Introduction: Awsome $50 Diy Projector (well for Me)

Picture of Awsome $50 Diy Projector (well for Me)

I been searching the internet on the vast subject of "DIY Projectors" I I finally built a "successful" one. Here is a quick list of supplies I used.
1- portable DVD player w/ input (free broken laser eye hence the "input")
1- photo copier lens ($5 on
3- page magnifiers ($1 x 3 = $3 local dollar store)
1- piece of tempered glass (spare form old spot light)
1- 500w halogen light setup ($10- $15 at harbor freight)
1- soup ladle ($1 dollar store)
2- sheets of MDF wood ($8 x 2 = $16 home depot)
3- pc fans (free, I build computers so I have some to spare)
1- black heat paint ($3 home depot)
1- condenser lens ($? I got mine out of a collection of lenses)
I Think thats about it.... page 2

Step 1: Gather the Supplies

Picture of Gather the Supplies

by this time you should be looking for a portable dvd player mine was free but you can get one at Radioshack *NEW* for about $70 but you can check Ebay ect for used or broken ones. When I say broken I mean the laser eye is bad but it still has a input to connect dvd player, xbox, ps2,or Dreamcast (cause it rocks) . FYI the better the resolution the lcd panel is the better the picture will be. Dont ask me specs on my lcd cause "I DO NOT KNOW" all I know is I'm getting an awesome picture. Sorry I dont have any pictures "in the process" but I only have the "end results" pictures. but this is my lcd glued and ready to go.

Step 2: Projector Designs

Picture of Projector Designs

the picture shown here is my design. very simple design the size width and height all depend on the size of your components such as light fixture, lcd size, and lens all you need to do is be able to fit the components shown in the 2nd picture in a "wooden box". now you can see where the pc fans come into play the back 2 suck hot air and the 3rd towards the front blow cool air on the lcd.

"Thundercats!?! I love them how ever did you know? :)

Step 3: Da Light

Picture of Da Light

I used a 500w halogen light which put me back a few bucks, not much. I felt that the original reflector was weak as far as a spread of light. so this is where the soup ladle comes into play I use it as a "modified reflector" all you have to do is cut the sides so the bulb fits *see the picture* also to make the spread of light even better the condenser lens is in front of that which makes the picture even brighter!

Step 4: Page Magnifiers (Fresnels)

Picture of Page Magnifiers (Fresnels)

As I said I got my page magnifiers at the dollar store. you may have to shop around. Try stores such as dollar tree, yankee dollar, family dollar, big lots, and staples. I was hoping to find hard plastic magnifiers but only found sheet like magnifier, but they work great!! the way it works is you have one in back and 2 in front. (I put 2 in the front because it will 2x the narrowing power see picture). I an K are fresnels they bend the light the way it is needed to get optimum brightness!!

Step 5: In Conclusion

Picture of In Conclusion

well all and all it was a fun project. it is one of those projects that can always be better or worked on. the 1st picture is me and a scene from the tansformers movie the picture is at least 70" the 2nd is star wars because I love boba fett (just thought it was needed) so now you can go pop some popo corn and watch your favorite geeky movie FYI is my kind of movie!!! in the picture the corners look dull or black but really aren't as bad as they appear in the pictures.

Step 6: More Pictures

Picture of More Pictures

people are talking not just on this site but other sites and I wanted to shut them up. I have new pic with a cartoon in (star wars clone wars volumes 1 & 2) maybe last time the camera was screwy, also I took the condenser lens out to show you that you DON'T NEED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't stress that enough. some guy on a site said well we all don't have lenses lying around well the only lens needed is the first one and I told you where you can buy it ( ) also take into account I'm only 16 and that the reason for building this is for a projector on the cheap. (consdering I'm saving for a car so I dont have A. a job and B. money floating around!!!) so for everybody else who wasn't a jerk enjoy!!! thanks

Step 7: Even More Pictures!!

Picture of Even More Pictures!!

I was looking through some old SD cards and found some old pictures of older designs and thought it would serve a purpose here so with out a further a do:


xanxor (author)2010-03-21


klaviculanox (author)xanxor2016-08-25


KevinM16 (author)2015-03-22

thinking about throwing one of these together I have everything minus the halogen lamp. and really that is the only part that gives me second thoughts.... the Halogen lamp used seems kind of dangerous with the heat they put out and the enclosure being wood I worry about fire or excess heat. So wonder if a 12v replacement could be used like an driving light or spot light????

rhelwig1 (author)2014-04-17

Hi all, don't know if anybody can help but I started working on one of these projectors recently. I took an LCD from a broken motherboard and got a driver off ebay. I plug in a video source and the picture comes on. Problem is as soon as I move the screen over top of the over head projector the video goes blank. if I put just a part of the screen over the OHP just that section goes out. The video wont come back until I turn the LCD off and then back on. Anyone have any idea as to why a light source could stop the screen from working?

hemant.cdy (author)2013-06-23

can you tell where i can get the lcd and the projecor lense from

profundis (author)2012-08-19

thanks for doing this tutorial. I've been wanting to use video projection for a halloween project, but projectors are so expensive, even on ebay. Replacement bulbs often cost as much as the projector. So, this project you did gives me some ideas.

I was wondering if you could clarify something - does the light pass thru the LCD or does the image somehow just get reflected from the LCD and reflected. I guess I'm not understanding the exact physics of what is happening here. It looks like the LCD is simple glued to a piece of hardboard, in which case light would not be able to pass thru it so it must be being reflected. Please explain.


TheTrustedOne (author)2009-03-15

This is a great design for an on the cheap DIY projector, I have been building a bigger version of these for awhile, Those that are looking for in depth detail in regards to the physics of the projector and how to build a 1080p version of this projector that honestly rivals the really expensive projectors with bright bulbs that are $20 instead of $300 (commercial projector) should check out the site, there is an entire community of people building projectors there., sorry no www on the link

vistal (author)TheTrustedOne2010-03-11

your link leads nowhere repost it .

fishofsword (author)vistal2012-01-12

ahahaha comon guys

AF-Geek (author)TheTrustedOne2010-03-29

Looks like Lumenlabs has gotten out of the projector biz.  Still some stuff to be found on their site, though:

Nice pdf guide here: Lumenlab_DIY_projector_guide_v2.0.pdf

Projector building forums here: LumenlabForums

AF-Geek (author)TheTrustedOne2010-03-29

The link has a comma at the end that is causing your problem.
Click here:

Abhineo (author)2010-08-02

does the 4.2" mp4 player lcd work?

CedricAnne97 (author)2010-05-29

But, how big is you're LCD?
It's kind of important!

slimguy379 (author)CedricAnne972010-07-16


shonray (author)2010-05-14

hey nice work ...must say .... but jst wanted to ask will a laptop lcd panel do for this project ??

porkypinekiwi (author)2010-03-15

that looks hard to extend the wires

porkypinekiwi (author)2010-03-15

i made one of them and i didnt use the second magnifier after the lcd i just went
light-Fresnel-lcd-magnified glass

TK3k (author)2009-12-29

it looks like you glued in the the lcd?

slimguy379 (author)TK3k2009-12-29

yeah a bit of epoxy will work wonders. the alternative is like screws which made me feel a little skeptical.

ScubaSteve (author)2009-12-27

could i possibly make a mini-projector with a battery-operated TV that has inputs?

slimguy379 (author)ScubaSteve2009-12-28

no you say tv as in CRT monitor not lcd. lcd is the only type of monitor used for this application.

ScubaSteve (author)slimguy3792009-12-28

No, its an LCD. Im sure i can do it, just scale evreything down.

slimguy379 (author)ScubaSteve2009-12-28

oh yeah sorry my bad. that will work.

GreenD (author)2009-12-25

Cool dude, I'm still confused - how do you use a broken dvd player, and also - what is the power supply to the LCD monitor? What is that hooked up to, just a wall plug? Thanks for the sweet project - Going to try and customize it for an xbox if you see where I'm goin with that.

ScubaSteve (author)GreenD2009-12-27

the broken DVD player is the monitor..

slimguy379 (author)GreenD2009-12-26

its a portbale dvd player. research them its not just a regular dvdv player. usually the power supply is just a 12 or 9v plug in. and its just a regular 120v plug in the wall.

GreenD (author)2009-12-25

What do you mean the portable dvd player has an input?? Why does it not matter if the laser eye works or not?

slimguy379 (author)GreenD2009-12-26

the reason why you would want a dvd player with a broken eye is because there cheaper. with a dvd player without an input you can only play dvds through the actual dvd player, but with an input you can use it witha  out side source such as an xbox.

bombmaker2 (author)2009-11-20

firstly, awsum project im working on one now.
second, how big is your screen and the piece of wood you used

slimguy379 (author)bombmaker22009-11-21

the screen image is/was somewheres around 70" and as far as wood, idk. I know that i bought the MDF in sheets at homedepot fo $8. and they all come in one uniform size.

bombmaker2 (author)slimguy3792009-11-21

i meant how big was the lcd itself diagonally

InvaderDig (author)2009-10-19

Okay, last two questions (thanks for your patience) - How did you wire the PC fans into working? I've been thinking about drills ventilation holes because I know absolutely nothing about computer components and their wiring needs.

Did you notice any difference between a 500 Watt bulb and the 250 Watt when it came to picture quality?

slimguy379 (author)InvaderDig2009-10-19

the fan is simple you cut off the conetion of the pc fan so you have bare red and black wires.your red is  + and your black is a - or ground. you pc fan is run on 12v. so for me i used an old cell phone charger or any charger for that matter that knocks 120v to 12v. if you see any writing, engraving or stickers on the charger they should have a listing for "output" granted 10v to 13v will do but typically youll find 12v oututs. then just cutoff the end of the charger, strip the wires, and locate the wire with dashes on it compared to the other wire with no markings. the non marked wire is you -, or your black wire. so now obviously the marked wire is +. so just connect that to your red. solder the wires.cover them over with tape and plug it in. hopefully if done right she'll spin.

but yes  there was a difference in the image brightness, and over all quality. some guys upgrade to over head projector bulbs. or ever metal haloide.not sure if i spelled it right. Later on though i will try using a a mercury vapor bulb. just the brighter the better i guess. ik of guys who have use high power LEDs in arrays. i tried that but was a new kid on the block to LEDs, soldering, and arrays so i had no success. but it illustrates the idea that theres tons of light sources available, just a matter of what you can afford. hence why i used a cheap halogen light LOL

InvaderDig (author)2009-10-16

 How far away did you place your light source from the LCD screen? Also, doesn't seem to be around anymore - do you know of any other surplus websites off hand?

slimguy379 (author)InvaderDig2009-10-16 idk seemed to work for me. but to a mockup and play with the components without a box, get it to optimum quality then measure everything out then build a box. my demensions wont surve a purpose since evryboys project will be different just to some messing around with it

InvaderDig (author)slimguy3792009-10-16

Thanks mate! cheers! :D

InvaderDig (author)2009-10-13

so you're telling me that I can add back lighting to an LCD screen just by isolating the screen and throwing a light behind it?

and where do I place the page magnifiers? I'm a little confused where they go. Do you have a diagram available?

slimguy379 (author)InvaderDig2009-10-13

yeah you can when the backlight is taken away the LCD becomes transparent. but read step 4, the page magnifiers come before and after the LCD one to maginfy and spread the light as the other sharpens it so the lens can pick it up i do have a diagram which is in step 4 you have to put your cursor over the boxes to see what is what.

mcastles (author)2009-10-04

Nice projector.

mhkabir (author)2009-09-25

Any way how to increase the 'warmth' of the projected picture??

slimguy379 (author)mhkabir2009-09-26

no sure what you mean by warmth, but my LCD screen has settings of contrast ect to be changed. also a bigger better bulb will help with a better projected image

petar k (author)2009-09-18

can you tell us what is the temperature of the light i Kelvins and what are the temps of the bulb after few hours working? have you try to put multiply lamps, would it make problem since it is not pont light even in case that there is only one light source?

bobbyc0117 (author)2009-03-13

I am wanting to do a backyard theater application of this, do you have any idea of the max screen size this would work for?

Roflolommo (author)bobbyc01172009-07-27

If your talking light wise these guys have a chart showing how much light you need depending on how big a screen youll want and in what ambient light conditions. I dont know how accurate it is but it gives a good general idea.

slimguy379 (author)bobbyc01172009-03-13

i did that once... up idk, your image size will all depend on the wattage and brightness of your lamp. i was able to make id say 3' with this lamp...

thetech101 (author)slimguy3792009-06-09

A good rule of thumb I've heard is you can only increase the size by a factor of 10. Ex. If you have a 15 inch LCD panel, you can project it at up to 150 inches. It also depends on the resolution.

LuckyLindy (author)2008-12-24

I'm sure you've seen and heard of If not, go check out the forums. Also If you're wanting a bit better brightness, for about $50 you can get a nice metal halide lamp (small one, not a large one) and a ballast to run it and your projector will not only be brighter, but will also run cooler and longer as well. Hope this helps!

etsitservice (author)LuckyLindy2009-07-05

Ballast? Isn't one of them what those dodgy people use as a light and starty thingy to grow dodgy plants?

TheTrustedOne (author)LuckyLindy2009-03-15

LOL, I just commented about that site on the other step :)

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