Mudded / floated out sufficiently to assure a smooth, uniform surface. As such, in almost all cases, I either specify to be done or myself do a full surface skim coat of lightweight Drywall compound and a very light sweep sanding prior to priming, inspect the surface thoroughly after two coats of sprayed-on Primer, fill / repair any scratches or Pin-Holes that pop into existance, spot apply primer onto the repaired areas, then apply one last coat of Primer overall.

Doing so gets me a surface far smoother than virtually any Mfg screen, and superior to even a Sheet of untreated SINTRA.

.......and that's how I like it.

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #8 of 25 Old 07-31-2014, 10:47 AM
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Great info!!
May be a stupid question, but if you use rollers, should you roll up or down or does it matter?
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post #9 of 25 Old 07-31-2014, 01:11 PM
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I virtually never use rolling as a method of applying Screen paint. Any high performance / high contrast paint will have the tendency to show any defect or failing in rolling technique, to the extent that unless a absolutely perfect job is accomplished, something adverse will always be noticed.

Now if one uses a simple Flat White or Gray, the opposite is true....because such Flat paints are used specifically to hide such things. Once one moves into Satin or Eggshell paints, blemishes or defects show up easily. Go to Semi-Gloss / Gloss, and the surface must be perfectly prepared, and paint application perfect. because high performance DIY Screen paint contains reflective elements, is usually some degree of Gray, and has a higher gain than any Flat paint, it too is unforgiving of errors or surface defects.

It is no accident that cars are painted using Spray guns, not rollers or brushes.

DIY screen making is all about trying to optimize the end results....to the extent one can do so. Those who can only ever aspire to roll on paint must out of hand accept that they are limited to lessor performing coatings. In some cases, where a very high lumen output PJ is being used, and a surface is adjudged to be very smooth, a simple Flat neutral Gray can be rolled on to good effect using the right type rollers, a good base paint, and correct rolling procedures. But miss the mark on any of the aforementioned (...especially rolling technique and / or type rollers used...) and oops.....even a Flat paint can't make up for the goof.

So.............in answer to your question: You roll up & down, maintaining what is called a wet edge, you do not overwork the paint, and you use 3/16" nap, very good quality rollers.

That's why I spray. Point and shoot, baby.

Well, ok....perhaps it's not that simple. But it is a far less worrisome process that also virtually assures a perfect surface every time.

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post #10 of 25 Old 07-31-2014, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jnelson Young View Post
Why did you not go with drywall? Is flexiwhite a better surface? I am pondering a build myself and had assumed drywall was best choice.
My wall is textured, so I think the effort would be better spent on this plan. Money just got tight, so I have to put off building the frame. The amount of 1x4 poplar that I need costs about $100 at Lowe's.
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post #11 of 25 Old 08-23-2014, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Back on track with this project. I have on thing holding me up though. I have the choice of making a bigger screen than what I planned due to fabric and lumber size. Can anyone provide advise if increasing the size over what I am planning would be a bad or good idea? What is the optimal size for my setup? Projector central's calculator shows that 134" would be the largest possible diagonal at my throw distance (14' 8"). I'm thinking it would be best to stick to 110" for speaker clearance on both sides, and because it will be harder to stretch 71" over a 66" frame than over a 60" frame.
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post #12 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 02:01 AM
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Your Frame should be 65" x 119" for a 132" diagonal 16:9, and the 72" x 128" Flexi-white is more than adequate. Set the Throw at 14' 8"

You have the lumen output....so no concerns there.

The only things to be aware of is the 131xe has a 10" image offset, so the Lens should be as close to being 10" above the Screen's top edge as it can be so as to minimize Tilt and the need to employ Digital Vertical Keystone. Oh...and the Lens "must" be centered on the Screen....dead on for a perfect format fit.

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #13 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Your Frame should be 65" x 119" for a 132" diagonal 16:9, and the 72" x 128" Flexi-white is more than adequate. Set the Throw at 14' 8"

You have the lumen output....so no concerns there.

The only things to be aware of is the 131xe has a 10" image offset, so the Lens should be as close to being 10" above the Screen's top edge as it can be so as to minimize Tilt and the need to employ Digital Vertical Keystone. Oh...and the Lens "must" be centered on the Screen....dead on for a perfect format fit.
Any issue with there only being about 8.5" between the edge of the screen and the wall? Tower speakers will need to fit in that space that are exactly 8" width 12" depth. Seems like the speaker being right up against the wall would cause issues with sound quality.
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post #14 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 10:09 AM
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Well then, drop down to a 130" diagonal screen(64" x 113" screen w/ 68" x 117" Frame) and reclaim another 1" on each side. The total of 1.5" on each side should allow you to canter in the speakers enough to direct the audio toward a more confined sweet spot. (...with such a narrow room, this is especially true...) And as long as the side of the speaker cabinets do not touch the wall, or utilize a side firing port, you should then have no acoustical issues with such a placement.

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post #15 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Well then, drop down to a 130" diagonal screen(64" x 113" screen w/ 68" x 117" Frame) and reclaim another 1" on each side. The total of 1.5" on each side should allow you to canter in the speakers enough to direct the audio toward a more confined sweet spot. (...with such a narrow room, this is especially true...) And as long as the side of the speaker cabinets do not touch the wall, or utilize a side firing port, you should then have no acoustical issues with such a placement.
Thanks for the help. I'm getting stuck on some small details of the plan. What design would be a better brace? I wouldn't be using the extra plywood bracing. I am joining the boards with pocket-hole screws and plan on setting the cross supports back by 1/8". I will be using 1x4 boards for the outer frame and 1x3 boards for the supports.




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post #16 of 25 Old 08-24-2014, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I finished the frame, working on the fabric now.

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post #17 of 25 Old 08-31-2014, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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All done. I'll eventually grab a better camera and post some in-use pictures. Still some upgrades to do but this will tide me over until the semester is done.

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post #18 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 07:40 AM
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It looks great, but it's hanging awfully low. You should reverse the Screen's distance between the Floor and the Ceiling....unless your planning to place the Center Channel directly above the screen.

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post #19 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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It looks great, but it's hanging awfully low. You should reverse the Screen's distance between the Floor and the Ceiling....unless your planning to place the Center Channel directly above the screen.
I hung it there to meet the ~10" from center of lens to top of screen requirement. I can always mount the center channel above the screen if that is the only downside. I'm thinking the 10" is wrong though, because I'm getting a small but noticeable size difference between the top and bottom of the screen, bottom is larger by about 1". Would being at maximum zoom level have anything to do with that? I still have to remount the projector back a bit for the revised screen size.
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post #20 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 08:09 AM
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If the bottom is larger, then the PJ is tilted down off a level position. Either leveling it, or using the digital Keystone feature are the solutions. Zoom sould be constant in that once you have set the top level of the screen, when you zoom in or out only the sides and bottom move. Usually. There can be some PJs whose Lens optic's peculiarities might differ from that description.

I would think that the solution to the screen placement would involve hanging the Projector higher, as you certainly have more than 10" remaining between the Lens and the ceiling. And as stated above, when one does not have much space, then they hang the PJ up higher, tilt it, and use Keystone.

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post #21 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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If the bottom is larger, then the PJ is tilted down off a level position. Either leveling it, or using the digital Keystone feature are the solutions. Zoom sould be constant in that once you have set the top level of the screen, when you zoom in or out only the sides and bottom move. Usually. There can be some PJs whose Lens optic's peculiarities might differ from that description.

I would think that the solution to the screen placement would involve hanging the Projector higher, as you certainly have more than 10" remaining between the Lens and the ceiling. And as stated above, when one does not have much space, then they hang the PJ up higher, tilt it, and use Keystone.
Cheapo mount I have right now is 6" from where it connects to ceiling to where it connects to the PJ, then from there its another 2.5" to the top of the PJ to the center of the lens. 8.5" + 10" = 18.5" to the top of the screen from the ceiling. I will have to wait until I can either get a different mount or somehow inset the mount I have into the attic.

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post #22 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 08:34 AM
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Still not understanding why you cannot employ the Digital Vertical Keystone? You should not have to use much to compensate for enough upward tilt to raise the screen at least 1 foot.

You already have the PJ tilted too far down off level...just correcting that will raise the screen 3-4". If your screen itself is level, then you can use the sides to judge how far you must raise it (the PJ) by noting when the sides of the projected image are straight from top to bottom.

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post #23 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Still not understanding why you cannot employ the Digital Vertical Keystone? You should not have to use much to compensate for enough upward tilt to raise the screen at least 1 foot.

You already have the PJ tilted too far down off level...just correcting that will raise the screen 3-4". If your screen itself is level, then you can use the sides to judge how far you must raise it (the PJ) by noting when the sides of the projected image are straight from top to bottom.
Does the digital vertical keystone distort the quality of the image at all? I'm currently under the impression that it does.
I will adjust the projector to be level and see what adjustments I need to make to the screen after that.
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post #24 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 01:33 PM
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Does the digital vertical keystone distort the quality of the image at all? I'm currently under the impression that it does.
1 or 2 clicks adjustment is virtually unnoticeable, and if it helps you achieve an optimum screen placement position it is all the more worth it worth it

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post #25 of 25 Old 09-01-2014, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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1 or 2 clicks adjustment is virtually unnoticeable, and if it helps you achieve an optimum screen placement position it is all the more worth it worth it
I adjusted the projector back 3 inches and can fill the frame correctly now. No leveling adjustments I made would make the top of the image static throughout zooming. I ended up making 1 tick of Vertical Keystone adjustment and I'm satisfied. Thanks for all the help.
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