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I have looked at multiple DIY guides on how to build a good laminate frame. On each one, there are things that I like and dislike. Here is my thought process on what I think I am going to do with my screen.

I appreciate your input on this. If you see something that may be way out of whack or you think I will have trouble with, please let me know.


WA DW laminate screen - 120" (59x105)

1. Cut my laminate width to no less than 106".
2. Glue laminate to thin hard board for stability.
3. Build frame that is slightly bigger than the laminate.
4. Screw laminate to front side of frame. I have a 1/2 inch on top and bottom for screws. I am hoping this is enough.
5. Create second frame that will lay on top of screwed down laminate. This will be the masking frame and will cover screw holes around laminate.
6. Attach long french cleat on back. I want to do a long piece for the french cleat for better support. I figure this screen will be a bit heavy.
7. Screen ready for hanging.

I know on many guides, they don't glue the laminate to hardboard or mdf and just use wood for support. I thought the hardboard would be better.

I have not quite figured out how the masking frame will work...but my mother-in-law is a seamstress, so I have no worries about how to get the velvet on the frame and folded correctly.

Anyone see anything here that I might have missed? I know this is not detailed...just a rough sketch of what I am thinking. I feel this could work very well...but I could be missing something.
 

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Looks like a good plan to me. Sounds like you've planned it out pretty well and are doing it the "right" way and not cutting corners. That usually pays off in the end.

I'd love to see some screen shots of the WA DW and where you get it/cost when you get it all finished :)
 

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Welcome to the Shack!

Okay there are two main schools of thought when it comes to laminate screens and how to mount them...

The first is to build a rigid frame and then attach the laminate to the edges of the frame only. What was seen when the supports were also used to attach the laminate is it causes a bowing or waves because it unevenly pulls sections in while other areas have no support and bow slightly back out.

The second way of doing it is to use a solid backer just like you'd use if you were building a counter top. Seeing this is what this stuff was made for it isn't going to bow or have waves if done this way, but it makes the screen extremely heavy.

Some people have even drilled pilot holes and then screwed the laminate directly to the wall into the studs and then mounted a black border around it. The trick to doing it that way is that the pilot holes must be big enough to allow some play so the laminate isn't pulled tight in one area and loose in another... which again can possibly cause bowing.

The method you outlined seems sound but as you acknowledged it will be heavy.

Masking...

Here is the beauty of laminates and I don't think any other DIY screen out there can do this without seriously damaging the screen... that is if it would even work on the other method, and that is magnets!

Rare earth magnets are very strong. If you go with a full backer board, with some pre-planning you can determine where you're masking panels will need to go and then in the backer board drill some holes big enough to inset the rare earth magnets from the back. The laminate is thin enough that these magnets will be more than strong enough to hold masking panels in place.

On the screen side and for your masking panels I'd recommend using something like that pink Styrofoam insulation board you can get at Lowes or Home Depot. There are two types that I have seen, one is pretty thick, I'd estimate between an inch and a half to two inches thick... then the other which is around a half inch thick. Go with the thinner one so it doesn't stick out past your main black boarder and look strange.

You can then either inset magnets into the Styrofoam (opposite poles of course) and cover everything with black velvet, or just use metal plates. I found that the best ones to use are the thin metal plating used for heating duct systems, also found in Lowes and Home Depot. This works out very nice because you don't have to worry about getting the magnets perfectly lined up or worry about polarity. Also the metal is very thin and easily cut into smaller squares. Be very careful though because the edges can be extremely sharp. Anytime a person works with power tools, sprayers, or items like this, observe the proper safety precautions.

Now attach the metal to the back of the Styrofoam (anyway you wish, but there are adhesives made for Styrofoam that won't dissolve it, just ask in the store) and wrap everything with the black velvet.

Now you have a quick and easy manual masking system that is extremely easy to put up and take down and will stay in place until you physically remove it!

By wrapping the front and back of the masking panels with the material it will protect the laminates screen surface from either the front magnets or metal plates. Although laminates are extremely durable, there is no sense in taking any chances of scuffing or scratching the surface.

Other screens, especially painted screens would not stand up to the removing and placing the panels without eventually causing some wear on the painted surface even if it is protected. Granted it may take awhile before any wear damage starts to show on the paint, but once it's there, it's not an easy fix. Cloth screens will not work because quite frankly I have no idea how you would attach the magnets to the back and if you could it seems like they would be visible on the front as bumps in the screen. So this is pretty much as far as I know a laminate exclusive for a very easy manual masking system.

French Cleat-
You can either rip a 2x4 or use a hangman cleat that has a built in level. Another option if to use carpet edge strips like Tritonman used. His method was very ingenious and cost effective too.

I hope that answered your questions and helped you out. If not, always feel free to ask more questions, that's what we're here for!
 

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Looks like a good plan to me. Sounds like you've planned it out pretty well and are doing it the "right" way and not cutting corners. That usually pays off in the end.

I'd love to see some screen shots of the WA DW and where you get it/cost when you get it all finished :)
Definitely shop around.

I mention Lowes and Home Depot in the main laminate thread here and elsewhere because that's the easiest place for most people, but easy almost always means more expensive.

For instance in my area I have a local contractor's lumber yard and home center (very few contractors actually buy from the big box stores because of price... and no professional painters that I have talked to use their paints either). The store isn't as big as Lowes or Home Depot, but everything is generally less expensive. A 4x8 sheet of Designer White at Home Depot would cost me around $95 at my local Home Depot, at the contractor store the same size sheet is only $48. They can also get the larger 5x10 and 5x12 sheets and... they don't add on the extra $20-25 special fee that Home Depot does.

Someone in Maryland did some shopping around and got their's for $36 for a 4x8 sheet. I've seen some people blast laminates as being too expensive, but if a person shops around they really aren't that much more if any than some advance DIY paint methods that require a half a dozen or more ingredients. Plus you don't have to worry about making a mistake measuring one ingredient for the mix and then the whole batch is hosed!

I've even seen people talk about painting laminates because they can be obtained in sheets larger than 4x8, but where they err is by going with the more expensive Wilsonart or Formica brand names. Most stores carry cheaper no name generic laminates too which are around half the price of Wilsonart and Formica. If a person solely wants a larger substrate to paint, save your money and get a less expensive brand of laminate... you're only going to paint it anyway right?

So why not use the cheaper laminate for a screen? Well that's just it, they are not only less expensive, but are also 'cheaper'. Mainly when it comes to the protective coating. It's usually not as tough and durable as Wilsonart or Formica and even more importantly, I really haven't seen any that had good color balance. As a substrate to paint, they are great... as a screen... stick to Wilsonart!

There are some great screen shots in the laminate thread, and hopefully we'll soon be seeing some from spaceace as well! :)
 
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Thanks guys. wbassett, you have been a blessing...both on here and through PMs.

I really love the magnet idea. I will not have a lot of room on the top and bottom if I go with a 120" screen. I will have about a 1/2 inch each to play with. But I think I can align the magnets in a fashion that would still give me the screen area I want.

Hmmm....this is going to be fun!
 

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Great info. wbassett! I personally bought two sheets of 4x8 white panel board at HD for $11 each. Experimented with different paints, and currently use Tiddler's pearl and poly mix. Made a cheap frame/wall with some 2x4s and it works well for me.
 
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The more I think about this, the more it is coming into place. My frame can be slightly bigger than my laminate and I can put the magnets into the frame itself. I just need to route some holes and put the magnets in. This would allow me to align the masking panels any way that I want.

dradius: I looked all over Louisville and called some distributors. I was going to be charged anywhere from $120 to $150 for a 5x10 sheet of DW. HD would not sell me a single sheet. Finally a cabinet company gave me the name of a place that would give me a good deal. It's Smith's Laminating in Mount Washington. He is going to sell me a piece for around $99. I told him I needed DW and he said, "oh that's D354-60"...so he knows his inventory. I know you are from Louisville too...so this is a good resource if you decide to go that route.
 

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Hmmm....this is going to be fun!
Aside from saving money, that's the other big thing about DIY screens- It can be fun and definitely provides a sense of pride, especially when everything comes together and looks like a screen costing thousands! The pride smiles really come when family or friends come over and start asking about how much things cost and then say "You built that yourself?!"

The other great thing is you can take the money you saved and buy a Bluray player (or more movies if you already have one) or upgrade your speakers... or just pocket the money for other things like gas and heating oil! ;)
 
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The other great thing is you can take the money you saved and buy a Bluray player (or more movies if you already have one) or upgrade your speakers... or just pocket the money for other things like gas and heating oil! ;)
Well...let's see...I saved big money on buying the Sany Z2000 with the $600 rebate. I am buying a complete set of Klipsch Icon series speakers (minus sub) for $1500 (slightly used). Normal price is around $2700. And I am building my own screen for around $150 or less.

I am going to buy the Panasonic BD30 Bluray player which can now be had for $259. Everything I read about that player is good.

So I will have saved tons of money on my new home theater!! My wife is proud...to say the least. She hates spending money!
 

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Thanks for the DW info. I'm not sure what the advantages are of DW over regular white panel board, but I'm going to read up on it and may check that place out. It's good to know where you can get stuff. It took a bit of work for me to track down some 24" sonotube from a local place.
 

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Space,

The problem with hardboard is added weight and more than likely you'll need more than one sheet if you're going with a larger screen. My original Fashion Grey laminate screen weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of about 50 pounds. It was built out of 1X4 poplar with the laminate glued only to the outer part of the frame.

As for the masking, I built a 1X3 frame out of maple and covered it in velvet. I screwed it to the laminate from the backside. Pretty simple stuff. :T
 

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Well...let's see...I saved big money on buying the Sany Z2000 with the $600 rebate. I am buying a complete set of Klipsch Icon series speakers (minus sub) for $1500 (slightly used). Normal price is around $2700. And I am building my own screen for around $150 or less.

I am going to buy the Panasonic BD30 Bluray player which can now be had for $259. Everything I read about that player is good.

So I will have saved tons of money on my new home theater!! My wife is proud...to say the least. She hates spending money!
For $399 you can get the LG BD300 which will also play Netflix Watch Instantly movies streamed directly to the player... but if you were going to spend that much I'd probably look at the PS3 which can also stream Netflix movies as well as Hulu and other streaming content plus you can add external drives and store as many archived movies as you want. :)
 
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Space,

The problem with hardboard is added weight and more than likely you'll need more than one sheet if you're going with a larger screen. My original Fashion Grey laminate screen weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of about 50 pounds. It was built out of 1X4 poplar with the laminate glued only to the outer part of the frame.

As for the masking, I built a 1X3 frame out of maple and covered it in velvet. I screwed it to the laminate from the backside. Pretty simple stuff. :T
Yes...I figured I would have to use another piece of hardboard to fill in the spots on each side.

I have a great idea for magnets (for masking) that is a little different than what I have heard so far. I will take pictures as I build my screen and post a DIY when I am done....if I am successful!
 
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For $399 you can get the LG BD300 which will also play Netflix Watch Instantly movies streamed directly to the player... but if you were going to spend that much I'd probably look at the PS3 which can also stream Netflix movies as well as Hulu and other streaming content plus you can add external drives and store as many archived movies as you want. :)
I am going with the BD30 for two reasons. One is that it passes the HD audio formats to my Onkyo 705 which will decode them. The PS3 does not send or decode True HD and DTS HD-MA. The second reason is the price point and WAF. Actually, the second reason is the biggest.:foottap:
 
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