This is a radio hack i did as part of a 2nd year Product Design coursework project, at Dundee University. The brief instructed us to use the inner workings from a standard handheld radio, and incorparate them into a brand new design of our own.
This Instructable will guide you through all you need to know in order to build this guitar amp radio which i have entitled 'Amplify'.
The photos above show the logo, a 3d render and my initial sketch model.
Step 1: What You Need...
2 - Aluminium Sheet
3 - 2 x Brushed Aluminium control knobs
4 - Styrene plastic sheet
5 - Selection of small allan keys
6 - 1 x standard light fitting
7 - 1 x minijack to minijack lead
8 - 1 x 3.5mm to 6.3mm audio jack adapter
9 - 1 x Letraset letter transfer set
10 - 1 x Cut Vinyl Sticker
11 - 1 x 5mm black cable
12 - 4 x Rivets
13 - 1x AA battery pack.
Step 2: Exploded Diagram
Step 3: Removing the Circuitry From a Handheld Radio
Step 4: Soldering Up the Circuit
Step 5: Laser Cutting
The shape for the faceplate is a 100mm by 100mm square with rounded corners, the holes are 20mm in diameter and sit anywhere on the theoretical diagonal line between two corners. The backplate is again 100 x 100, the centre hole is dependant on the specific light fitting you have chosen. the battery door is dependant on the specific battery pack you have chosen.
If you don't have access to a laser cutter then other methods such as bandsaws, sanders and rotary tools will do the job.
Below is an image of me holding my newly laser cut panels, between some test aluminium strips, so you can begin to see the radio taking shape.
Step 6: Cutting the Aluminium
Step 7: Bending the Aluminium
Step 8: Riveting
Step 9: Making Battery Door
Cut small pieces of metal and stick them with glue onto the inside of the backplate, above where the magnets would go. Make sure you shape these small metal pieces so the door sits flush with the face.
Find any small suitable piece of black plastic which could act as a handle, and glue it in place. I've used the piece shown in the photo which i found in my garage. I'm not sure what its original purpose was but it seems to work well for a battery door handle.
Wait until the glue dries and place the door in tits space. If all goes well it should click in nicely as shown.
Step 10: Making Base Cone
First, drill through the centre of the fitting to make a through passage. This is for the audio lead to fit through. Place the jack adapter facing out the bottom, and secure in place by packing with something solid, i chose 'NO MORE NAILS'. Be careful not to get any filler in the connection point. Leave this to dry.
Place the black part of the cone through the centre hole from the inside of the faceplate. If the hole is not perfect, you can widen it with a dremmel sanding piece as shown below. Glue the lip of this piece in place.
This can now be screwed tight in place, but leave off until the next step so the audio lead can be plugged in.
Give the White part a splash of black enamel paint. Two coats should do.
If you cannot gain access to a similar light fitting to this, you should be able to sculpt the piece from a wine cork as shown below.
Step 11: Fitting Components
Wrap the circuit board in masking tape and glue it down to the inside of the baseplate with hot melt glue. The tape is to keep the circuitry safe from glue damage.
plug the audio lead into the headphone input. Push the other side down through the hole in the centre, into the light fitting, and plug into the jack adaptor inside. You can then screw the light fitting together.
The LED is simply mounted in place through the hole with some superglue.
Step 12: Securing of Knobs
Glue washers to the surrounding body of the volume and tuning switches, making sure not to drip glue into the centre so the shaft can still twist. Once this is dry, the top edge of the washers, should be glued to the underside of the faceplate with the twist control centred in the hole.
Fix appropriately sized allen key shafts down the hole in the center of the twist dials as shown, and secure with Araldite.
You may need to pad these metal shafts out with some electrical tape in order for the knob to sit on straight.
Secure on the knob by placing down over the shaft and twisting the grub screw tight into position.
Step 13: Beading
I used an old phone charger cable, but most flexible black cables will do.
It is fixed in place by being cut to size and superglued into the corner. This can be held to dry by masking tape.
Step 14: Decal
The vinyl stickers with the amplify logo i got done at a professional sign makers. This only cost £6 and looks amazing. You should not attempt to cut your own self adhesive vinyl on a laser cutter as this produces unattractive melted edges and the fumes can be toxic.
The design i chose was a line coming from the logo, following the bottom edge around the side panels and circling the LED at the end. You can obviously design your own decal. It is recommended you bring an illustrator file on a flash drive, containing a black line outline of the cut you desire.
The vinyl stickers are applied by peeling off the back paper, sticking it in place, giving it a thorough rub in, and finally peeling off the clear plastic film.
I feel the black sticker on the black face plate is a big addition to the overall look of the design, it's not too in your face yet still manages to catch the eye.
The Lettering on the control Knobs are best done with Letraset letter transfers. These can be purchased in most art shops, and is applied much the same way as the vinyl stickers.
Step 15: Final Outcome!
This concept, is one that to my knowledge does not already exist as a product, but would be simple to do using any handheld radio. I think it would do well as a product and feel that ‘Amplify’ is a brilliant concept. Finished product aside, it is no doubt that this assignment has been the most useful section of my course so far. Building it has taught me many new processes, including laser cutting, riveting, guillotining and basic electronics. I feel this project was a success. I managed to get ‘Amplify’ built, working and looking better than i would ever have expected.
Have a go and see how yours turn out. It would be great to receive any feedback or suggestions anyone may have.
'Rock Out....to the Radio!'