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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Okay, first things first. Do you want an acoustically transparent screen RIGHT NOW??? Without the hassle of actually having to do any REAL WORK or spend ANY REAL MONEY??? Friends, have you come to the right thread!

Grab a sheet in your house ( I'm assuming you have sheets in your house, if not, there are some things even the Impatient Lazy Man can not help you with ). Preferably white or gray and the bigger the better. If your wife or significant other says: "Where are you taking my 100-percent Egyptian Cotton Flannel king size sheet?" Just say: "What sheet?" and keep going. Tack one end of that sucker onto the ceiling in a straight line, creating a kind of cotton wall. Put your front speakers behind it. If you want to get really fancy, and your sheet is long enough to actually touch the floor, put some books on that end to stretch it out a little flatter.

Now turn out the lights, throw an image, and ... Say hello to your fabulous new AT screen!

Now is this a great AT screen? Well, no, not exactly.

What it is, is an excellent way to get some idea of what things will look like, what you want to aim for, without spending any real time or investment. Where should your screen go? How big do you want it to be? How far away from the projector? How much space do you need to reserve behind the screen for your speakers? Etc.

Making the "screen sheet" described above really helped me wrap my head around the possibilities an AT screen could provide. It's a cliche, but the more experimenting and measuring you can do, before you commit to actually building something, the better prepared you will be. Best to run into issues before you start drilling holes and cutting lumber. (And to be honest, my sheet screen, actually didn't look that bad.)

With that out of the way, here is my tortured journey toward a slightly more permanent solution.

I needed a way to mount the screen in front of my speakers. But, being an Impatient Lazy Man, I didn't want to build a whole false wall. Too much time and effort. We had a bunch of scrap lumber lying around in the garage so I grabbed several long boards--I'd guess they were 2x3s--and screwed one to the ceiling in a horizontal line where I wanted the screen to hang. It didn't run the entire width of the ceiling--I left a few feet of space on either end. Then I lay a matching board on the ground beneath it and screwed two boards vertically to connect the ends of the floor and ceiling boards, ending up with a giant open square frame, wedged into place. When my wife saw this monstrosity, she said "That'll never hold," and "Is that my 100-percent Egyptian Cotton Flannel king size sheet?"

(If you don't even want to build a rudimentary support frame, one thing you could consider, is to just hang your framed screen with eye hooks and wire or even strong fishing line attached to the ceiling. Might look kind of cool, just floating there in space.)

Okay. Time to really get down to business. Buckle up. This ride is going to get wild.

Step one. Figure out how big you want your screen to be (If you used the "sheet screen" method, you can just measure your ideal image directly off the sheet, which is what I did.) Mine is going to be about 112 inches diagonal.

Step two. Buy some cheap pine 1x2s and some brackets and start screwing the 1x2s together (after drilling the appropriate holes, of course).



Step two.

Get pissed when the cheap pine splits.



Step three. Replace the splintered piece of cheap pine with another piece of cheap pine (I actually bought enough to make two screens, because that was my initial plan).

Stare blankly into space when the replacement piece also cracks. Wish that you had bought poplar, as had been suggested. Express surprise at the fact that, even though cracked, the second piece of pine is actually holding firm. Continue building the frame.

Here's one of the L brackets screwed into place. I also put in a much longer screw lengthwise at the top of the screen on either end to give it a little more stability, which is how the second board cracked (but still held firm)



Most people quite sensibly tell you to brace your screen with two boards spaced evenly in the center or diagonally or whatever---but who has time for that? You're an Impatient Lazy Man, remember! Screw that noise! Besides, by using just the four pieces of 2x1, your frame will be super light weight, which makes it easier to "mount" or reposition (I didn't actually mount mine--more like hung it from two screws).

Here's the completed screen frame, with the square mounting structure I mentioned earlier behind it. Those speaker stands you see behind the frame are a custom design I built myself. If you want to special order some I'm willing to make more and sell them at a reasonable price, but I should tell you that the shipping costs are somewhat prohibitive. My old drywall screen is still mounted behind them. I really should take that down. That's my daughter holding up the screen frame to show you how light it is, by the way. Isn't she ADORABLE!!!!!!!




Here's the frame hanging on the mount.



Alright. Time to get a'staplin'. I ordered three yards of matte silver milliskin and three yards of white matte milliskin and specified that I wanted them on rolls, so I wouldn't have to deal with creases. SpandexWorld sent them to me in a little square cardboard box and I freaked out, but after I hung them up on the frame for a couple of hours I was surprised to see that the creases just ... went away. So maybe don't worry so much about ordering them on a roll. Anyway, I was going with silver over white, so here's white, the first layer, laid out on my carpet. I just put the frame on top of it and started tugging on the spandex all the way around to get any remaining creases and wrinkles out. Surprisingly easy. That's my helper holding down the spandex on the other side of the frame, the only helper I had on this project ( my daughter was a big disappointment when it came to accurate use of the Band saw, electric drill, etc.). I call my real helper "Mr. Cinder." We go back a long way.



Okay, getting late. That's it for now. What disaster shall strike next? Part two tomorrow!

PART TWO: The Staple-pocolypse is upon us!

The Stapleman's creed

This is my staple gun. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My staple gun is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My staple gun, without me, is useless. Without my staple gun, I am useless. I must fire my staple gun true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me.

Never owned a staple gun before. Never had a reason to use one. Now I carry it with me everywhere I go. No one is going to take my staple gun away from me. So many things just need a good stapling. I'll staple them now, and god can sort them out later.

See the staple gun in the picture below? If it were legal to marry a staple gun, this is the one I would marry. I also think this is the only good picture I took for the entire thread. I didn't know it would come out this "dramatic." Must be my love for my staple gun, shining through.



Alright. Enough manly talk. Here we go. See how many staples I'm using to attach my spandex in the picture below? I'm really going to regret that decision later. I'm also stapling it in an odd place--the thin outer edge of the frame, instead of the wider part of the frame on the inside. It makes it really hard to get that outer edge smooth, because the staples make little visible bumps when you pull the second layer over them. ANYTHING under spandex will make a visible bump. I chose this method deliberately however--my idea was to make a two sided screen--silver over white on one side, flip it around and you have white over silver. This actually works, sort of, but it's more trouble than its worth IMO and can lead to other issues. I did it because I wanted the brighter white side for watching 3D movies, and the darker silver side for regular viewing, but in the end I decided to convert it back into a single-sided screen.



And here's the silver going in over the white. See how much darker the white looks already with the silver behind it? I actually ran into a little problem here. To do the first layer, I just put the white spandex down, as shown in a few pictures back, smoothed out as much as I could, put the frame down on top of it, then pulled out along the edges of the fabric to get out all the remaining wrinkles, and stapled it home. Not hard at all. But when you use that method with the second layer, you can't really see what you're doing, because with the screen facing down, the second layer is of course hidden beneath the first layer. Not sure how other people get around this, if they just staple both layers at the same time, or what, but I wasn't going to take the time to look it up. So I stapled one side of the silver using the original method, then I leaned the whole thing up against the mounting frame, so I could look at the front while I stapled, but still get my hand around the back of the frame to work the stapler.
There are probably easier and better ways to do this.



And here she is, the moment of truth--my silver over white screen, finally hung in place. I have to say, I really liked seeing that big, wide, perfectly even expanse of silver. It gave me that "This is just like a real movie theater!" feeling, which i haven't had in a long time. But take a good look, because the screen isn't going to remain like this for very long. That's black burlap around the screen, by the way. I originally bought it to make acoustic panels and ended up with way more than I needed ... It was just lying around, so ... why not use it? It looks kind of baggy in this picture. Not quite that bad in real life. Still I need to run some more framing under there to have something to attach it to and flatten it out better ... and I should probably just replace it with some nicer material. Burlap is great for letting sound through, but it's also pretty coarse looking. I ended up putting my acoustic panels entirely behind the screen, as seen several pictures above. I thought I should have them on the side walls for first reflections, but they actually sound better behind the screen only. Go figure.



Look Ma! No Border!

Tomorrow ... The Odyssey Continues! With Actual Screenshots! But They're Terrible! Plus ... The Great Un-Stapling!

Try to withstand the suspense.
 

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DIY Granddad (w/help)
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Wow. I can not post photos on this forum. When I drag and drop my photos, I can see them in the little window, but when I click "preview," I get an insane wall of gibberish. Hundreds of lines of text which make no sense. Code mabye?
Not sure what's going on, but no photos, no thread. Sorry guys.
Be sure to use the "Advanced" Editor that has the Image Icon of a Picture (Mountain & Sun). When you click on it, it give you a URL window. Use that alone only if your posting from a Image Server.

If your posting images off your Hard Drive, first you must attach the images using the Paper Clip Icon. Then you go to the Image Icon and insert the URL the AVS server provides.

Pretty simple procedure if you do it once and get it down.

No excuses. :mad: ;) :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Be sure to use the "Advanced" Editor that has the Image Icon of a Picture (Mountain & Sun). When you click on it, it give you a URL window. Use that alone only if your posting from a Image Server.

If your posting images off your Hard Drive, first you must attach the images using the Paper Clip Icon. Then you go to the Image Icon and insert the URL the AVS server provides.

Pretty simple procedure if you do it once and get it down.

No excuses. :mad: ;) :D
Alright, I'll try again tonight. But I don't know how you figured all that out. I'm looking at it right now and all it says is "DRAG FILES HERE TO ATTACH" with a list of supported extensions (bmp doc gif jpe jpeg jpg pdf png psd txt zip). So that's what I did. And got gibberish ... Thanks as always for the help.
 

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Alright, I'll try again tonight. But I don't know how you figured all that out. I'm looking at it right now and all it says is "DRAG FILES HERE TO ATTACH" with a list of supported extensions (bmp doc gif jpe jpeg jpg pdf png psd txt zip). So that's what I did. And got gibberish ... Thanks as always for the help.
Well I hope it works for ya!
 

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The drag to attach IS supposed to perform the same job as the paperclip+browse method..it just seems to be glitchy.
It's the picture-frame (posts large-size copy of your dragged/paperclipped photo directly into the post) which requires not the picture itself, but the url of the picture after you've uploaded it using either paperclip or dragNdrop.

It's not nearly as friendly nor versatile as the older system this site used, but it still beats photobucket links. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Could really use this now - hope your post makes it at some point.
Oh man, the pressure is getting to me!

I'm going to have another go at it tonight using MM's posting advice outlined above ... but here's the thing. I'm not sure how actually helpful my thread is going to be. I mean, I'm going to detail my experiences and some of my recommendations, from an impatient lazy man's perspective, but it probably won't be all that different from existing threads....we'll see. I'm reasonably sure it will be funnier than the other threads, so there's that, I guess. You're definitely inspiring me to persevere, bruzer, so I do hope you find it to be of some use.

Will post again to let you know I've updated the first post with info and photos (hopefully!).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay, part one of my "guide" is up. Sorry about the crappy photos--I'm just using my phone, for the most part. Let me know if you all have any suggestions, complaints, questions, etc.
 

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Reading about the speaker stands, then looking down at the picture..looking a little harder..and I just broke :D

Pictures are showing for me now by the way; both attachments and the large in-post copies at appropriate spots.
Nice to hear the initial creases in spandex didn't give trouble, I'm sure the couple yards I bought and then procrastinated on is well and creased by now. Fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Reading about the speaker stands, then looking down at the picture..looking a little harder..and I just broke :D

Pictures are showing for me now by the way; both attachments and the large in-post copies at appropriate spots.
Nice to hear the initial creases in spandex didn't give trouble, I'm sure the couple yards I bought and then procrastinated on is well and creased by now. Fingers crossed.
Glad you got the joke! I'm afraid some people will fail to get my sense of humor and just think I'm totally pompous and/or insane.

Yes, I found the spandex to be surprisingly resilient. Makes sense I guess, since that's what they make bathing suits out of.
One way you CAN damage it, as I unfortunately found out, is by accidentally putting too much pressure on any one spot, otherwise known as "poking" it. I was trying to flatten on of my spandex sheets the way you would a regular bed sheet--i.e. hold it by one end and flap it in the air to settle it down on the ground--and that would have been fine, except I inexplicably thrust my leg out underneath it--I guess to try to catch it on the way down?--and it kind of caught on my big toe. The result? An un-removable dimple in the middle of the screen. Looks bad, but it isn't actually visible when watching a movie. Lesson of this story? Be careful not to poke your spandex in any way.

Very Strangely..........

..............I see nothing at all. :confused:
That is strange. I can see them, and ftoast can ... maybe I'm just cursed when it comes to photos and this forum?

Can anyone else see/not see the photos?

Maybe I'll add a "Can you see my photos?" poll. (Or maybe not. Guess you can't add a poll to a pre-existing thread.)

Part Two up whenever I get around to it.
 

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Excellent. Going to be replicating this, but going to grab some screen material from Carls place. At least I think that's my plan. My basement is still unfinished so Im still trying to figure out how Im going to hang the screen from the floor joists.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Excellent. Going to be replicating this, but going to grab some screen material from Carls place. At least I think that's my plan. My basement is still unfinished so Im still trying to figure out how Im going to hang the screen from the floor joists.
So I'm assuming you can see the photos?

Doesn't Carl's specialize in HT stuff? Just don't want you to pay a premium buying from an HT store rather than a fabric store.
 

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So I'm assuming you can see the photos?

Doesn't Carl's specialize in HT stuff? Just don't want you to pay a premium buying from an HT store rather than a fabric store.
Photo's work great - thanks for sticking with it.

Yes, Carls specalizes, but 24.95 before shipping doesnt strike me as excessive. I owe it to myself to check a fabric store however.
 

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Excellent. Going to be replicating this, but going to grab some screen material from Carls place. At least I think that's my plan. My basement is still unfinished so Im still trying to figure out how Im going to hang the screen from the floor joists.
As a heads-up, the Carl's place flexi is higher tension than spandex and will benefit from central supports as will anything else that you try to stretch over a frame. Spandex is forgiving, but most materials aren't and it's safer to add an extra board if possible.

Also, poplar is often super inexpensive as well as less prone to warp over time. If you're using what you have available, that's understandable, but poplar should be the first choice if available and shopping new material.
 

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Looks like my build so far. The only exception is that at first I used pocket screws to hold the pine together. Then after the frame got pulled off the pool table I was building it on and the pine cracked I added the L brackets. My frame is 130" wide and I didn't use any middle supports either; it's worked great so far (though I did use 1x4s). The only thing I would have done differently is added the quarter round around the perimeter of the frame to keep the material off. I went white over white and can see the frame through the spandex with the lights on. With you doing silver over white, you might not have that problem.
 

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As a heads-up, the Carl's place flexi is higher tension than spandex and will benefit from central supports as will anything else that you try to stretch over a frame. Spandex is forgiving, but most materials aren't and it's safer to add an extra board if possible.

Also, poplar is often super inexpensive as well as less prone to warp over time. If you're using what you have available, that's understandable, but poplar should be the first choice if available and shopping new material.
I've been mentally preparing to add a 5 vertical length in the center for extra bracing, so thanks for confirming that its a good idea.

I had not considered the type of wood to use for framing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
As a heads-up, the Carl's place flexi is higher tension than spandex and will benefit from central supports as will anything else that you try to stretch over a frame. Spandex is forgiving, but most materials aren't and it's safer to add an extra board if possible.

Also, poplar is often super inexpensive as well as less prone to warp over time. If you're using what you have available, that's understandable, but poplar should be the first choice if available and shopping new material.
Agree on the poplar instead of the pine. When I make another screen I will go that route. I was hoping the photo of the cracked pine would serve as a visual deterrent, but maybe I should be more explicit.

Looks like my build so far. The only exception is that at first I used pocket screws to hold the pine together. Then after the frame got pulled off the pool table I was building it on and the pine cracked I added the L brackets. My frame is 130" wide and I didn't use any middle supports either; it's worked great so far (though I did use 1x4s). The only thing I would have done differently is added the quarter round around the perimeter of the frame to keep the material off. I went white over white and can see the frame through the spandex with the lights on. With you doing silver over white, you might not have that problem.
You don't have to use a quarter round--you just have to mask the perimeter of the frame, as I discovered later. It's true the frame isn't really visible with silver over white but it is visible with white over silver or black (my current preference). What I did was to buy a roll of black gaffers tape and just taped off the frame. It doesn't have to be fancy velvet or anything like that, it just has to be black and non reflective, since it is going under the fabric. At first I thought it should be white, that black would show through more, but the opposite is true--black absorbs the light and prevents it from reflecting back through the screen: as a result, the wooden borders just disappear.
 
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