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Anyone use 240 grit glass bead sandblast media for a DIY?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I saw on youtube how a guy used 80 grit glass bead sandblast media for a DIY screen. Further reading indicates that 80 grit beads are far too large. The major screen companies use smaller beads. I found that size for sale online - 240 grit. I have some big pieces of reinforced vinyl from a friend who gets used billboard signs. It is approximately the same thickness as my Elite gray screen. The uncolored side of the vinyl is white. It is also textured with a 1/4 inch mesh look from how the reinforcing fibers raise the surface. I have found I can iron those pretty flat.

My intention, once I hear from you DIY guys, is to buy a 50 lb bucket of the tiny little glass beads, and then to experiment with embedding them in flat white, gloss white, silver and also aluminum tape with a clear urethane coating. My intention is to do like square foot pieces and hang them all in front of my Elite screen at the same time to see which way I want to go.

The beads are just about the same size as the ones used on the screens you buy. I wonder if they are the same product. They are listed as smooth.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences with this kind of DIY project?
post #2 of 7
It's been attempted before, with about the same mixed results as the YouTube effort.

If you found the right sized beads, your at least halfway home. But the rest of the journey involves getting them onto a material evenly, and choosing the right color on which they will go.

Darker screens that use beads usually show beaded texture pretty badly. That's the chief complaint of those with High Contrast beaded material.

A DIY High Power screen has always been on the wish list of many DIY'ers. If you can source viable materials, and show a method where the common man can duplicate your results, you will be providing a very valuable service indeed.
post #3 of 7
I kind of rolled my eyes when I saw people trashing the idea due to bead size, and comparing it to the commercial material. I think if you get the smallest bead size you can find, within reason, it will work fine.

Two things to consider; One is that the commercial screens are designed with FILM in mind, which has (nearly) unlimited resolution. Large beads could degrade this somewhat. But in home theater, we have pixels to deal with, which are many times larger than the tiny beads. If the effect of larger beads is such that it smooths out the transitions between pixels, it could actually be a net gain. Second, when using paint to anchor the beads to the screen, smaller isn't going to be better. Smaller beads will have a much better likelihood of being swallowed by the opaque paint, rather than staying on the surface where you want them. Again, the net result would likely be better with the larger bead, with this method of application.
post #4 of 7
I've had a couple of ideas involving the S-I-L-V-E-R application were the beads go into the faux glaze replacing the silver. But beads are a lot heavier than silver flakes and will most certainly end up at the bottom of the mix. Not to mention that the mix has to be delutet with water to get the right viscosity forcing even more beads downwards.

There is a lot of different grit sizes of glass beads and a finer one would sit longer in the paint mix before ending up down below. Rust-Oleum has a clear aerosol reflective spray paint that seems to work regarding getting the beads on a medium. Studying it's Ingredients and finding out their application bead size could point you in the direction of a mix that could be applied to a screen. Although getting an even finnish would probably prove even more difficult than the original s-i-l-v-e-r mix.

Then there is the issue of controling the gain as a pure reflective screen would hot spot terribly. Not to mention give you a tan and risk blinding you in the process. My thoughts on the matter would be to apply a tinted clear matte top coating via dusters to reduce the gain and maybe add some deeper blacks.

This is of course is all ideas but it's always fun to share my thoughts with fellow AV junkies.
Edited by rengep - 3/24/13 at 1:39am
post #5 of 7
Keep in mind that the thickness of standard latex will be a bit difficult to control. It's also pretty viscous. A larger bead will have more surface area, so if it is partially embedded, a portion would still be above the paint surface. The way the individual applied the beads was actually quite smart. The weight of all the extra beads on the top has the effect of forcing down any beads on the lowest layer, giving any beads above the opportunity to have some contact with the paint, likely enough to adhere.

If my screen wasn't 16' diagonal and a permanent part of the wall, I'd definitely give this a shot. I found his page because I had the same idea and was looking to see if anyone had done it smile.gif But I would probably use something like rigid foam board, rather than the hardboard. It looks like he used about 9 lbs of beads, so the foam would help to keep the weight down.
post #6 of 7
Hey, can you give a link to which youtube video you watched please.
post #7 of 7
I didn't see a video. But here is the blog.
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