Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mister Jalopy's Urban Guerrilla Movie House

Before the roof was finished, I must admit the Urban Guerrilla looked pretty ho-hum.

It seems most Hooptyrides posts start with a statement about how busy I have been as way of explanation to justify the dearth of posts on my entertaining internet presence. Add to that the insult that I upgraded, then irretrievably broke Jalopy Junktown and I am bad blogger without defense. And I have been busy - up to my ass-kettle in tea-kettles. So to speak.

To answer the inevitable question, the roof took about 6 hours with a lunch break.
The over-built, under-engineered Movie House base is TIG welded.

Oh, how I miss the drive-in movie theaters that dotted the San Fernando Valley. Sure, there are still drive-in theaters in Los Angeles if you define Los Angeles in the broadest of terms as extending from San Diego to the Antelope Valley. So, I am bringing the drive-in to Maker Faire. I will be at the Make booth on Saturday and Sunday to tell it like it is and show off my blister from too much tin snipping. Plus, I am giving the Deep Sea Suburb talk at the Main Stage.

A Schwinn Town and Country adult tricycle with a Lumenlab-style projector on the back. Inside the wooden box is a stripped 15" PC LCD monitor and replacing the meager florescent backlight is an awesome 400w lamp that is bright like welding. Add a reflector, a couple of fresnals lens and a homemade focusing triplet lens and you are ready to bring the party to the people. Easy as that? Well, not really. I made more missteps than a fox trotter with two left feet. But, I learned a ton along the way and the results will be in Make Volume 11.

Under the roof, curious peekers will find a Mac laptop with a RocketFM transmitter for radio broadcasting the movie audio to the 80's era cassette boombox on the handle bars. Oh, it works like a champ! Does the projector work without AC power? No. It is already heavy like a battleship straining those original, cracked Schwinn tires and I can't imagine how many deep cycle marine batteries would be needed for a 400W lamp. While riding, I assure you, it is plenty satisfying to listen to the awesome cassette power boombox.

The preferred acid test image of the superb Lumenlab DIY Forums. That is an
untouched, un-photoshopped 7 foot diagonal non-HDTV screen shot.
The screen is a sheet of $12 melamine from Home Depot.
Nikon D70, auto settings, no flash.

Without the help of Lumenlab and the collected history of the forums, this project would never have happened. If you can't wait for the Make article, go poke around. BUT, as with all forums filled with experts, PLEASE read the FAQs, the builder guide, the Wiki and search the forums before you start asking if you can use a laptop screen (unless you are Bunnie, you can't) or automobile headlights (you could, but shouldn't.)