AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: On a large overstuffed couch in Virginia Beach, Va
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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
Finally went digital: RS20, ISCO IIIs, DIY 10.5' wide torus screen, Stewart StudioTek 1.3 G3 with 4 way masking and adjustable image size