How to build a reversible projector screen?
September 29, 2016 1:30 PM   Subscribe

How can I build a reversible projection screen? Would something like this work…?

I'd like to build a reversible projector screen like this one, and I'm wondering how you might build the rotating trolley/rail setup.

My first guess is to build the screen and rails out of Unistrut and to add four of these trolleys to the top and bottom corners of the screen.

If I go this route, how should I build the pivots that allow the trolleys to turn as the screen reverses? Could I get away with running a piece of threaded rod up each side (from the bottom trolley to the top one on each side of the screen) and then… add a pivot somehow? Maybe screw a cylindrical standoff around the rod and pair it with a bronze bushing at each corner to allow it to spin?

I don't know much about this sort of construction, so I'd appreciate any advice.
posted by jacob to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think you can just use casters for the corners - they have both a wheel and a pivot combined. Once you slide one set out of the track, the remaining set should allow the screen to pivot. You'd have to make everything super-sturdy to hold the weight while the screen swings out, and you'd still need to be very careful.
posted by pipeski at 1:53 PM on September 29, 2016

It looks like you'd only need the swivel action on one end of the screen, since the end that comes off the track and out from the wall never needs to pivot (and in fact, it will be easier to set back on the track if it's fixed in place.) Your proposed rig for the swiveling end sounds fine to me, provided your screen/painting is sufficiently lightweight and you don't intend to be flipping it back and forth all the time. Keep in mind that this means the weight of the thing will be resting somewhat inelegantly on the end of the bushing, but it seems like it would work well enough for something of comparable build quality to what's shown in your linked video.

The caster idea is interesting, but I'm not sure what you'd use for tracks in that case. You might be able to do it with casters designed for the inverted-V track used with gates, but those tend to be bulky and industrial looking, so they'd be hard to hide and might not look so attractive hanging off the corners of your artwork.
posted by contraption at 5:04 PM on September 29, 2016

Inspiration struck moments after I posted that comment! You should look into hardware designed for accordion-style folding doors, which allow one end of a heavy panel to slide along in a track while pivoting.
posted by contraption at 5:09 PM on September 29, 2016

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