Diary of a new garage – part 6

<![CDATA[About six months ago (best man) Scott gave me an LCD projector that he had spare. It's a 3M MP8640 – a big, heavy office projector that originally cost about £3,500 when it was made back in early 2000. Ten years on it still does a pretty good job, so I was determined to do something decent with it.

I didn’t think Tara would be too impressed with me setting up a cinema in our living room, so I decided to install it out in the summer house. With our wee baby Ewan arriving just a few weeks ago, I didn’t want to spend much on the setup. It worked out pretty well, in the end costing me less than £20.

First step was to choose a screen. Tara’s dad let me try out their old slide projector screen. It produced a nice clear picture, but it didn’t quite give me the size I was after. Also, I thought it would be pretty difficult to mount on the wall as it was designed as a floor stander.

In the end I decided to go for an IKEA Tupplur blind, which I had read good things about on some AV forums. In 180cm width it cost just £18.99 and gives a 16:9 picture of approx 82″. Here’s how it looks with the lights on (just to show the size and positioning)…

The projector is quite noisy, so I thought it would be best to put it in the garage side with a wee projection window allowing the light through to the summer house side. For the projection window, I used a 6×4″ photo frame which was perfect for the job. The only problem was that it was directly above my dart board, so I added another hinged 7×5″ frame over the top with the glass replaced with wood, just in case any stray darts go directly though the projector lens.

The only remaining problem was keystoning. The projector has fixed keystone correction and was designed to be desk mounted, so when mounting it from the ceiling the picture was heavily skewed. I fixed that by mounting the projector upside down and then rotating the picture 180 degrees. At some point I still need to build a wooden frame to mount the projector at the correct angle, but for now it’s resting quite happily on my DIY book.

Here’s the finished results in the dark (excuse the visible WMP controls at the top and bottom – it obviously looks much better with those hidden)…

And finally, here’s how the whole summer house is looking these days (click for larger version)…

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