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post #1 of 153 Old 02-13-2004, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Sharing a tip for people making their own screen. I found some 1 1/2 inch square aluminum tubing at Home Depot. They have it in the hardware section. It was easy to cut with a hack saw in a regular mitre box. It comes in eight foot lengths which worked out fine for a 100 inch screen.

The great thing about the aluminum is that it's very light and very straight. I had been looking through the lumber and it all weighed a lot and it was hard to find a piece long enough that wasn't warped.

Also at Home Depot I found a framing clamp for putting corners together. You put the two pieces together and screw it tight. I used this to hold the corners square while I drilled the holes for the brackets. I put 3 inch corner brackets on the back at each corner.

In the spray paint section I found textured black paint. This came out looking just like a powedered aluminum finish.

At the fabric store I got some budget blackout cloth, and a lot of black velcro. I put velcro around the whole edge of the cloth and the back side of the frame. To do this easily you can lay the frame on the cloth and use a sharpie marker to draw around the inside. You won't see the line by the time you stretch the cloth a bit. Then just put the cloth on and go around a few times stretching it out. The velcro is strong enough to stretch it flat.

I had some extra velcro so I put another strip of it all the way around the sides of the picture to cut down on reflection.

I put two brass hooks on the top and hung them on brass screws in the wall. The screen is so light that I didn't even bother looking for wall studs. It came out looking totally professional.

The blackout cloth is working great. I've held up some samples of more expensive material and I'm not convinced it would be different enough to justify the cost. I've got an AE500 and have been very happy with it so far.

My total amount spent on the screen is about $60, plus another $20 for the clamp. Sorry I didn't take any pictures, but if you've read the other articles on this subject you'll see I'm just giving you some material options.

Good luck,
Graver
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post #2 of 153 Old 02-13-2004, 10:19 AM
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Great idea. This should probably be posted in the "Screens" forum.

Enjoy!

Mike
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post #3 of 153 Old 02-13-2004, 10:33 AM
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Graver,
Thanks for the tip! What is your location?

"If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good."- Dr. Seuss
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post #4 of 153 Old 02-13-2004, 11:13 AM
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I'm new to HT so please excuse any stupid questions but what screen material are you actually projecting on?Do you mean you are projecting onto the black out cloth or is that material behind a white screen material and if so how did you attach that to your frame?
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post #5 of 153 Old 02-13-2004, 11:46 AM
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RONM,

the term "blackout Cloth" is somewhat confusing as it's actually pure white in color and is sold by the yard at material stores. The cloth takes its name from it's intended purpose, viz. to prevent light from passing through window drapes. For more on DIY screens using this material do a search in the screens section.

Rob
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post #6 of 153 Old 02-13-2004, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm in the Boston area, and have seen the aluminum in a couple of the Home Depots around here. They put it in the hardware section with the threaded rods and other metal parts.

Yes, I'm using the white side of blackout cloth. It's sold at the fabric stores. The stuff I got was called "budget blackout cloth". It's sort of a mix of cloth and vinyl. It's got a nice white surface, you can't see any light through it if you hold it up to a window, and it has a little bit of stretch to it. I bought a big roll of it for about $25, and have enough left over to put behind my curtains.

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post #7 of 153 Old 02-13-2004, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Graver
Sharing a tip for people making their own screen....
...
At the fabric store I got some budget blackout cloth, and a lot of black velcro. I put velcro around the whole edge of the cloth and the back side of the frame.
...
Good luck,
Graver
Thanks for the post. I'm a little confused on what this looks like. Is the cloth simply velcroed to the back of the frame? Did you sew the velcro onto the blackout cloth?
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post #8 of 153 Old 02-14-2004, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Graver
The great thing about the aluminum is that it's very light and very straight. I had been looking through the lumber and it all weighed a lot and it was hard to find a piece long enough that wasn't warped.
Excellent tip Graver, I spent many of hours thinking about how to construct a DIY screen frame and the aluminum tubing idea never entered my mind..thanks!

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post #9 of 153 Old 02-25-2004, 02:36 PM
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Great idea - how do you secure the velcro to the cloth (I'm presuming that you use the sticky type on the frame)?
Sam
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post #10 of 153 Old 02-25-2004, 07:41 PM
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Who 'bout posting a pic or two of that screen. I'm sure a lot of folks would love to see your handiwork.

I want a Masquerade.
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post #11 of 153 Old 02-26-2004, 01:32 AM
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Grover,
I'm in the Boston area too and I recently bought screen material from ebay...but I haven't had time to build the frame and stuff. Your idea seems great, and I'm wondering which Home Depot did you go to?
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post #12 of 153 Old 02-26-2004, 10:56 AM
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I too am wondering how you secured the velcro to the screen material. Did you sew it on?

Russ
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post #13 of 153 Old 02-27-2004, 09:11 AM
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Any chance you could post some pics?
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post #14 of 153 Old 02-27-2004, 10:09 AM
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Fantastic idea!! Pictures would be great especially of the mitred corners fastened together as well as how the velcro/frame/material all go together. I can't even count the time I've spent in home improvement warehouses trying to find straight lumber. I would pay 3 times as much just to be assured of no warping. Thanks so much for this post, it has been most helpful.
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post #15 of 153 Old 02-27-2004, 10:34 AM
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I've checked at Home Depot locally and they have 1" square tubing for about $10 for an 8' piece. I would use four pieces for a 92" diagonal 16:9. Hopefully, Graver will revisit his thread and answer the velcro questions.

Enjoy!

Mike
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post #16 of 153 Old 02-27-2004, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments. Hopefully I can take some pictures this weekend. I know it's easier if you can see an illustration.

The square tubing Mike found sounds right. 8 feet for 10$ at Home Depot. There are probably other places and sizes available. I've been very happy with this though.

I used black, stick-on Velcro. I was able to find it sold in a big box at Jo-Ann's fabrics. The adhesive is strong enough to stick to the blackout material since the material is not that heavy and the tension you need is slight. Be careful though because you can't pull it off the blackout cloth without pulling the surface off the cloth. But the cloth is probably the least expensive part to replace.

I also used the fuzzy side of the velcro to line the inside of the frame, to cut out any reflections. I used a lot of velcro and have a lot of the hook side left over, but it works great.

To get the velcro on right, first get your frame made and lay it on the floor on top of a piece of blackout cloth. Line up the frame and then draw around the inside edge of the frame with a black sharpie marker. Then you can remove the frame and lay down the velcro along the line. Don't worry about the line being inside the frame area because the cloth is going to stretch a little and the line will end up well outside of the frame.

The key to getting the frame right is acurate measurments and a good corner clamp. If I can get my camera working I'll show you a picture of the clamp that worked well for me.

The only thing I'd do differently if I was to make another screen is a stronger bracket for the corners. I used a simple 2 and half inch L plate, and it worked fine except that on the front side, the corners pulled apart slightly from the cloth being stretched on the back side. It's not enough to bother fixing now, but I've since seen some corner brackets at the store that would be stronger.

Graver
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post #17 of 153 Old 02-27-2004, 12:10 PM
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"The only thing I'd do differently if I was to make another screen is a stronger bracket for the corners. I used a simple 2 and half inch L plate, and it worked fine except that on the front side, the corners pulled apart slightly from the cloth being stretched on the back side."

Maybe use a 90 degree angle bracket on the inside corner of the frame in addition to, or in place of, the L plate?
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post #18 of 153 Old 02-27-2004, 03:35 PM
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I've just been to HD to check out this tubing, found it tucked away but was a little suprised at the $10 price tag. I looked through a few dozen 2" x 3"s without finding a single straight one so I had a dilema, what to do...

In the end I decided to take a shot at an alternative, I bought four 8' aluminium studs. Not sure how I'll assemble these yet as they are a channel rather than a tube style but they are straight and sturdy. I think I may run a 2x3 or 2x4 inside such that the aluminium makes it straight and I can screw into the wood.

My current plan is to make corners with 2x4 pieces and some "Simpson Strong Tie" corners, attach the aluminium and see how it all looks.

I'm pleased to see the response on the velcro as attaching the fabric was my big concern, I ahve even wondered about screwing through it into the aluminium. I figure the screws would work if I could get enough in while maintaining tension - hmm - velcro seems appealing....!

Have a look at aluminium studs though, less than $2 each, could hold some promise.

Chris.

EDIT : The connectors I got are a bit like the RTA2 on this page http://www.strongtie.com/products/connectors/RTC.html
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post #19 of 153 Old 02-27-2004, 07:01 PM
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Update : I don't think aluminium studs will work, they are nice and straight but they have a ridge along the front either side, this at a minimum would cause a rib 3.5" in from the edge.

I considered making a compound miter corner so the studs would be at an angle (presenting a raised edge) but the mitering is too fiddly, trying to set eh two angles so it results in a right anlge I can trust for an 8' run is too much.

I think I'm off in search of straight wood again tomorrow..! That or I'll rip down some 2x4's to try and make them straighter than HD seem to be able to! I'm very tempted to rip them at an angle after reading a post here about how much easier it is with a raised edge.

Chris.
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post #20 of 153 Old 02-28-2004, 12:31 AM
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My first screen attempt involved a lightweight frame made from "U" aluminum tubing, about 3/4 inch.

This stuff is not strong enough to withstand torsion forces and once my cloth was pulled tight the sides of the frame pinched and the frame warped under the pressure.

I eventually went to a simple 1 x 3 wood frame, joined with "L" brackets and with a single vertical brace on the back. Before assembly I covered the wood with sueded black fabric.

I'm sure the heavier gauge aluminum would work but avoid the cheaper stuff!
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post #21 of 153 Old 03-01-2004, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's a picture of my screen with a closeup of the back corner and the clamp I used to get the corners straight.

To hang the screen I put two small brass hooks in the top and hung them on brass screws. I started with them hanging from wires until I got it straight and the height correct, then put the screws through the hooks and removed the wires.

Graver
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post #22 of 153 Old 03-01-2004, 10:47 AM
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The pic helps a lot - thanks. I imagined you had pulled the fabric around the frame and fastened it to the back, so that all that showed was fabric. I see the way you did it the frame actually is visible as a, well, uh, frame around the screen.

Do you foresee any challenges with doing it the alternate way, with the fabric around the frame and attached to the back?
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post #23 of 153 Old 03-01-2004, 12:34 PM
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Man this is killing me. I used to have a Stewart Filmscreen in 1.33:1 aspect ratio that used that very idea. Instead of velcro, it used snaps, but it never occurred to me to find similar aluminum tubing. The Stewart screen had the tubes painted flat back and the screen snapped to the back of the tubes. The tubes themselves worked well to attach some home made masks. I sold that screen and made a 16x9 Parkland which was just as good, but it is heavy since I created a wood frame for it.

I will have to look into this tubing for a material screen.

Great idea!!!

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post #24 of 153 Old 03-01-2004, 12:44 PM
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Looks great!

I have a sheet of Parkland. Do you think using this idea to attach the Parkland to the back of the frame might work?

I guess my concern would be that the Parkland might sag at the center of the screen without a support bar. However, I suppose with the Parkland mounted on the back of the frame it would be directly against the wall, preventing it from sagging. Any thoughts?
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post #25 of 153 Old 03-01-2004, 12:59 PM
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I think it would be worth trying with the Parkland. From my experience, there are two problems to solve. One is wether or not the Parkland will sag. I would think that if the velcro is glued with a heat gun, and velcro is put on all the way around the perimiter, you will not have any sagging problems. The other issue may be light bleeding through the Parkland if for example you have a light source behind the screen. For $12, it may be worth a try. You can always use the frame again for a material such as blackout.

Rudy81
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post #26 of 153 Old 03-01-2004, 01:20 PM
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rudy, visited your website and shot over to you an email. Let me know about the parkland and how it's working out for you. Considering this screen:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=359152


possibly with the parkland (light fusion).

razor

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post #27 of 153 Old 04-14-2004, 10:16 AM
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Graver, I just came upon this thread and would like to thank you for the idea. I want to make the same thing; went to JoAnn Fabrics and got the blackout cloth. Have some questions for you though...

Did you just use the self-adhesive velcro and no other type of additional adhesive? After more than a month, how is it holding up? The lady at JAF told me that the velcro may not stay on the cloth, esp if tensioned. Also same plan on the aluminum? No problems getting the v to stick on the spray paint?

The cloth has a smoother and a textured side. Sorry for being dumb but could not figure out which is the screen viewing surface...? I would think the textured but want to make sure.

Down the road, do you have any ideas for how to clean the cloth... it says dry clean only and with the velcro that would probably not be feasible. Or is that time for another trip to JAF?


Thanks again!
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post #28 of 153 Old 04-14-2004, 11:41 AM
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I just recently built a new frame using this guys method (1x3 poplar wood) http://www.eldamar.net/house/ht/screenHowTo.html But did find the aluminum section useful for hanging the frame and adjustable matting..

I used an aluminum "U" channel on the back of the frame to make a quick-adjust hanging system, and another "U" channel with threaded rods, conduit and eye-bolts to make a flip-down top mat.

As far as what side of the blackout cloth to use, I've tried both and haven't noticed a change in picture. The non-rubberey side might be the better to use just because it seems more difficult to damage.

I'll post pictures soon of my new frame and manual matting system. I have a flip-down mat on the top and sliding mats on the side combined with the zoom feature of my projector to get clean looking 4:3 to 2.35:1 screen ratios.
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post #29 of 153 Old 04-14-2004, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by razorfish
rudy, visited your website and shot over to you an email. Let me know about the parkland and how it's working out for you. Considering this screen:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=359152


possibly with the parkland (light fusion).

razor
Razor:

Haven't gotten your e-mail, but will look for it. I had seen that thread, but am trying to avoid getting into the paint thing.

Rudy81
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post #30 of 153 Old 04-15-2004, 08:31 AM
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So I had been planning to construct a wood frame before running across this thread but I really like Graver's idea. Went to Lowe's yesterday to see if they had the aluminum tubing. Well they do, but an 8' length of 3/4 inch square tubing was $27, and they didn't have any 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch tubing in anything longer than 2'. I'm off to Home Depot and Menard's today to see if they have better pricing or selection.

Always amazed that prices can be so different from one place to another.

Edit: Checked Home Depot and could only find 1 inch square tubing in 6' length for $18. Ran out of time to go to Menard's over lunch - maybe I'll hit there tomorrow. Looks like I may be back to a wood frame...
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