Introduction: Bike Tyre Speaker
A cool little plug + play speaker made from a rugged mountain bike tyre...and a speaker of course!
Designed to look great and to be super simple to make + use.
Step 1: BITS + PIECES [dave Clark Five]
An old mountain bike tyre - I used a 26x1.9 inch tyre
A small speaker 50mm diameter - mine was from an old radio 0.25w 8ohm
A couple lengths of wire each about 120mm long
Rubber silicone glue - I used Wacker Elastosil E41 though something like contact adhesive may work, just needs to be flexible when cured.
A small block of wood wider than the speaker
Some ballast - I used some old lead flashing though sand or even rice would work well.
Wood lathe or woodwork tools to cut out timber block
General woodworking + electronics tools
Step 2: CUT IT OUT [kitten]
Delve deep into the back of your shed and I am sure you will find an old mountain bike tyre.
Mine was a 26x1.9 inch tyre still with good tread though had a big tear on the side probably from catching rocks or a tree stump.
You will need a section of the tyre about 240mm in length.
Choose your section, I went for the bit with some graphics on the sidewall for added interest.
Cut across the tyre width from metal band to band, at the desired ends of the section.
Cut along beside the metal band on both sides to give you your section of tyre.
Trim up the edges if needed, especially the end cuts need to be nice and square.
Check the speaker with the tyre, you should end up with two flaps sticking out to the side that will be glued together.
As you will notice the speaker will be hard to glue in as is very thin on the edge so you need to make a supporting back enclosure.
Music - Cut it out - Kitten
Step 3: ENCLOSURE [metal Gear Solid]
To support the speaker and to give a nice wide surface for gluing it to the tyre you will need to knock up a back enclosure.
I found a scrap of Redwood in the workshop that was wider than the speaker.
Mark the speaker circle shape on one end.
This now needs to be cut to shape to make a perfect match to the speaker so it wont be seen when glued in place.
You could use a bandsaw, jigsaw or some hand saws and sand to a finish...I used a lathe to turn it down to the desired size and to hollow out the inside for the body of the speaker.
Cut the block so it is a little deeper than the speaker and drill a hole ready for the wires to go through to connect to the speaker.
Make sure that the speaker fits snugly.
Step 4: ELECTRONIC [getting Away With It]
Now for the electronics which is pretty simple.
Strip the ends of the wires and tin the ends with the solder.
Solder a wire to each of the tabs on the back of the speaker.
Feed the wires through the hole in the timber back enclosure...
...and hot glue the speaker to the enclosure.
I added some more hot glue to the back of the enclosure where the wires come out.
Thread the two wires through a length of shrink wrap tubing to keep them nice and neat and to protect from the ballast and shrink with some heat. I used a lighter taking care not to burn the plastic.
Cut a small piece of thicker shrink wrap tubing for the outlet end and slip over the wire bundle.
You will need to use a cylindrical audio chassis outlet so that the tyre will form nicely around it.
Solder the wires to the 3.5mm audio outlet and do a quick check with some music making sure that it is all working well.
Slip the shrink wrap tubing over the outlet connectors and shrink in place.
Step 5: GET IT TOGETHER [beastie Boys]
Decide which side the audio socket will be...
... and apply some rubber glue to the mid way on the inner edge of the bike tyre.
Position the audio socket flush with the edge of the tyre...
...and clamp securely in place until it has cured.
Add your ballast of choice to the inside of the tyre, I hole punched out lead pellets from an old piece of flashing though sand or rice would work well.
I added the ballast as I wanted the speaker to have some heft and to make sure that it sits nicely, to avoid it tipping over onto its side.
Apply more of the rubber glue to all of the inner edges of the tyre including the front edges that will stick to the speaker timber enclosure.
Clamp the side edges making sure that the speaker sits flush with the front edge of the tyre and that the joins at the front are nice and tight.
Leave to cure.
When dry if necessary trim the edges with a sharp knife.
Step 6: Get Down + JUNGLE BOOGIE [kool + the Gang]
Find a 3.5mm audio jack and plug it in to your music box...
...and Get Down + Boogie!
There is no doubt that this is a cool looking speaker though it is mono and the speaker size is small so it isn't going to give great oomph on its own...
...sneak teaser...I have a cool little amp in the making to go alongside the Bike Tyre Speaker...coming very soon...
My aim for this speaker was for simplicity and I did consider adding electronics for wireless connection or even an inbuilt amp...there is definitely space inside the body of the tyre for these...
...though in the end I wanted to retain the rugged feel of the speaker and I really feel that the audio socket adds a nice little touch, a signifier of purpose.
A future mod could be to make two of the speakers and wire up a second outlet on the first speaker to give stereo, with a connecting length of jack lead.
I hope you make one of these speakers and let me know if you do + what additions that you give it.
This project is part of my YouTube series where I try to make cool and interesting projects.
Please check out my channel if you want to see more of the projects, if not there will be more coming to Instructables soon.
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