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post #1 of 22 Old 06-03-2019, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Automated Masking Panels

Hey so what's the latest in smart curtain technology?

When I looked at this several years ago it was stupid expensive. I'm looking for a dead-simple, works out of the box, mass market priced automated curtain solution to operate a masking panel/curtain in my theater.

Is there anything out there? Please don't send me links of things that cost $100's of dollars. I might be willing to pay something that costs as high as $100 for the entire kit (with two motor pulley things) but that would be way on the high side.
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post #2 of 22 Old 06-03-2019, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
Hey so what's the latest in smart curtain technology?

When I looked at this several years ago it was stupid expensive. I'm looking for a dead-simple, works out of the box, mass market priced automated curtain solution to operate a masking panel/curtain in my theater.

Is there anything out there? Please don't send me links of things that cost $100's of dollars. I might be willing to pay something that costs as high as $100 for the entire kit (with two motor pulley things) but that would be way on the high side.
Yea good luck finding something "out of the box" and "dead simple" for $100 or less. Doubt that exists or ever will. You can make a DIY solution but even that's going to be out of your price range and it's not out of the box.
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post #3 of 22 Old 06-03-2019, 04:54 AM
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there are plenty of automated curtain products on Alibaba in your price range. You just need to figure out which which one will fit your application.


You might think about using a linear actuator to push/pull a panel into postion:
https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...3290m8dQ0p&s=p

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post #4 of 22 Old 06-03-2019, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Jeff. Will take a look.


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post #5 of 22 Old 06-03-2019, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
Yea good luck finding something "out of the box" and "dead simple" for $100 or less. Doubt that exists or ever will. You can make a DIY solution but even that's going to be out of your price range and it's not out of the box.


Amazon is close. There are a few at $150 but none of them are “smart” - can connect to Alexa or harmony.


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post #6 of 22 Old 06-03-2019, 08:30 AM
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Add a few zeros and you will find out of the box smart solutions.

My fully automatic instantly moving 4way masking system that travels at the speed of light only cost me $25.

It is a .5 gain neutral gray stealth painted screen wall coupled with a fairly bright dark chip 3 DLP projector. It’s called self masking. It isn’t perfect but it is better than what 90% of commercial theaters are doing these days and none of my guests have complained. It works especially well on movies like Aquaman when there is AR changing going on.

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post #7 of 22 Old 06-09-2019, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
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so far this is the closest thing I can find - if you pair it with a smart plug it seems like it will do the trick.

But I think I need two of them which jacks up the cost a lot.

https://www.amazon.com/Motor-Drapery...s%2C133&sr=1-3

Not quite sure how to rig it up with just one motor.
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post #8 of 22 Old 06-09-2019, 05:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
so far this is the closest thing I can find - if you pair it with a smart plug it seems like it will do the trick.

But I think I need two of them which jacks up the cost a lot.

https://www.amazon.com/Motor-Drapery...s%2C133&sr=1-3

Not quite sure how to rig it up with just one motor.
As your original post required an out of the box solution, this is very much not out of the box but a DIY setup. You'd need a remote module, a remote, and some sort of controller. The motor reverses so one motor controls both directions. This is the type of solution I'd be recommending. In my setup, I have a bottom mask that's controlled by my PC when it senses the video aspect ratio requires it. Same could be done here if you truly wanted it smart.
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post #9 of 22 Old 06-09-2019, 05:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
As your original post required an out of the box solution, this is very much not out of the box but a DIY setup. You'd need a remote module, a remote, and some sort of controller. The motor reverses so one motor controls both directions. This is the type of solution I'd be recommending. In my setup, I have a bottom mask that's controlled by my PC when it senses the video aspect ratio requires it. Same could be done here if you truly wanted it smart.
I read an Amazon review where a guy did it with just a smart plug?

I said out of the box... okay so I'm a LITTLE more tech savvy than that. What I don't want is to have to run any electrical, program any arduino or whatever that's called, etc.

But your garden variety plug in a device and configure with an app... I can handle that.
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post #10 of 22 Old 06-09-2019, 05:56 AM
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I bought a Dooya DT82TV with an 11 foot track from AliExpress a couple of years ago for my living room curtains. It cost me about $200. I'm really pleased with it for curtain duty. It came with an RF remote and I was able to add an Insteon open/close module to it. Its very quiet and I think it could be adapted to do screen masking. It has built in stops.

https://m.aliexpress.com/item/326345...-FREE-SHIPPING
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post #11 of 22 Old 06-09-2019, 05:26 PM
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I’m going to be making my system out of linear actuators, control box, and sliding panels. Just for the control box and actuators it’s around $350-$400.


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post #12 of 22 Old 06-10-2019, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bluer101 View Post
I’m going to be making my system out of linear actuators, control box, and sliding panels. Just for the control box and actuators it’s around $350-$400.







Ok this is an example of what I don’t want. But thanks for posting.


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post #13 of 22 Old 06-10-2019, 09:42 AM
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Ok this is an example of what I don’t want. But thanks for posting.


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Basically what Jeff posted but longer throw. They have position feedback sensors built in. This also allows the controller to recall set positions perfectly. So you can easily recall set aspect ratios. I have been searching for something inexpensive like you but the options are slim to none without spending money or making something up like above.

Love to see other people’s ideas.
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post #14 of 22 Old 06-10-2019, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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“But the options are slim to none”

I’m not sure about that but I’ll sit out if that’s the case.


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post #15 of 22 Old 06-10-2019, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
so far this is the closest thing I can find - if you pair it with a smart plug it seems like it will do the trick.

But I think I need two of them which jacks up the cost a lot.

https://www.amazon.com/Motor-Drapery...s%2C133&sr=1-3

Not quite sure how to rig it up with just one motor.
I had one of those in my bachelor days- they used to market them to chicken coops. If you want it to be "smart," you need to plug it (or both) into a Z-wave, Insteon, X-10, wifi, whatever smart plug. I liked mine, it was just pretty loud.
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post #16 of 22 Old 06-10-2019, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
so far this is the closest thing I can find - if you pair it with a smart plug it seems like it will do the trick.

But I think I need two of them which jacks up the cost a lot.

https://www.amazon.com/Motor-Drapery...s%2C133&sr=1-3

Not quite sure how to rig it up with just one motor.
I had one of those in my bachelor days- they used to market them to chicken coops. If you want it to be "smart," you need to plug it (or both) into a Z-wave, Insteon, X-10, wifi, whatever smart plug. I liked mine, it was just pretty loud.
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post #17 of 22 Old 06-13-2019, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
so far this is the closest thing I can find - if you pair it with a smart plug it seems like it will do the trick.

But I think I need two of them which jacks up the cost a lot.

https://www.amazon.com/Motor-Drapery...s%2C133&sr=1-3

Not quite sure how to rig it up with just one motor.
I bought two of these when there was a sale, with the intention of trying them for a temporary solution, or perhaps for just theatrical curtains in front of the masking. If you are planning to do it with curtains and want one motor, you can use a rod that is set up for a center draw. It is a common option where one loop of control line moves both sides in/out together, but it will not be precise.

I have also considered using a single linear actuator to draw both sides through use of pulleys, which you can buy in packs of 20 for $8. My first mock up will probably use roller blind components for the fabric and a manual rope pull, or perhaps one of the add-a-motors with a counterbalance weight. Long-term I am lookin6g for a motor with 10 or more dedicated stops, and that may take an expensive tubular motor or stepper motor and controller.
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post #18 of 22 Old 06-14-2019, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I wouldn’t be doing a traditional curtain this would be a curtain that raises from the floor to cover the bottom of my screen.

While I don’t necessarily care what it looks like while it’s moving it need to be PERFECTLY straight left to right when it’s done.


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post #19 of 22 Old 06-14-2019, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
I wouldn’t be doing a traditional curtain this would be a curtain that raises from the floor to cover the bottom of my screen.

While I don’t necessarily care what it looks like while it’s moving it need to be PERFECTLY straight left to right when it’s done.


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To raise from below you need a bar for the leading edge, probably riding in U channel on each side. Markmon, who posted above, has a solution that IIRC uses linear actuators, one per side. He has a build thread you could search for, I believe, but not linked in his sig. I have seen another build that uses chains to synch upper and lower.

Dropping from above is probably far easier for a DIY and could be done with that add-a-motor you saw, a few pulleys, and a counter balance weight.

I didn't realize you wanted to raise a horizontal mask when you started this. Curtains only make sense for vertical mask coming in from the side. You could also use powered velvet roller blind from above, and there are cheaper solutions for that.

Last edited by ScottAvery; 06-14-2019 at 11:42 AM.
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post #20 of 22 Old 06-17-2019, 05:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
As your original post required an out of the box solution, this is very much not out of the box but a DIY setup. You'd need a remote module, a remote, and some sort of controller. The motor reverses so one motor controls both directions. This is the type of solution I'd be recommending. In my setup, I have a bottom mask that's controlled by my PC when it senses the video aspect ratio requires it. Same could be done here if you truly wanted it smart.
Someone said you might have a bottom up horizontal mask solution - any tips?
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post #21 of 22 Old 06-17-2019, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
I wouldn’t be doing a traditional curtain this would be a curtain that raises from the floor to cover the bottom of my screen.

While I don’t necessarily care what it looks like while it’s moving it need to be PERFECTLY straight left to right when it’s done.


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This is exactly the masking setup I made.
It's 2 motion actuators on tracks mounted on the wall, a single long 1x2 I bought from home depot, and some black velvet that I wrapped around this board and stapled on. PC activates the masking when it detects a 2.4:1 movie, a 2.2:1 movie or a 2.0:1 movie and restores it when the movie exits playback.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-sc...c-masking.html
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post #22 of 22 Old 06-17-2019, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
This is exactly the masking setup I made.

It's 2 motion actuators on tracks mounted on the wall, a single long 1x2 I bought from home depot, and some black velvet that I wrapped around this board and stapled on. PC activates the masking when it detects a 2.4:1 movie, a 2.2:1 movie or a 2.0:1 movie and restores it when the movie exits playback.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-sc...c-masking.html


Thank you


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