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This instruction explains how to make a DIY 2k resolution (2560x1440) beam projector.

The original posts are in my blogger (link1 & link2) in poor English, and in my Korean blog.

Many necessary stuffs were from China, and I am lucky to get those stuffs easily here in Korea.

You can use "aliexpress.com" to get most of parts. In my case, I used "taobao.com" as it is usually cheaper than aliexpress.com.

What you need

  • LCD and LCD HDMI board : 5.98 inch, 2560x1440 resolution from topfoison.com (around 200 USD) or you can use other small 2k LCDs if there is a proper board. You can ask them to separate a backlight unit (BLU). We do not need the BLU as we will use LED light source.
  • Case (Housing) : black arcryl with lazer cut, and one side is sanded beforehand (you can use spray), for someone who wanna save his time, I attach AutoCad files that I made. Some explainations are written in Koreans in the files, and it is about tap-screw sign. (around 100 USD in Korea including lazer cut & tapping screw holes)
  • Fresnel LENS : focal lenth 120 and 185, F120 is placed near LED and F182 is placed near the projection lens (you can use local stores, or you can find several sellers selling fresnel lens in aliexpress.com) this costs less than 50USD
  • Projection LENS : F190 (F200 is also ok) (you can find this in aliexpress.com), this also costs less than 50USD.
  • LED light
    1. Conventional way : 150 watt LED from taobao.com with heatpipe. Alternative is 128watt in aliexpress.com (around 57USD), you should find a proper LED driver. I do not recommend this conventional cheap version. It leads to blurry image at edges and corner points.
    2. Fancy way : Nobody tried this LED to make DIY projector as far as I know. This will solve every focusing issues that happen in DIY projectors. Use LED in medical field. I found "CBT-140" from Luminus. One seller in aliexpress.com sells this LED and corresponding driver in 185USD. little bit expensive, but worthwhile. Here is the link, and it runs at 100 watt. Not that bright, so you need a dark room.
  • Condenser Lens : square-shaped lens from taobao.com, also available in aliexpress.com (around 25USD), or you can use conventional round-shaped lens. The square version shows better brigtness, but the left and right edges become little bit yellow.
  • ETC : several cooling fans, usb power line, proper wires, your hands.


Why did I make it?

  • Fun
  • I can own 2k resolution projector at cheap price (less than 1000USD). You'd better to search the prices of commercial 2k projectors.
  • Initial step to make 4k projector: finally I want to have a 4k projector, but the commercial 4k projectors are way too expensive.


Limitations

  • If you gonna use LED light in conventional way, you will end up with blurry images. You never get the perfect focus. However, if follow the fancy way, you will get perfect focus, and you can distinguish every 2k pixels at the same time.
  • Brightness is way too poor compared to commercial products as we use the small LCD that is used in cell phones. This kind of LCDs has low transparency. At night, w/o ambient lights, it will move your heart, but you cannot see nothing in day time. Anyway, if you have a dark room, this is perfect for you for gaming and movies.

Step 1: Check the LCD & Design the Housing

Before to assemble the case, check the LCD first.

You will get the HDMI and LCD.

For convenience, I ordered extension FPC cable (around 10 cm) with simple extension board.

As I ordered LCD to be separated from the BLU, I must have pressed and held the backlight connector to check the LCD.

After checking the LCD, design your case.

You may skip this step if you are willing to use my AutoCAD files.

Or, modify the files depending on your stuffs.

Step 2: Make the Case & Fresnel Lens Holder

1. Make the whole case

Prepare the arcryl parts following the AutoCAD files.

Assemble the case using small joint parts, and glue them permanently by using "chloroform".

Do not apply chloroform on the top cover, the top cover will be held by headless screws.

2. Make "Fresnel lens holder"

The Fresnel lens will be placed inside of the case.

First, the fresnel lens is held by "fresnel lens holder", and then the fresnel lens holder will be placed in a holder for LCD and the fresnel lens holder.

When making the fresnel lens holder, the shinny lines by the lazer cut should be sanded to prevent a diffused lightreflection which will lead to a poor image quality.

Or you can simply attach micro-sanded paper on the shinny lines.

Step 3: Make LCD Holder

In my opinion, this step is the most important step.

The little LCD has very small inactive area (bezel), so it is difficult to hold the LCD properly while preventing light leakage.

After measuring the dimensions of the LCD "exactly", I designed the LCD holder which can prevent light leakage and guarantee the image quality.

If you make the LCD holder roughly, you will end up with ugly light leaked image as shown in the picture. (I had failed once before to make this version.)

Following my drawing, you will find three parts to construct the LCD holder.

Two parts are to hold the LCD permanently, while one part is to hold the LCD temporarily.

You will find how to hold the LCD by following the uploaded pictures.

Be careful not to touch the LCD with your raw hands, your fingerprint will make you cry. Please use nitryl gloves when dealing with the LCD.

Step 4: Attach LED on the Heatpipe and Make LED Holder

Whether you choose the conventional LED or the fancy LED (CBT-140), the way to attach the LED on the heatpipe is same. (CBT-140 is adopted recently, so the pictures are mixed up with the conventional LED version.)

Basically you need to tap M3 screws onto the heatpipe to hold the LED. (or a seller provides prepared screw holes).

Place the thermal grease on the back side of LED, and attach the LED with bolts.

And then, hold the condenser lens properly in front of the LED. Many sellers provide proper tools to hold the condenser lens.

Step 5: Wiring and Install Cooling Fans

I installed fan controller, but you can skip this if you do not wish to control fan speed.

The basic wiring is as follows:

  • AC power line is connected to power supply and USB power supply (in parallel).
  • The power supply converts AC into DC.
  • The power supply is connected to LED and cooling fans. Depending on your design, you may use two power supply; one for fans and one for LED.
  • The USB power supply will be connected to the HDMI board.
  • Install switches to control the powers. In my case, I installed two switches, so one turns on/off the LED and the LCD, while the other turns on/off the cooling fans. Therefore, I can overcool the inside of the case after the LED is off.

I installed many cooling fans to cool down the LCD.

The LCD is near to the LED (around 110~130 mm). If you don't cool the LCD enough, you will see black spots on the LCD. The LED emitts a lot of heat energy.

I had tested with "no" cooling fans for the LCD, and the LCD was dead after many black spots.

Please install small (cute) blower fans and normal fans to cool down the LCD.

In the uploaded pictures, you will see the air circulation strategy.

Of course, you may have better air circulation idea. Please share the knowledge if you have any.

Step 6: Test the LED and Optics Arrangement

Once the wiring is done, then test the LED.

With the proper spacing between the LED and the back fresnel lens (F120), the LED light will cover the whole active area of the LCD.

When placing the fresnel lens, both groove sides of fresnel lens must face to the LCD.

When you make a DIY projector at the first time, you are prone to make mistakes at this step.

You may be curious why I chose F120/F185 fresnel lens with F190 projection lens.

The answer is that the optics in DIY is not perfect, and there are well-working combinations which have been updated in DIY projector groups.

In short, when we are using 6 inch LCD, the current lens combination works fine. Or, a combination for longer throwing distance will also work fine. (for example, F120/F220 fresnels with F230 projection lens also works fine)

Obviously, a short throwing distance will give you a large image size, and my combination has the shortest throwing distance, yet working fine. (I may be wrong, but I'd tested with many combinations)

With the given lens combination with CBT-140, you can distinguish every 2k pixels at the same time. The focusing capability is even with or better than commercial products.

Anyway, we need a rule of thumb to adjust the lens spacing.

As the optics is not perfect, we need to adjust the lens spacing manually.

It depends on person by person, but there are several rough rules.

  • The spacing between LCD and the fresnel lens : 15~20 mm, if too short, LCD will be burned, too far, the image will be blury.
  • The spacing between the back fresnel lens (F120) and the LED : some people says 90% of the focal length of the fresnel lens is good, some people says no. Adjust from the +/- 10% of the focal length of the back fresnel lens, and find the best image quality. It depends on your taste.
  • The spacing between the projection lens (backside of triplet) and the front fresnel lens (F185) : around the focal length of the projection lens. In my case, it is around 190 mm. You can adjust the focus by moving the projection lens forward or backward.

Good news is that you have enough margins once you use the LED with a small light emitting area.

So please, do not go for the cheap LED arrays, just go for CBT-140. CBT-140 has the smallest light emitting area in available markets as far as I know.

Step 7: Enjoy

Done!

Clean the room, and enjoy your projector.

There are not many 2k sources.. but you can enjoy 2k trailers in youtube at least haha.

My next plan is to make 4k projector with budget less than 1200 USD.

If I make it, I will share with you.

By the way, I do not use this 2k projector at this moment. (Currently, I am using my another DIY FHD projector in my room)

This 2k projector is used to test several things for my future 4k projector haha.. I feel sorry to my projector.

Anyway, I hope this would be helpful to someone who wants to build his own projector.

See you!

<p>Hi i bought everything to make this project even the display from Topfoison. </p><p>Here I am using 100w LED but it is not so bad it gives decent illumination with all lights off. I have a problem with the topfoison 2K display, it is connecting only with laptop through hdmi to mini hdmi cable but it is not showing anything when it is connected with bluray player or HD set top box. Kindy suggest me what to do, if you have any idea. It works perfectly with laptop connection.</p><p>Thanks in advance..........</p>
<p>Hello..</p><p>As u said, u not able to get display when u connect to HD settop box or Bluray. try to change HD display setting in your set top box. were u can select 720p@60hz or 1080i@60hz..if u r using tatasky box then go to remot ..press Organiser-User setting-HD setting- were u can select diffrent type of output... try...</p>
Hi.<br>I am pretty sure that is due to HDCP issue.<br>the board seems doesnot support HDCP. So you should bypass HDCP check using some tools...<br>Some HDMI splitter would work and HDFury interal may work (expensive).<br>or the board would work only for pc as the board doesnot support landscape as default.<br><br>At this moment I am not using 2k beamer anymore, and making 4k beamer now.<br>It will be done very soon and will post it as soon as possible.<br>My 4k beamer has the HDCP issue (2.2 version), and no problem with HDFury integral. Hope this may help you.
<p>I have a digital player. it play from flash drive and HDD. it has got hdmi out ... 720p@60hz, 720i@60hz, 1080p@60hz,1080i@60hz, 1080i@24hz and 1080p@24hz. will this 2k mipi board can display image from this player. kindly tell me...</p>
<p>hello,</p><p>i own a chinese projector UC46. i was wondering if i could change its internal parts such as its LCD and its board to a higher resolution - 720p or higher ( was wondering if parts of same dimension are available) and may be its LED and its driver to a higher wattage. </p><p>Or if i could use a 1080p mobile phone LCD.</p><p>BTW your build is awesome... will try it in future!!!</p>
<p>would a F210 projection lens work?</p><p>aliexpress seller claims it works for 3-7'' lcd</p>
<p>Hi, i have already discussed regarding the hdmi connectivity issues in previous post. Now I have an another query. the LCD display driver is not having an option to invert or flip hence i have to do some settings VLC player to flip the videos.</p><p>This 2K display is from Topfoison. I have checked with them about the software change to make it possible but they told it is not possible now and they are developing the one right now.</p><p>Do you have any idea to flip the video because VLC player is doing the job but after that it is very difficult to select another clip from the laptop folder / drive.</p>
<p>Which videocard do you use? It's possible to flip image on intel and nvidia boards (dunno about AMD, but pretty sure they have this option too)</p>
<p>Wow, this is a super nice project.</p><p>I have three questions.</p><p>I am looking for an LCD that is 1920 by 1080 to connect my computer to for games. I tried the links and looked around but did not find one.</p><p>I was wondering.</p><p>If I just use a the bright leds behind the lcd and just use the projection lens in front of it. Would it not project the picture to the wall?</p><p>Why are both fresnel lens needed?</p><p>Thanks you. :)</p><p>Again, this is a GREAT project, thanks for it :)</p>
<p>can we use this zoom camera lens as for projection ?</p><p>http://www.ebay.in/itm/Camera-Zoom-lens-VIVITAR-28-80mm-/262656222026?hash=item3d2787e34a:g:QqcAAOSw-kdXzWDF</p>
Also if anyone knows where I can get a tiny ultrawide screen please let me know. Thxs
Also provide controller board too plzs
If I used a higher powered LED would the projecter be brighter? If not then how can I make it brighter? It doesn't need to be super bright but the room does have a little light in it.
<p>Why not use an existing use/ cheap projector which has Low Res but high Lighting Power and the rest of the stuff. Use a 4K Phone Display + Controller Board. Curious about sharing notes. </p>
Is there any way to use brighter led, 500w? Or get some higher power beam with more led lights through some focusing and lenses stuff. Thank you wery much.
<p>It is diffucult to fit other stuffs into a conventional projector. (due to dimension, optics, etc..). The idea of 4k phone display (sony's) is good, but there is no controller board at the time being. I will try the 4k phone display when the board is available in the market.</p>
<p>So, when do we get to see the 4K projector experiment? </p>
<p>Maybe in two months. I am colleting stuffs now.</p>
<p>Amazing stuff Dude. Can i connect my CPU to this Projector ?</p>
<p>Yeah, I am using my PC.</p>
Thanq Bro
<p>Hi, nice guide, i was also thinking about using fresnel lens and smal size, high res screen (I'm very new to all this). So, I would like to see higher framerate but that depends on the screen used obviously.</p><p>I would like to see more photoes - is contrast and colours any decent? I don't need retail projectors quality (well, at this price) but some comparison would be appreciated (maybe to PC monitor or TV if not commercial grade projector). The video you made looks like... cam recorded, so very hard to tell. Maybe if you can tell is the projected screen much different then LCD it comes from (colours/contrast wise in dark room)?</p><p>So, I've got an idea about 4k projector and even up. You can use 4x1080p projectors and use eyefinity/SLS from AMD Radeon cards (2009-2011 and up). Cost may be higher (4x screens, 4x fresnel, maybe one case?) but still a fraction of a retail product.</p><p>Ah last thing - is the input lag any decent (~50ms or below)? Should be (it fully depends on the screen used?). For me it would be mainly for games, sometimes for a movie. Long working times are also essential, so after all I'm also considering just buying some retail projectors (and setting them in SLS)..</p>
<p>Sorry, I disassembled this projector for my next project. So I cannot upload more pics..</p><p>In my opinion, I don't feel any degraded images compared to LCD. The only disadvantage is that it is not that bright, so I need a dark room.</p><p>By the way, your 4k idea is doable though the size and power consumption are big.</p><p>I didn't see any input lag (not sure for gaming though), and it totally depends on the screen that i used.</p>
Hi! Kudos to I very nice project. I have a roadblock on this project amd im quite confused of the mirror like surface of the back of the LCD. I can seem to let the light pass through the LCD because it's too opaque. How do I overcome this problem? Hope to hear from you mate! I'm also considering using Z5 premium to make the 4k projector.
<p>LED light is bright enough to overcome the issue, at the same time that is the exact reason that the projector is quite not bright compared to conventional ones.</p><p>Yeah, I also think Z5 premium LCD, but no one made a proper driving board yet.</p>
<p>I congratulate the project and for sharing. I tried to contact the company lcd 2k he did not return. I have another to indicate?</p><p>I would like to carry out the attempt to mount a projector equal to yours.</p>
<p>Here is an alternative : http://www.aliexpress.com/item/DIY-DK2-hot-selling1440-2560-1440p-vr-diy-lcd-with-hdmi-mipi-driver-board-for-oculus/32595714228.html?spm=2114.30010308.8.12.17XNsA</p>
<p>Thankyou sir </p>
<p>That was amazing! Thank you for posting this!!! :D</p>
Loved the D.I.Y project. Thanks for sharing your talent.
<p>Finally a good DIY projector tutorial!</p>
<p>Cool project, thanks for sharing</p>
<p>Welcome. Very thx :)</p>
<p>This is amazing!</p>
<p>thx :)</p>
<p>I was wondering how much you spend just on the LCD Panel with the HDMI Board..<br>Since i can't find any Information on their side or elsewhere online.</p><p>Maybe you can tell me how much it was.</p>
<p>it was around 200 USD in my memory. I bought it after email communication.</p>
<p>Coolest DIY project! i'm stunned!</p>
<p>Very thx!</p>
<p>Doesn't the LCD get extremely hot from the heat output (as light) from the LED? From my experience, These LED's do emit quite a bit of heat through light...</p>
yes. that's why i installed so many fans to cool down the lcd :)
I wonder whether LCD will hold up under more intense light source or fade over time? E.g. are the LCDs for commercial projectors constructed in a substantially different way? Might have to try this with salvaged components to see if I can create a wall projection of media player menu via secondary monitor display (and before someone chimes in yes I know you can buy a lowres projector for under $100).
the commercial lcd type projector definitely has more transparent lcds.<br>and i guess the lcds may stand for high temperature? not sure.<br>these days it is difficult see a beamer to adopt lcds inside of it. many beamers use DLP technology and it is totally different type.<br>I had no chance to open a lcd type projector.
waw..this is the right way to make 2k <br>I like this idea<br>because I was try to make projector but some information I didn't have but niw have everything aboyt projector and I can make this ....thanks for the instructions. ..<br>but how can I get the lcd and driver.? please tall me...
i sent email to topfoison.com and paid via bank tansfer. then they sent me through dhl.<br>mayb there r more sellers to sell this lcd and the driver board.
<p>Hi, Did you ever consider using water cooling from a PC to do this build? I would think it might keep the build a bit cooler.</p>
that is a good idea. and actually i did water cooling for my 1st diy projector.<br>this is my 4th projector.<br>the reason i didnt use it for this projector is that it was difficult for me to prevent leakage.<br>At that time i made reservoir by myself and it was so poor...<br>as u mentioned if i use commercial cooling system it would b much better:)
<p>A very very long time ago I used a large fresnel lens I found to enlarge a &quot;state of the art&quot; but very teeny tiny portable DVD player screen (bluray and HD were only a dream of the future). Obviously not the same thing or same quality but back then it was amazing and made me feel like a genius. Nice to know I was sort of on the right track. :)</p><p>I just watched a youtube vid for a projector screen manufacturer that can improve the display quality even with very very low power projectors. Of course screens cost more than this entire project. :)</p><p>I have 4 or 5 busted LCD monitors lying around (monitors, laptops etc). wondering now they can be repurposed.</p>
maybe possible? if u can find a driving board for your busted lcds. may b! but not sure sorry.<br>this is not my major ;(
<p>Why would one build a beamer for the price of a new and a better one? I mean 500 bucks is a little bit to much for a project like &quot;because i can!&quot;. </p>

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