Motorized Projector Screen


[Brad O’Connor] has completed his motorized projector screen that we mentioned last month while covering his Lumenlab projector build. The screen is driven by a windshield washer motor using the low speed connection. The 126″ screen is supported by a copper pipe and is attached using Velcro. Brad says the wrinkles aren’t visible during playback, but he plans on adding more weight to remove them. He’s also planning on wireless control in the future.

22 thoughts on “Motorized Projector Screen

  1. From the site:
    Screen material: $35.00 Lumenlab
    Black Material: $25.00 fabric shop
    Flock Tape: Free Donation
    Motor: $19.00 MPJA
    DPDT Switch: $2.00 MPJA
    Wood: $12.00 Menards
    Copper pipe: $10.00 Home Depo
    Copper fittings: $2.00 Home Depo
    Conduit weight: $4.00 Home Depo
    Wiring: Free My Garage
    Velcro: $14.00 Fastenal
    Hardware: $3.00 Fastenal
    Total: $126.00

    That is awesome. 126″ = 10.5′ Wow. He did it cheaply too which is very important.

  2. Nice project, but I feel the need to point out two grammatical errors. 1. What is being done with the switches is “polarity reversal”, not “phase reversal”. AC has phase. DC has polarity. 2. It is Home Depot, not Home Depo. Depo (Prevara) is an injection for birth control. A depot is a railroad or bus station, or a warehouse. Yeah I know… I’m being a pain with grammar, but language is the tool we build with and this is actually a nifty project worthy of a good write up :) I’m vaguely freaked out by the choice of motor and switch… I didn’t know they even made that particular big toggle switch with the big red and black ON OFF ON plate anymore. I used the same switched 20 years ago when attempting to build my first robot. I used windshield wiper motors to drive it. I wonder what my parents would say if I popped by their place and wanted the remains of my old robot thats been hanging in their store room for two decades… I guess I’ll find out. K9 must live again!

  3. Spherical monkey, you will notice that that wiring diagram is from another source, and in that instance it was used in an electric guitar phase reversal. I just neglected to say that it was polarity. And I guess I never noticed the home depot thing. I work for Fastenal, so what do I care if I spelt it wrong ;) Also I choose that style switch because it fit with the look and feel of my projector. I liked the “old” AV look.

  4. Cool project brad, the only suggestion I could make is to put limit switches on the screen so the motor stops automatically instead of waiting by the switch to stop it yourself. some of those light sensitive sensors might do the trick, when the bottom of the screen passes by one it cuts the light and so the screeen stops.

  5. Wouldn’t adding more weight *increase* the severity of the wrinkles? What causes them, I suspect, is the uneven amount of tension across the horizontal span of the screen, which is in turn caused by the sides of the screen not being evenly cut/framed. The only way to remove them would be to recut/reframe the screen material to more exacting (i.e. straight and right) dimensions, while weighting the outside corners slightly more than the center.

  6. I thought about a limit switch, but the aspect ratio can vary a lot between my games, dvds, and HDTV. So I figured it would be best to just manually adjust right now. Maybe I can set it up with 3 different settings or something. If you guys missed it there is a video. I repdated my site with some “corrections” and I forgot I never saved it after I made the bigger video link. So look at the upper left. “screen in action”

  7. Actually, the limit switch might be easy to implement if you can somehow use the “parking sensor” inputs to shut down the motor.

    Have you ever examined how old garage door openers used to build their limit switches? It’s really neat, actually. They connect a long piece of threaded rod to the shaft assembly that operates the drive sprocket. They then mount switches near both ends of the threaded rod, and put a captive travelling nut on the threaded rod itself. As the motor spins, it screws (or unscrews) the captive nut along the shaft. When the nut hits the switch, the door shuts off.

    That may be overkill, of course. Dr. Cross’ sugestion is much simpler.

    A limit switch doesn’t imply that you can or can’t stop the screen travel anywhere in between. It just prevents the motor from spinning so far that it damages your equipment.

  8. well brad, if you want a few different aspect ratios, why not get a microcontroller and use some IR proximity sensors on your wall, push a button for “game” and it lowers the screen to the right size for games, “movies” for movies, etc.

    click my name for the ir proximity sensors.

  9. You might want to have a look at Carsten Heuer’s project using two old scanners to integrate a motorized projector screen into his shelf unit (see URL under ma name). Sorry, the descripion is in german, but the pictures at the bottom should be clear enough.

  10. Wrinkles are not visible during playback? i think someone needs a pair of fresh glases, not to spoil the fun but watching a movie on a surface thats not very flat is like watching the waters surface with small waves on it and saying the image is not distorted. Theres a reason for why the screens that have a frame are insane expensive.

  11. I have to agree with max, those wrinkles have got to be distracting. Especially on dark scenes. We’re currently working on a HT setup using a 100″ screen that has some slight wrinkles, it’s driving us up the wall. The wrinkle is not that bad, but it’s enough that we can see it…especially on scenes that pan. Anyone know the best way to remove wrinkles from a Dalite glass bead pull down screen?

  12. Hey Brad, its Probin here. I just gone through your project and found it very interesting to be implemented, but the problem is that I can not figure out the various components and their connections clearly. So, if you can provide me with detailed information regarding this project then it will be a great help for me. You can mail me at I’ll be waiting for your responce. Thanks!

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