DIY 52x92 16:9 Blackout material screen (option for grey screen):
After searching this forum for a while I found a number of people who had built their own screen and grey screen. However, I couldn't find much in the way of pictures or a step by step guide to constructing such a thing and I was a little frustrated. So I took the plunge myself to see just how hard it was (it isn't) and to see if I could actually do it. Here is some information and pics that I hope might help the next person coming along a little more.
First, I would like to say there is no substitute for a retail screen. It doesn't take long to look through these forums and see the MANY happy customers of Stewart's Greyhawk and Da-lite's Hi contrast screens. However, for those individuals who just don't have a budget for such a screen or the need for perhaps a temporary screen this is a good way to go. Total amount for the following screen cost me about $35.
I went into this project just to see basically if I could do it. There was hardly no attention to detail (except maybe for the stapling and stretching) and just went in head first. Every area of this screen can be improved on I am sure.
Home Depot has all the materials and tools you need for the frame. I used Blackout material from a fabric store for the screen itself. I don't have a mitre saw so I had to figure out a way around this as well. Basic tools you will need are:
1. Staple gun (highly recommend the Black and Decker power shot)
2. Measuring tape
3. Drill (phillips bit is helpful)
4. Hand saw
Basic components you will need to buy at Home Depot:
1. Blackout material from a fabric store. There are a number of people who have been using the Blackout material from Jo-ann fabrics. I bought a 54x100 piece of the only blackout material Jo-ann fabrics had and then I went to Hancock fabrics and bought their blackout material as well. The Hancock fabrics' blackout was a much more vibrant white so I chose to use it and couldn't be happier. So shopping around for the best blackout material you can find might not be a bad idea.
2. 2 pieces of 1x2, 8ft. wood. Some like pine. I think I chose Douglas fir because I simply couldn't find the pine in Home Depot (thus the title of this post "dummies" http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
). The douglas fir was light and rigid. It worked perfectly and was like $2.67 a piece. Check for straightness.
3. 3 pieces of 1x2, 6ft. wood.
4. 2 3" Tee plates
5. 4 3/4" corner plates
6. 28 #8 x 1/2" wood screws
7. 6 #8 x 3/4" wood screws
8. 6 washers (many sizes will do, they just need to fit a #8 screw)
1. Begin by cutting your wood the proper distances. The two 8 foot pieces should extend the full length of your screen, thus mine were cut to 92". The other 3 6 foot pieces need to be cut keeping in mind the top and bottom pieces of wood will make up some of the distance. I think I cut each of mine at 49 1/4" YMMV. This made the total height of the screen come out exactly at 52".
2. Lay all the pieces down on the ground to get a good idea what your frame will look like. Then take one of the corner brackets and lay it on one of the corners and drill pilot holes in the wood to ensure no splitting will occur. Then simply drill or screw in the 6 #8 x 1/2" wood screws. You want the wood to be touching but if it doesn't don't worry about it. I screwed in one of my corner brackets and this caused the wood to move some. It didn't hurt the final product. You should now have one corner of screen frame completed.
3. Do the remaining 3 corners as described in 2.
4. Now that you have your outside frame you need to add a brace in the middle. So place your remaining piece of wood directly in the middle and place the tee plates on the wood and drill your pilot holes.
5. Before you screw in the tee plates make sure to place 3 washers under the TOP part of the T on the tee plate. Do not use washers on the 2 holes on the bottom part of the T. This lifts the brace up just a bit from the screen so in case your wood isn't perfectly straight your brace won't be touching the screen. You don't want your brace touching the screen fabric at all or you will see it on the resulting picture.
6. Once you screw in the tee plates your frame is basically done. I would suggest going over the wood with some light sanding. This gets off the particles which might be present from the pilot holes and may show up when the fabric is tensioned against them.
7. Now for adding the fabric. This is what worried me the most but it came out perfect. The procedure you will need to use it outlined on the following web site:http://www.rexart.com/stretching.html
You do NOT need canvas pliers. Just use a lot of pulling with your arms and hands and staple accordingly.
8. Once you are done stretching and stapling simply cut off the excess. Using 1x2's makes this extremely light and I put two nails on the wall and hung it like picture frame!
CONCLUSION: The end result was stunning. I couldn't believe how perfectly flat it came out. The blackout material worked greated and I couldn't be happier. If you are interested in painting this screen grey as I have done you might want to look here for some paint options:http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000911.html
The images below will give you a much better idea of the screen and of course masking could be added but I built this screen for really only test purposes. I have just been trying out different shades of grey to see which I like best. The results of that will be in another post http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
I hope this posts helps somebody out there and feel free to e-mail if you have specific questions.
***EDIT: I have gotten quite a few requests to put up some new pics since the old ones were being hosted by photopoint and they decided to pull the plug on free subscriptions. I am in the process of moving so it wasn't a big deal to take a few shots. However, they didn't turn out very good due to the low light. I will try to post some better ones another time but for now I think this helps at least get the point across. Again, if you have any questions feel free to send an e-mail.http://members.home.net/jpw7/P1010067.JPGhttp://members.home.net/jpw7/P1010068.JPGhttp://members.home.net/jpw7/P1010069.JPGhttp://members.home.net/jpw7/P1010070.JPG
[This message has been edited by JP (edited 09-01-2001).]