Magic Screwdriver Decides If You Watch TV Or Not


Video projectors are great. They can easily produce a very large image to watch. With that large image comes a large screen, and who wants to look at a large screen when not watching TV? Well, [Steve] didn’t either so he set out to make a powered retractable screen for his projector. The best part about this one is that it is done in true DIY/hacker fashion. The parts used are definitely not intended to be used as anything close to a projector screen and the overall cost is kept to an absolute minimum.


The business end of this project is an electric screwdriver. It is mounted to a shelf that’s sole intent is to support the contraption. The screen rolls around a standard cardboard tube. A screwdriver bit, wooden dowel, bronze bushing and water pipe fitting are responsible for connecting the drill to the cardboard tube. Holding the bronze bushing in place is a clip that is intended for broom handles and the like. The whole thing is covered up by a cornice to hide the hackery.

To raise and lower the screen, [Steve] has to reach up and manually push buttons on the screwdriver. In the future we’d like to see a wired or IR remote to control the screen so it can be raised and lowered from the comfort of the couch.



8 thoughts on “Magic Screwdriver Decides If You Watch TV Or Not

  1. This is nice and elegant.

    If you want to solve the same problem, I have a projector screen in my room, and ended up using dry-erase-paint for it — it looks like white paint when the projector is off, reflects very well (which lets me run the projector at half power, thereby making the light last a lot longer), and you actually can use it as a dry-erase board after. It’s a bit expensive, but would cost as much as an actual screen, leave you leftover paint (I did my lab room with it), and occupies zero space.

  2. It doesn’t have a remote, and thats ok. No power leaching.

    But limit switches and latching relays so you don’t have to stand there and hold the button down would have been nice.

  3. I made one of these once almost exactly the same way but I used pvc so it sagged from the weight of the screen making it not roll up perfectly straight. I eventually had to take it down because of this, I assume that cardboard tube is pretty thick and rigid to allow it to function properly. If anyone does this I don’t recommend using PVC or at least try a larger diameter and or different material composition.

  4. ??? this post is based off of a link from 9 years ago?

    Why not write up a post base on this link since it is only 4 years old:

    I’m OK with the hack itself, but everyone thinking of building something similar should know that you can find find used tubular motors (that already have internal limit switches) on eBay for about what you’d pay for a motorized screwdriver and you can still “hack” the rest. Also a steel or aluminum tube would have less deflection across the span.

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