Build your own home cinema projector

A few years ago, I used to spend a lot of time on eBay trying to spot attractive bargains for LCD screens and video projectors. Auctioning sites are an excellent place to find out about price levels and market demand but they also provide impostors and swindlers with a stage. In the eBay offerings you’ll often find DIY and step by step books that will tell you how easy it is to make a video projector yourself using only a cardboard box and an old LCD screen. Out of curiosity I decided to invest the $39.99 to purchase such an online book but, to my great disappointment, I never received it. Not only was I upset about losing my money but I was frustrated I wouldn’t get a chance at building the projector.

All this time, I thought the whole “build your own projector” was a scam and that it was technologically impossible to realize until I found this cool video on Youtube where you can see how to do it yourself. In fact, using an LCD monitor, an overhead projector, a cooling fan and a little of your time you can actually create your own home cinema projector.
You don’t need to spend a foolish 40 bucks, just check out the video to find out.

29 thoughts on “Build your own home cinema projector

  1. Pingback: Build projector | Chinesenamesta

  2. shirley gutierrez.


    I´m currently living in a spanish town where the only cinema available was closed a year ago and there are a lot of interested people in movies/cinema living here. I am thinking of opening one commercial cinema (relative small but modern) here and would like further information on this subject. It is a private project and somehow a challenging one.

    If you know Spain you might have heard about thelack of culture or facilities in those towns and I know that some people did build 3D cinema in Spain due to this fact.


    Shirley Gutierrez

  3. Cardplayingman.

    I understand all of it but the part about how you hook the device you are uing to play the video. Like a dvd player. And I have an old lap top thats no longer used can I use the screen from that. Thanks

  4. nikhil.t.

    hello paul, i am mr nikhil, from childhood i had intrest on different type of
    project works. 4yrs back me and my father together we had make a film
    progector. with a rectangle card bord, we make a hole at one side, in size of
    a movie file strip, at another side we make it at large size it was greater than
    6 times bigger than smaller. middle of the two holes we arrange a 40 or 60 or
    100 walts bulb was fixed in middle of that it was fill with water and we keept it exact possition of small hole. we make that sunlight pass through the small hole
    the in opposite it will apper at large size like a theater screen, we had enjoyed our own projector but not contains music then we had to play the music player.

    but i have the intrest to make a electronic projector i am doing my project on it
    now so by soon i will tell u how can a electronic projector can made easy.

  5. paul co.

    It is interesting knowing about how you can can use your LCD to build a projector.
    Well ,supposing you don’t have an LCD,but you have a television which is 14” and above then you can email me and i will show you how you can build a quality projector image 150” large right in your home.
    The beauty of it is that any image or device that you connect to your television can be viewed like a real cinema,all your materials can obtained from the house.
    email: [email protected]

  6. Diego.

    Great video !!
    first sorry for my english
    I would like to know how big can be the projection taking in account the lcd size.
    I have a 22″ lcd with some dead pixels to use for doing this.
    There is a measure to know how big can you go without loosing image quality?
    I dont want an image with dark corners.


  7. gameli donu.

    i am eletromics hobbist in Ghana. i want to make my own projector, but do’t get LCD screen.can any help me? and my soul will bless him.

  8. Laurens.

    Interesting stuff here and fun to read.

    Actually I am searching for more information on the difference in quality and use off LCD and DLP technology in projectors, anyone here got experience based preference on that subject?

  9. Pingback: The Best of Walyou 2007 | Walyou

  10. Rafael.

    The quality I got is damn good. Ofcourse its not to the quality of a actual lcd projection system with color tuning but still a great image. Just need to be sure to have a dark room for briliant image quaility. If you are using an overhead projector, the lense at the top has a focus …. switch.. toggle… whatever you call it, so you can refine the image. Also with the adjustable mirror at the top, you really have some room to play with the angle of image instead of angling the entire unit.

    The color is great(again, in all dark rooms) Just like a movie theater. when they turn the lights on, its hard to see the screen.

    Overall, compared to an actual LCD Projector, I would compare it at an 8. I have a great time playing GTA on it and watching Christy Canyon on it… well, lets just say, “man they look huge”. lol. This will prob end up in my garage (aka Man-Cave) when I build nice enclosure for it. The 100 hrs of life from the bulb does suck, but the bulbs are cheap. So its not an every day use thing. But then again, not many things I wanna watch on a 100 inch screen, except for Football, some movies and a few games. Gonna be awesome watching the NFL on it. Cant wait till it gets darker out and watch a Sunday Night Football game up on the Garage while cooking out with the neighbors.

  11. The Walyou Team.

    Hello Rafael and Ian, thank you for your comments.

    @Rafael: Thank you for sharing your experience. If you have other previous DIY projects you have done, we would love to hear about them.

    @Ian: We are not sure as to the visual quality. It is a DIY project, so it may not have the features you are referring to. Perhaps one of our readers, who has done it before, would be able to share more light on the project for you.

  12. Ian.

    Can anyone attest to the visual quality of these things? sure, you’re building a projector, which in itself is awesome, but does it focus? can you focus it to the point where you can see the pixels like in a regular projector? how vibrant are the colors? What is you overall impression of the picture quality?

    Just curious,

  13. Rafael.

    Just built my own proctor and here is the breakdown.

    OHP = $0. Traded an old IMAC for one on Craigslist. Would have gotten like $30 for the IMAC

    Screen = $0 Used white wall of basement family room (great idea as low light down there)

    LCD Screen = $0 Used old 7″ screen from a broken portable dvd player (if you dont have a broken one, and you want to buy a portable, put in the extra $40 and buy one with 2 screens, each screen has its own A/V inputs and use the second screen for your project). Actually used everything except the dvd player itself. Detached the screen from the base and left the base unit intact. It has A/V Ins and Outs so made for really easy hook up from DVD player, VCR, PS2 and PC (with tuner card). After stripping the screen, made a wood frame to hold the screen in place and black out all none essential light from projecting. Attached the base unit to the frame. Works Great.

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  15. Ilan Neisse Post author.

    Hi Jim. Thank you for the valuable insight and the link. The screen is an essential part of the home cinema experience and we will probably post an article about a DIY screen very soon. I hope the above post has helped you. If you want to contribute to our content just send us a mail via the contact us tab. We surely will give the credit for it. Take care

  16. Ilan Neisse.

    Hi Steve, thank you for the good question. At first, I also thought the cost would equal that of an actual LCD projector but actually you could find a 15″ or 16″ lcd screen at ebay for around a $150 and a used overhead projector for as low as $50. I would estimate the total cost of the DIY at around $300, depending on the materials you use. The great benefit though, is the savings you make on the light bulbs which last longer and are significantly cheaper for an overhead than for a regular LCD projector. We hope this helped you get closer to building your own projector.

  17. steve.

    Thats cool, but if you realize that not every one has an overhead projector and an extra lcd screen just lying around, then it is actually pretty lame. And to buy those two items would cost about the same as a actual projector.

  18. The Walyou Team.

    We also thought it was a great video. We are glad you enjoyed the video and thank you for the comment and link. Hopefully other readers will also take a look at it, and gain value from it. If you have other suggested links, please feel free to share them with us.


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