Introduction: Cedar (Cigar?) Box Speaker Box

Picture of Cedar (Cigar?) Box Speaker Box

Inspired by the Munny speakers, but not willing to spend more than $10, here's my instructable using old computer speakers, a wood box from the thrift store, and lots of hot glue.

Step 1: Salvaged Parts

Picture of Salvaged Parts

-Ugly old speakers. One with circuit board, control knobs/buttons.
-Cedar box. I got this one at a thrift store for $.50. I've seen various kinds of pine(?) boxes at Michael's craft stores.
-A couple small hinges.
-A set of feet (adhesive or screw-in).

Step 2: Cutting Speaker Holes

Picture of Cutting Speaker Holes

My tools: hot glue gun; drill for pilot holes; X-acto knife; hack saw; a Leatherman's saw blade; round file for finishing (time to cut: 1-2 hrs)

What you really want: a hole saw. A 2.5" hole saw would have been over $20, but it would be fast! (time to cut: 1 min.)

I first tried doing this from the inside because I wanted to be able to see the box's sides; however, cutting out the holes from the inside risks splitting the face of the box.

So I switched to drawing the speaker outlines on the top of the box. BE SURE THE CIRCUIT BOARD CAN SIT BETWEEN THE SPEAKERS!

Without the hole saw, I tried cutting with just the saw but changed over to sawing radiuses, rough sawing the circumference, and then finishing with the X-acto and round file. It looks awful, was awful to do, and made me wish I had spent $20 on a hole saw.

Not perfectly round, but as good as I could do without the hole saw.

Step 3: Interior, Speakers Hole Covers

Picture of Interior, Speakers Hole Covers

After painting outside. I wanted to hide the speakers and grabbed some leftover fabric and a hot glue gun. Cut fabric to fit inside of box. Simple.

Step 4: Glue in Speakers

Picture of Glue in Speakers

Applied more hot glue to front edges of speakers and pressed them against the fabric over the holes.

The circuit board will be glued to the opposite side of the box, but DONT GLUE THE CIRCUIT BOARD YET. I drew lines to mark where it would go and where I needed to drill holes for the knobs.

Step 5: More Holes! (button, Knobs, Etc.)

Picture of More Holes! (button, Knobs, Etc.)

The hardest part: more holes!

This was, ultimately, done thru trial and error. Lots of error! The volume and treble buttons were angled, so I couldn't drill straight holes, and then the LED and headphone jacks were on extended bits of circuit board -- higher than the knobs and power button.


I used the round file to smooth out my work.

The circuit board is still loose through all the hole-making.

The power and input cables also need a hole (bottom of box).

Step 6: Gluing Circuit Board and Speaker Cable

Picture of Gluing Circuit Board and Speaker Cable

Once everything fits in the holes, make sure you can still plug in all the cables. It was a tight fit in this box. With all the cables plugged in, glue down the circuit board.

Since one speaker held the board, it only had the input cable (green, running outside the box) and the power cable (longer, gray, also running outside the box).

The other speaker, then, had a long cable that got sound from the board (gray). Ideally, you might cut and splice a shorter cable, but I had space and plenty of hot glue to spare!

Step 7: Hinges and Feet

Picture of Hinges and Feet

Hinges (nonfunctional) on both sides.

Feet screw on.

Step 8: All Done!

Picture of All Done!

The finished product -- just 10 hours later! Seriously, get the hole saw!!!


Ultimate Warrior (author)2014-09-28

How did the sound quality change?

metalshiflet (author)2014-02-11

If you can buy a cheap soldering pencil or even gun, you should shorten the wires so that you it doesn't take up a lot of room. You could slide the left over wire into some paracord as well to handle the mess.

metalshiflet (author)2014-02-11

My instructable was very similiar. I was just wondering what I could add to improve mine.

nicolev311 (author)2013-08-24

Can you plug your i pod into it

crowdsourced (author)nicolev3112013-12-03

Absolutely. Any headphone jack.

karen dora (author)2012-05-29

Thanks so much for the great instructions! I'm working on a speaker of my own right now, thanks to you.

karen dora (author)karen dora2012-05-29

Would you recommend getting a deeper box for a better sound? Your box looks pretty narrow, and mine is definitely almost touching the back of the speakers.

moisture (author)2009-01-05

A coping saw might work too..hah, I'm amazed how round the holes are given your tools. How does it sound?

thomasporter (author)moisture2011-07-14

agree. i wish i had a coping saw..... is there an instructable for that? heh

crowdsourced (author)moisture2009-01-06

The sound might not please audiophiles, but it's no worse than the plastic boxes they were in. You're right. A coping saw might have worked. But the hole saw would have been a dream.

karrykitch (author)2011-06-08

really nice idea :B!!! i'll make one :D

Sandisk1duo (author)2009-01-06

Very cool, take it one step further, cut the power cable off and power it by a battery!

crowdsourced (author)Sandisk1duo2009-01-10

That would be cool. Though it would take some actual skill to do. Not like this project! ;)

Sandisk1duo (author)crowdsourced2009-01-10

it's possible to do it, i've done it before all you need to do is cut the wires going to the speaker, then strip the wires and connect them to a battery, polarity does not matter

crowdsourced (author)Sandisk1duo2009-01-10

Got it. So you might be able to take the battery compartment from some old device and splice its wires to the speaker's, so you have something for the battery to sit in. Then just mount the compartment. With hot glue, of course! I'd also like to look around for a way to convert it to usb power since it's used with a computer all the time.

Sandisk1duo (author)crowdsourced2009-01-10

usb it can only put out 2.5W - 5v 500ma i usually use RC car batteries

cornflaker (author)Sandisk1duo2009-03-26

I did this, only if you have better speakers (I think mine were about $30 so still cheap) then polarity does matter, but Yeah you can just depending on the speakers splice the cable with a (in my case 9v battery clip) and it works. The speakers might clip a bit at the highest volume though depending on how much power is left in the battery.

cornflaker (author)cornflaker2009-03-26

Oh and for better sound you should have made a 3rd much smaller hole in between the two speakers (well anywhere but that would look the best) probably about a centimeter in diameter. Yes thats right more hole cutting :P

Sandisk1duo (author)cornflaker2009-03-26

if the speakers have low Xmax (move in/out only a little) it is better to have a sealed enclosure, and not a ported one

cornflaker (author)Sandisk1duo2009-03-30

Yeah I guess these ones probably wouldn't have a whole of of excursion going on... I made a set of ipod speakers using some old cheap computer speakers of mine and converted them to run off 2 9v batteries and they sounded much better with a fairly small hole (bit less than 1.5cm) but they admittedly would have a fair bit more excursion than these ones as these are pretty small even for computer speakers...

cornflaker (author)cornflaker2009-03-30

Damn it I wish you could edit comments on here lol, I just noticed that the original cases for these actually have a fairly large port for their size... could be fake thought just to make them look better

ambientvoid (author)cornflaker2009-04-30

iv been trawling around for a means to convert some old pc speakers into a battery powered portable Boombox to mount on the back of my longboard. Is there any way to tell if stripping the power cables and mounting a battery as described above is viable without actually dismantling the speakers? oh and how long would 2 9v batteries give power for, as i need them to run at near full volume for about 3hrs?

cornflaker (author)ambientvoid2009-05-01

Well I haven't actually done a proper test to see how long the batteries last but I have 2 9v's in parallel powering a 10w system, and it has lasted for ages so I'm sure they will last for 3 hours, but it really depends on what speakers you are using and how much power they draw. What you can do to test is find a plug pack that you don't need any more that has the same power connector as your speakers one and use that.

polop (author)cornflaker2011-04-14

as far as choosing some speakers for one of these box conversions whilst using a battery, find a speaker that uses an external power-supply (a wall wart i think some people call them) then use a battery that matches the voltage of the output of the original supply. Really you should only consider a box change like the one above if you prioritise form over function, any reputable computer speakers will have been designed to maximise the performance of the very cheap components. If the original speakers are sealed, try to keep to the original internal volume, if ported try to match as many of the dimensions as possible.

If sound quality is important avoid cheap computer speakers, and go for a diy design that uses cheap bare drivers, this will always sound better.

With batteries, avoid 9v bock batteries - they are expensive - they have abysmal capacity. If two 9v block batteries lasts over 2 hours, your speakers are not loud enough :p go with series AA batteries for a small efficient system, and more substantial lead or lithium batteries for a more serious performer.

p0g068 (author)2010-12-28

dude ! nice choice for the box ... hope you will post more instructables

Erik-Mattson (author)2010-11-18

Kind of looks like a chess clock. Cool. :~}

matbh (author)2009-03-17

nice job, but is time to buy a dremel...

SenhorLampada (author)matbh2010-01-24

Hope it doesn't cost too much! Here in Brazil a nice dremel tool cost around US$ 100...

matbh (author)SenhorLampada2010-02-22

para muitos brasileiros 100 dolares é muito caro.
eu que gosto muito de trabalhos manuais acabei comprano minha dremel 300 por 180 reais na cofermeta em belo horizonte

ThaNorwegianDude (author)2010-01-22

 thats cool imma make something like that (btw u can look at the power supply and check what the output are and use a batery that does the same output so u dont need wall outlet! :D )

Mako-chan4 (author)2009-07-23

This was AWESOME!!! I'm gonna make one now!!!

but the hinges do have a funtion if I'm not mistaken... If that thing opens up the way it did in all of the other pictures, then if it was shaken it would flap open like a book. I think those hinges are what's keeping it closed and therefore more balanced/stable.

joejoerowley (author)2009-01-08

Nice! Very Cool!

LinuxH4x0r (author)2009-01-05


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