Well I've been quite lazy lately and have neglected updating my photo journal. So here's a quick update on how the 'old Vic' is progressing.
First and foremost it's been really nice to work in the theater with music playing although my dog doesn't really like the loud base!
I did start fitting fabric to the walls but realized it was probably not the best idea until I had finished making major dust and had painted the QRD panels. I did find that a 1/8x1" strip of Masonite wrapped in fabric makes a neat way to hide a staple seam. Even though this is actually behind the screen I do want to back light the speakers and so wanted this to look finished.
I made a couple of hatches. The first will be fitted in the ceiling above the rack to access the fan and area where the cables enter the theater. I made it nice and heavy with a double layer of MDF.
The second hatch is fitted in the ceiling of the walk in closet where the star ceiling illuminator is installed. I made a secret latch so the fabric covered door should bend in with the rest of the ceiling. The door also has a recessed seal so it makes the illuminator enclosure sound proof to eliminate the tiny sound of the rotating animation disk. Speaking of the closet I got a suitable light installed. Unfortunately it is not IC rated so I avoided insulation in this area.
The entrance door has been refitted with the new wide throw hinges. The treatment is identical to the surrounding walls and the intent is to make it a hidden door and blend in with the walls. The hinges allow the door to easily clear the 1" of treatment.
In addition to the dedicated HVAC zone, I'm planning on two additional fans: one to vent the rack since I'm going to fit a glass door to seal it up and the other to ventilate the projector hush box. The language used by in-line fan manufacturers to describe their fans include "whisper quiet" or "virtually silent". Don't believe it for a second, these things are like jet engines taking off! In an attempt to get the noise under control I put them in MDF boxes. The motor is actually suspended inside the box on neoprene mounts and then the box is stuffed with insulation. The short flex duct connection ensures the motor is decoupled from the box.
The first box was sealed, christened and then put in place above the rack.
The result was plenty good enough for the rack extraction but the second box I made for the projector hush box was not good enough for mounting inside of the theater soffit. Even with the fan controller at 50% this motor noise could still be easily heard. I've since removed this unit until I figure out what to do. The problem is that I originally planned on using regular square fan motors but unfortunately these don't generate enough static pressure to push air through the 10' of 5" duct from the hush box to the return vent. I'm trying another approach using one of the truly quiet (0.3 sones vs 1.4 for the in line fans) Panasonic bathroom fans. If I can't make that silent I guess I'll have to figure out how to have the fan outside of the theater... the problem is that would mean an unscheduled additional hole in the aquarium. Anyone have any bright ideas?
At this point I got this delivery of fabricmate tracks and realized I wasn't quite ready to fit them.
In preparation for mounting the light trays I added a bunch of mounts to the soffits
Then masked everything off and did what I've been dreading and dusted everything that might show or reflect light with "mouse ears" flat black paint. This picture doesn't really convey how dark and miserable it is to work down there now -- there are so few surfaces that reflect any light despite 600W halogen work lights.
With everything so dark I realized I had to do something about the lighting situation and so it was time to get the light trays and recessed lights installed. Here are a couple of design ideas I played with. The final design is somewhere between the two and being made in contrasting maple and walnut hardwood. The lower tray will house 18 3" halogens.
The prototype trays also showed I needed to do a better job on the border around the star ceiling -- the line of screw holes was exactly the 1" strip that would have been visible and probably unsightly when lit. The solution was to glue some strips of fabric to cover the screw holes (and paint) for a uniform look. I also added a 2" band of aluminum tape to act as a reflector strip for the rope lights. I'm sure this is going to work nicely since it is very effective and reflecting my work lights.
Well that's it. This rambling post brings my build almost up-to-date and I'm finally making walnut and maple dust rather than MDF -- it's so much more fun! Also, for the first time I can see light at the end of the tunnel and have even been out carpet shopping