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-   -   How sturdy are wall-mount screens ? Enough to hinge ? (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-screens/19259-how-sturdy-wall-mount-screens-enough-hinge.html)

dreamer 12-13-2000 06:30 PM

I've gone through a lot of gyrations on this, but circumstances keep changing, so I am still looking for the most reasonable solution.

I have a D-ILA projector. The screen for it needs to hang in front of an alcove filled with windows. (I originally planned on putting the screen inside the alcove, but I now want a bigger screen.)

I think I'd like a 106" x 58" 1.85 AR screen. Pretty big, in other words. And I want it perfectly flat. Forever. I'm not too happy with my DIY roll-up screen attempts.

And the kicker is that it has to disappear so it isn't perpetually blocking the windows.

Obviously, a tab-tensioned Vu-Tec or other professional roll-up screen would work great. But at close to $2000, I just can't do it.

So I'm thinking of buying a wall-mount screen like the Vu-Tec with its aluminum frame, and then mounting it on hinges so it flips up flat to the ceiling. (Probably need to use those pneumatic rods that hold up the hatchbacks on cars.) Possibly with something on the back side like art-work, movie posters, etc. That would probably run me closer to $700.

So can I hear from some of you with permanent wall-mount screens ?

Are they sturdy enough for handling this way ? What do they typically weigh ? Is the frame 1" square aluminum stock, supported in the center, or even more supports ?

Or is all this wasted thought ? Is there a 1.3-1.5 gain fabric that will lay truly flat in a manual pull-down setup without tab-tensioning ?


Andrew Low 12-14-2000 06:07 AM

Someone did mount their screen like this (in front of patio doors). I remember seeing a picture on the web at one point.

My 80x45 Cineperm screen is quite sturdy, and fairly light (I can pick it up with one hand). The 1" aluminum frame is just that, a rectangle of aluminum. It is very stiff, but the long sides tend to bow in a little with the screen mounted (due to the tension).

I have mine mounted using 3 vertical 1x2's with notches for the frame. One of the 1x2's is in the middle of the screen (this helps reduce the bow) and then the other two are on either side, mid way between the middle and the edge.

You could probably get by without any bracing, but you might notice the bow. Some people with larger screens report bows of more than one inch -- my screen is only 80x45 and the bow is less than half and inch.


Jeff Smith 12-14-2000 07:14 AM

I have a 107x60" screen by DaLite with a 1" aluminum fixed frame that hinges at the top to fold to a recessed box in my ceiling. It holds its shape beautifully and is extremely lightwieght and sturdy. It even has the extra wieght of decorative fabric on the back to look attractive when folded up. The hinge mechanism is one I designed and made myself...it was pretty easy, required no extra support and definetely will not need pneumatic assist, it can be raised by hand using one finger.

Currently - Zenith 7" CRT, 80x60 1.3 gain screen

Soon to be - 107x60 1.3 gain...with ?Seleco 250 with Panamorph or "cheap" 9" CRT

[This message has been edited by Jeff Smith (edited 12-14-2000).]

Mark Hoy 12-14-2000 01:23 PM

Could you post a set of pictures of your frame? It sounds very

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dreamer 12-14-2000 04:01 PM


Great news ! I'll second the motion for pictures ! If you have them, but no place to post them, then please e-mail me at kellis@chemi-con.com

I'm glad to hear your success story. I'm especially interesting in seeing how the hinges work. I hadn't expected to need pneumatic assist to lift it up, but I thought to hold it up against the ceiling. Or do you just have a catch mechanism on the ceiling to hold it once you've pushed it up there ?


Jeff Smith 12-14-2000 06:44 PM

Sorry, but I don't have a digital camera. I may be able to borrow one, but I will try to do the best I can in the meantime to describe what I did.

The frame itself is extremely sturdy. The addition of the screen to the frame actually increases the stiffness. Despite this it is extremely lightweight. My hinge mechanism is embarrassingly simple, consisting of a short piece of flat aluminum stock that is through bolted to the top of the side frame pieces extending about one to two inches higher than the height of the screen on either side. Near the upper end of these pieces I simply drilled a hole.

My ceiling is a little bit lower than the standard eight-foot, and I made a simple 2 by 4 frame slightly bigger on all sides than the screen itself. With the screen in the down position, it simply hangs from two small bolts going through the holes in the aluminum stock, with some nylon bushings to limit friction.

If you measure correctly, the screen will hang perfectly straight. The bolts (actually I think I used screws) mount into the inside of the 2 by 4 frame. The frame itself was stained to match the wood in my room, and I used a dark khaki burlap to line both the ceiling above the screen inside the frame (this gives the ceiling inside the frame a more finished look, and also darkened the ceiling by eliminating the white area directly in front of the screen), and also to line the back of the screen itself. When it folds up, it is recessed inside the 2 by 4 frame, with the same color burlap showing whether the screen is up or down.

Most of my room is dark in color with a lot of brick and knotty pine, and the whole assembly actually looks fairly attractive, even when mounted on a white ceiling. The sum total of the materials probably didn't come to $35, and took me about 4 to 6 hours total to build.

The entire assembly was bolted to the ceiling using Molly bolts (they didn't have to be that heavy-duty either). That part took three people (two to hold it in-place while the other one did the tool work). It wasn't heavy, just awkward.

As far as folding it up, I simply do that by hand, and hold it in place with a pair of homemade wooden latches that swing aside to raise and lower it.

If your ceiling were any higher than mine, you may have to come up with a fancier latch mechanism, but I could reach mine while standing. For my wife to do it, there is a small step stool. I had considered a more complicated latch mechanism with a small stick that hung down when the screen was closed, but it works fine the way it is.

Due to size limitations, and my desire to make my screen as big as possible given these limitations, I used a DaLite wrap-around screen. In this screen, there is no border at all (black or otherwise). The screen material comes all the way to the end of the frame, wraps around, and snaps on the back.

This works extremely well since in my application the screen sits at a slight angle compared to the back wall, and is between one and three feet off the back wall. The result is: any excess light that would normally have to be absorbed by the black border doesn't even strike a surface until it gets to the brick wall behind the screen. The brick is dark, but even if it were not, any excess light is so far behind the screen that it is completely unoticeable. I didn't plan on this effect at first, but actually looks really cool. It makes the picture appear to float in midair.

Another nice thing about mounting your screen this way, you can move it closer to your viewing position without having the move your furniture closer to a wall mounted screen. This was just another unique obstacle I had to overcome in my room.

The whole process really was a lot easier than it sounds.

Currently - Zenith 7" CRT, 80x60 1.3 gain screen

Soon to be - 107x60 1.3 gain...with ?Seleco 250 with Panamorph or "cheap" 9" CRT

dreamer 12-14-2000 07:01 PM

Thanks, Jeff.

That does sound simple. But with a screen style that wraps around the edges of the frame, and the "legs" that form your hinges sticking above the top edge of the screen, did you put holes through the screen fabric, or are the legs "under the covers", as it were ?

[This message has been edited by dreamer (edited 12-14-2000).]

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