Projector prices are low now, but it looks like some crazy people like to make their own from scrapped parts: modified 8" LCD screens from cheap DVD players, chunky power converters, circuitry salvaged from dead AV equipment and hundreds of LEDs put together to create powerful lamps. The result are high-definition ghetto machines capable of delivering good images out of, literally, trash. I discovered dozens of them thanks to the2jakes, the guy who made that amazing homemade head mounted display control for the PS2. Huge gallery and details after the jump:
Most of these projectors have two key components, LCD panels from portable DVD or media players and optics from such devices as old-style 3M overhead transparency projectors. It depends on the resolution of the salvaged LCD panels, but some of these machines are capable of displaying 720p content with no problems. Here's how an LCD taken from a dead portable looks after you take out the backlighting.
And this is how those panels look when placed into one of the most typical projector configurations:
For backlighting, these ghetto home cinemas mostly use a variety of incandescent lamps. Some, however, are in theory more efficient and powerful: this homemade board uses hundreds of soldered LEDs to obtain a powerful light source, one that consumes less power than comparable traditional bulbs.
The most shocking feature, however, is that some of the people in this group not only create regular projectors, but also actual 3D projectors that work similarly to the 3D movies you see in IMAX theaters. The machine projects two sightly different views of the same frame simultaneously using orthogonal polarized filters. Viewers get the illusion of three-dimensional images, but only if they're wearing the requisite polarized eyeglasses.
Granted, there are not a lot of commercially available 3D movies out there, so stereo projectors are limited to synthetic 3D images (like those of CAD software or games) or homemade 3D movies. You probably guessed how they make those, by combining a pair of cheap webcams to form a stereo digital camcorders.
Prototype stereo camera
As you will see in the 60-pic gallery, some of them look fugly, others look they were made in a real factory, and some of them have a simply stunning design, like this old retro model created from an old radio, my definitive favorite.
Honestly, I wish my own Marantz looked like that, instead of a laser turret from an Imperial Star Destroyer.
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