My yet to be named small 1 car garage to home theatre conversion on a tight budget... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone, I must say that this is the forum that has inspired me to try building out my very first home theater.

Before I start, I want to say thanks to the countless posters to this forum, my friends and family who supported me and gave me advice and ideas as well as my GF for letting me have my own man cave.

One last thing, my projector is currently in transit to Optoma for repair because the colors kept dropping out. This is why I now have time to write up my theater build rather than playing videogames or watching movies.

Let us begin!

My quest to build my own theater actually came from this forum. I was curious with how my 360 would look on a big screen so I Googled XBOX 360 and projectors and stumbled upon this forum and the rest is history.

I bought the HD70 as a graduation present to myself back in January and it was originally intended to serve as the outdoor projector that I could carry around everywhere and project onto people's houses or what not. Boy was I wrong. It was cold so I couldn't do much with it outside, I went online to check out other people's setup and man, you guys out there have a lot of time and money to build a whole separate building for a home theater.

So, the format of this picture show is chronological so bear with me when I jump from one peice of the project to the next, I hope I don't lost anyone here so here goes.

Below is the garage before anything was ever done to it. It has all the stuff from the living room and some bedroom stuff since we were painting the house.



Cleared out the garage and started to build my screen frame. It's supposed to be a sandwich screen frame design which is a lot of work. I would do it a different want next time plus I think I messed up because I used a different ratio (1.85:1 versus 1.77:1) but in the end, it's not that noticeable, right?



here's the lumber that I used (wood pine trim)


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post #2 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I mitered the corners to make it look "not so DIY" (yes, I hand sawed each single frigging frame peice)




Mocked up the size of the screen with me and the GF




Mocked it up in the garage and put on some wood glue for joint strength



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post #3 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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After it had dried, I added the L brackets to the corners and the T brackets to the support beams.




I mocked it up on the wall for a size and position estimate




here's the frame that will be the other side of my frame sandwich


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post #4 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's the picture frame cleat system with level that I used to hang the frame off of a piece of poplar wood (1/2 inch from the wall)



Here's the rope light idea that I found here that I thought was really cool. And it also helps reduce eye strain because the room is completely dark, no ambient light possible)



Here's Blackout cloth stretched on my frame waiting for the other half of the sandwich to be put on. (the stretching technique is the one that describes how to stretch canvas...the ones with the old school black and white pictures)



Close-up of the staple job



Finished product - I guess it didn't really turn out to be too bad. The whole thing is light and sturdy. I just wish the edges were a bit thicker but it's okay, it does the job for now.






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post #5 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
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After that was done, I had to buy the last piece of home theater electronics, the audio. I went with value for the money and since it's a small space and in the garage, I didn't need a super system that would rock the whole neighborhood so I decided, again, based on HTiB impressions found online and here as well as an actual visit to the store, on the Onkyo HT-SR800. It sounds good once you change out the speaker wire to 14 or 16 gauge so that more power goes through the wires.

Setup was easy because it was color coded and here's the initial setup of the audio without the rear speakers



Here's the whole thing mocked up again in the living room



Here's the garage and the shelving post (not sure what those are called)
now you see them:

now you don't:


i moved them to the end of the garage to use as storage for garden stuff and other garage/tool related items



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post #6 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Back in the garage, here's the wall where the screen will be mounted. the wall is primed since the walls are made out of chip board, I didn't want the wood soaking up the paint and have it not coming out good. I decided on the gray primer so that it will help minimize the reflection of light on the walls when it penetrates the two coats of paint.



Like I said, I'm going to be jumping around in my post here so bear with me.

Here are the speaker stands that I built, yes, with a hand saw, using hand rail and oak for the base and shelving brackets to support.




Here they are before priming and flat black paint mocked up in the living room



here's another shot of the garage this time, I was spackling and sanding






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post #7 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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after that was done, I went ahead and primed




After the primer dried, I went ahead and edged out the black on the side walls, ceiling and front wall. I made the paint likes like that so that when you are sitting down, it gives the impression that the screen is in the middle of a vast empty expanse when the ropelight is off. In the dark, black seems to make the room larger. Kinda like an optical illusion.







Here's the ceiling. It was a mis-tint from Lowes and I got it for $5. It was the lowes signature series paint that usually retails for $27



Here is the wall color. This too was another gallon of mistinted paint. Lowes signature series and it really covers well. It's like chocolate milk shake brown.



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post #8 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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And now the subfloor system. It's the Dricore system at Home Depot. The idea is that the barrier or air and plastic will provide some sort of mosture barrier and insulation against the concrete floor.

The floors!





Clean concrete floor for and a shot of the garage



Halfway done!



closer to being done than halfway done!



GAH!!! Almost there!!!



All done! thanks for cleaning babe!



Commercial grade carpet from Home Depot (dark gray)


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post #9 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Screen up!!!



Sound on!!!



Test image of XBOX 360 dashboard with the GF



Test image of a SD-DVD upscaled to 720p by XBOX 360 through VGA (Bruce All Mighty)



Here's everything in it's place for now




Here's the last build so far



It's a table from Ikea that I am cutting down and putting some foam and batting and covering with pleather to make it into a cool ottoman/bench




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post #10 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I added a couple of fans to help with the projector being hot





but the issue is still the same

Here's the projector operating correctly


Here's the projector not operating correctly

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post #11 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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So, that's that, I have put on curtains to minimized the sound reflecting off of the garage door and I also have some plans to make acoustic panels to minimize the echo in the small garage.

I chose what I chose because it was a mix of affordability and what I wanted.

I have never made anything in my life before. I'm a 26 year old with no handyman knowledge not to mention home theater knowledge who just read and researched online and decided to jump on it with both feet. I can honestly say that I started this middle of June and I finished last Friday. Well 90 % done. The functionality of the room is in place.

I learned alot. from spackling, sanding, painitng and using a miter box and a hand saw to using a skill saw for the floor (haha, I had to use a power saw or else it would have taken me waay too long). I learned that things take time and patience is a virtue. I learned more about hard work, I learned about desire, I learned about measuring, I learned about planning, I learned about time management and more importantly, I learned a lot about myself. It's not life altering or anythinb but it's cool to be able to look back at something that I have never done before and actually have it come out looking okay.

As for future improvements, I have to get thicker curtains, a riser box and another couch to accomodate more people and hopefully decorate the place (area rug, finish the ottoman/bench/ wall decor, new lamp? etc).

Next up though is replacing the weather strips on the garage door and adding a portable air conditioner, heater and dehumidifier with a temprature guage so that it will do it's thing automatically.

P.s. I hope to get my projector back either next week or the week after so that I can play on my brand new PS3 that the GF got me for my birthday, graduation and house warming. Woo hoo! Blue Ray movies!

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post #12 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:59 AM
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Congrats. Refreshing to see another low budget build.
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post #13 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, It was a tough 1 month. IT guy by day, amateur home theater builder by night

Estimated costs not including electronics:

Flooring = $360
Carpet = $150
Primer = $50
Paint = $30

$600 and a lot of sweat equity is not bad for my own comparatively cheap movie house.

For house 2.0, I will definitely have to opt for a basement and make a cleaner build. HT 2.0 is a few years away...

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post #14 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 11:43 AM
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Great work. A lot of creativity on making a little money go a long way.

I do thing you need to go easy on the assistant, you may be working her too hard.

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post #15 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 12:00 PM
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where do you guys live, i noticed no HVAC in garage (mine is about 120 degrees right now).

I see the only entrance is through the garage door....you may want to find a good way to secure that thing, especially if people know you have all the equipment in there!! (a common way to open them is with a long coat hanger type wire under the door, that reaches up and lassos' the emergency release!)...
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post #16 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Great work. A lot of creativity on making a little money go a long way.

I do thing you need to go easy on the assistant, you may be working her too hard.

LOL, it's funny how you brought that up because as I was flipping through the pictures in the camera last night, I noticed that she was asleep in just about every other picture!!!

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post #17 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

where do you guys live, i noticed no HVAC in garage (mine is about 120 degrees right now).

I see the only entrance is through the garage door....you may want to find a good way to secure that thing, especially if people know you have all the equipment in there!! (a common way to open them is with a long coat hanger type wire under the door, that reaches up and lassos' the emergency release!)...


Yes, I have been trying to figure out a way to secure the door more.

I've taken the first precaution and that would be to unplug the garage door opener. There won't be any garage door hacking going on anymore (random signal generator etc).

I've also made sure that the dricore subfloor is butted up against the actual door, this makes it hard to the coat hanger to be bent at the right angle and pushed through without a number of the neighbors noticing that something fishy is happening.

I've also taken pictures of everything that I have in its place as proof for the insurance company.

Last but not least, I have a fierce guard dog that will bite off and of course will scare the living day lights out of anyone who wants to steal my stuff!



wait, here she is to scale!



I live near Chicago and the garage right now is cooled by a combined effort of 5 fans. Until I figure out which portable heater, air conditioner, dehumidifier I can go with, I have to leave the garage door into the house open.

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post #18 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 12:54 PM
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Yes, be sure to secure the garage door.

A number of years ago I was installing a Sears opener. After I got everything working I took a walk down the street opening and closing the door to see how far my signal was reaching. Mind you that I must have had the door up and down 30+ times during the course of the install.

As I reached the corner and started back toward the house I discovered that my next door neighbors door was going up every time mine was going down, and vice versa.

I talked to them a few days later and they said that they had been sitting in their house wondering what the hell was going on. Both of our doors were on the original factory code setting.
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post #19 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 12:54 PM
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Awesome build. Well done. Shows that a little money but a lot of drive can get you a nice little system.

if i was wearing one, i would take my hat off to you
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post #20 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 12:58 PM
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One simple way is to look on the track for a hole just above one of the wheels. Insert something big in that hole blocking the track. A padlock, a big bolt, a big screwdriver etc will work.
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post #21 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

One simple way is to look on the track for a hole just above one of the wheels. Insert something big in that hole blocking the track. A padlock, a big bolt, a big screwdriver etc will work.

That is a great idea!!! I'll try that too.

now if they want to get at my sh*t, they'll have to break into my house triggering the alarm

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post #22 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by charlie3133 View Post

Awesome build. Well done. Shows that a little money but a lot of drive can get you a nice little system.

if i was wearing one, i would take my hat off to you

thanks kind sir!

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post #23 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 02:12 PM
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hey your projector room is cool,i set one up in my living its really cool i will post some pics soon.how did you make those speaker stands want to make some.really cool!!!!!!!!!
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post #24 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 02:48 PM
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Damn, I thought I was being thrifty at ~$4000. But I had to do a bit more

Cool project. I would like to see you add a few sound absorption panels on your side walls. It would really improve your acoustics and could be done for ~$50-75 using 2" fibreglass and whatever inexpensive fabric you can find.

Why does the projector go all funky like that? It shouldn't be overheating in ceiling mount.
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post #25 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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hey your projector room is cool,i set one up in my living its really cool i will post some pics soon.how did you make those speaker stands want to make some.really cool!!!!!!!!!

I used 8 foot hand rails cut in half and an oak shelf with shelving brackets for my speaker stands. Total cost was $30 for both.

Make sure you prime it in dark gray and then paint it whatever color you want.

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post #26 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Damn, I thought I was being thrifty at ~$4000. But I had to do a bit more

Cool project. I would like to see you add a few sound absorption panels on your side walls. It would really improve your acoustics and could be done for ~$50-75 using 2" fibreglass and whatever inexpensive fabric you can find.

Why does the projector go all funky like that? It shouldn't be overheating in ceiling mount.

I don't know what's wrong with the projector. I hope that Optoma will contact me tomorrow and tell me that the projector is working now that they fixed the problem. It's almost expected that it will happen once I turn it on.

Yep! I will surely put on some acoustic panels for sound absorption since there is a slight echo in the room. I know, unbelievable considering the size (10' x 20' with 9' ceilings). The sound is much better after putting in the floor plus the carpet and furniture but I know i have to do something about those 1st reflection points and maybe some bass traps in the corners. I just have to figure out what kind of pattern I want to put on the walls. The GF wants to decorate but I want my own flavor to it. I just don't know it yet

I like the start to your theater. Much wider than mine, must do wonders to your sound!

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post #27 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 07:37 PM
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You know I'm watching American Inventor right now and I started to wonder if there is a market for a combination Projector, Garage door opener. Along with that you need a screen that would fit on the door and would pull tight when the door is down.

Actually today I was looking at one of your pictures and starring at the Garage door opener trying to figure out what projector that was.



then I put my nose closer to the screen and saw that it was a Craftsman.
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post #28 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 07:39 PM
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cool, didnt realize u had`door from garage to house....very nice` little hideway
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post #29 of 97 Old 07-18-2007, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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LMAO!!!!

Yeah, I was trying to get it centered but in the end, the throw was not enough for me to fill most of the wall so I had to push it back and have it off center to accommodate the garage door opener that is in the middle of the, well, garage!

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post #30 of 97 Old 07-19-2007, 06:11 AM
 
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Do you still open the garage door from time to time or is it closed semi-permanantly?
Reason I ask is I built a garage theater and have my garage door tracks covered.
Let me know and I'll tell ya what I did if it's kept closed alomost all the time.
If you have to use it regularly it wouldn't work.

scott
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