Introduction: DIY 10" Home Subwoofer

Picture of DIY 10" Home Subwoofer

I wanted a cheap and powerful subwoofer for my speakers and instead of shelling out £100s I went for the DIY route after finding a 10" Pioneer TS-W255C for just £10 used. I'll get onto how its powered later on

To make this you need:

  • Old Computer Power Supply (Power depends on how big your sub/amp is)
  • Car Amplifier (Something which is bridgeable and has a built in crossover is best for this)
  • Subwoofer driver, there's so much choice here but a lot of the car subs on the market are very cheaply made, look for a heavy magnet over fancy casings
  • Speaker terminal, very cheap from sites like ebay
  • 18mm MDF, also depends on the size of your sub but this is the material of choice for the vast majority of speakers
  • Lots of sandpaper, primer and spray paint
  • Some nice thick speaker wires (Don't have to be expensive at all)

Ask if you want more detail on any part of the build

Step 1: Design

Picture of Design

To design and plan what kind of box I needed I used Google Sketchup to design it after working out what volume and port size/length I needed in WinISD. This gives the woofer a usable extension down to around 32Hz while keeping the box a nice 35cm/13.7" cube enclosure.

As you can see the port has a corner in it, this isnt idea but well worth it to get the lowest possible response

What your looking for in WinISD is a flat response with the lowest response you can get. Its a pretty advanced program so you are best off watching a few videos online.

Remember the volume of the port is excluded from the volume of the box (Add port volume and box volume together then calculate dimensions)


WinISD - To use this you have to know all of the thiele small parameters (T/S) of your speaker

For some reading on speaker boxes

As pointed out in the comments wall thickness of the port as well as a rough estimation of the volume the driver will take up need to be taken into account and a not part of the "Box Volume" WinISD will give you

Step 2: Cutting the Wood

Picture of Cutting the Wood

Pretty simple step, cut down the 18mm MDF and do a dry fit to check it.

Next the cutout for the speaker needed to be made along with the terminal for the back of the speaker. I used neoprene as its super cheap as a gasket for the speaker which I just cut out with a stanley knife, thsi gives a air tight seal around the speaker and the box

Step 3: Next Came the Port

Picture of Next Came the Port

This is where it gets a bit interesting as using 110mm guttering is the best I could do for my port to get it big enough and long enough. If I had more materials in a perfect world I could have designed the box to hit a bit lower than 32Hz but hey.

Other options are slot ports and round ports, this is just a case of what fits best

Step 4: Then Came the Glue

Picture of Then Came the Glue

Lots and lots of wood glue then left in clamps overnight. I opted for no nails or screws just to make my life easier when i came to painting and it seems to have done the job perfectly

Step 5: Port Fitting

Picture of Port Fitting

Cutout the port before gluing the used sealed it in with adhesive and silicone.

At this point I probably should have reinforced the loose end with some kind of cross section to prevent vibrations but it seems pretty sturdy. To give a sense of scale you can easily fit you hand in the port

Step 6: Router

Picture of Router

Ran a router and sanded all the box to give it a nice round edge. That picture shows the size of the woofer pretty well and its 32oz magnet

After it had been routered it needed to be sanded, I used a palm sander with increasing grain sandpaper until it was as smooth as I could get

Step 7: Painting

Picture of Painting

Primer (First of very many coats) then after so much hassle and a fair bit of shouting the paint was done to an acceptable level (Used black automotive spray paint). It was a real bugger to get a nice smooth finish on this but I'm pretty happy with it, the finish really relies on the primer

You're best off doing a coat of primer, leaving it overnight sanding then repeat this with finer sandpaper until the finish is smooth to the touch. This (should) give a nice gloss finish after a few coats of spray paint

Step 8: Dampening

Picture of Dampening

Don't actually know what this stuff is meant for but I guess insulation, perfect for this as well though. Used a staple gun to secure it all down on every side of the box and made it as light as possible by pulling it apart.

This should make the box less boomy as standing waves and resonance is limited resulting in more punchy bass but too much can take away from the volume of the box and mess up your calculations

Step 9: Powering It

Picture of Powering It

All the electronics.

A 500W PSU from a old PC with all the 12v and ground wires bundled together, then using a 2000W bridgeable Lanzar Heritage car amp which powers the sub very nicely

Simply bundle the green wire on the PSU in with the ground wires on the amp and if your amplifier has a REM attach it to the 12V so the amp will turn its self on with the power supply

EDIT: I have gone into this in more detail in the comments

Step 10: All Done!

Picture of All Done!

This thing really kicks out some bass and the 11mm xmax is pretty goddamn impressive to watch

Step 11: One of the Many Places It Lives

Picture of One of the Many Places It Lives

Overall this was a very cheap built with the driver only costing £10 and a used £30 amp.

Step 12: Very Happy Overall Even Though the Gloss Finish Drove Me Mad. Feel Free to Ask Questions Below, Im Sure I Missed Plenty Out

Picture of Very Happy Overall Even Though the Gloss Finish Drove Me Mad. Feel Free to Ask Questions Below, Im Sure I Missed Plenty Out

A bit of flex, it can do a fair bit more than that but stuff in the room starts shaking far too much. Really gives that thump in the chest for movies

Possible improvements:

  • Slight port adjustments, at full volume the low notes shift so much air there is some chuffing but isn't a big problem
  • I have feet to add to it but keep changing its orientation but this will help with the vibrations
  • Recess the driver, If I doubled up the MDF on the front I could have the driver nearly flush instead of sticking out and it would improve strength
  • Include the amp and PSU inside the enclosure, for me this would be more effort than worth because I like to be able to tinker with crossovers and check temperatures ect but it would look cleaner

Hope you enjoyed my first ever instructables!! Please consider me for the contest at the top, Thanks


mid_life_crisis (author)2015-09-11

One suggestion as possible improvement. Instead of using that flimsy rainspout material, round plumbing drain (PVC) pipe would be easy and more rigid.

The more usual way is to make the port out of smaller MDF, using the inside wall of the cabinet as one side of the port. Just remember that when calculating dimensions, the port wall will have enough thickness that it needs to be accounted for. Use the interior dimension for acoustic size and the exterior dimension for displacement within the box. Rule of thumb when working with a bent port is to measure the shortest and longest "sides" of the port and average the two to get your port length for calculations.

For those not comfortable with all the electronics or who just want a cleaner look, there are any number of reasonably priced amplifiers designed for projects like this that have internal crossovers and are ready to be connected to the driver and plugged into the wall.

Gorgeous job on the finish. I wish I had that kind of patience.

ollieb123 made it! (author)mid_life_crisis2015-09-12

Thanks a lot, you're definitely right about the port but the standard sizing made it either too small and the air velocity would be too high or too big meaning it had to be far too long to fit in the box. The DIY amp solution was jsut because I couldnt find anyhting sutable for under £100 in the UK but for those of you in America has you covered!

I've added pictures of my first sub i built that used a slot port and it does work great! I just wanted something which looked much more "off the shelf" so I went all out with the finish and that port allowed the box to be a perfect cube. I will not have this kind of patience again for the finish but I got there in the end

barrywool (author)2015-09-11

Can we have some details on the 'Electrical components' please , we are not all knowledgeable as you.


ollieb123 (author)barrywool2015-09-12

Basically to save money i'm using a car amp to power this instead of the usual whats called a plate amp like most home subwoofers have.

The problem with this is the amp is meant to run off a car battery/alternator so runs on 12V whereas a home amp runs off 230V (UK) and has its own power supply built in. This means I have to convert 230V AC down to 12V DC so to do so im using the 12V rail on a computer power supply. Computer PSU's also produces 5V and 3V for other components liek USB but these are no use to me so I simply didn't use them.

This gives me a 12V power supply (Yellow PSU cables) and the ground from the PSU (Black) and can run the amp.

The brown cable is simply there to tell the PSU to turn on and the REM on the amp needs power to tell it to turn on as well.

The amp then acts like a normal amplifier with some speaker wire going to the Subwoofer and a RAC cable input

bravoechonovember1 (author)2015-09-05

awesome job!

you might consider entering the first time authors contest!

Thanks a lot! Wasnt too sure how much detail to go into but so am relying on comments if people want more info

skrshawon (author)2017-11-11

Please tell me amplifier and speaker model number.

robertp398 (author)2017-05-16


Great instructional build guide, good job! One question tho. Im researching on how to build one and found 2 guides that use a car woofer, car amp and a pc psu. Question is tho, how do connect that built subwoofer to your home receiver/amp (talking about the dedicated subwoofer port that has that coaxial port). Does your build have that option?


bhvm (author)2017-02-12

Very nice project I must say.

I've been using car subs at home since 10 years, But I power them with Home amps. Seems more power efficient that way.

gregjd5000 (author)2015-10-27

A huge piece for porting is to avoid sharp corners. The port can be well designed with a sufficient diameter but still loudly whistle if you are not careful. I recommend a generous routing around the outer lip and a flange (even made out of sugru or something) on the inside. The port opening also should be a certain distance from anything at all, I believe it is two port diameters (or something like that)

antonioc22 (author)2015-09-23

nice jooob brow, whats name the song ?

ollieb123 (author)antonioc222015-09-25

Thanks! Im not too sure of the name of the song, it might have been but it does that on pretty much any song you play on it!

Slot1Gamer (author)2015-09-23

Are you going to build a box to house the PSU and amp?

ollieb123 (author)Slot1Gamer2015-09-25

Ideally I would but this is my second subwoofer build so I just use the same PSU and amp on each subwoofer if I want to switch

TomHoag (author)2015-09-10

Such a great job and I am very impressed with your work! Just one question... how do you know where the output port should be located? Side, front, or back?

MarianoR1 (author)TomHoag2015-09-24

Great job! Im remebering my teenager years. The speaker can be ported or non ported. Non ported means no holes. The diameter of ported speakers hole is specified on the speaker manual sometimes. The length of the pipe is also important. The volume of the box is the most important. The filler inside was to prevent speaker box rattling.

grolmund (author)TomHoag2015-09-12

It doesn't matter.

ollieb123 (author)TomHoag2015-09-12

Thanks! I didn't really know to be honest, things like that depend on location so sometimes its pointing upwards, sidewards or even down if I put the speaker feet on it. When designing it I went by the design of other home subwoofers and what went best

grolmund (author)2015-09-10

In your commentary above, you say "the volume of the port is excluded from the volume of the box". So that some don't wonder, you should also include "the volume of the speaker is independent from the volume of the box".

ollieb123 (author)grolmund2015-09-12

Yeah in an idea world you would add the volume the driver displaces to the intended volume of the box, It can be roughly worked out by measuring the diameter and depth of the magnet. I added about a liter on top of the volume to also account for the drivers volume and the dampening. The port would be the main issue and is easy to forget about though

grolmund (author)ollieb1232015-09-12

You do NOT include the volume (or an estimate thereof) for the driver or any damping material....never ever. The published Thiele/Small parameters that accompany each speaker, when plugged into the appropriate formula take that into account. You also do not take into account the volume of the port, only the square inches at the baffle entrance. The length of the port determines how the enclosure is tuned.

ollieb123 (author)grolmund2015-09-12

Sorry I do misunderstand, as far as im aware only BassBox Pro takes into account the displacement of the dampening and WinISD does not. For the port this is what I was told by an audio engineer who works at my school but it may be wrong.

So for my speaker it needs a volume of 28005cm^3 (Shown under "Box" in WinISD) and the ports volume is 2365cm^3 (Under Vent)

Should I have made the box to be a total internal volume of 28005cm^3 OR 28005cm^3 + 2365cm^3 + The materials the port is made from?

grolmund (author)ollieb1232015-09-12

Here are some resources

Some give estimates for the speaker volume, some don't.

I searched Google for "speaker enclosure calculator"

Also, I neglected to tell you that you did a fantastic finish job. Thanks for sharing your work!

ollieb123 (author)grolmund2015-09-14

Thanks, in reality on such a cheap build a liter or so isn't going to make significant difference but its good to be accurate. I'll edit in some of those resources thanks for the input

grolmund (author)grolmund2015-09-12

And, if you made your cabinet from 1/2" thick material, the length of the port is already 1/2" long.

ollieb123 (author)grolmund2015-09-12

Yeah that was accounted for when I cut the port

bmiller91 (author)2015-09-10

Have you played around with damping materials to deaden the enclosure? I suppose the most DIY/recycle friendly would be carpet padding to line the interior?

ollieb123 (author)bmiller912015-09-12

Yeah I would like to have a go with different materials but the hassle of constantly taking the driver in and out wouldn't be worth it for me. I have heard it with no damping and damping did make a difference but not a huge one

grolmund (author)ollieb1232015-09-12

Always fiberglass unless you have access to anything listed as "acoustic damping" material. The damping material need only be on three sides of the interior so that no two opposed surfaces are bare.

ramir0 (author)2015-09-11

Looks great, are you using that car amp with a home stereo?

ollieb123 (author)ramir02015-09-12

Yeah Its all paired up with bookshelf speakers and a TV :)

kpomerleau (author)2015-09-10

Excellent Job!

ollieb123 (author)kpomerleau2015-09-12


SoumyaM2 (author)2015-09-11

Awesome job done

MaheshS5 (author)2015-09-10

very good and excellent

tjdux (author)2015-09-06

that gloss finish turned out very nice. Thumbs up on overall. I made a 15 inch car sub/amp into a home audio sub using a 120v to 12v adapter for large led lights from ebay. it was around 20 bucks at the time. Home audio stuff is way overpriced compared to the same or better technology in car stereo. Great ible

ollieb123 (author)tjdux2015-09-07

Thanks, I really had my heart set on gloss from the start and am happy with it. I was originally using a car battery charger to power it but the 8 amps at 12V simply wasn't enough to power the amp/sub so a old power supply from a unused computer was perfect and is (supposedly) rated at 42 amps at 12V so gives plenty of headroom.

This is by no means audiophile but was definitely the best way to get loud and very low bass which is very impressive for the price!

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-09-05

Nice speaker housing.

About This Instructable




More by ollieb123:DIY 10" Home Subwoofer
Add instructable to: