Black Widow (paint mix)

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Black Widow (paint mix) (also Black Widow US and Black Widow EU) is a non-commercial open source project, led by mechman (US), wbassett (US) and custard10 (EU),[clarification needed] to create paint mix for DIY (do it yourself) projection screens from easily accessible materials all over US and EU, which could outperform some commercial projection screens.

A very brief history of DIY painted screens and some of the more popular methods and mindsets[edit]

For years many have tried to make the 'perfect' DIY screen, one that would perform with ambient lighting as well as in a dark and dedicated environment. For years the debate was White vs Gray. White is easy, more forgiving and can be off more and not be as noticeable as a gray screen that isn't a well balanced color. The better balanced a white screen is, the more accurate it will be. Still, even with a white screen, the closer to D65 it is the more accurate it will be. The same goes with gray screens: the closer they are to neutral the better and more accurate they are. But what exactly constitutes a 'neutral'? There are many parameters but the main ones are the color balance (L*ab and xyY values), spectral curve, and color temperature.

One of the biggest problems and debates has been what exactly is gray? This has literally been debated for years and rather than explain it all over again the best thing is to refer to the neutral gray thread.

The most popular way to improve simple neutral gray up until now has been by the use of mica (pearlescent) and poly coatings. The problem is mica by nature causes a color shift. So, how to improve on a well balanced neutral gray, without introducing color shifting that mica's and interference pigments are known to cause? By using non-interference pigments instead... It was found that by adding aluminum-based paint (which is a water-based paint made primarily of aluminum and no other colorants) a gray was created. It has been used over the years as a 'silver' substitute, and has even been used for making mirrors. It is very bright and reflective. Aluminum is a very bright and universal element. That and the fact, that it is a non-interference substance, gave astounding results and benefits:

  • Better Blacks
  • Bolder Colors
  • Whiter Whites
  • Excellent performance with both ambient light and lights out dedicated setups
  • A brighter and more vibrant image without the color shifting problems caused by iridescence
  • Sharper image quality and shadow detail

Black Widow US[edit]

Black Widow US is a projection screen paint mix version for US. The formula is

  • 1 quart (946ml) of “Valspar Ultra Premium Super Flat Finish” tinted (PPG Pittsburgh Paints color code: 427-2 Bermuda Beige) paint from Valspar.
  • 8 oz (227ml) of “Auto-Air Aluminium Base Fine” (code: 4101) paint from Createx Auto Air Colors.

Note: The new formulation Auto Air Aluminum requires a new base. Bermuda Beige will not work with the new formulation.

When looking at the UPC, there is a number in the following format:

WDxxxx-##Bx

Look at the 2 numbers after the hyphen, "##" above. Old Formulation = 80 or below New Formulation = 81 or above

The current recommendation for the new formulation is:

  • 1 quart (946ml) of “Valspar Ultra Premium Super Flat Finish” tinted (Glidden "Veil") paint from Valspar.
  • 8 oz (227ml) of New Formulation “Auto-Air Aluminium Base Fine” (code: 4101-04) paint from Createx Auto Air Colors. Available online from Airbrush Paint Direct.Airbrush Paint Direct

Black Widow EU[edit]

Black Widow EU is a projection screen paint mix version for EU.

The formula has changed, due to the Auto-Air Aluminium paint composition changing. See below for more details. The old formula was:

  • 4 parts (960ml) of “Johnstone's Covaplus Vinyl Matt Finish” tinted (NCS color code: S 0907 Y70R) paint from Johnstone's or Leyland Trade.
  • 1 part (240ml) of “Auto-Air Aluminium Base Fine” (code: 4101) paint from Createx Auto Air Colors. (AAA)

Previously, the AAA paint had a blue tint to it, which required the main paint to have a pink tint, so that the combination produced a true Neutral Grey; however, batches of AAA since 2013 have a different formulation that does not have a significant tint. It is now recommended to use a Neutral Grey paint as the main paint - as below, many have used Dulux Grey Steel 2, which has an NCS code of 00NN 53/000 which equates to N7.8 on the Munsell scale. The same ratio of the paints are used instead.

Note 2:In the UK the auto aluminum can be sourced in 120 ml bottles; the only source for the fine version seems to be SM Designs in Northern Ireland. Don't use the other variants, it does not work as well.

Note 3: If you can't find the "Johnstone's Covaplus Vinyl Matt Finish” try the "DULUX Vinyl Matt". I do not know if it works exactly the same as the "DULUX Wash & Wear Flat" for the AU prescription but the codes of DULUX in Europe are:[1]
Grey Steel1 00NN 31/000 ( it is the darkest one )
Grey Steel2 00NN 53/000 ( RGB(184,184,182) - N7.8 )
Grey Steel3 00NN 72/000 ( RGB(219,220,219) - N8.8 )
Grey Steel4 00NN 83/000 ( it is the lightest one - N9.3 )

Black Widow AU - Formula for Auto-Air Aluminium Base[edit]

This new formula produces a reasonably dark end result (approx N7.4 based on the Hometheatreshack forums neutral grey scale). Alternatively, substitute 'Tranquil Retreat' or 'Ashville' for 'Milton Moon' (these are all DULUX colours), to end up with an approximately N7.9 or N8.1 result, depending on the screen darkness you desire. For a darker range approximately N5.5 use Dulux Colour PN2A4 'Timeless Grey'

Recommended painting techniques and safety[edit]

  • Spray with HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) paint spray gun. If paint is too thick - dilute it with distilled water up to 20%. Use appropriate protection.
  • Use a good quality low-nap roller. Avoid foam rollers as they have the tendency to cause bubbles which leave bright spots on the screen surface.

References[edit]

External links[edit]