Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame? - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 36 Old 01-24-12, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

Hello everyone! Wow! What a site! I heard about this site from watching the 2011 HDTV Value Electronics Shootout. I was considering selling my projector and buying a plasma (for contrast levels) but after hooking it back up and watching it again, I changed my mind. You can't just give up a 110" screen like that. There is too much to miss with a smaller screen. The level of professionalism and hard work on this site is staggering to me. Thank you so much everyone for everything I've learned on here about neutral grays, gain, DIY paints, laminates, and everything else. You've made me a believer in the "little man's" home theater once again.

Now, I'm a man on a mission. Gray screen is for me. My apartment walls are off-white, and so is the ceiling. I'm running a Mits HC4000 from a little under 12' away, rear wall/ceiling shelf mounted. Screen is 110". I used the projector central calculator and determined that I will get about 13fL with a .8 gain screen. (I think that was right). But, my mission is a little more general in nature...

Here is my vision: A very easy-to-do "hot swappable" screen "frame". For example, maybe just using mirror clips, I could swap out pieces of laminate very quickly and easily. Maybe I could have a piece of laminate painted darker Elektra on one side, lighter Elektra on the other side (for when the ole projector bulb starts to get tired). Or maybe even white on one side. Not sure yet. Can you paint the back of laminate?
I'm not very handy when it comes to building things. I can mix paint, and I can paint, but how do you easily get laminate to stay on the wall in an apartment (with minimal damage/risk to the apartment wall)? Would
mirror clips be a good idea? Would the laminate sag or warp using nothing but clips? Is a backer board easy enough to do without messing up, or would it not be "hot swappable" enough?

Here are some theoretical requirements of this screen:

1. Being able to easily transport the required materials from a store. (Rolled up laminate, for example).
(If Sintra doesn't roll, I don't know how I would get it to my apartment cheaply. Also, I've read that some Wilsonart laminates (DW and FG) make great screens without paint).

2. No excessive gluing or sawing or elaborate planning (for someone like me who gets nervous with that. lol).
(A friend and I worked on a black out cloth screen with wooden frame wrapped in velvet. Never.. again.)
(He did a GREAT job by the way, it's just that the project seemed way too fickle for what it was with all
the fabric stretching and wrinkle rolling. lol) (Also, after purchasing all the materials (wood, tools, velvet,
fabric, etc) I'm too embarrassed to admit how much it cost me... okay, about $160).

3. Not easy to mess up. For example, I'm going to get Fashion Gray. No paint (at first). I may get another
cheaper laminate later to use as a paint-able substrate. I would like to be able to easily swap the laminates
out. (Oo! Oo! What about the ability to hide one laminate that isn't being used behind the other one?)

4. Somewhat nice-looking with a velvet (or just dark black) border. This border doesn't have to look absolutely perfect, but it would be really cool if it did.


Okay, mission impossible? What do you much more experienced people think? What would you do? I'm looking for a solution where I can say to my friends "THIS is how easy it can really be." Again, thank you guys for all of your free information. I'm still in awe.

-Jon

P.S. Maybe my searching skills aren't that great, but I just couldn't find a solution that matched this criteria.
Or, at least, I didn't recognize whether or not a solution DID meet this criteria. To "up the ante", how about a very easy solution that includes the simple magnet masking system I read about on here? Am I out of my mind?
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post #2 of 36 Old 01-25-12, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

Not trying to reply to my own thread. That would just be weird!


Okay, I was thinking at work today, of a solution... would this work?

1. Mirror clips on all 4 sides (3 on bottom and top, 2 on the sides)

2. Magnets stuck to the wall with adhesive, and use these to attach masking


Just thinking here... don't know about the adhesive part. Maybe some type of clip to hold the magnets?

Things that make you go hmmmmmmm...

Is there some easy product you can buy from Lowes that would act as some sort of lockable grove of some sort that you can simply set the screen into and "close the doors" on it, locking the screen in place? That may be better. If I could put velvet on the outside of that, that would be nice. Just thinking..
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post #3 of 36 Old 01-25-12, 12:09 PM
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Re: Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

Welcome to HTS.

There should be someone here who can give some input to your query.

Cheers,
Bill.

Silence is golden but duct tape is silver.

DIY completed:

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post #4 of 36 Old 01-25-12, 02:21 PM
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Re: Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

What about a frame with a french cleat?

Or... Velcro?
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post #5 of 36 Old 01-25-12, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

Howdy Robbo and Kalani!


Thanks Robbo! Thanks for those suggestions Kalani!

I think I may represent a minority when it comes to DIY. After watching lots of videos on YouTube and reading instructions on different sites, I can't help but to think that there is a certain number of viewers such as myself who are thinking "There has got to be something easier than what that guy is doing. I just want a screen that looks decent without all that extra flair that guy is putting in to it." All the sites I have found so far that include instructions seem to be (somewhat) under the assumption that:

a. You own a truck or have easy access to one.

b. You already have a bunch of tools.

c. You are a handy man. Or you are very very patient and willing to make a lot of mistakes.

d. You want your screen to be elaborate in some way.

e. You have quick and easy access to other people to help out.


I'm looking for instructions for the slacker, Nintendo generation:

a. You own a car.

b. You have no tools.

c. You don't know what an Allen wrench is.

d. You like your screen like you like your TV dinners. Fast, easy, no fuss, but in a very
convenient little tray with 3 easy instructions on the back. But it still looks good when you're
done! And it's easy to clean up after too! You can have Chinese one minute, then Italian 3 minutes
later!

e. If it doesn't perform just like you wanted it to, it is quick and easy to change. It is also gives you options.
For example, I chose laminate because you can paint it, but you don't have to.


I would like to be able to quickly, cleanly, easily attach a piece of laminate to a wall in a way that looks decent. And if I want to swap that piece out for another piece, I'd like to be able to do that quickly without ripping or pulling screws out or anything like that. Simple, elegant, efficient method that is hard to mess up. If these instructions exist already, please point me to it if you know about it. I would forever be grateful! I'm leaning towards mirror clips, but I would like to know if there is something better. Thanks guys!

Last edited by j0nnyfive; 01-25-12 at 04:18 PM.
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post #6 of 36 Old 01-25-12, 04:29 PM
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Re: Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

It's super easy. Just hire a pro to do it for you.

No tools or skills required!
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post #7 of 36 Old 01-25-12, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

lol at Kalani. You're funny.


Unfortunately, that costs money. I'm looking for cheap, non-complex. Kinda like the paint solutions on this
site. They are what I would consider cheap, and non-complex. I don't want complexity for the sake of complexity. I just did another quick search and found a guy who plans on, again, making a frame out of wood. He then went on to say that eventually he was going to reinforce the straightness with Aluminum rods or something. I'm thinking... why not just make an Aluminum frame to begin with? That's what I'm saying. Most of these frame construction threads I'm finding (if not all of them) seem to be making things too complex when I think they probably could have achieved the same result in an easier way. Someone may say "well that takes all the joy out of DIY." Meh. Humbug I say. Humbug.

There was another site I found that was about building a laminate screen. The list of tools included a drill! I'm thinking.. I have to buy a drill? And, the list of screw types was a mile long. Now, I'm sure that this could be an enjoyable project for some people, and that screen looked very nice. I still think there is a way to do this. I'm just hopelessly positive about things I guess. And, I don't want to be misunderstood. I'm not just interested in finding this for myself, but for others as well. My friends who want a projector are thinking the same thing. They want cheap and easy. They don't want to turn it into a big project with wood, glue, and power drills. Thanks guys! I'm still leaning towards mirror clips until somebody stops me. lol
I wish there were some sort of channel-like rods you could attach to a wall that would open and close. I just don't know if this would be enough to hold laminate in place because I've never dealt with laminate. HmmmmmmmMMMMMmmhHHHHhmmmmmmmMMMmmMmmMmMMMMMmmmmm...............
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post #8 of 36 Old 01-25-12, 04:53 PM
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Re: Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

Hi Jon, welcome to the forum!

The initial problem I see with what you want to do is you want a custom screen that doesn't require much custom work (no tools, limited skills). I don't mean to sink your boat, but that just doesn't seem possible to me unless you have a lot of money to put into the project.

Another problem is that the laminate that comes in rolls MUST be glued to a firm substrate of some kind or it will simply roll back up again. Even if it doesn't, it is way too fragile to use by itself.

Yet another problem is that at your desired screen size you can't use common 4x8 foot sheet goods as a screen substrate (unless you could except a 98" screen). You would probably have to special order larger sheets such as 5x10 foot MDF and that gets expensive quick, and then there is the problem of getting a relatively non-bendable sheet into your HT.

You might be able to use something like 3 mm thick sheets of PVC material such as Sintra (which is quite bendable if not rollable), but it's fairly expensive, especially in the larger sheets. The upside is that you probably wouldn't have to glue it to a substrate if the frame held it tight enough.
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post #9 of 36 Old 01-25-12, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

Thank you Harpmaker!


Aye. Ugh.. The rolled up laminate isn't the high pressure sort? Or the general purpose kind? What I was thinking was either use an abundance of mirror clips to hold it in place, or just screw it directly into the wall.
Would it begin to "puff up" in the middle if I used clips or screws? I just finished reading a site where a guy bought a roll of laminate, then screwed it into to the wall. It looked really nice. Would this eventually lead to disaster down the road with the laminate doing something naughty? And, could he have used mirror clips instead?

About the "no tools", I was slightly exaggerating. I'm just having trouble finding instructions that don't include the kitchen sink. There is no shortage of flamboyant, overkill designs out there. lol Not knocking them, just sayin' I wish there were more KISS designs than I can find.

Agreed about the 4x8. Too small. I'm set on 110" or larger diagonal. Any smaller, and I'm starting to feel like I'm back in TV land. lol I really like the idea of laminate (don't have to paint, but can later if want).

Sintra sounds nice, but to ship a 5x10 piece to my apartment? Yikes. I'm assuming (perhaps wrongly) that the shipping on that sucker would be... unmentionable. And, the closest place I know of is Memphis TN to go buy some and transport it myself. And, is it a nice screen without paint is another question. I really like the ability to have a screen now without paint, but paint later optionally. I'm really liking the idea of Fashion Gray.

If I must use a backer, I did see some foam boards at Lowes, although I would like to not use anything I absolutely do not have to.

Thanks Harpmaker!

-Jon

P.S. Do you still think it would be too fragile if nobody touches it? No kids or pets around these parts.

Last edited by j0nnyfive; 01-25-12 at 06:29 PM.
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post #10 of 36 Old 01-25-12, 07:08 PM
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Re: Very easy, fool-proof "hot swappable" screen frame?

Actually, I was only half joking. (although I'm relieved you didn't think I was being a jerk!)

I'll bet you could find a handyman (or some unemployed construction worker on Craigslist) who would be happy to make something as simple as a frame for you for a very small amount. Making a frame makes things a LOT easier. (Especially with the french cleat, makes the screen easy to pop on and off)

Just a thought, anyway, else I don't have much to contribute. Anything I can dream up, I have at least the basic tools I'd need to get the job done. (a circular saw, a jig saw, a hand miter saw and a plain drill will let you do nearly anything, and can be had for under $200 without undue difficulty, considerably less if you buy used)

Last edited by KalaniP; 01-25-12 at 07:27 PM.
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