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Brah, I want your house lol. Gorgeous siding and view
 
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JVC DLA-X790 Proj, Marantz SR8012 Amp, Monitor Audio Silver 300/350/W12, Elune Vision 150" 2:35:1
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The raw height of the room was 12’ 4”, put under the garage. The lot slopes away on that side of the home so in reality it’s only 4’ or so below grade, didn’t have to excavate quite that much. In fact we would have had to build up to fill in the garage foundation.

This shot is facing the same direction, the concrete side of the home there would be the left wall of the theater in the shots above. You can see my theater mini split there as well.

Thank you for sharing. To be proud for sure.
 

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Wow, what great timing! I started looking yesterday for a DIY motorized masking solution (after getting a quote for a Seymour Screen Excellence one and about choking! Their TRIM one isn't toooo bad, but only goes to 150". I figured it'd be a premium going to the TAM 2-L, maybe 50%. Let's just say it was significantly more.). This is basically exactly what I want. I'll be following your same design for the most part. I already have a house full of RS-485 Somfy Motors (Sonesse 30s, a Glydea (dry contact at the moment), and an LT50, but that's one's on a ZWave adapter), and I wrote all the integration myself, so I figured I'll go with LT50 motors, since the LT40 isn't available with RS-485. It also gives me plenty of extra torque, as well as being a bit faster (I did the 38rpm, times by a 2.5" tube should be really fast). In some ways the other motor parts are easier, since I don't need to have any size adapters, but the downside is I had to figure it out myself :). Hopefully I got it right! Everything is ordered except for fabric. I'm going to go with Seymour CenterStage UF. Prime seating position will be ~12' from a 180" wide screen, so I wanted the even finer pattern of the UF over the XD. And it's cheaper? Weird. Maybe cause the gain is lower. Anyhow, I'll let you know how it goes. It'll be a little bit - everything is already wired, insulation comes tomorrow, drywall in the next week or two. Then depending on if I can get ahold of a carpenter or if I have to do it myself (I'm fairly basic for the rest of the room design), I should be building my screen in the next couple weeks.

A couple of notes on your post that you might want to edit:

* As has already been noticed, AVoutlet no longer sells Somfy Motors direct, so that link is broken
* The TNutz link for the 1515 extrusion is bad. AFAICT, they don't list the ultra-light anymore, only a light. They seem to be on sale at the moment, so I did two of them silver, and two black.
* The link for the SLB680R actually points to SLAMLS40 (I think someone else pointed this out too)
* You don't list what kinds of t-nuts and screws you used to attach the screen grommets. I kinda guessed from your video, and did QT-015 drop in quarter turn nuts, and 5/*" flat head cap screws, #10-32 threads. I also got some 7/8" socket head cap screws as the initial "posts". Hopefully they slide right through the grommets.

One last thing - the magnet and the plate on the frame border look cool, but your details on that were pretty vague. Which magnets did you use? How did you recess them in? What plates did you use? How did you attach them on the boards you did attach them to permanently? Can you show how exactly everything locks together? It looks like you did plates on the bottom sticking up, then on the sides sticking up, and no plates on the top, so you'd lift of the side, angle it behind the top board, then let it "drop down" on top of the bottom board. Did I get that right?

Oh, one other thing I'm going to try, is to use a screw-in coax cable clip like https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZWB48JC to attach the shock cord to the sliders, instead of an eye hook, in an effort to reduce the distance between the frame and the screen. Also depending on how things go, I may try to do a full-close. I'm mostly worried about spacing of the rollers and being able to wind up that much material, as well as tension on the shock cord. I'm still only doing the 3" wide channel for the top and bottom - I think you're right that I'll be able to get the aluminum bars to meet in the middle with the sliders in the same track. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, and I'll fall back to a 4:3 max close.
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
Wow, what great timing! I started looking yesterday for a DIY motorized masking solution (after getting a quote for a Seymour Screen Excellence one and about choking! Their TRIM one isn't toooo bad, but only goes to 150". I figured it'd be a premium going to the TAM 2-L, maybe 50%. Let's just say it was significantly more.). This is basically exactly what I want. I'll be following your same design for the most part. I already have a house full of RS-485 Somfy Motors (Sonesse 30s, a Glydea (dry contact at the moment), and an LT50, but that's one's on a ZWave adapter), and I wrote all the integration myself, so I figured I'll go with LT50 motors, since the LT40 isn't available with RS-485. It also gives me plenty of extra torque, as well as being a bit faster (I did the 38rpm, times by a 2.5" tube should be really fast). In some ways the other motor parts are easier, since I don't need to have any size adapters, but the downside is I had to figure it out myself :). Hopefully I got it right! Everything is ordered except for fabric. I'm going to go with Seymour CenterStage UF. Prime seating position will be ~12' from a 180" wide screen, so I wanted the even finer pattern of the UF over the XD. And it's cheaper? Weird. Maybe cause the gain is lower. Anyhow, I'll let you know how it goes. It'll be a little bit - everything is already wired, insulation comes tomorrow, drywall in the next week or two. Then depending on if I can get ahold of a carpenter or if I have to do it myself (I'm fairly basic for the rest of the room design), I should be building my screen in the next couple weeks.

A couple of notes on your post that you might want to edit:

  • As has already been noticed, AVoutlet no longer sells Somfy Motors direct, so that link is broken
  • The TNutz link for the 1515 extrusion is bad. AFAICT, they don't list the ultra-light anymore, only a light. They seem to be on sale at the moment, so I did two of them silver, and two black.
  • The link for the SLB680R actually points to SLAMLS40 (I think someone else pointed this out too)
  • You don't list what kinds of t-nuts and screws you used to attach the screen grommets. I kinda guessed from your video, and did QT-015 drop in quarter turn nuts, and 5/*" flat head cap screws, #10-32 threads. I also got some 7/8" socket head cap screws as the initial "posts". Hopefully they slide right through the grommets.

One last thing - the magnet and the plate on the frame border look cool, but your details on that were pretty vague. Which magnets did you use? How did you recess them in? What plates did you use? How did you attach them on the boards you did attach them to permanently? Can you show how exactly everything locks together? It looks like you did plates on the bottom sticking up, then on the sides sticking up, and no plates on the top, so you'd lift of the side, angle it behind the top board, then let it "drop down" on top of the bottom board. Did I get that right?

Oh, one other thing I'm going to try, is to use a screw-in coax cable clip like https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZWB48JC to attach the shock cord to the sliders, instead of an eye hook, in an effort to reduce the distance between the frame and the screen. Also depending on how things go, I may try to do a full-close. I'm mostly worried about spacing of the rollers and being able to wind up that much material, as well as tension on the shock cord. I'm still only doing the 3" wide channel for the top and bottom - I think you're right that I'll be able to get the aluminum bars to meet in the middle with the sliders in the same track. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, and I'll fall back to a 4:3 max close.
Thanks, sounds like you have a good plan. Even better to be able to use materials on hand. I would be less worried about rolling that much material, more concerned about how to ensure it will span that distance horizontally without sagging or wrinkling. I do think there’s a solution involving webbing or something taking the brunt of the tension and the fabric just attaching to that, might be tricky.

The coax clamps might be slimmer, hard to tell. I guess it mostly saves in making the knot, as the metal itself doesn’t add much. You can also put the eyelet on the side of the slider instead of the face, so it’s literally facing the direction it is pulling the slider and practically sitting in the channel. I did that at one point during some prototyping - I had some issues that turned out to be unrelated to that, but changed it in the process and just never changed back. Of course that won’t work if you want a full close, because it will eat about 1/2” of horizontal that the slider can move.

On that note, if you want a full close you might consider attaching the bungee to the top and bottom of the frame and crossing them to the opposite side. I tried that as well at one point and it works, just takes more bungee and a bit more initial tension to keep it from sagging. So you go from the slider to the opposite corner, but turn it over the edge and anchor to the top or bottom side so you don’t attach it in the slider channel. The bungee has no problem running over the frame edge.

Thanks for pointing out the broken links. Unfortunately keeping everything alive and working sounds like a maintenance nightmare so I’m just going to leave the disclaimer that they may go outdated and the info is there for guidance and inspiration only.
 

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Ok, I've got my shade parts, and I can confirm how this is going to work if you want to go the LT50 route instead of the LT30, in order to either a) have more torque/speed/whatever, or b) want an RS-485 motor to either have feedback, control without RF, and/or integrate into the rest of a Somfy system.

Parts:
2x LT50 motor, star drive (Somfy LT50 Sonesse 515S2 RS485 Motor - Screen And Roller Blind Motors | Florida Automated Shade is the particular model I went with, don't choose any add-on options)
4x Crown and drive kit (Rollease RTA6U50 2.5 inch Crown/Drive Kit for Somfy Sonesse 50)
2x Tubes (Rollease RTEA6T16-7 Roller Shade Tubes, 2.5 inch (63mm) x 7 Foot). Order them 3 1/4" longer than your screen height to work with these brackets. I ordered 4" longer to be safe, and had to cut them down (portable band-saw ftw!)
2x Idler Bracket (Somfy 9410635 Sonesse 50 and LT50, 10mm Idler Bracket)
2x Starhead Motor Bracket (Somfy 9410651 Sonesse 50 and LT50 Star Head Motor Bracket)
2x Universal Idler (Somfy 9420800 Universal Idler w/10mm Collapsible Shaft)
2x Drive Stop (Optional) (Somfy 9910004 Sonesse 50 ST50 and LT50 Drive Stop)

The overall assembly is:
Idler bracket; crown; idler; drive; tube; drive stop; drive; crown; motor; motor bracket.

Start with the motor. Slide the crown from the crown/drive kit on. No need to secure it to anything yet, you just need it on now so that you can put the drive on:
IMG_1158.jpg

The drive then fits on the end of the motor. The motor actually has a detent pin to hold the drive on, so you don't technically need the drive stop, but I had ordered one cause I didn't know, so I put it on anyway:
IMG_1154.jpg IMG_1155.jpg IMG_1156.jpg
Now you'll slide the motor into the tube. Twist the tube until it lines up properly with the drive. Then you'll get to the crown, which also needs to line up correctly with the tube. Then you'll want to screw the crown onto the tube:
IMG_1162.jpg
Finally slip the motor the rest of the way into the crown. Note that the motor has a little thingy that will let it spin freely inside the crown, but it has a groove thing - you have to line that up with the groove in the crown in order to slip all the way in. Refer back to the first picture. Finally, take the lock pin thingy off the motor bracket, put the star into the bracket (with your power and possibly data cable the orientation you want), and then put the lock pin back on. Done with the motor end!

IMG_1159.jpg IMG_1163.jpg

Now on to the idler end. Again, slip the crown onto the idler first. The idler just fits barely inside the circle of the crown, and again has groove to line up.
IMG_1160.jpg
Then put the drive on the end of the idler, and put on the lock ring thingy in the tiny groove so that you don't lose your drive into the tube if you pull it out. It's a bear, because it fits so tight. I had to use two pairs of needle-nose pliers to bend it apart enough.
IMG_1161.jpg
Finally, slip the whole idler assembly into the tube, and screw the crown to the tube. Then the idler pin fits into the idler bracket, easy peasy:
IMG_1164.jpg


As far as running an RS-485 motor, there are several integrations, or you can use my software to both provision it (set limits), and bridge it to MQTT where various automation systems can talk to it: ccutrer/somfy_sdn. Note that I'm still finishing up the provisioning code (I haven't done one from scratch before; the installers set the limits on the rest of the shades in my house), so there are more updates to come there.
 

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This seems like a good place to put this: what great timing! My one ST50 motor running an actual roller shade stopped working tonight. As of this week, I now have the knowledge to take it apart, recognize that the drive had fallen off the motor, know how to put it back, and even had a spare drive stop that I know I won’t need for my screen to prevent it from happening again! (The shade installers used slightly different parts for everything, and no stop, and my older ST50 motor didn’t have the detent thingy to keep the drive on itself). And I also finished my software yesterday that I was able to reset my limits lickety split. It was a relief to only take ~10-15 minutes to fix it, pretty much stress free, rather than hours of tinkering, a call to the shade company, days of waiting for them to come, hours of them figuring it out, and a pricey bill. So thanks @sor for pointing me in this direction anyway ;).
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
This seems like a good place to put this: what great timing! My one ST50 motor running an actual roller shade stopped working tonight. As of this week, I now have the knowledge to take it apart, recognize that the drive had fallen off the motor, know how to put it back, and even had a spare drive stop that I know I won’t need for my screen to prevent it from happening again! (The shade installers used slightly different parts for everything, and no stop, and my older ST50 motor didn’t have the detent thingy to keep the drive on itself). And I also finished my software yesterday that I was able to reset my limits lickety split. It was a relief to only take ~10-15 minutes to fix it, pretty much stress free, rather than hours of tinkering, a call to the shade company, days of waiting for them to come, hours of them figuring it out, and a pricey bill. So thanks @sor for pointing me in this direction anyway ;).
That’s a great story, thanks for sharing! It’s a shame really that there isn’t more DIY info out there around the Somfy ecosystem.
 

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I got my TNutz shipment today!

You’re right, tension’s a *****. I got it working on full close, but it’s touchy to keep it straight. It’s got to be just tight enough to still tug all the way closed, but not so tight that it’s not stretching at full open. And keeping things straight with that much movement might prove a challenge. It’s interesting that my top rope is much looser than the bottom, and it’s perfect. We’ll see how it goes when I actually get fabric on there. If it’s not a clean close, I just won’t worry about it and set 4:3 as my max. If it is, I might need to use a pulley to get more range on my rope. And I’m already thinking of ways to keep the top from sagging - either Kevlar thread or a very light carbon fiber tow threaded right along the top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
I got my TNutz shipment today!

You’re right, tension’s a *. I got it working on full close, but it’s touchy to keep it straight. It’s got to be just tight enough to still tug all the way closed, but not so tight that it’s not stretching at full open. And keeping things straight with that much movement might prove a challenge. It’s interesting that my top rope is much looser than the bottom, and it’s perfect. We’ll see how it goes when I actually get fabric on there. If it’s not a clean close, I just won’t worry about it and set 4:3 as my max. If it is, I might need to use a pulley to get more range on my rope. And I’m already thinking of ways to keep the top from sagging - either Kevlar thread or a very light carbon fiber tow threaded right along the top.
Cool, let us know what you come up with. 4:3 to full open is a lot less demanding so if you can pull of a full close it’s definitely worth sharing how you did it.
 

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Okay, I think I've given up on full close. It was a nice-to-have anyway. If someone else wants to try full close, here are my suggestions:

  • for the top and bottom extrusions, use 1545, not 1530, so that you have three tracks. Wrapping the cords around the rails seems fine tension-wise, but at the full close position they interfere with each other and take intervention to get them to snap fully into place. Have one side be "outer" sliders, and the other side be "inner" (will, middle, since the screen will attack to the inner channel) Note that you can either extend your shade tubing by 3" when you do this, or not - just mount your brackets to the middle channel and it will retain the same dimension's as @sors original design. Though maybe you want the extra hidden-height at the top to combat sagging becoming visible?
  • for the side extrusions, you either need to use 1530 instead of 1515, or just plan an extra amount of screen width. the problem here is the sliders have two mounting holes - one is used for the aluminum bar that defines the edge of your mask, and the other is used to attach the cord. @sor mounted his with the cord towards the inside. I did the opposite, otherwise it would be impossible for the bars to touch in the middle. The problem here is that on the full-open end, I'm now sitting 1.25" inches inside of the edge of my screen, because the sliders are at the edge. I guess I could try to let the sliders pull partially out of the bar (I'll have to get rid of the end caps in that case). But realistically I"m just going to switch to @sor's setup and not deal with that.

I just don't want to spend another $500 for new extrusions to fix those problems, and still be finicking with tension.

Along that second note, but of more general use: the width of the aluminum bar matters. My Home Depot only had 2" in stock, so that's what I got. I'm already going to have full-open problems, because that's wider than the 1.5" side bar. I may try to find a 1.5". Again, just planning on an extra 3" of width would alleviate this problem, then I'd just be adjusting the mounting of the frame to hide the extra width. Looks like Lowe's has 1.5" in stock; I may be switching these out :).

Finally, one tip about the screen material itself - to calculate the size of screen you should order, add 1.5" to your width and height. I.e. I have a 180"x75" screen, I'm going to order a 181.5"x76.5" on-center grommets for my screen material. Seems obvious in retrospect - 3/4" on each side to get to the middle of the channel. But I delayed ordering the screen material until I had the frame assembled and could measure.

Oh, and the joining plates. Order extras. things will probably stay nice and square if you mount your frame to the wall nice and supported as you build it like @sor did, but mine is currently just leaning against the wall for testing purposes, and the plates are having a hard time keeping things straight at that joint. I've still got to break it into halves and get it out so drywall can go up (next week 🤞), but I might order some extras anyway. They're relatively cheap compared to the whole project here.
 

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I'll start a thread once I get going :)

So as I mentioned about a month ago, I will start a thread once I get going on mine. I've produced a YouTube video of my entire build that I am just doing final edits to. Completed my build in 10 hours. I'll start a thread and post it in a couple of days :) Building the suspense!
;)
 

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So as I mentioned about a month ago, I will start a thread once I get going on mine. I've produced a YouTube video of my entire build that I am just doing final edits to. Completed my build in 10 hours. I'll start a thread and post it in a couple of days :) Building the suspense!
;)
So I finally posted my video and started a thread. You can find the YouTube link in my thread:

Constant Image Height Motorized Masking System using a Motorized Curtain Rail - Complete Build

Thanks to this thread for inspiring my idea!
 

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It works! Been quite a journey. Mostly waiting for drywall and carpet - I did everything else myself. I still need to build the trim/frame for in front of the screen, but the masks are up and working. A couple of notes:
  • I got a SeymourAV UF screen. Their precision cut was not very precise. I ended up having to order grommets and tools, stretch the screen around the extrusions, mark new holes, take it all down, put new grommets in, put it back up, then trim the extra. Considering half the cost of the actual screen was the grommets, you may want to consider ordering the fabric and just doing it all yourself in the first place.
  • I found the hardest part of getting the masks on was getting them wrapped around the aluminum bar straight, and to stay. I used packing tape with half on the mask, and half on the bar. Then wrapped once. I had cut my mask the exact same width as the bar, so I drilled holes through the mask to line up with the hole for the bar, and secured the slider. This held it decently, but it was still a little loose in the middle, and I can hear the tape when the mask moves. Luckily, attaching the other end to the shade roller was much easier. I had secured the bar in its tracks at a perfect length to stretch as far as I could and reach the double-stick tape that came on the roller. went on nice and straight, and rolled up just fine. Probably 3-4 full rolls between the "end" and my 4:3 end stop.
  • Make sure your tensions cords are secured tight. The twisty anchor came out of the track on one of mine when I was testing, and I've got a nice 1/2" gouge in my wall now. Whoops.
  • When I cut my masks, I cleared a nice large area, laid it flat, and used my laser to set a nice straight line against marks at the correct width at both ends. Photo attached. Then I used a rotary cutter and a very large cutting mat to work my way along (my wife is a quilter, so such tools are already on hand). I still trimmed a bit once I had it on the screen, but before I rolled up, since I had cut it to the full 81" (75" + 3" + 3" for my 180x75 screen) so that it wouldn't interfere with the brackets on the shade tube. But everything was beautifully square for putting it up!

3128347
3128349


And without further ado, the video:
 

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Discussion Starter · #98 · (Edited)
It works! Been quite a journey. Mostly waiting for drywall and carpet - I did everything else myself. I still need to build the trim/frame for in front of the screen, but the masks are up and working. A couple of notes:
  • I got a SeymourAV UF screen. Their precision cut was not very precise. I ended up having to order grommets and tools, stretch the screen around the extrusions, mark new holes, take it all down, put new grommets in, put it back up, then trim the extra. Considering half the cost of the actual screen was the grommets, you may want to consider ordering the fabric and just doing it all yourself in the first place.
  • I found the hardest part of getting the masks on was getting them wrapped around the aluminum bar straight, and to stay. I used packing tape with half on the mask, and half on the bar. Then wrapped once. I had cut my mask the exact same width as the bar, so I drilled holes through the mask to line up with the hole for the bar, and secured the slider. This held it decently, but it was still a little loose in the middle, and I can hear the tape when the mask moves. Luckily, attaching the other end to the shade roller was much easier. I had secured the bar in its tracks at a perfect length to stretch as far as I could and reach the double-stick tape that came on the roller. went on nice and straight, and rolled up just fine. Probably 3-4 full rolls between the "end" and my 4:3 end stop.
  • Make sure your tensions cords are secured tight. The twisty anchor came out of the track on one of mine when I was testing, and I've got a nice 1/2" gouge in my wall now. Whoops.
  • When I cut my masks, I cleared a nice large area, laid it flat, and used my laser to set a nice straight line against marks at the correct width at both ends. Photo attached. Then I used a rotary cutter and a very large cutting mat to work my way along (my wife is a quilter, so such tools are already on hand). I still trimmed a bit once I had it on the screen, but before I rolled up, since I had cut it to the full 81" (75" + 3" + 3" for my 180x75 screen) so that it wouldn't interfere with the brackets on the shade tube. But everything was beautifully square for putting it up!

View attachment 3128347 View attachment 3128349

And without further ado, the video:
Nice, great job! Love the controls.

Oddly enough I think I have that exact carpet in my basement. Or maybe just something similar. Karastan/Mohawk Delicate Path.
 

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@sor : what material did you use for your mask? I used SeymourAV's Millibel AT backing, but I've been less than impressed with it in terms of absorbing light and giving me a nice crisp edge. I've been thinking of wrapping just the aluminum bar with velvet, and still doing the AT Millibel for the majority. SeymourAV's speaker grill material is much darker than the Millibel, but doesn't come in a large enough width for my screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #100 ·
@sor : what material did you use for your mask? I used SeymourAV's Millibel AT backing, but I've been less than impressed with it in terms of absorbing light and giving me a nice crisp edge. I've been thinking of wrapping just the aluminum bar with velvet, and still doing the AT Millibel for the majority. SeymourAV's speaker grill material is much darker than the Millibel, but doesn't come in a large enough width for my screen.
I’m using the Baritone velvet. I also don’t really have any bright lights in the room so any waves or folds aren’t visible. My one complaint was that the baritone lacks structure and wants to drape. Maybe if it were bonded to the millibel that would be the best of both? Or maybe just too thick or heavy
 
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