There are many things to consider when choosing a projector. From where you will be cutting to where you are in the world. We will be going over a few of the basic things that are important when choosing a projector.
When you look at your cutting space where will the projector be? Do you want it mounted out of the way on a ceiling or wall? Are you a renter who wanted to avoid putting holes in the walls? There are a lot of possibilities. Some can be left on a shelf and provide an angled projection under them. Keystones or the ability to angle the projector to project on angled surfaces is another option to look at. Most can be mounted on a wall or ceiling. There are also clamp mount options available but keep in mind that the projector will do best in a place where it will not be moved as calibrating can be time-consuming. I found that this mount worked really well and allowed me to make adjustments to further align my projector.
What about the wires? Will you have a battery-operated projector or a wired version? What about the internet to send your images from your computer to the projector? Will your projector have its own Wifi ability or will you purchase a device like Chromecast that makes the projector get wifi? What about your computer? Does it have wifi capability or will you need a wifi adaptor? Will the power and/or internet cord be run along the ceiling, down a wall, or around a door? This can be a large hassle to deal with but could be more cost-effective than changing batteries when they run out. So think about where you would like the projector and determine which options are best for you.
Once you have chosen the projector power supply and internet connection where will it be? Is it in arms reach to make adjustments, or turn off and on? If it is mounted on a ceiling over a larger table it can be hard to reach which can be a problem that would affect the use of the projector. I personally have mine mounted on an 8’ ceiling over a rather large table. I cannot climb up and down continuously to turn it off and on so for me, a controller is a must-have.
How far will the cutting mat be from the projector lens? The closer the lens is to the mat the smaller the projected image will be. This is the Throw of the projector. Not all projectors list this but I have found this calculator that can help in finding ones that may work by putting in the distance from your mat to where your lens could be. You can also put in the dimension of the “screen size” aka cutting mat. Cutting mats vary in size. I personally use my 24” x 36” mat most often which I can project a 19” x 36” image easily with my projector. There are some pattern pieces that will be larger than this so moving in the middle of cutting may be required. This is important to think about when doing research. Do you tend to use a smaller cutting area? Or a larger one? If you only sew doll clothes this won’t be much of a concern but for those that cut larger pieces regularly, this will be an important thing to keep in mind.
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