Here’s an excellent home DIY project; a widescreen projector for the ultimate home theatre system – on a budget.
The project plans are available free from Lumenlab.com, who sell all the components needed to construct the system, or they can even supply complete systems for $499 for those who of you who are a bit nervous about building the projector yourself.
The most expensive component of the DIY XGA projector is the LCD panel, which can be scavenged from a 15” LCD display. A metal halide lamp is used, costing around $50, which is a fifth of what you would pay for a commercial projector but probably uses a lot more power too.
The Fresnel lens is supplied by Lumenlab.
The website features an active forum, where members proudly exhibit photos of their home made projectors (two examples of which are shown here) and show videos of favourite films as displayed on their 110 inch screens.
The most difficult part of the project is the stripping of the 15” LCD display, which isn’t easy because of the fragile edge connectors and flat cables. The modular design of the projector is such that you could start with a second hand SVGA LCD monitor though, and upgrade to a 1024 x 768 (XGA) later once you’ve had a practice run.
I’m sold, and I’m printing out the plans as I write. Keep an eye out for the debut of my first build in the Lumenlab forum!