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Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

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Hack #77. Construct a Screen for Projection

If you've got a projection-based system, you've probably already realized that without a screen, projectors are just about useless. Good screens can cost big bucks, unless you know how to build one yourself!

With digital projectors as cheap as they are today it's a shame the screen is still so expensive. Many screens out there cost more than budget projectors do. However, you can get a decent screen from numerous online vendors for a few hundred dollars. (The larger fixed screens with fancy screen fabrics and nice masking systems you'd like to have can cost several thousand dollars.) Given my experiences with samples of the hyped screen fabrics out there my preference is definitely blackout fabric and my own frame for a total cost of about $50.

Frame It and Stretch It

Building a basic screen isn't much more difficult than building speaker stands [Hack #75] . That might seem hard to believe, but a screen is just wood and fabric. If you can build a simple wooden frame and can follow some simple canvas stretching techniques, it's a piece of cake.

Begin by getting some 1/4-inch flooring plywood. Cut the plywood to your desired screen size (note that this technique limits you to a 48-inch-tall screen). You'll also need some 3/4-inch pine shelving material that you should cut into 3 to 4 inch wide strips, sized to make a frame that will mount on the plywood.

I chose to construct the frame using simple but very strong fishplate joints. Figure 9-4 ...

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