Reply To: Lowering the Cost

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My total cost was about $750 USD.
Patience, and finding used items on eBay and Craigslist, rather than getting everything immediately helped. Also, a long-throw projector is WAAAY cheaper than a BENQ short-throw. The obvious disadvantage is height above the sandbox.

Broken down as follows:
1. I ended up with a used Dell 1100MP projector I got on Craigslist for $60. (They’re also on eBay for around $100USD) It has 600 hours on it, but its lamp life is rated at 2000 hours. I figure at 3-4 hours a day at the elementary school where I built the sandbox, it should last a couple years.
2. I had to buy a remote on eBay for $20, because the projector is up so high. (6.5 feet (2m) above the sandbox, which is about 9 feet (3m) above the floor, I had to remove drop-ceiling tiles!)
3. The height required a VGA extension cable, and a short AC extension cord for the projector. ($5 each)
4. I got a Core i3 tower on Craigslist for $150.
The sandbox wood, brackets, bolts and Projector supports cost me about $160 at Home Depot
5. I didn’t skimp on a $350 GTX970 video card.

My total cost was about $750… Until I fried the motherboard.
So, A word of advice: Re-seat your large video card if you transport your computer.

I destroyed my original motherboard in the 10-minute drive between my home and the school. The video card is so big, it got slightly loose during the drive, and shorted-out the motherboard when I turned it on. This set me back over summer break, and another $65 for a replacement motherboard from eBay.

– Rick
San Diego, CA

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