DIY Projector Redeux

My latest how-to is up over on engadget – I’m writing up my build of a HD projector – This one features DVI-D with HDCP support along with component, VGA and on board tuner. This is one of those projects where you can make all sorts of compromises, but I’ve gone all out on the hardware. Pro lenses, electronic ballast, 6500k lamp… If you’ve been considering building one of these, you should check it out. When it’s done I’ll give it a good going over – is the picture quality worth the effort? Peace of mind at using a $50 lamp instead of a $300 one?

16 thoughts on “DIY Projector Redeux

  1. and after reading the whole thing TheCrazzyman, go to to use their calculator.

    i don’t mind too much, but seriously guys, both the links i’ve posted were in the write up. could you read the whole thing completely before posting comments?

    it said the php version would run under most operating systems, if it doesn’t run on your email me. sonicrdcr (you-know-what) i’ll enter in your calculations and email you the answer

  2. Those 3W LEDs only put out 80 lumens, no matter how bright they seem.

    The 400-watt metal halide lamp they’re using puts out more than 55,000 lumens.

    I think that it wouldn’t be very efficient or cheap to build in well over 500 of those LEDs, let alone dealing with collimating all those separate beams. It’s reasonable to use LEDs for a desktop projector that you might use in a 4-5 person meeting, but only for their size and power requirements. LEDs just can’t hold a candle (pun intended) to the “old” incandescent lamps.

  3. l e d:
    Been there done that, unfortunately the lumens on a Luxeon just dont cut it yet. As a rule you need a point source of about 5,000 lumens to pull off a conventional DIY projector design. LEDs would be great otherwise because of the total absence of UV and IR and the incredible lamp lifetime. I tried using a Lamina Ceramics BL-3000 array with a PSOne LCD but I was slaughtered by Entendue problems.
    On the other hand, using large dense arrays of superbright LEDs immediately behind the LCD in conjunction with a CRT Projection lens will work. The problem is that the LED array has to be somewhat larger than the display panel (about 10-20%). See:

    Combining a large LED array (6 1/4″ dia), a PSOne projector and a US Precision Lens Delta 2 CRT lens would make an excellent (although somewhat dim) compact projector. The problem is getting a LED array of that size.
    As noted above check out:
    Pretty much the answer to your needs.
    The lens is at:
    the LED bulb is at:
    Get some LEGOs and you are ready to rock!

  4. I’ve disliked loomenlab because they have charged for their forum access and their plans (which aren’t anything special)

    The real DIY projector site:

    And a good explanation of the elements:

    And if you really want to get in over your head, there’s the 1920×1200 display and controller:

    Actually, I think a neat idea would be to buy a Dell laptop with that screen in it and hack that into a projector. You’d end up with a built-in HTPC, but it wouldn’t have the cool controller board that accepts the different video connections.

    You can get a good enough result to really enjoy with just about ANY combination of lenses and panels. If you get addicted and focused on really bright, clear images from corner to corner, you need to match your optics.

  5. I built one of these last year, but went with a 15″ screen. Obviously it was a lot cheaper, weighing in under $300 when finished. It works pretty well, at least good enough for visitors to say “wow” at the projected image, so i’m not being prejudiced here. the downside to the 19″ project is going to be the absolutely gargantuan size. my 15″ projector already looks like a mini-fridge suspended next to my couches. to use such a large screen you need to have a very long focal length…this 19″ project is going to look like a coffin. probably best to stand it on end and bounce out the side with a mirror. another thing that’s going to suck is that metal-halide bulb, i’ve used a 400 watt, 6500K, virtually identical. the color temperature is ok (10000K is useless), but the arc size is absolutely huge. because of the way projector optics work, any arc outside of maybe 7 millimeters is completely wasted light. if these guys were really interested in going all-out on this project, they would check into the double-ended hqi lamps which have a much smaller arc. there’s a chinese guy named “ywh” on diyaudio forums who’s been supplying various small-arc bulbs for under $50. a short arc bulb of 250 watts will beat these guys with a 400 watt bulb. the image will also be sharper.

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  7. hi guys ! im need a help here and hopefully anyone can give me some advise, i was trying to d.i.y my first projector about 100 inch and i dont know what parts that i need :eg;what kind of lense,lcd sizes,fresnal sizes, and what kind of bulb . thanks

  8. Did this ever go anywhere? I wonder how well it can work because the projection lenses didn’t have to be achromatic because each one was only used for one color. However, this system requires one lense to handle all colors and these lenses won’t focus all colors at the same time, thus producing a blurred image????

    I just pulled three out of a neighbor’s old TV and can use them and the screen for science demos at the local Challenger Learning Center
    Regards, ScienceAdvisorSteve

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