Monday, June 2, 2008

How to Build a Homemade Projector

Large screen digital projectors such as one would use in business presentations or in a personal home theater have become very popular and can be purchased in most stores specializing in electronic equipment. These projectors are connected your computer tower or laptop and can be used to play movies, news clips, still images, PC games, and other presentations. The only drawback to their use is the expense. A cheap projector will cost at least seven hundred dollars, while the high end projectors can cost well over three thousand dollars. However for those with a little ingenuity, it is possible to make your own for just over two hundred dollars. This guide will outline how to make your own digital projector.

Things You’ll Need:
Overhead Projector

LCD Computer Monitor

Computer Cooling Fan S


Foam Strips 10MM thick

Soldering Iron


Duct Tape

Electrical Tape

PC Tower

Making Your Own Big Screen Digital Projector
Step 1:
Start by gathering the materials you will need. The old overhead projectors such as the kind that used to be used in classrooms can usually be purchased for less than twenty dollars from your local library. A computer cooling fan like the kind that are found in the body of a desktop computer is about four inches square and can be purchased from electronics and computer stores for less than ten dollars. The LCD Monitor will be the most expensive item you will need to find. The cheapest new one you will likely find will cost over one hundred and sixty dollars. If you can find a used or damaged LCD monitor then buy it, only the screen itself need be intact. It is important that the Monitor screen be no larger than the glass window of the overhead projector.

Step 2:
Take the LCD Monitor and use your screwdriver to remove its plastic casing. Inside the shell should be the LCD screen attached to a metal backing.

Step 3:
Detach the data and power cords connecting the screen to the inside of the shell. Remove the LCD Screen carefully, there are delicate wires hanging from the screen's rim. These should not be bent or damaged in any way.

Step 4:
Place the foam strips on two opposite sides of the overhead projector top, just outside of the glass screen. Use plenty of duct tape to hold them in place.

Step 5:
Place the LCD screen face-down onto the overhead projector. The foam strips should hold the face about 10mm above the glass.

Step 6:
Reconnect the power and data feeds leading to your computer tower. Some models have plugs set into the screens themselves and this makes the job much easier. Other models will require you to solder the cables in place. To do this make sure you know what cable goes where first. Then get out your soldering iron and solder. Put the metal end of the cable against the connection point on the screen, hold a piece of solder against the join, and use the tip of the soldering iron to heat up the solder so it melts into place.

Step 7:
Wrap the electrical tape around any bare metal or wiring that you can find so as to avoid the danger of short circuits and electric shocks.

Step 8:
Place the fan against one of the open sides where you can see the space between the monitor and the projector. Duct tape it into place so the fan will blow cool air into this space, then connect the fan to the PC tower to power it.

Step 9:
Plug in the overhead projector, plug in the LCD monitor, and start up your PC to see if it's working properly. Anything that would be visible on your computer screen should now be projected onto a hanging screen or wall of your choice.

Tips & Warnings
The quality of the image you receive will depend on the resolution of your LCD monitor, the highest resolution you can get within your price range is definitely recommended.
The LCD monitor will short out from the heat if a cooling fan is not used and running at all times.

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