#1
Old 02-02-2006, 02:33 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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LumenLab DIY Projector

A friend of mine asked me to help him build a DIY lumen lab projector

DIY Projector

The schematics seem pretty straight foward. The image quality *seems* great on their website, but part of me wants to say "too good to be true"

Have you or anyone you know successfully completely a DIY Projector from Lumenlabs plans? Is it for real? or Are they just trying to get my 20$
#2
Old 02-02-2006, 03:04 PM
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There have been threads here in the past about DIY projection systems, but my search-fu is not up to snuff today.

There are a lot of websites out there that tell you how to build a projector using a TV set and some lenses. These are pretty much crap.

The web site you linked to tries to distance itself from these units, but it doesn't seem to me to be that much different.

Be aware also, that all you get for your 20 bucks is the plans (and membership on their helpful website). You have to scrounge up all the parts on your own, which they say can be up to $500. Then after you spend the money, you don't know how well it will work until you spend the time to build your box and put everything together.

If it doesn't work like you hoped, you have no warranty or other recourse, because you built it yourself. Your'e just out the money and time you spent

Why not spend a little more and get a professionally built projector that is backed by a major electronics company, rather than take the word of somebody on a website with (supposedly) undoctored pictures as their only evidence.
#3
Old 02-02-2006, 03:07 PM
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I don't know, but they don't strike me as "so good it has to be a scam". The website tells you upfront that you'll be paying $100 - $500 for all the parts. Seems to me if they were trying to scam you out of $20 they'd make the deal seem a little sweeter.

But, as I said, I don't know.
#4
Old 02-02-2006, 03:17 PM
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA
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I vote for "too good to be true," but I haven't built one myself.

If you could really make a good projector with a $50 bulb, wouldn't some manufacturor be doing so?

I'm also very suspicious of the pictures they have. One, they're low resolution, so you can't really tell if the image looks good at all. Two, they're too bright to be a fast-shutter picture of a projected image. I have a DLP projector at home, the BenQ 6200. Generally, DLP projectors are brighter than LCD projectors at the same cost, but let's make the very generous assumption that my projector, which cost $1200 a year ago (the bulbs are ~ $300, IIRC), is comparable to the one you could make for yourself. My projector looks pretty good if you can get the room to be really dark. It's ok at other times, but looks washed out. I've tried taking photographs of the images from it, and the only way to make it look good is to pause the film, set the camera on a tripod, and open the shutter for a long time. It's just not bright enough.

They claim that their pictures aren't retouched, but I bet they've got long exposure times in very light-isolated environments. You can make any projector look good doing that.

FWIW, I've been quite happy with my projector. It's a budget model, but it looks good for the cost, and I haven't had any problems with it.
#5
Old 02-02-2006, 03:24 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatBaldGuy

Why not spend a little more and get a professionally built projector that is backed by a major electronics company, rather than take the word of somebody on a website with (supposedly) undoctored pictures as their only evidence.
I'm a huge DIY electronics fan. I grew up building HAM radio electronics with my father. Moved on to building my own modular synthesizers. Something about the accomplishment is worth it to not buy one, if someone tells me they build one and it was as good as they claimed
#6
Old 02-02-2006, 04:00 PM
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Location: Alabama
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If it's using <$50 lamps, it's no brighter than a slide projector or overhead projector. This design is essentially the same as ripping out the LCD panel from a monitor and placing it on top of an overhead projector. In fact, they used to make LCD panels for this use (i.e. designed to be placed on top of an overhead projector), but they only worked in completely darkened, windowless rooms.
#7
Old 02-02-2006, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4
If it's using <$50 lamps, it's no brighter than a slide projector or overhead projector. This design is essentially the same as ripping out the LCD panel from a monitor and placing it on top of an overhead projector. In fact, they used to make LCD panels for this use (i.e. designed to be placed on top of an overhead projector), but they only worked in completely darkened, windowless rooms.
I own one of the LCD panels for an overhead projector.
#8
Old 02-02-2006, 04:35 PM
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Location: Alabama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analogue Skywalker
I own one of the LCD panels for an overhead projector.
And...?

If yours is color (which is 1/3 as bright as a monochrome panel), and you're satisfied with its performance, you'd probably be able to duplicate it with this DIY plan. Not sure if I see the point though, if you already have one.
#9
Old 02-02-2006, 04:41 PM
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Posts: 1,184
I've built a DIY projector. All in all, its a fun project. The pros: fantastic picture quality. Higher resolution than budget-model projectors (a 15" LCD will still get you 1024X768, budget model projectors usually top out at 800X600). Brighter picture. Cheaper bulbs. Bragging rights. Costs significantly less than even budget model projectors.

The cons: It's huge. Not at all easy to transport. The bulbs put off a lot more heat, so you have to rig up computer cooling fans, which makes it louder. It's kind of ugly. You're limited to what you can hook up to it, since all it has is a VGA input (which isn't a big deal if you plan on running movies, video games, and cable through your computer anyway).

If you're a DIY kinda guy like me, you'll have fun with the project and get better results than if you bought a $800-$1000 projector.
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