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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about to start building my screen. It is going to have a 94"x45" viewable screen area with adjustable masking to accommodate a 92" 16:9 screen or a 102" 2.35 screen. I am going to make it two sided with WA Designer White on one side and Fashion Grey on the other. I am going to design it so that it won't be a major chore to flip, but won't be something you want to do every day. I am framing it with a Twin Tab 8020 Quick Frame system which will be painted black and I will also eventually make a velvet covered wood border which will go over the aluminum frame (I know, it's overkill but I already have the 8020 frame). Got the plan in my head, now I just need to make it happen. I've had a few people here comment on a different thread about alternative options I could use, but I would like to try this. It's not that expensive, it's not that tough to build and it's something new so I think I will give it a try. I will do my best to chronicle my build here with plenty of pictures and descriptions.


I've got one question before I get started. First, I am going to mount the laminate on some sort of material such as 1/4" MDF. I've never cut laminate so I want to make sure I don't screw it up. If I mount it to the MDF first would it be advisable to run it through a table saw to get it cut to size? I could also use a router with a straight edge if that would work better. Or should I cut everything to size first and then glue the laminate down? Or, cut the wood/MDF to size, mount the laminate so that it hangs over the edge and use my laminate router to trim it to size? I am wondering if one of the router options might be a better solution because then I wouldn't have to wrestle the whole thing up to the table saw and risk scratching the surface as I'm pushing it through (it's double sided so one side will slide over the surface of the table saw).


Thanks for anyone who can help me with that question. Hopefully I can get started on painting the frame today. If all goes well, I may have something to hang on the wall by this weekend - although with three kids and work I always seem to be a bit too optimistic.


Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So, since our nanny wasn't working today I had the opportunity to stay home from work and spend some time with my two daughters - and getting started on the screen. Here are some initial pics of the tubing before and after painting. I primed with automobile primer and then painted with an entire can of flat black. It says it needs about 24 hours to fully dry but with it being about 50 degrees in the garage I should probably give it a little extra time. I propped them up on small pieces of wood to keep the edges of the tabs off the ground since they will be exposed. I think I got full coverage but it's tough to tell for sure. I will eventually cover all of the aluminum anyway with the velvet frame. I sprayed it in the garage and now our house smells like a paint factory. Might have to open some windows before bed tonight.


Next up is going to be deciding exactly what to mount the laminate to. Like I said, I am thinking 1/4" MDF or hardboard but am always open to other ideas. I just want it to be strong and somewhat stiff (not very flexy) and it should be 3/16-1/4" thick. It will be captured in the tabs on all four sides and then mounted securely to the wall so I don't really have to worry about it warping.


Will post more pics soon.


Matt


 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
With the painting behind me I am now looking forward to assembling the screen into it's final size. I haven't purchased, much less decided on what to use as the substrate to mount the laminate to. I am considering sanded plywood, MDF/hardboard and Sintra. My concerns, in order of importance are:


-Suitability - If it doesn't work, why even bother? It needs to be smooth and accept adhesive well.

-Durability - I may be handling the screen to flip it over from time to time so it should hold up to the occasional bump.

-Price - Hopefully under $100, but the cheaper the better

-Availability - I live in a smaller community so not everything is easy to come by.

-Weight - All else considered, light would be nice. Not a huge deal though as long as it's manageable.


Given the above options I have made the following observations:


-Plywood - Probably suitable (could sanded grain transpose through laminate?), durable, reasonably inexpensive, available, moderate weight.

-MDF/Hardboard - Fairly suitable, durable, inexpensive, probably easy to find, but quite heavy.

-Sintra - Suitable, durability is questionable, quite expensive, may be difficult to procure, but very light (I believe).


A note on Sintra: It would be my preferred substrate except that I have heard that if it gets crushed it become pretty worthless. I am nervous about laminating $200 worth of laminate to it given that I will likely be handling the screen from time to time to flip it over. Sintra itself is also fairly expensive relative to the other options. I wouldn't have a problem paying the extra for it if there wasn't the durability issue. Maybe it wouldn't be an issue once the laminate is mounted to it.


Whatever I go with I am hoping to buy within the next day or two so I would love any input on these OR OTHER potential material.


Thanks,


Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, so here's an update. I decided on 1/4" two sided Birch ply to mount the laminate to. A bit expensive but nice and smooth on both sides. I cut the plywood to size and then trimmed the laminate with a laminate router that I bought recently to finish the speakers seen in the pics (the trim router was one of the better purchases that I've made lately). The first pic is of the veneer on top of the plywood awaiting the contact cement.


The next step was assembling the frame around the screen sandwich. After putting it all together I decided that the fit wasn't tight enough and also that the frame was just going to make the entire thing bulky and was not necessary (no told you so's please). I decided to forgo the 8020 frame and just build a wood frame around it. Incidently, if anyone is interested in the frame check the 8020 thread for my post there.


Next step was routing a rabbet on the backside of some 1x4 oak pieces that I bought for the frame. The rabbet is for the screen laminate to fit into. Then I routed a 1/2" roundover on the outer front edge and a 45 degree bevel on the inside edge and drilled some countersunk holes for mounting. Finally, I covered the wood frame pieces with some velvet. I used spray adhesive on the wood and then set it on the velvet which I had laying upside down on the floor. Once the front was secure I flipped it over and sprayed the back of the frame and wrapped the velvet around it. I trimmed the ends as much as safely possible and then wrapped and stapled the velvet.


Finally, it was time to mount everything to the wall. I used drywall anchors with machined screws for mounting. This leaves some mounting holes in the frame to be dealt with but allows relatively easy removal of the frame if I want to flip this screen over or want to try a different screen altogether. I am going to make or buy some plugs which I will cover with felt or paint black to go in the holes. All in all I am happy with the results and am excited to use it. First though, I need to get a projector which may be a while still. Until then it is back to the old rear projection dinosaur. The second and third pic is of the finished screen. It looks like the screen may be slightly crooked relative to the top wall in the pics. I didn't notice that before but I will check it out. I could probably adjust it a bit if necessary but hopefully it was just due to the angle I was shooting the picture at.


I have a final question concerning the screen. I got a few black smudges on the screen and I was able to almost completely remove them. I also notice a very light scratch on one of the corners. Both of these are things that no one would notice unless I pointed them out. Even then, some would probably barely be able to make them out. Nevertheless, will these be noticeable once I get a projector and get everything up and running?


Thanks,


Matt


 

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Congratulations! That is a job well done. When deciding between DW and FG, my son asked about creating something like what you've done here so we could have maximum flexibility. Now that I see it done here, I can only tip my hat in admiration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad139 /forum/post/19730799


Congratulations! That is a job well done. When deciding between DW and FG, my son asked about creating something like what you've done here so we could have maximum flexibility. Now that I see it done here, I can only tip my hat in admiration.

It's a good concept that I will have to see how much I utilize. The process of reversing it will involve removing ten threaded screws (and plugs), flipping the screen and then reinstalling the ten screws (and plugs). It's not something that I would want to do on a whim but maybe if I'm hosting a big event or if there is a significant change in the room that would benefit from the alternate screen color.


Also, it is surprisingly tough to tell which side is which once they are installed on the board. It is obvious when the sheets are side to side but they are close enough in color that it is not so clear when you have to look at each side independently. In hindsight I should have saved a piece of my cutoff for reference.


Overall, I think I'm still glad I went with the two sided idea but only time will tell. I think the idea would have been better executed if I had mounted it in a way that made it easier to flip over - like simply hanging it from the ceiling. As it stands, I am not quite level with the ceiling so I am going to have to see if I can adjust it by about 1/4" or so. Hopefully there is enough play in the mounting holes to get it done. This type of adjustment would have been easier as well with a hanging mounting method.


I am a terrible DIYer in that I am a bit of a perfectionist, but impatient at the same time. I usually move through the project rather quickly (particularly when I get towards the end) and then the little mistakes I make gnaw at me until I decide to tear it down and start over. Hopefully that won't be the case here and I'll forget about the minor imperfections once I start watching movies on it.


On another note, we are noticing a blue light in the middle of our trusty LCD that so I think it may be on it's last leg
. Maybe we'll be forced to buy a projector sooner rather than later. Even if it's just the bulb I think that could be enough to motivate us to jump on a projector rather than replace the bulb.


Matt


edit: make that 20 threaded screws and plugs for changing the screen. I forgot I did two screws at each location to keep the wood from cupping.
 
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