Supersize Your TV for $300: Build Your Own XGA Projector!

Courtesy Artisan/Lightstorm

The well-known auction portal eBay has just about everything. For some time now, several sellers there have offered instructions for building a so-called "multimedia projector", as well as other "bargains" designed to help the customer get a giant screen at home without too much financial outlay. This is how it works: the seller offers a PDF construction guide for $20 in a "buy it now" auction that contains everything the customer needs to know. But does it really work?


The homemade projector in action - here, testing DVD playback. Its screen size is over six feet, and luminous efficiency is 3,500 ANSI lumens. Courtesy Artisan/Lightstorm

These cheap deals were reason enough for us to take a closer look at the construction guides on offer. A sample of the three different sellers shows that for that $20, you don't get what you need: the PDF documents are so poorly produced that the construction project is more likely to end in confusion than success. For the most part, the instruction manuals are produced by self-publishers who combine rather wooden text with their own picture strips taken from private websites in a rather horrible fashion.

Bought on eBay for $20: projector construction manuals with pictures and wooden text - stay away!

While these guides didn't seem like a great deal, they gave us the idea to stage our own "do-it-yourself projector" promotion. In contrast to the eBay offers we briefly examined, you should come away from our tutorial with a good foundation for building your own XGA projector, and of course, there's no charge! In order to offer a realistic impression of the picture quality possible, our new video provides a step-by-step guide to building and operating your own projector.