How to Make a Movie Theater with Movie Screen & Overhead Projector in your SUV

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This is a write up on how I made a Mobile Movie Theater in the Back of my Xterra

Things you Need:

  • 1 length of 1/2″ PVC Pipe
  • 1/2″ PVC T-Connectors (x4)
  • 1/2″ PVC L-Connectors (x4)
  • One piece of 1/2″ Thick high-quality wood, about 5.5″ x 8.5″
  • 1/4″ half-circle metal pipe brackets (x4)
  • 1/2″ long screws & washers (x4 each)
  • Black Paracord or Other Paracord you can paint black
  • PVC Toner & Glue
  • Hack Saw or PVC Pipe Cutter
  • Black Paint
  • 2  hollow metal tubes that fit inside the PVC T-connectors, which are just wide enough inside for you to snake a larger gear tie through, and just long enough to have a few inches hanging out of each end.
  • 1 Roll-up Black-out, Flat-White Window Shade from a Home Improvement Store
  • 3/4″ wide wooded Dowel, 8-10″ longer than the screen
  • 1″ square piece of high-quality wood, 8-10″ longer than the Screen
  • Black Duct Tape
  • Rubberize Gear Ties, large (x2)
  • Rubberized Gear Ties, small (x2)
  • Metal Picture-Hanging brackets, Triangular metal loop, screw-in type
  • 3/4″ mounting screws (x2)
  • Mini Projector (I use a Projector Mod for our Moto Z2Force Phone that has auto alignment, and uses its own built-in Battery first, and then runs off of your phone battery when that’s gone, and also projects while charging, but any mini projector will work)

Step 1 – Overhead Projector Platform:

  • Set the 4 L-brackets at the 4 corners of your wooden plank
  • Set two of the T-brackets at the short ends of your plank, between the two side L-brackets
  • Cut PVC pieces to link them all together, going 1″ deep into each PVC Attachment, as pictured below, on the two sides and the back side
  • For the Front piece, leave a gap around 2-1/4″ wide and insert the two PVC pieces 1″ deep into the two L-brackets here, as pictured below.
  • After you see everything fits well, take it all apart and then apply toner and glue and assemble it all together again in a well-ventilated area and let it dry completely
  • Set it over the Wooden Plank and and attach it to the plank with the Pipe Brackets and the screws and washers, so that the Plank is below the pipe completely on the top side, as pictured below
  • Use Paracord to be sure all four brackets are securely connected to the PVC
  • Paint the entire thing black, painting on the bottom of the plank, and any paracord which is visible from the bottom, as show below

Step 2 – Mount the Platform:

  • Cut two long pieces of PVC heading out from the two T-brackets on the sides of the platform, outward towards the side of your overhead handles.
  • **I’ve replaced my handles with Cargo hooks, but you can just run them through your handles or put the T-brackets at the ends and run rubber gear ties through them and wrap them around the handles, etc
  • For my Gear Hooks:
    • I put the two extra T-connectors on the ends of the two PVC extensions coming from the platform
    • When you have the size right, glue these two T connectors to the PVC pieces, but don’t glue the PVC into the T Connectors at the Platform. Leaving them unglued allows you to rotate the platform to get the right angle.
      • Give no more than 1/2″ play, or it can pop out of the connector.
    • Run the Large Gear Ties through the thin metal tubing, and run that tubing through the center of the T-connectors at the ends by the Cargo Hooks, and use the loose ends of the gear ties to twist it around the cargo hooks or curtain rods.
      • Optionally, you can just run some rods or metal chopsticks or other sticks through the T-connectors and set the sticks/rods on the cargo hooks, and that is enough if you’re not driving around.
    • Attach the Moto Projector Mod to your Phone or use your own portable projector, and set it on the platform.

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Step 3 – Making the Movie Screen:

  • Screw the 2 mounting Brackets into the Square wooded piece with the 3/4″ screws, at the exact same distance apart that the two rear cargo hooks are apart
  • Take the black-out rolling blind and pop off the end caps of the part that pulls down
  • Slide the stick out of the center and throw it away
  • Slide your 3/4″ wooden dowel through that bottom sleeve in its place, leaving equal amounts of Dowel protruding out of each end.
  • Turn the Blind upside down. Hold the Dowel firmly against the Square Wooden Bracket, with the Hanging Triangles facing upwards.
  • Using Black Duct Tape, Tape the two together very tightly from the end all the way to just outside of where the screen material starts. Wrap it several times, and be sure the ends are taped closed as well.
  • Roll the top Roll all the way up tightly to the Dowel.
  • Take two small Lengths or Paracord and tie them into loops which just barely fit over the two taped wood ends and the roll of screen material when its rolled up tightly against them.
    • Make these as well fitted as possible, as these paracord loops are what keep the screen up when not in use.
  • Hang the entire screen up to the Cargo Hooks (on the inside of the curtains) using the small rubber Gear Ties, twisted as tightly as possible, as close to the top as possible. Twist it around until no loose gear tie remains to be twisted.

Step 4 – Watching your Movie:

  • Just slip off the two pieces of paracord off and let the screen roll all the way down to the bottom.
  • Turn on your projector and start your movie, then set it into the platform
  • Adjust the platform so the image is fully on screen

Step 5 – Securing your Mobile Theater for Traveling:

  • After your movie, simply roll the screen up, slip the Paracord loops over it, and it’ll be super secure, even when off-roading
  • Take your projector off the platform
  • To take down the platform you can either take the sticks out of the T-bracket at the ends, or you can take platform T-brackets out of the PVC side extensions and just let them hang down, or join them up top with some more paracord.
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