Build Your Own Projector Mount

By on January 4, 2006

Being on a budget, we got two things for our business: the smallest conference room we could reasonably get away with, and the cheapest decent projector we could find.

This means that the projector is pretty big, and takes up an entire end of the conference table. I needed a way to mount it to the ceiling, but projector mounts run between $100-$200. They typically come in two types: Spidery-Articulated-Aluminum-Dealie and Pole-With-A-Mounting-Plate. One of the Pole-With-A-Mounting-Plate products I found on the net claimed, “mates with any 1½ inch pipe” in its description. That sent me to Home Depot, and I came up with this rig for about $40.

Read on for a rough how-to.

DISCLAIMER: I cannot be held responsible if your expensive projector takes up skydiving, and meets with negative results.

I probably overbuilt it a tad, but since I’m hanging a pretty expensive piece of hardware pretty high in the air, I wanted to make sure everything was solid. Overall, it was pretty easy to build, and it will even rotate.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Tools

  • Hacksaw
  • Wrench
  • Cordless Drill, or, if you hate yourself, a screwdriver

Stuff you might already have in the garage

  • Nuts, bolts and lock washers of sturdyish diameter (I used 5/16”), around ¾” to 1” long.
  • A length of 1 ½” PVC Pipe, enough to reach from the ceiling to where you want the projector to hang.

Stuff you’ll be picking up at the hardware store

  • Long screws that fit the mounting holes in your projector. This was the toughest thing to find.
  • A 4” closet flange. These come in different varieties, but I liked the ones with the rotatable metal ring.
  • One of these things. Sorry, I don’t know the right name, but I think it’s a 4 x 1 ½ reducer bushing. Looks like a funnel thingy to me.
  • A shower drain. The one I used had a big, wide lip that I could drill holes in to match the mount points on the projector.
  • A can of plastic spray paint (regular spray paint won’t stick to PVC)

The first thing to do is measure how far down you need the projector to hang. If you have to buy the PVC, you probably had to get at least 8 feet, so you get a few extra chances if you mess up the length.

Fit the reducer bushing (funnel thingy) to the closet flange (metal-ring thingy). I glued these two together, but this probably wasn’t neccesary. PVC glue is extremely strong, but it wasn’t neccesarily designed to hold weight, so I decided not to trust it. Beat on it a bit to make sure it completely seats.

Drill a hole through in the wide end of the bushing through both the bushing and the end of the flange, using a drill bit slightly wider than the shaft of your bolt. Cap the bolt on the inside of the fitting with a lock washer and a nut. Put at least two of these into opposite sides to firmly join the bushing to the flange.

The piece you’ve just built is the bit you’ll be fastening to the ceiling. The shower drain will hook to the projector, and the pipe will connect them.

Take a look at the projector. Most of them have screw holes designed to mount the projector to something. Measure the positions of the holes. I laid a piece of paper on the bottom of projector, then poked through the paper into the mounting holes to make a template of the mounting positions. Drill holes in the lip of the shower drain to match up with your projector

Once you’ve got the screw holes drilled, you’re ready to put it all together. Cut the pipe to the length you need. Make sure you take into account the length of the fittings, as well as how far the pipe will need to push in to each fitting. Beat the fittings on to either end of the pipe. Drill 3 holes equidistant around the fitting where it overlaps the pipe, put in the bolts, and cap them inside the pipe with lock washers and nuts. Spray a little paint on the whole thing so that it won’t look like an unfinished bathroom gone wrong.

Using the predrilled screw holes in the ring of the closet flange, attach your new projector mount to the ceiling. Put two or three small washers on each screw between your projector mount and the ceiling, so that the plastic part can still turn in the metal ring (This lets you rotate the projector).

Once you’re satisfied that your mount will hold weight, screw the projector to the holes you drilled earlier in the shower drain. If you bought long enough screws, you can back out the ones in the front or back slightly in order to aim the projector. Don’t get too carried away with this, of course, since these screws are all that’s standing between an expensive piece of equipment and a demonstration of Newton’s laws.

Gadgetopia

Comments

  1. That’s cool. I had the same delima $200 for a mount was just more than I wanted to pay. If you visit eBay and search you will find pretty nice mounts for $30-50. They are made with standard and easy to find speaker mounts that have a ball joint and some alluminium plates. So I found a 5 pc speaker mount kit at Wal-Mart for $15 or $20 I can’t remember and picked up a two foot aluminium flat rod and something to extend the mount to meet my needs with the projector. It has worked great and best of all it is adjustable so you can level it out and move it around a bit after installation.

    If I had a blog or something I would post them.

  2. That’s great! Thanks for the laughs! (I promise I won’t tell your boss that you’re hanging his projector with toilet plumbing parts.)

    The only thing I’d do differently is drill about a 1″ hole in the top and bottom fitting to run the cables through. Or maybe just at the bottom if you could manage to route the cables through a hole in the ceiling at the spot covered by the top flange.

    You really need to submit this one to LifeHacker or Make. Too cool!

  3. I promise I won’t tell your boss that you’re hanging his projector with toilet plumbing parts.

    We have a boss? Joe, did you know about this?

  4. The only thing I’d do differently is drill about a 1” hole in the top and bottom fitting to run the cables through. Or maybe just at the bottom if you could manage to route the cables through a hole in the ceiling at the spot covered by the top flange.

    I thought about this, actually, but I didn’t want to worry about painting the inside of the pipe. Since this is mounted right near a fairly bright light, and against a dark ceiling, it’s not terribly visible, so I left it. That would definitely be a good mod, though.

  5. Maybe I’m a paranoid, but the idea of suspending anything overhead using PVC seems like a bad, bad idea. As much fun as it is to build these sorts of things, I know I wouldn’t go anywhere near underneath something like this. I don’t think steel pipe is that much more expensive, and would be much safer.

  6. Well, the projector is under 10 pounds, so I think a steel pipe would be huge overkill (the pipe itself would weigh at least twice as much as the projector).

    PVC at this thickness is pretty tough, and we hung our projector over a table, so noone can walk into and bend the pipe (you’d have to be pretty tall anyway).

    The bolts at the joints instead of PVC glue I think are fairly key, though. I would be leery of something like this just held together with pipe cement.

    When I built this, I was really worried about the projector falling down and injuring me where it hurts: my equipment budget. As it is, though, I’m pretty confident that this thing is over-engineered.

  7. Maybe I’m a paranoid, but the idea of suspending anything overhead using PVC seems like a bad, bad idea.

    You have to see it. It’s stable as hell.

  8. Obviously lots of people have never tried to unseat properly cemented PVC pipes. Clean the joint, use a primer, and glue it. Give it a few hours, and I DARE you to try and pull them apart!!

  9. Just had to comment on this, extremely brilliant idea. I recently purchased a projector and was browsing for a mount to purchase when i came across this idea, i already had all the materials beeing a master plumber oh and by the way the funnel piece is a 4×2 pvc reducer just like you said, just to clarify, anyways i followed your instructions and within minutes i had my new mount, simply genius. Its very strong and sturdy and the trick is all in how creative you could get with the finish. Anyone looking for a good mount challenge yourself with this task. Interms of strength you need not to worry, the real worry is how decorative can you get? Thanks alot ! wicked idea.

  10. I made a cheap projector mount for less than $50. Using stainless steal marine grade cable, with 4 wing screw hooks into the ceiling and four stainless steel crimping ends.

    The four hooks are mounted to the ceiling, there are two cables cut to craddle the projector, the crimping ends make loops to hold the projector in place. Very easy to make and very easy to remove the projector (easy to get stolen as well). Hooks can be mounted in different places around the house and the one projector can be moved around the house.

    Cable rated at 50 kg, hooks I think can each take a few kilos, more than enough to hold a projector.

    Here in Australia all things can be purchased from Bunnings.

  11. I too would like to have a look at this projector mount idea…Anybody have the original idea that they could post here? Thanks.

  12. This has got to be the ugliest projector mount I have ever seen. Not to mention the fact that is no where near sturdy or reliable enough for me to even think about hanging a $7,000 projector from. Haven’t you ever heard of steel pipe? You can buy it at Lowes for about the same price as pvc.

  13. chris again putting something out there, the idea is great, you can expound on it and build to your specification mr. $7,000 projector owner, don’t get me wrong i agree with you, you inspire that comment i made

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