Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments? - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 16 Old 02-16-13, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

Hello everyone!


I need (and I bet others would love) a mobile and cheap acoustically transparent (AT) screen. When I lived in an apartment, I painted the screen on the wall with Kilz primer (fabbbulouuuuuuuus.) I was so impressed with the Kilz that I stopped painting.

I have moved back home and am changing careers. There is no place to put a screen in this house (which isn't my house anyway), so now I'm looking for something mobile to throw up in front of the entertainment system in the living room. It needs to be AT, and cheap. Does such a thing exist?

Here's what I'm thinking: There are probably bedsheets out there that are better than other sheets. Higher thread count probably means better picture, but less acoustic transparency. I'm wondering if anyone has found a good compromise (or other material) for a situation like mine?

How does a white sheet with a black backing work? Has anyone been concentrating on finding the perfect bed sheet? lol I've learned that if you do not wash the sheet, it has a kind of shine to it, and that you can stretch the sheet tight and spray a little water on it to get wrinkles out. This is all I've learned (I'm not sure how effective these things are).

Anyway, I'm not looking for perfection in either picture or sound, but I do want to find the best practical thing I can.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 16 Old 02-16-13, 08:04 PM
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Re: Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

Quote:
j0nnyfive wrote: View Post
Hello everyone!


I need (and I bet others would love) a mobile and cheap acoustically transparent (AT) screen. When I lived in an apartment, I painted the screen on the wall with Kilz primer (fabbbulouuuuuuuus.) I was so impressed with the Kilz that I stopped painting.

I have moved back home and am changing careers. There is no place to put a screen in this house (which isn't my house anyway), so now I'm looking for something mobile to throw up in front of the entertainment system in the living room. It needs to be AT, and cheap. Does such a thing exist?

Here's what I'm thinking: There are probably bedsheets out there that are better than other sheets. Higher thread count probably means better picture, but less acoustic transparency. I'm wondering if anyone has found a good compromise (or other material) for a situation like mine?

How does a white sheet with a black backing work? Has anyone been concentrating on finding the perfect bed sheet? lol I've learned that if you do not wash the sheet, it has a kind of shine to it, and that you can stretch the sheet tight and spray a little water on it to get wrinkles out. This is all I've learned (I'm not sure how effective these things are).

Anyway, I'm not looking for perfection in either picture or sound, but I do want to find the best practical thing I can.

Thanks!
What size screen are you thinking about?

One of the best DIY AT screen materials is Matte White Milliskin Spandex with a black sheet of the same material behind it to help prevent bleed-through and stop any lights or reflections from coming back through the screen to mess with the projected image. You only want to stretch the Spandex enough to make the screen surface taut; there are a number of ways to do this.
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post #3 of 16 Old 02-17-13, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

Excellent. I was researching spandex tonight. I'd like to build myself a frame that will allow a 120" screen size or less (typical TV dimensions, 16:9 I think). I was thinking a frame made of PVC? I don't really care about borders, but if a border is easy... why not? But if it isn't easy, no prob! I really like the idea of spandex, if that's the best option. So I would just purchase the Matte White Milliskin, and also the Matte Black Milliskin, and put them back to back? And the black sheet absorbs back spill? That makes sense. I wonder what would be the best way to attach the fabric to the screen frame?

Thank you for your help, Harpmaker!

Last edited by j0nnyfive; 02-17-13 at 01:35 AM. Reason: More info
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post #4 of 16 Old 02-17-13, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

I'm also noticing some spandex builds combing white and silver. I'm not sure what the rationale is for this. I'm still looking, but I'm curious what you guys think about this. It seems to me that you would want black because you ideally would not want any light to "come back" through your screen from the back. Kinda scratching my head about the silver/gray layer behind the white layer. Partial reflection, partial absorption? I'll keep reading...
Thanks for your research guys!
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post #5 of 16 Old 02-18-13, 08:32 PM
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Re: Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

Quote:
j0nnyfive wrote: View Post
Excellent. I was researching spandex tonight. I'd like to build myself a frame that will allow a 120" screen size or less (typical TV dimensions, 16:9 I think). I was thinking a frame made of PVC? I don't really care about borders, but if a border is easy... why not? But if it isn't easy, no prob! I really like the idea of spandex, if that's the best option. So I would just purchase the Matte White Milliskin, and also the Matte Black Milliskin, and put them back to back? And the black sheet absorbs back spill? That makes sense. I wonder what would be the best way to attach the fabric to the screen frame?

Thank you for your help, Harpmaker!
The best DIY AT screen solution would be to use the screen material from Seymour, but it is much more expensive than Spandex.

I'm going to get some Screen Tight strips from Home Depot or Lowe's to experiment with since this material has been used to successfully make Spandex screens. It does need to be screwed to a wooden frame though and is not free-standing.


Quote:
I'm also noticing some spandex builds combing white and silver. I'm not sure what the rationale is for this. I'm still looking, but I'm curious what you guys think about this. It seems to me that you would want black because you ideally would not want any light to "come back" through your screen from the back. Kinda scratching my head about the silver/gray layer behind the white layer. Partial reflection, partial absorption? I'll keep reading...
Thanks for your research guys!
Congratulations, your "nonsense meter" seems to be working fine! You are correct in your thinking, you do NOT want any light that passes through your screens surface layer to be reflected back toward you since the reflected light coming from anywhere but the screen surface will do nothing but soften the image and lower contrast levels even if it does make the screen image appear brighter. The only reason I can see for recommending white/gray or gray/white Spandex screens is to keep in harmony with that forums rationale for thinking that a translucent screen paint is desirable when it really isn't. The height of that folly is recommending painting a mirror with thin translucent layers of paint (which they call Light Fusion). It simply doesn't pass scientific scrutiny.

It should also be mentioned that "silver" Spandex is NOT metallic in luster, but rather a matte gray color if purchased in a matte finish.
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-18-13, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

I would love to have one of those Seymour screens, and I plan on doing one in the future in a more permanent installation for sure! The spandex is just something for on the road. I would be a nervous wreck trying to transport Seymour material. lol I need something expendable.

So! lol The silver mirror paint people strike again eh? Nice! I had a feeling... I've heard that's how the holodeck on the starship Enterprise works. Okay, I'll stop.

Thanks for that video! That looks like it will do the trick nicely! I have just ordered the Matte White Milliskin and Matte Black Milliskin from Spandex World, and am about to construct a PVC frame. My mom is going to sew a long loop on each of the 4 edges that runs the length of those edges, so that the screen can be put up like a tent. My only two concerns at this point are the PVC frame sagging in the middle, and also the spandex losing it's tautness over time. Do you have any advice or concerns about what I'm doing? This may be asking too much, but do you think you could guestimate what percentage larger a properly "taut" screen would be compared to the relaxed fabric? For example, would you think 10% larger dimensions? I'm going to experiment when I get it, but I'm just curious about your opinion on the milliskin.

Much appreciated!
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post #7 of 16 Old 02-18-13, 10:08 PM
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Re: Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

Quote:
j0nnyfive wrote: View Post
I would love to have one of those Seymour screens, and I plan on doing one in the future in a more permanent installation for sure! The spandex is just something for on the road. I would be a nervous wreck trying to transport Seymour material. lol I need something expendable.

So! lol The silver mirror paint people strike again eh? Nice! I had a feeling... I've heard that's how the holodeck on the starship Enterprise works. Okay, I'll stop.

Thanks for that video! That looks like it will do the trick nicely! I have just ordered the Matte White Milliskin and Matte Black Milliskin from Spandex World, and am about to construct a PVC frame. My mom is going to sew a long loop on each of the 4 edges that runs the length of those edges, so that the screen can be put up like a tent. My only two concerns at this point are the PVC frame sagging in the middle, and also the spandex losing it's tautness over time. Do you have any advice or concerns about what I'm doing? This may be asking too much, but do you think you could guestimate what percentage larger a properly "taut" screen would be compared to the relaxed fabric? For example, would you think 10% larger dimensions? I'm going to experiment when I get it, but I'm just curious about your opinion on the milliskin.

Much appreciated!
I can't quite visualize what your PVC frame will look like. Are you going to use PVC pipe? At this point I also assume that the frame will be able to be taken apart for easy transportation. Be sure to carefully roll your Spandex screen so that no creases or wrinkles get into it. If the PVC wants to sag under the pressure of the screen then you would have to figure out a way to provide extra bracing. I'll be thinking about that too.

I have only handled ~3" square samples of the Spandex so I really can't say how much a full size screen would stretch before becoming taut. I would give a very rough guess at between 10 and 20 percent.
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post #8 of 16 Old 02-19-13, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

Well, I browsed the PVC pipe isle at Lowe's last night and decided on 2" pvc pipe. I have a friend with some tools that will help me cut the right lengths. The frame will be a 120" 16:9 diagonal, very simple PVC construction. There won't be any bracing along the back because I'm wanting minimal acoustic interference. However, at this time, I am only planning on putting the center channel behind the screen (I don't actually have a center speaker yet). I'm kind of a mess aren't I? So, I WILL have these things in the future. lol

The bracing issue is what has me puzzled. I'm not even sure it WILL sag to any major degree. I'm just wondering if there is a better way than PVC, to do this. Or, is there a better way to construct the frame from PVC than the simplistic way I have in mind (basically, just a simple rectangle with two legs to hold it up).

I wonder if the "schedule" of PVC makes a difference as to it's "bowing rigidity". When I get this thing done, and if it works well, I will post a step-by-step with pictures as I will be excited as all get out. lol Back to class!
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post #9 of 16 Old 02-19-13, 12:04 PM
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Re: Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

http://www.carlofet.com/projector-sc...materials.html
have you looked at this material?
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post #10 of 16 Old 02-19-13, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Any new cheap, DIY AT screen developments?

ticopowel, Thanks for that suggestion! I will write that down in my list of possibilities.
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