June 23, 2008 by Bryant Moore
Q. Is there an economical way to have a rear projection frame/mirror system for your home theater? Everything I look at costs mega-bucks. - Clay, Houston
A. A rear projection frame/mirror assembly can be expensive because it’s a complex, specialized type of projection system. The mirror(s) “folds” the projected image so that it travels its full (throw) distance in a very small space. The systems are usually designed to specific, individual requirements. The systems typically employ a trapezoid-shaped first surface glass mirror and possibly even a second mirror (to project the image onto the back of the screen) and an adjustable projector cradle to fit a specific projector. Due to the complex and custom nature of the system, prices can easily fall into the $5,000 to $15,000 range. However, if you don’t need anything too fancy, too large or completely custom, you can probably find a standalone type of unit for $3,000 to $4,000.
And even though this won’t help you with the frame/mirror assembly, I recall reading about someone who made a rear-projection screen from wax paper. In this setup, several 5 ft. strips were placed horizontally and several 4 ft. strips were placed vertically. The sheets were entwined in a basket-weave like pattern and bonded together with a warm iron (smooth towels are placed on either side of the wax paper). Black duct tape was placed around all four sides to prevent rips and to provide strength for hanging. I don’t know if this is urban legend or if it really works, but good luck! Write back and let us know if you’ve heard about it.
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A classically-trained musician and former network administrator, Bryant Moore has turned a lifelong passion for music and A/V equipment into a thriving business with Charlotte, NC based Moore Audio Design. He has over a decade of experience in designing and implementing home electronics systems.
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