So, one of the big things I'm going to show in my next RV update video is the home theater I built into it. Right now I have a lycra/polyester fabric that I currently use for a screen. When I pull it taut, the sides bow in, giving me a smaller rectangle than is optimal to use for projection.
I would like to edge the screen with black non-stretch webbing to create a frame. My two ideas are as follows:
1. Maybe just having the non stretch webbing will force the screen to be rectangular and not bow in.
2. Maybe I should stretch the fabric out like I have it now, and pin the webbing to it while it's stretched. Then when I sew the webbing in, maybe the fabric will be rectangular? Here's a picture to show what I mean:
Suggestions on how to do this? This is one of the last things standing between me and my next RV post.
I'm on an iPhone so can't be lengthy. What you are trying to make is, from a design standpoint, a kite.
Google "rectangular kite designs" and you will see many possibilities. Maybe one will work for you.
What about replacement poles for a tent. They're lightweight, break down and can be cut as needed. As for the fabric, I'm sure you know someone with a sewing machine.
Why does it have to stretch? If you're just trying to make a smooth(ish) dispaly surface it doesn't need to be stretched tight causing your bowing issue. Just pulled tight enough to make it flat.
Your best bet, From my experience in working with projector screens, is to have a metal par, or something rigid, on the top and bottom. then stretch aircraft wire (twisted strand, really stong wire) between each side, forming a rectangle that you want (with the wires being the vertical beams). Taking a smaller wire, or maybe just create a sleeve with the polyester material, attach the sides of the material every inch to the wire. this allows for a screen that is stretched tight, but can be rolled up when needed, and when hung, will maintain its shape. Just my experience working as an AV tech at Uni.
I can't really have rigid bars in it, because of where I'm stowing the screen when it's not in use. One of the vertical sides could be totally rigid, though, leaving me three sides to deal with. Do you think that aircraft wire on those three sides would be enough to keep the stretchy screen material from bowing in?
That really depends on the strength of the wire. the heavier wire would be better, but then you have a unwieldy heavy contraption that will probably have spent a fortune on. hmm...I guess another way to do it is to have collapsible camping style tent rods for the four sides, and then just make the polyester have sleeves on all four sides. That way you can put the tent poles through when you use it, and then collapse the entire thing down when you don't need it. For each corner, just have a small block of wood that has holes on 2 of the six sides that you can insert the ends of the poles into. So, to sum this contraption up:
- get 2 sets of collapsible tent poles. Cut them so that they can still collapse, but are much shorter. A hacksaw to cut the titanium, and then re-tie the ends of the elastic inner around a washer so they still collapse properly.
- Sew the four sides of the polyester into sleeves, so the tent poles can slide through the edges. By hand is cheaper, but a sewing machine would get it done in minutes instead of hours.
- get 4 small pieces of wood to act as corners. Get a drill and bit that is slightly bigger than the tent pole ends, and drill two adjacent sides half way through the wood. this will hold the four corners of the screen.
- slip the fabric over the tent poles, attach the four corners of wood, and the fabric alone should hold it pretty well. You can always have two more tent poles to act as diagonal braces, but this is overkill. personally, I love Overkill, but that is just me.
This should work pretty well, and last for a good while. the weakest part is the stitches, but a double stitch pattern would hold for years. Plus, its frugal, which Is awesome, and relatively minimalist, which always looks neat (I am a minimalist, so the less parts the better).
PS - if you ever stop by reno, Shoot me an email. It would be good to meet the guy who is convincing me to live in an RV (which sounds AWESOME, by the way)
Here's a possibility: stretch the fabric over a rectangular wooden frame the size and shape you want the screen, and secure it with staples. While the material is square in the frame, somehow attach the webbing to the sides, then ditch the frame. Maybe this will make the whole thing stay square.
do you think hanging clamps/clothespins from small magnets from the ceiling to support the top of the screen would work?
I think for any chance of it working you would need to stretch the screen out to a the rectangle and then sew the webbing on... maybe the wooden frame would be worth a try. Then when you remove the frame it may work... I like the idea Kyle talked about with something rigid on the top and bottom then you could at least roll it up.
I don't see how it's possible without rigid bars of sort... how about collapsible fiberglass tent sticks? Hem the ends of your fabric to where the sticks will fit through the entirety of each edge (make sense?) and craft some corner braces from whatever material you like (wood, aluminum, lexan, etc.). If you can't locate anything like tent sticks, surely you can find room for some longer rods somewhere in the RV, even on the roof under your PV or under the chassis. You can cut a hole near the breaker panel is and slip them underneath the three drawers beside the bed or even under the matress? By that point, you could probably find a place to stow a real retractable screen (if you can't permanently affix it to the ceiling anywhere). Where are you wanting to position it? What projector are you using?
I wonder about a kevlar backing? Kevlar doesn't stretch (much), so perhaps that would work? Still, you would need to get it mounted on the kevlar fabric.
For new readers to the site, or old readers who haven't been paying attention, I live in my small RV. I bought my first RV in 2007, and except for short term travel rentals, I haven't lived in a house or apartment or any other non-wheeled dwelling since then. This sounds rather extreme, but I honestly don't feel like I live in a car.
When I'm parked my RV feels like a small house, complete with all of the comforts of a stationary home. Of course, these niceties haven't come easily-- I've spent hundreds of hours working on my RV, coming up with new ideas and implementing them in the home depot parking lot. Because I actually live in this thing and the improvement process is ongoing, it's never possible to say that I'm done. That said-- I can't really imagine too much more that I can do to this thing. I only have one or two big ideas left, and no immediate plans to implement them.
Here's what's new this round:
1. Painted everything. For a long time I've been hesitant to paint the RV, because I worried that the paint wouldn't stick to the disgusting fake-wood walls. Luckily an all purpose primer did the job. My RV is only 20' long, but it took me fifteen hours to mask the whole interior, prime everything, and then layer on two coats of paint. It was the first time I'd ever painted anything, and most of the time was spent dealing with all of the weird little angles and protrusions. As I mention in the video, I was hoping to get a grey color, but somehow ended up with blue. I'm not entirely sure how that happened, but I do remember saying, "I'm sick of picking colors... let's do this one."
A quick little post today on my routine that I go through when I'm stuck. Let's say that I'm programming and I'm hitting a wall, maybe I'm getting frustrated that I can't figure something out, and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. Despite being a supreme genius of the universe, this happens to me all the time. Now I have a little routine that I go through systematically, and eighty percent of the time or so it gets me moving again.
The first thing I do is I clean up my desk. I hate to admit that I'm influenced by such trivial things as desk clutter, but a nice empty clean desk has a real calming effect on the mind. Sometimes I even wipe it down with soap and water so that it's really clean. This sounds a little bit crazy, but I've noticed a consistent improvement in motivation when I do it. I also clean anything in front of me. In the RV, that's the two front seats and whatever's on the kitchen counter beside me.
Next I drink about sixteen ounces of water, even if I'm not thirsty. Left to my own devices, I drink very little water unless I'm at a restaurant, so I use frustration as a cue that I might need more water. Sometimes I have tea cold-brewing in the fridge, and I might drink that instead. Being even moderately dehydrated brings on feeling of fatigue, which can be confused with (or a part of) not being able to concentrate. Drinking water doesn't always have an effect, but sometimes it wakes me right up.
After cleaning and drinking some water, I play my violin. You can substitute anything left-brained here, like sketching or playing piano. I have theories about why this helps-- maybe it spins up the left brain and starts using it to tackle the problem at hand, maybe it gives the right brain a break to recharge its chemicals, or maybe it's all placebo. Regardless, I find that a good portion of the time after I play some music, I'll think of a totally different solution to the problem that I hadn't even considered before.