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Ball of Death: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Apple Pro Speakers

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Picture of Ball of Death: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Apple Pro Speakers
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 I've always said that since disposing of the "beige box", Apple has always led in the industrial design area. The integration of form and function can't be touched by any other manufacturer in any industry (Porsche comes close). It's a shame to clog up landfills with something attractive and durable just because it's original use is moot.

For this instructable you will need (ideally):
Apple Pro Speakers
2 beers
a 12v motor with a shaft diameter not bigger than 1/8" and a housing no deeper than 2" (The ideal motor should have 3 or 6 threaded holes on the output side. The one I used was a samsung capstan motor from a trashed video deck. The most important things are the threaded holes)
fire
Wire cutters
a rubber band
a big nail
super glue, or really, really good glue, let's not get too high on ourselves now
a reamer-like file (I used an old phillips screwdriver, I had time to kill)
bolts that fit the threaded holes on your motor
a 9-volt battery
a 9-volt battery connector with useable leads (see parts source in the next item)
on-off switch (destroy one of your, or your friends' children's battery-powered toys - they need to use their imagination more anyway!)
wire
soldering iron (or you could forgo the switch and soldering iron and just twist everything together)
a wheel from the toy you busted up - minimum diameter 1 3/4"
1 bottlecap leftover from your Laptop stand from 4 bottlecaps
3 nails or other hard, metal, pointy things
3 arms
 
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Step 1: Disassemble the Apple Pro Speakers

Picture of Disassemble the Apple Pro Speakers
 OK, I could make a whole instructable about this, but the only thing you need to know; the keystone of the Apple Pro Speaker is the little metal collar that the wire comes out of. Pull the grill off the front, then use 3 screwdrivers or short nails, as long as you take one in each of your 3 hands, insert them in the holes, and rotate the collar out. Claw scratch and hack everything else out of the speaker housing. You want to get rid of the wires and the speaker.

Step 2: ...but can it core a Apple Pro Speaker, oh Chef o' the Future?

Picture of ...but can it core a Apple Pro Speaker, oh Chef o' the Future?
Once you get that metal collar off the back, you can actually yank out the plastic "core" in the middle. In this shot the metal that the speaker was attached to is still connected to the core. You should remove that, too.

Step 3: Admire the Hunk.

Picture of Admire the Hunk.
 Here's what I call the Hunk. It's a hunk of plastic that everything goes into. We can stop here and you can have a change tray, a place to stuff your keys, the worst thing to shine the laser pointer into when playing with the cat, an interesting fish-eye lens (now that I'm actually LOOKING at the shot I took), but, for the love of Pete, whatever you do - DON'T use it as an ashtray. Smoking kills more than burning plastic fumes.

Have a beer.

Step 4: No guts, no glory

Picture of No guts, no glory
Make certain your drivetrain works. Be sure the wheel fits on the axle and that the axle spins freely when you touch the leads to a battery. Always check stuff like this beforehand.

Step 5: How to Eyeball like a pro

Picture of How to Eyeball like a pro
Stick the shaft of the motor through the wire hole on the back of the core. If your motor is too shallow, shove a bottlecap under it to prop it up.
See how gravity kind of "wants" to center it? If your motor has 6 holes, line up your target holes along the plastic "beams" and the other 3 hole along the curves of the outsides of the "beams". Now, using  flame and a big nail, burn holes through the plastic directly above the threaded holes in the motor. Try not to go all the way through. The last thing you want is molten plastic dribbling into the motor. Use your reamer-like thingy to file out the holes.
Tough part:
A lot of this project is subjective. I just happen to be a packrat when it comes to tools, fasteners, and gadgets. I just happened to have the perfect size bolts for the right size motor for the speakers. It was a personal trifecta in my case. Try to do your best with what you have.

Step 6: Screw it

Picture of Screw it
I mean BOLT it, of course. the most important thing here is that the shaft of the motor not touch the sides of the hole in the core. Believe it or not, there's a LOT of maneuverability built into this step. You can either file/ream out the holes more for the bolts to slide down into them, or you can loosen one side and tighten the other 2. Either way, it's not too difficult to manage to center it almost dead on. Hindsight being 20/20, and according to the pic, I think I need to adjust it a little myself!

Note: you don't want bolts that are too long. Make sure they JUST go into the motor housing. Too deep and you'll damage the motor.

Step 7: Ooh, can it core a Apple...

Picture of Ooh, can it core a Apple...
 Shove the guts into the Hunk. There's a rubber gasket that will invariably get twisted while doing this. Use one of the pointy things to shove it into place around the diameter of where the core and Hunk come together. I couldn't get in tight enough with my craptastic camera to get a good shot of it. If you've gotten this far you'll know what I mean.

Note in my pic: I used a rubber band to hold the wires in tighter in case the whole thing flew apart.

Step 8: External input device

Picture of External input device
 Stick a switch there! Take the red lead from the 9-volt battery connector, solder it to the middle leg of the switch (or 1 of the 2 legs of the switch, depending on what kind of switch you tore out of the kids' toy was) and solder a lead from the motor to the other leg. Connect the other lead from the motor to the other lead of the battery connector.

OR

Wire the battery to the motor as needed, but you have to stick the grill back on or the speaker will get hung up on the opening.

Forgive the blur.

Step 9: Self-centering

Picture of Self-centering
NOT PICTURED BUT IMPORTANT: inside the metal collar is this little rubber gasket. Those Apple guys think of everything. It looks like it's used to alleviate pressure on the speaker wire.

Here's, I think, my favorite part: when you screw the metal collar back on (remember to use all 3 arms), the motor self-centers

Step 10: Get your motor runnin'

Picture of Get your motor runnin'
 Slap the little wheel on the end of the axle (a dab of superglue is most efficacious), connect a 9-volt and give your creation life!

Full-disclosure statement: The bolts I used to attach the motor to the core had round heads and they're preventing me from pushing the grill all the way on. Yes, ghetto though it may seem, that is tape on the grill, but it's "invisible" tape so you can't see it, right?

Step 11: Creating a black hole in my office

Almost.... 

Have a beer.

Feature:
If you stand it on the flat part of the housing and you have exactly the same size wheel that I'm using, the speaker WILL just sit there. note in the video if you start it "upside-down" the weight of the motor will cause it to touch the wheel to the floor when it starts to slow down. Then the wheel gets it going again.

Now do the right thing and give this to the kid whose toy you broke. Nah, screw him. He can build his own. Finish the beer and play!

lwood161 year ago
What does it do other from look a certain way and recycle a hunk of plastic?
macpower (author) 5 years ago
It does absolutely nothing more than keeping a chunk of plastic out of the ground, reinventing the concept of the toy "top", and recycling Apple products.

I love the design of Apple products and it's a shame to have a big plastic ball that's kinda pretty just sitting around doing nothing. The same could be said about a big plastic cube as well (see pic).
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 It would be awesome if that tissue box would charge and play your iPod.
By any chance: Do you have a spare squre ADB mouse, in any condition? Cheers
macpower (author)  Max Headroom5 years ago
 Sorry MH. This was my last one. When it fried I promised to give it new life. The 20-sec recorder from the Shack (gag) fit great.
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w00t ._.5 years ago
 what does it do?


macpower (author)  w00t ._.5 years ago
 Keeps a chunk o' plastic out of the Earth (and in my apartment where it seems to belong).

Keeps a 40 year old father of 2 entertained.

Keeps my restless hands busy for the duration of 2 beers.

Further demonstrates my love of Apple products.

Gives me another thing to stick an LED into in the future. CRAP! I knew I forgot something! Pics or video of the BALL OF DEATH for the nocturnally visually impaired will be on their way shortly!) - Thanks w00t!  
geekazoid5 years ago
 awww...  the movie didn't work, only the sound...
macpower (author)  geekazoid5 years ago
 .mov works best in Quicktime. Download it from Apple and give it a go.

If that doesn't work....
1 sec. - I turn it on.
3 sec. - I turn it on it's side and it flops around in a circle until it settles in an upright position at about 6 seconds.
7 sec. - I invert it completely and set it spinning again. This time it stays spinning through the remaining 5 seconds.

There, now you don't need to see it. :)
yokozuna5 years ago
So sir, what exactly is the function of your motorized ball of death?
macpower (author)  yokozuna5 years ago
 see above. ^
ERCCRE1235 years ago
Is the title a Dr.Strangelove reference?
macpower (author)  ERCCRE1235 years ago
 Yup. Great movie. No comment on the Honeymooners reference?
actually, i don't know what honeymooners is, my friend just told meabout Dr.Strangelove last week and i watched it 3 days ago.
 yep since the tittle is Dr Strangelove: Or how i learned to stopworrying and love the bomb. Great movie! (random fact: Oddly renamed toRed telephone?: we're flying to moscow in mexico. a true WTF?)