DIY Projector on the Cheap

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Introduction: DIY Projector on the Cheap

Although it's not my original idea (far from it), I finally decided to tear apart my LCD monitor and give this one a go. I had to innovate a few parts, so I hope my solutions help anyone out who's attempting this awesome project. This is my first instructable, be gentle :)

Step 1: Materials and Initial Disassembly

Materials:

LCD Monitor, any old one will do, the backlighting is going to be ripped out anyway. In my case, 14" was perfect, larger would have gone outside the border of the overhead's window.

Overhead projector, like from school. I'm no expert at these, and living in Taiwan, it was nearly impossible to find, but I know there are loads on ebay for cheap.

Document protector, used for housing the power and settings strip of the monitor.

Cork. Self explanatory.

First, get the LCD glass out of the monitor by carefully unscrewing, dismembering and prying. Be careful around the wires and you should be fine. One handy thing is that on mine, the display cable was detachable from the motherboard, so that made it easier. It's helpful to have a second pair of hands for this, in my case, I used my girlfriend's.

Step 2: Initial Assembly and Test

The hardest part is over. Now it's just a matter of coming up with some sort of mounting and enclosure construction. You're going to want to space the screen up from the projector window, as it gets super hot, and could damage your LCD. I used a cork, cut into four pieces and slit 50% down the middle.

I found that my projector was overheating and shutting off by itself, so I mounted a fan on the inside of the casing to get the air moving a bit.

Step 3: Casing

With all the plugging and unplugging I was doing of all the components, I felt like the power jack on the mainboard was getting a little flimsy (it's only held on by solder, I think), so I put the entire board inside a document protector, which closed pretty well with only the jack and the VGA port sticking out.

After a brilliant suggestion from Alyosha, I have since created a bellows as a variable-height enclosure. I will be posting a separate instructable for it presently.

Step 4: Finished!

Sorry about the poor quality of the picture, but I had to take this with my mobile phone. There is some light spill-off from the projector itself, I later ended up covering the sides with a black plastic bag temporarily (it needs some vertical give to adjust the focus).

EDIT:
I have just finished creating a bellows that serves as a wonderful variable height enclosure and keeps the light spill-off to a minimum. See step 3.

Overall, the project was pretty simple, and it works great! I'm going to be making a rear projection screen for it, which I'll post a separate instructable for as soon as I finish.

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    116 Comments

    I broke two lcds that I got at garage sales for cheap all I got are white lines of death...least that is what people call them...I was extremely careful with taking apart the monitor and still managed to break it. Good luck...I'm giving up. I think I will go back to my idea of the projection tv except find a way to integrate more light...

    I used a fresnel lense, cardboard box and mirror for the tv projector at the time, i found a nice 32 inch tv abandoned on the sidewalk so it made it unessesary to use lol. it also helped to direct and focus the light from the mirror to the projection screen using cardboard rather than having the light projected off the mirror spread out.

    As i havent seen it done, I'm wondering if making a double projector and merging the image (focusing the two images on top of eachother
    on the projection screen using two projectors projecting the same image simultaneously, using a splitter for the videocord projecting the same image) will improve picture brightness/quality. just a thought. probably going to try that myself when i get money.
    Also i've tried with a cheapo tv and gotten murky semi watchable images, it helps the picture brightness to have the room completely light tight , even if its dark out (starlight/moonlight/streetlights will cause problems because the picture is faint) cover windows
    with a blanket, cover all led's in the room.

    Does that not cause massive overheating?

    That thin layer of cork is enough distance between the screen and the projector to prevent overheating? Is your LCD screen still working/in good shape? Most of the other instructables demand building a frame and inserting fans to cool the screen. If cork is sufficient -- that would be so easy and awesome!!

    how do u guys hoo up things such as a game cube to a RCA monitor? i did this same thing. only thing now is i can only hook up my computer/laptop. no game systems

    you use an emulator on your computer and use a controller hooked up...

    you said you are in Taiwan? which City?