Projecting your patterns rather than using patterns is a thing. Pretty awesome as you can display multiple sizes and you don’t have to try to store paper patterns!!
The challenge I had is I didn’t want to mount on the ceiling and have a hole there permanently.
First I had to find an affordable projector with a short throw. I landed on the Vivamage Explore. I paid $110 but the price fluctuates all the time. Today it is $99 using the Amazon click coupon. Another must for me was wifi compatibility. This allows you to display from a computer or phone wirelessly. More on this in a moment!
Now how to “mount” it so it would display on my cutting table. This was the hardest part. I could have built something, but I didn’t want it taking over my room. I tried looking at photography gear (mic stands, etc) but all of that was so expensive! I landed on a plant grow light stand for $48 with some plexiglas we had in the garage. I also purchased a longer power cord so I wouldn’t need an extension cord.
How to make the grow light stand work:
- Drilled two holes in stand to attach plexiglas.
- Attached projector to Plexiglas with a 1/4-20 machine screw and a bunch of washers. The rubber feet make it very stable so it won’t slide around.
- Put tape inside the fittings of the stand so it doesn’t fall apart when you lift it.
I have to say, I am happy with the results! The grow stand height is 4’ but with the Plexiglas, it is mounted a bit higher. The distance from lens to table is 53”.
How I use it
- I buy patterns that have a projector file or you could use ones in a/o format – but I have not tried that yet
- I store my patterns in a google drive folder, so they are all easy to find
- I downloaded a free app called Xodo to open my pdf patterns. This one is nice because I can turn off the layers I don’t want to see. Most of my patterns come with sizes 0-30 in one file.
- I turn on my projector, select iOS, then on my phone click screen mirror to the projector. Once I open the pattern in Xodo, I turn off the layers (sizes) I don’t want and zoom in or out until the 1×1 square measures 1 inch. Each pattern can display dark or light so you can see it on different fabrics. You can leave on a couple sizes if you have to grade your pattern.
Here is a short video that shows you what it looks like on your phone screen. You can see when I select two sizes you see the two cut lines. Also, zooming in an out looking at the 1″ square.
Here is a better photo to see how it displays on dark fabric:
Some people project and trace on paper. Then use that like they would a regular pattern. I display directly on my cutting mat & then cut the fabric.
Hope this helps someone! It is really quite cool!!!
Update: I did repaint it so it blends in better in my room now. I also put the task like back on it. Having it there does not impact me when projecting to cut patterns and the added task lighting is wonderful. I ditched the grow light and just picked up a basic one from the home improvement store.