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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been busily reading many DIY threads on DIY screen frames, all seem to use a traditional frame setup, made from wood.

My question is, why not just use a single solid piece of board or composite material instead, and stretch your screen fabric across that instead?

Ofcourse it would be heavier, but aside from that, it would be quicker and easier to make, never have any risk of bowing or warping, and generally be very solid indeed.

Are there any disadvantages to this method? Or posts to people who may have done it?


Cheers
 

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There could be both advantages and disadvantages to this approach.


First, the surface would have to be perfectly flat and smooth to avoid inconsistencies in the fabric as it sits on the surface. Otherwise you run the risk of being able to see bumps, etc, through the screen material.


A possible advantage, however, is that you could paint the surface say black or silver before stretching the fabric on top to help with contrast (black paint for higher powered pjs) or brightness (silver for lower-powered pjs). Of course it depends on what material you're stretching on the frame/board. BO cloth shouldn't benefit from either paint since it's already opaque. But if you're using a cheap screen material or a sheet or paper that is transluscent, you could realize those benefits.


It's worth a try.
 

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Interesting concept. I am currently agonizing over whether to a) build my own screen out of wood framing and blackout cloth, b) build my own screen frame out of wood using professional screen material sold by the foot, or c) just break down and buy a screen. Projected costs of each are a) $75 b) $225 c) $650 (carada 1.0 gain). I just bought an HS20 and I don't want to have spent 2900 plus tax only to get a suboptimal image because I'm too cheap to throw down $650 on a screen. Anyway, here's my thoughts...


Use a good flat surface, such as maybe a sheet of 4' X 8' whiteboard material, and use finishing nails to nail it to a frame that would keep it from bowing. This should keep the surface flat while maintaining the torsional rigidity of the frame. Next, stretch some kind of screen material over it and attach to the frame. The only downside of this approach is that, for a 16x9 aspect screen, you are limited to about a 96" screen size. After looking at Home Depot yesterday, I'm very concerned about being able to find wood framing members that are perfectly straight - I don't know how noticeable (if at all) slight imperfections in the framing members will be in the finished product.
 

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I do not think this approach will work. Flat panels no matter of what material will cup and twist under the tension of the screen fabric. Nor can you laminate such panels with adheasives without warping.


Properly constructed screen frames utilize a common inexpensive material, either 1X3 or 1X4 fir. You join the corners with half-lap joints (best made with a table saw or router table, but a handheld router or even a hammer/chisel will work). For my screen which is 72X54 I used 1X3 material, for any longer dimensions I would go with 1X4 - you want STOUT.


Now you stretch the fabric in both dimensions, beginning in the middle and working out in both directions, and stapling the edges. You end up with a perfectly flat and taught surface which may be painted if you are so inclined.


Gary
 

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Gary - thanks for the tips. At home depot I was looking at the smaller boards such as 1x2s which don't seem to be cut as straight as the larger boards. I'm assuming that a staple gun which countersinks the staples a bit would be more effective than a manual staplegun which does not (for the purpose of distributing the tension against the entire staple instead of the two "posts" of each staple? I'm figuring I could rent one for pretty cheap.
 

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I've made 2 screens with frames - 1x2's and 1x3's.


I think most people who use a solid piece of MDF, forego the fabric and just paint the wood.


DE
 
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