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Episode IV - A New Curved Screen

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok, I've been putting this project off for far too long, so it's time to get started. I used the same framework idea as one other AVS member, and for me it has worked great so far. I'm not finished yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are some pics and explanations and such:

In the above image, I've cut two 2x8x12s for my curved screen using a crappy jigsaw. To the jigsaw's credit, I've only ever used one twice before so it's not THAT bad, imho. I used Aussibob's spreadsheet for the calculations - the flat part is 124" long.

Ok, here I've taken the individual pieces and assembled them in my basement, as I wouldn't be able to bring the whole thing down the narrow stairs. The side pieces are angled to fit the curve. I don't know how the other guy did it, but I just laid the long curved piece on its side, then put the vertical piece on top of it at one end, then traced the curve underneath the vertical piece (damn that was wordy, but I hope it makes sense). I angled my chop saw to match it appropriately and, hey, I didn't even know my saw could do that. Again, I have very, very minimal woodworking practice. You can also see the little speaker cabinet that I put together. The curved screen was built also to allow me to put my speakers at ear level. I don't know how much of a difference it will make, but at any rate I will know I'm doing it like I'm supposed to.

Ok, here is the frame with the border added. I used 4" (which is actually 3.5") primed MDF. Again, my knowledge (or lack thereof) was put to the test. I screwed in some drywall screws and realized that they would not countersink in the MDF. Sooo, I used a countersink bit and all was well. I used clamps to hold the border in place. Seriously, I don't know what I ever did before clamps. Actually, I do, I $^&ed up my work a lot. Anyhoo, if you don't have clamps, get some (no, get lots).

Turned over, you can see I've added the Screen Tight base to the back side of the MDF. It's going to be a little tight (read: PITA) to try and pull the spandex away and up without causing a calamity because the 2x8 is in the way. We'll see how it goes.

I painted the border with flat black paint, but velvet with adhesive backing is on its way. The screen is smaller than the one painted on the wall, but it is also closer to the viewers. Once I put the screen up on the speaker cabinet, I realized I had to move the pot lights. I wanted to move them in front of the screen, but there is ducting in the way, so I had to put them behind. Who knows, maybe it will look cool??

That's as far as I've gotten so far. I am going to be tensioning the spandex tonight. Any help on how much extra length/width I should start off with before tensioning or should I just cut it to the length and width of the screen, knowing that it's going to be stretched much further anyway?
post #2 of 12
First off nice job.

I have been away from the DIY forum for a while now and last I was here spandex was just getting a go. It seems to be the new thing for DIY AT screens now.

I have seen curved screens back in the good old days with analog projectors with high CR and low lumens I was just wondering why you wanted a curved screen over a flat one?

I’m not too up on the curved concept.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have an anamorphic lens, which gives pincushion distortion because I have a pretty short throw (13') and the curved screen "straightens it out". Also, it may not be true, but I believe that it may also help bring into focus the edges better, since there is a slight softening at the extreme edges when the lens is in place. Apart from that, it looks really frickin' cool, imho!

I put the spandex on last night with the help of my wife (we actually work well together unlike many couples I know). We put on two layers of the moleskin matte silver. I don't think we stretched the first layer quite as much as I would have liked, but there were no creases and it was actually a bugger to put on because ot the 2x8's getting in the way so I'm not changing it. The second layer went much better. I watched some Casino Royale and the picture was really good, albeit slightly darker than my other screen, so we're going to remove the second layer and apply white and see how that goes. The picture was still great, though, and the blacks were noticeably better, but hey I'm gonna try the white and just see. Comparing it to my painted screen, I definitely notice the picture is slightly less sharp. However, when I moved my speakers up on top of the cabinet I made (now the tweeters are at ear level), the sound was vastly superior to what it was before. I was able to put the speakers really close to the screen and not notice any vibrations visually. Anyhow, here's a crappy iPhone pic:

I'm going to make black velvet curtains for the sides and small ones for the top and have a curved curtain rod to follow the contour of the screen. I'll post once that's done, then it's movie time!
post #4 of 12
I kind of figured you were running a lens but wasn’t sure and that is a pretty short throw for an image that wide and you are correct it has a cool factor.biggrin.gif

I am kind of new to spandex and have been reading some of the threads and I know screen shots are very misleading so I don’t spend a lot of time looking except some of the side by sides and the ones I have seen show what you mention with the lack of brightness or pop. The AT aspect of it is nice but I personally wouldn’t trade PQ for soundstage. The lack of a center channel at ear level was quite distracting to me and I ended up running 4x2 with a phantom center and having my mains each side of the screen at ear level. A lot depends on how wide your viewing area is but I found with the phantom setup anything within the screen width I would swear I had an AT center. Very smooth transition across the screen.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
To be fair, Casino Royale isn't that great of a movie to make a judgement on screens. That, and I had my Darbee on and certain scenes don't lend themselves well to the Darbee in this movie as there can be a fair amount of grain in some scenes. There was no lack of pop, though, and many of the scenes were really sharp. I'll throw in a reference PQ movie and post some screenies as well. If there is any degradation in PQ, It's very minimal and I'm very happy with the enormous sound improvement. The cool thing is, now that I have the screen built, I can always swap screen materials should I so desire (4k compliant screen).
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
I finally got the white spandex backing up. Damn what a cluster@#$% that was. Those who are doing this with a flat screen have it easy. I ended up stapling the spandex to the 2x8's, then using the spline to make the backer flush with the first layer of moleskin matte silver. I've gotta say, the picture is phenomenal and is arguably significantly better than my painted on screen. With the lighting behind the screen, I can actually see the weave of the fabric and fortunately it looks great (parallel to the top and bottom of the screen, if that makes sense). I would have posted in-movie pics, but I made myself a really stiff rum and coke after all my hard work and wasn't in the shape to do so. Maybe tomorrow. smile.gif
post #7 of 12
Awesome I too made a curved screen and would never go back! look forward to the pics.
post #8 of 12
wow looks really nice! what do you estimate your total material cost was to make this?
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, I had to pay ungodly amounts of shipping and duties/brokerage fees, but it still came in around $300. That's saying a lot, as the one I would buy if I didn't make it (and at the same size) would have cost me over $1800 plus tax:


Almost finished the DIY curtains (our sewing machine @#$% the bed, so I had to buy a new one) and will post pics ASAP (and NOT from my iPhone)
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok here are some pics as I finally got the velvet curtains done. They are somewhat see-through with the lights on, but they really help darken the surrounding space around the screen and make the image pop even more. In the first pic you can see the center supports and the ends of the top of the screen. Again, I was limited as to where I could put my recessed lighting, but you can't notice the supports in any way during movie watching. Also, the screw holes will disappear once I get my adhesive backed velvet to go around the border. At any rate, the more I watch stuff on this screen the more I love it. I paid around $300 for something that would cost around $2000 to purchase retail. I'm super stoked about that!

post #11 of 12
I would interested in knowing how you build the under the screen space. I am gonna do something similar. I plan to hide my sub and center channel with a spot for my Kinect sensor.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
I just used 2x4 lumber as a frame, then added 3/4" ply to the top/sides and wrapped it in espresso velvet. For the front part, I used 4" MDF baseboard molding with two center supports and two ends holding the top/bottom joined using biscuit joints and nailed it to the frame. Then I made three 1x2 frames, wrapped them in speaker cloth and used industrial sticky velcro to hold them to the baseboard facade. smile.gif
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