Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see! - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 7 Old 09-02-10, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 10
Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!

Hey all...

I just came across this forum the other day and am intrigued by everything that is in the DIY section! I give big props to mechman for all the many hours he has dedicated to data collection and formula "formulating"! Oh and thanks in advance to everyone else that had/has an idea for a screen and taking a stab it. I haven't decide how deep I want to go with my projects but for now I am in need of a serious upgrade from my current screen.

I have been using a Draper Luma glass beaded screen for over 2 years now and I would say that it was an improvement over my first BOC screen but it had alot of flaws. I got 2 8' rollup screens from my college when we were cleaning out some storage closests. These were no doubt quite expensive at the time and getting them for free is super! Anyways, one of them had crayon marks on it but I was able to make an 80" screen out it. After moving into a different apt I finally had a wall long enough for the other screen. I hung it and it was in fairly good shape but there are still a few scratches in it that annoy me when I notice them. And that brings me to my current position. I came across Black Diamond II material and wondered what was so great about it and stumbled upon Black Widow, an even cooler name! After looking at pages and pages of spectrums I decided that I was gonna build a new screen. Because the old one just isn't cutting it anymore.

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1056.jpg
No that's not a spot on your monitor! That's the scratch and a nice swirl. Really shows up with the flash.

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1055.jpg
Notice how retro-reflective this "Retro" screen is!

Here's some shots in action.

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1072.jpg
On-Axis Lights On

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1077.jpg
Sitting Lights On

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1074.jpg
On-Axis Lights Off

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1075.jpg
Sitting Lights Off

There is a quite noticeable brightness difference between sitting and standing. The good thing about sitting is the scratch goes away!

Well that concludes the intro. So onto the real purpose of this thread, Black Widow.
I'm going to track my progress and results with the Black Widow on this thread.

My biggest concern so far is the intensity that I will lose going from a High Gain screen to one that is not. I believe the gain of the Draper is around 2.4 On-Axis and drops to about 1 at 20 degrees and according to my calculations I sit right at 16 degrees, so roughly 1.2 gain. Therefore I will lose ~.4 gain by going with Black Widow. Is this gonna be noticeable...I think so...but if I have better ambient light performance....SUPER!

So here goes nothing.


I purchased all the lumber needed to build the frame. While I was at the store I decided to make two halves and "butt" them together in the middle. The reasoning for this? Have you ever tried to find a completely straight 8' 1x2 at Menard or Lowes? It's impossible, the 6'ers were hard enough to pick out.

Lumber List
4 - 1"x2"x6' Premium Red Oak
4 - 1"x2"x4' Premium Red Oak
2 - 1"x2"x4' Premium Mahogany

I also purchased the blackout cloth that I will stretch across the frame and paint.

I found a place online that had AAA/F on sale for 7.00/4 oz. so I ordered a couple.

I started cutting the lumber and finished one half of the frame.


Continuing the project, I was able to finish the second half of the frame, which of course turned out better than the first half. Funny how that works!

After assembly I realized that I hadn't put glue on the joints. I haven't glued any of my other frames but I also have not attempted to build one this large. BTW it will be 54"x96", giving me ~110".

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1046.jpg
One finished half of the frame.

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1053.jpg
Both finished halves.

So far so good.


To my surprise, the AAA/F came in the mail today. I don't have time today to work on it so for now...later.


After making a couple trips to Medards I think I finally have all the supplies and paint that I need to continue on. I couldn't find KILZ2 at Menards so I have to go to Lowes to pick that up. While I was there I found some 3/16" nap rollers.

I wonder if these will work better or are the aluminum flecks more likely to get stuck in it?

The paint was an interesting buy. The dude mixed it up and was like, " it supposed to be pink?" I answered, "I have no clue. I just got the recipe online." But after looking at the color cards we verified that it is indeed a pinkish hue....eewwww. I am thinking the AAA will take care of the pink hue. I did some thread searching and found one where Harp put the color up and it is an exact match!!!

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1098.jpg

When I returned from the store, I started merging the two halves together. This was fairly easy and after screwing them together, I took a rasp to the middle two boards so they don't create a high spot when placed against the wall.

Here is the sorta finished, stretched BOC on the frame. I still need to put in a few more staples, wrap it around the edges, and trim it. It should then be ready to prime.

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-102_1093.jpg



After hanging my screen to paint it, I noticed that either the wall was crooked or my frame was skewed. I checked frame with a level...seemed OK. Checked wall with level...not OK. Checked other walls...not OK. Suspecting level is...not OK. Decided to measure from corner to corner of the screen and to my...well...not surprise the f#$@#$ thing is skewed by an inch! Now I am moo and almost ready to give up. I thought about the situation a bit and decided that I need to buy some cable and go from corner to corner and tighten it. This should take the skew out....and most likely screw up the tension on the BOC.

If that is the case...the project is going to be hosed because I refuse to staple another 150+ times and pound all the staples in.


Well I was sort of successful in "unskewing" my frame. I bought 25' of medium duty picture frame wire and went from corner to corner and tightened it up and it pulled the whole frame the direction it needed to go.

After all that messing around, I started to prime. I was able to get about 4 coats on. BOC isn't too suitable for rolling since it is tough to put pressure on the roller without getting too many roller marks. I found the KILZ2 does not roll too well on the stuff. I did 3 coats with about a little over and hour in between and immediately following the 3rd coat I ran over it quick with thinned (watered down) KILZ2. This coat went on nicely. And from what I can tell got most of the roller tracks blended in. Maybe next time I will thin it prior to the 1st coat.

Here's what I have came up with so far. The stupid bar in the middle is proving to show through. I am hoping the next few coats will cover that up.

Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!-100_1101.jpg


Well, after I got off work I took a look at my screen and I had some pretty nasty orange peel. I guess it could be liveable, but I am a perfectionist and I want to have a "perfectly" flat base when I lay down the Black Widow. I am guessing that it is not going to level as well as the primer and will exacerbate the orange peel. So....thinking back to my car painting days when I had the nearly inevitable orange peel effect, I figured...lets sand it out. Let me tell you...sanding is an understatement. I did not know what I was in for. So after a trip to Lowes I gathered up the gumption to start sanding away. After sanding a while I realized that 400 grit wasn't gonna cut it. So I went back to the store and got some 220 grit and a 220 sanding sponge. The sponge was working OK for me until I moved to a new section of the screen and realized that it just wasn't taking enough paint off. So guess what...I went to the store again....and got some 120 grit and a mask it was starting to get dusty and I value breathing.

The 120 grit did the trick. It smoothed everything out very nicely...almost like glass...well no..not that much but you get the point.


If you have been paying attention you would know that I built the frame somewhat like this....

| || |
| || |
| || |
|--------------------| <- Set back 1/4"
| || |
| || |
|________|| _______|

..with the inside braces set back ~1/4" so they don't touch the BOC when stretched.


As I found out with rolling the BOC tends to "sag" when you push on it, making rolling and sanding ultra difficult...especially in the areas where I had the braces. While sanding the BOC would "sag" to the braces and create a low spot in the primer almost all the way through the primer actually and there were 4'ish coats low spots...and now the screen has cross hairs...neat, aye?!

Now I ask myself. Is the project worth continuing?...I have already spent more money on sand paper and rollers than what I could have bought a Wagner CS+ @ Menards for. So...idk...I have all the paint and a bit less then a half gallon of primer.

I am one persistent SOB and trudge onward. After getting the primer to a mirror finish I think well what better to fill in the low spots then a bit more primer. And....ugh...not working so well.

More later....

Last edited by pojo; 09-09-10 at 12:38 AM. Reason: Added pics and info
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-02-10, 08:07 PM
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Re: Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!

Welcome to the forum Pojo!

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-03-10, 10:45 AM
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Re: Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!

Pojo - Welcome. Keep in mind you won't get the gain that you got with your Luma glass beaded screen. But you also won't get the terrible viewing cone either.

What pj are you using?
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-03-10, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!

I am using an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 6100.

I am very happy with it. I run it in whats called "Theatre Black Mode" which is supposed to give you better contrast but also runs at significantly lower lumens. On variable iris it gets extremely bright and almost hurts the eyes and washes everything out.
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-03-10, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!

Do you have any pointers on applying Black Widow to BOC? I won't have the AAA until sometime next week. So I won't dive in until after then. I am planning on rolling it on since that seems like the cleanest way for my work area. I am not comfortable with spraying in my apt. Any roller brands you recommend?

But in the meantime, I am waiting on some samples from draper, da-lite, and SI. I plan on building a test screen with a bunch of different flavors of screens and hopefully mixes. I will also create a test pattern that will display the exact same image on each square to get a good comparison.
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-03-10, 02:37 PM
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Re: Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!

It would be best to have something under the BOC when you're rolling it so that it doesn't sag. Use a 1/4" nap roller. Do not use a foam roller.

Black Widow™ is pretty much identical to Stewart's Greyhawk. With your projector and screen size, you'll have to adjust the contrast and brightness up to match the darker screen. The big thing you should notice right away will be that there's no drop off in brightness as you move off center. It will be darker straight on though. Probably about the equivalent of about 20 degrees off center of the glass bead screen.
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-03-10, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Re: Black Widow. The one for me? We'll see!

Ok...I knew that would be an issue so I was planning on stretchin it nice and tight and hanging it to paint it. Any advantages to laying it down or is hanging not a good idea?

On a side note...I talked to Epson about some bulb life an focus issues I have had and they are gonna send me a new bulb...or even better a new projector!
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black , see! , we'll , widow.

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