3D Printed Speaker Enclosures (With Lights!)

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Introduction: 3D Printed Speaker Enclosures (With Lights!)

This project was a demonstration of the potential of 3D printers to create high-fidelity, finished products. We wanted to create something that could only be created by means of additive manufacturing. The ultimate goal was to create a functional, consumer-ready piece that took advantage of the strengths of 3D printing. This project was also an exploration in the role of digital design tools in the 3D printing world, and how we could combine digital tools in new ways to create unique objects.

Here is a quick video that captures our motivations for doing this project:

The project was recently featured by Wired.com
Check out the full article:
http://www.wired.com/design/2013/04/lumigeek/

They were also featured with an article and video on Engadget:

Check out the full article here:
 http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/07/3d-printed-speakers-lumigeek/

You can also check out the first test with the finished speakers and audio reactive LEDs:

We used an Objet Connex 500 by Stratasys due to it's extremely high resolution and its multi-material printing capabilities.

Design Team:
Maurice Conti - Concept and Design
Evan Atherton - Design and Engineering
Arthur Harsuvanakit - Technical Consultant

In this Instructable, I will try to share the process of making these one-of-a-kind speakers.

*Note: for this project, we used an off-the-shelf speaker driver. The exact speaker can be found here:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=264-902

Step 1: Creating the Model

These speakers are composed of two components that are 3D printed simultaneously:
1. Flexible rubber base (Objet TangoBlackPlus)
2. Clear crystal-like protrusions (Objet VeroClear)

The clear crystals are held in place by the black rubber base, which gives the lights that cool pixelated effect.

To create the crystal form, I used Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2013, and its powerful Topology toolbox. The steps in 3ds Max are as follows:

1. Create a polygonal sphere from the standard primitives box. Use a sufficient number of segments, but not too many
2. Convert the sphere to an editable polygon with the Edit Poly modifier
3. Ensure that you have edges selected in the Edit Poly Mode box on the right hand side
4. In the Polygon Modeling drop-down of the Graphite Modeling Tools, select "Generate Topology"
5. In the pop-out menu, select "Edge Direction" (or whicheverpattern you happen to like!)
6. In the Edit Poly Mode box, select polygons. Right click in the workspace and select the box next to "Extrude"
7. In the pop-out menu, change the extrude mode to "By Polygon"
8. Extrude all of the faces a sufficient distance.
9. Export your creation as a .STL (StereoLitho) file

Step 2: Finishing the Model

In order to create a printable speaker with two separate bodies (one for the base and one for the crystals), I moved the model into Autodesk Inventor. This let me convert the mesh to a solid model in order to add geometry for the speaker holes and fasteners more precisely. It also allowed me to create the rubber base model quickly, and to smooth out the outer surface.

To convert the .STL mesh into a solid body in Inventor, you'll need to install the free Autodesk Labs plug in: Mesh Enabler, which can be found here:

http://labs.autodesk.com/utilities/inventor_mesh/

To complete the model in Inventor, follow these steps:
1. Import the .STL file you created by selecting "Open" and changing the file type to ".STL"
2. Right click on your model name in the model tree on the left and select "Convert to Base Feature"
3. Change the selection to "Solid/Surface" and click OK
4. Create a hollow sphere for the base using the Revolve tool. (Make sure to create a new solid body in the tool options)
5. Use the Combine tool to create holes in the base where the crystals pass through
6. Perform a Revolve cut on the outer surface to smooth out the sphere
7. Using the standard Inventor modeling tools, add all the features you need to mount the speakers and allow the wires to pass through
8.Export each body as an .STL file individually by hiding the other bodies. This will allow you to apply different materials to each body

Step 3: 3D Print the Speaker Enclosure

For this project, we used an Objet Connex 500 3D printer by Stratasys. The rubber base was made in TangoBlack Plus and the crystals were made out of Vero Clear. I took around 40 hours to print the pair.

Once they are printed, you have to clean them up with a pressure washer and wet sand them to the desired finish.

Step 4: Add Lights

Because we were dealing with a clear material. it was only natural that we added lights. We worked with a new startup called LumiGeek to control individually addressable LED strips inside each speaker. They are controllable through an iPad app, and are audio responsive. You can check them out in action here:




If you want to make your own lights, head over to LumiGeek's site to sign-up for more info:
http://www.lumigeek.com/

Step 5: Variations

Using the Topology tool in 3ds Max, you can make a ton of cool patterns and shapes. If you start with a simple plane, you can use an FFD box in 3ds Max to manipulate it into whatever shape you want. You don't have to stick to a sphere.

Step 6: Final Speakers

The possibilities are endless...

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    user

    We have a be nice policy.
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    62 Comments

    I designed this cool enclosure for use on a REGULAR home 3D printer
    Download it for free from my thingiverse.com account:
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:69452

    Enjoy,
    3Dizingof.com

    none of the links you have posted work

    I figuired out how to load this .stl file, but the 3d printer site scaled it down to 10% and while about 95% of the "diamond shapes" are okay, some look broken by their "corrections". How can I shrink this by 90% or would you be able to help with this part?

    I made this design for personal home 3d printers that have the capability to 3d print at this size.
    Note: i designed the enclosure for a 4" Speaker so downscaling it or upscaling it will affect the Speaker opening..where you mount the speaker.

    Use a home 3d printer + natural (clear/transparent) PLA filament.


    Dizingof
    www.thingiverse.com/dizingof - Over 170 Free designs for your 3d printer.
    www.3Dizingof.com






    I'm going to pick up some clear PLA in my next order. So I can try printing this on my Mendel90.

    Oh FYI, I think they're using 3" drivers for the speakers. As one of the posts above mentions this URL: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=264-902

    Thank you. What program do you run this in? I've modeled 3D objects before, so I'm not totally lost.

    user

    Is there any way to get the STL files ? Or perhaps an update version of the tutorial ?

    From a speaker design standpoint, its a rather boring closed ball. Technically, the rubber base cavities could help disperse internal resonant frequencies, but its a pointless effort with such a small cone area driver. Also, they have to take much care to make the box airtight. Lots of contact points and small nooks can let tiny amounts of air to escape, diminishing the overall efficency of the enclosure. Concluding from this, these "speakers" are designed to show the capabilities of the printer. Also, in the audio reactivity test, its clear that the tiny drivers do not work in this enclosure. Listening to the lower frequency response, it's clear they made a poor choice with the driver. The ratio between cone area and linear excursion is way off for this type of enclosure. They make an interesting lamp, for sure. But a shitty pair of speakers. These would work great with FE103e drivers in the ball and a down-firing 6,5-8" woofer in a cylindrical box underneath...

    "Concluding from this, these "speakers" are designed to show the capabilities of the printer."

    Maybe if you did a little reading before being pompous, you wouldn't look like a fool to a stranger years later.

    "This project was a demonstration of the potential of 3D printers to create high-fidelity, finished products. We wanted to create something that could only be created by means of additive manufacturing. The ultimate goal was to create a functional, consumer-ready piece that took advantage of the strengths of 3D printing."