Anyone made a DIY motorized masking system? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-19-2001, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
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As the title says, has anyone had success building their own motorized masking panels for a fixed screen? I've built and seen a few manual masking setups, but I'd like to try and find someone who has successfully built motorized masking panels.

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post #2 of 9 Old 01-20-2001, 02:44 PM
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Yes, I was successful in building exactly what you are describing. It cost me about $500 or so. These are masks that move up and down as I my projector uses constant width.

The system uses modified DrapeBoss X10 motor drives, one for the top mask and one for the bottom mask. The DrapeBoss motors have up to 8 programmable stops, so they are perfect for use to give you 8 different aspect ratios. Aspect ratios are randomly accessable at the push of a button.

I basically modifed the motors to the extend that I built brackets that let me take the case apart and mount them so that the drive shaft couples direct to the end of a roller. It's much like a wide roller type window shade, except that I used black velvet for the fabric. Where you would normally have a slat to grab to pull a shade down, I inserted a piece of Aspen 1x4 lumber. Aspen is light and you can find straight pieces at Home Depot.

Motors are avialable from Smarthome.com for about $200 each (it takes two).

You need:

Minimal wood working skill to make a bracket.
Some sort of straight round roller about 1 3/4" or so thick.
Some way to sew the black velvet to make a rod pocket.

Helpful:

Access to a serger (type of sewing machine) to bind the edges of the velvet


I used a hollow metal rod that isn't available or I would recommend it. You'll have to figure out something. You would staple the velvet to a wood pole, I drilled holes and used tiny metal screws every 4"-6" to hold the velvet on my metal rod.

Counter weights:

Obviously you can't roll the bottom shade uphill. I ran a nylon cord from each end of the shade pull (1x4) up to a small pulley, across a few inches to another pulley and down to a sandbag. These have just enough sand so that the shade remains tight and smooth. One on each side.

There are two other sandbags in use. The DrapeBoss has a built in slip clutch. I found that over time these would creep, so I decided to nuetralize the twist on the rollers so the motor saw no weight whatsoever. Simply wrap a nylon cord around the roller in the opposite direction of the pull of the velvet mask and add enough sand to counter it's weight. Now there is no pull on the motors at all.

This sounds terrible, it works perfect without problems of any kind. I got the sand bag idea thinking about what they use to counter balance scenery weight for stage work. Worked perfect and easy to adjust weight.

I made what I call "view shields" for each side of the screen to provide a sharp black edge that matched the masks as well as cover the rollers, motors, weights etc. that are located to the side of the screen. These are simply frames made from 1"X 2" Aspen lumber with black velvet stretched over them. Not only are they on the side, but top and bottom also. This way, the rollers are also hidden. All you see from the viewing position is solid black.

I am building a web site for the purpose of presentning this system to interested members. It will have photos, diagrams, etc. It's just not done yet.

Meantime, for anyone who is actually going to get serious immediately with such an installation for their front projection system, I will email some temporary photos that will help a great deal. I'll also answer email questions. I don't want to get into emailing them to just the curious becuase of the workload of doing so. The curious should wait for the web site to be finished which will be very thorough. I am also hopeful that others who build such a system and come up with new and better ideas will share them with me so I can add them to the site.

I would post several photos to this thread, but I am afraid they are too large and I don't want to do so without Alan's permission.

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post #3 of 9 Old 01-20-2001, 09:49 PM
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Hopefully, Deane J. will show up here. He made a nice motorized system using the Drape Boss X10 motor/controllers. You might try searching previous threads.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-22-2001, 09:03 PM
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Would this work for a Sony 10HT and 1.85:1 aspect ratio fixed screen, or do you really need vertical as well as horizontal masking?

I have yet to install, but it seems to me that width will vary as well as height depending on the aspect ratio mode due to its 16:9 LCD panels...

Can anyone point me to mechanical, hand-operated DIY masking system info (on this forum or elsewhere)?

Thanks.

Joshua



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post #5 of 9 Old 01-22-2001, 09:29 PM
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I don't know anything about the 10HT, but I should think you would need up and down masks for any projector for use with 2.35:1. In terms of width masking, this would be easier than vertical.

You could simply put up an ordinary traverse rod and hang black velvet on it. The velvet would only need to be a couple of feet wide at the most. You wouldn't want it to be pleated like draperies, but rather straight and flat. I would probably try something like putting a cord on the side of the fabric opposite the screen, over through a pulley and tie a small sandbag on it. This way the material would be kept tight and could be moved back and forth with the regular drapery cord just as if you were partially opening and closing window draperies.

If you wanted it motorized, it would be easy with the DrapeBoss as it has programmable stops.

Where there's a will, there's a way, or whatever they used to say.

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post #6 of 9 Old 01-22-2001, 11:53 PM
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Thanks, Deane.

The horizontal (towards and away from the center, left and right) has its purpose for 4:3 material through the 16:9 panels of the 10HT, but you can easily use the "zoom" function to strectch the picture somewhat.

Thanks for the info. Motorized seems more... elegant?... Definitely my first choice... I have seen 4-way masking systems at the recent CES. Very nice but very expensive.

Joshua

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post #7 of 9 Old 02-03-2001, 03:11 PM
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Hi there,

I'm a newbie in this forum but I've been following the various discussions with great enthusiasm, particularly the DIY related projects on screens and motorized masking systems. I do have some questions though so here goes...

Deane,

Your using the DrapeBoss unit looks like a very interesting solution. I can imagine how you hooked up the system but it would be nice though if I could see some pics of how the whole thing is configured. Can you possibly send some of the pics directly to me by email?

Steve,

Is your set-up pretty much like Deane's or did you design it similar to the Stewart 4-way masking system? I've seen the Stewart system in action and it was wonderful. Switching between aspect ratios was smooth and flawless.

Guys,

While we're on the issue of DIYs, do you know or has anyone here made or designed a DIY motorized ceiling lift for an LCD projector? This too would be a nice project. Please advise.

Cheers,

Sonny



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post #8 of 9 Old 02-08-2001, 04:51 PM
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Deane, others . . .

I've been considering a slow motorized extension for speakers, to extend the sound stage. Put speaker on smooth-gliding platform, and motor extends then retracts; X-10 or IR controlled.

Are there any parts you've used, or seen, that might work for such a beast?
Would you point me to them, or websites to find them?

Thanks in advance.

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post #9 of 9 Old 02-09-2001, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Stew,

A company called Auton sells the exact motors and rack and pinion drives to do exactly what you're looking for.

www.auton.com



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