Retractable Projector

Making the projector slide into the ceiling

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Summary

When I moved into this house I was always experimenting. I built this system to allow the projector to slide in and out of the ceiling, and to vent it’s heat and some of it’s fan noise into the loft space.

For added flair I painting it blue like the tardis.
Retractable Projector
Status: Completed
Updated: March 3rd 2020

Retractable Projector

This project started out as a few drawings. I wanted to make a slick system for dropping the projector down from the ceiling with no wires visible. As a bonus I realised that the heat and sound from the projector would be vented into the loft space.

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #1Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #2

The Build

I started by building a plywood enclosure and ‘sleeve’ to house the projector and carry it up and down from the loft space to the living room.

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #3

T

The box was a fairly simple construction, with an X shape brace at the top to evenly distribute the weight when I would later suspend it from a weighted pulley system.

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #4Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #5

I added a back flap with wide angle hinges so that you could access the projector from the living room when the box was down.

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Inside I wired a plug socket into the box.

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #8

Next I brutally cut a hole in the ceiling between two joists.

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #9Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #10

… and fixed the ‘sleeve’ in place. My plan here was that the sleeve box would keep the projector box aligned as it dropped and retracted.

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #10aProjector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #11

Next I painted the enclosure blue (like the Tardis), with the bottom, (which would end up exposed flush on the ceiling when retracted), white.

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #12Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #13

I laser cut a masking plate so that from the box the only thing that’d be exposed would be the projector lens. I hoped to reduce the sound and heat leaking from the box even more by doing this. In the end I changed projectors and never re-cut another mask because this was a non issue.

At the same time I cut some plates from white perspex which would sit on the bottom of the projector so that when it was retracted it simply looked like a low-profile white hatch.

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #14

Attaching the counterweighted pulley system, suspended by roof trusses.

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #15Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #17

In-progress shots:

Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #18Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #19Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #20Projector Retracts Into Cieling Project: Image #21

Summary

This worked well and has become an unnoticed part of our daily lives. It’s great to have easy access to a 100″+ screen when you want it, and then slide it away when not in use.

If I were to do this again I’d use drawer runners instead of the simplistic sleeve and pulley system, which though it works, it’s not particularly smooth.

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