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I'm considering picking up a picoprojector as an lcd replacement. I would like to have maybe some frosted plastic as a surface that I can deploy in the absence of a suitable whitewashed wall.

It should be - frosted/backed by a semitransparent coating to show a picture, optimally from either side (projector on same side as viewer OR on opposite side). - cheap (easily replaceable) - easy to clean/descratch - light

Optimally it should also be amenable to some kind of modification to allow assembly into larger panels.

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have you tried googling for "portable projector screen" –  ratchet freak Jan 29 '12 at 18:04
    
Yes, but that would imply more money than I consider it necessary to spend. Take, for instance, the idiotic invisible shield kits that are sold wit mobile devices. They charge about $30 for something that ships with most electronics for free. –  jamesson Jan 29 '12 at 18:22
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See this post: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/11054/… –  Steven Jan 29 '12 at 19:14
    
Thanks for that, but I really don't want to do a fabric solution - variety of reasons. And, no offense to anybody, this paint on business is absurd - $175 a gallon? I can buy good booze at those prices. –  jamesson Jan 29 '12 at 20:00
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3 Answers

Maybe showerboard? I've used it in the past as a dry erase board. It comes in large sheets which you could attach to the wall via screws or hangers of some sort. A dab of white paint over the screw holes and you should be ok.

I don't remember exactly how expensive it was but I don't think it was more than $20 per sheet ... and they were fairly large sheets.

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Getting there... but still hoping for something semitransparent –  jamesson Jan 31 '12 at 3:55
    
hhmmmmm I could only think of a piece of large, frosted plastic ... but I'm not sure if a local DIY store would sell something like that. –  Scott Vercuski Jan 31 '12 at 9:55
    
There is actually it turns out special film that you can apply to any surface - almost as expensive as the paint tho. I will call a local dealer soon and see if I can't get a better price because they quote by the square meter and I only need 1.5sq ft at most. –  jamesson Jan 31 '12 at 20:18
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that's cool ... maybe they have scrap film ... similar to remnant carpet or remnant granite countertops –  Scott Vercuski Feb 1 '12 at 0:14
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I can only guess you want to do this because it'll look cool - which i agree - a projected image against a semi transparent surface would be cool.

Unfortunately, I don't think its gonna work.

Problem 1: pico projector. These things aren't ment for long term high quality use. Quick, in a pinch, a salesman goes to an office and wants to show a bigger image without relying on bringing a full blown projector or the client having one. Coffee shop or restaurant presentations also come to mind. Project against the wall at the table from a laptop.

The restriction is lumens. Projectors rely on a back light (some sort of halogen in older ones, led in newer ones). The greater the lumens, the brighter the picture.

Low lumens would be "ok" in a dark room, but you'll need the lumens to be much higher if your going to leave the lights on or the room has windows.

Couple this with the fact that you want the screen to be semi-transparent.

Projection screens (proper ones) have silver in them (hense, Silver Screen back in the day). You can get away with white, but the silver in the screen helps reflect the light.

You "might" be able to do this if you used a real projector (a proper sony or epson) but their bigger than a pico projector. Again, make sure it has a high lumen.

Problem 2: For the screen, translucent white for sure. But if you can see through it (like i think you want) you might not have enough light hitting the surface of whatever (glass, plexi) to produce the image. LCD and LED screens work in that their tiny lights (rgb) packed (crammed) together to produce an image. Ever seen a dead pixel? one of those lights got stuck or died or whatever. Projecting against a translucent screen, it'll be like the dead pixels are everywhere.

You turned down the idea of using a film. Maybe white window tint (see a car tinting place) on a piece of glass or plexi.

O, O, O!!! Some higher end cars (and even some mid range) have HUD's. A projector that sits behind the steering wheel and projects speed, fuel, etc... on to the windshield. That is accomplished with a special film on the glass and a higher end projector.

Or go crazy (and expensive) and maybe try to have some glass made like windows i've seen where when an electrical current is applied to the gas in the glass, it'll turn white (opaque) and you cant see through it. Frame it nicely and when its off, its just a box with glass in it.

or, if its really just for looks, theres a way to take a photo of whats behind a monitor and use it as the wallpaper on the desktop and make the screen "appear" transparent, but this also relies on the proper viewing angle.

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Thanks for the detailed and well-thought-out response. Couple problems; A) It's not just for looks. Moreover, I am willing to sacrifice some graphical quality because the only one that will be seeing it directly will be me. This is the reason I need such a small area. B) I didn't dismiss film, not for the right price. The hud business is interesting; will do more research. –  jamesson Feb 1 '12 at 16:30
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Find an old, analog rear-projection TV at a garage sale or craigslist. Take the screen out.

A salesman came to our office and had that sort of re-claimed screen. Worked fine with his small (not pico) projector.

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That's actually rather smart. –  Chris Cudmore Jul 27 '12 at 13:07
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