Introduction: Good Quality IPod/iPhone Speaker

Picture of Good Quality IPod/iPhone Speaker

I recently bought an iPod speaker system for my son from our local Curries , it cost £50 quid and it's absolutely crap! So i thought I'd have a go at making one myself. The idea was to make one with a budget of £0 and just use stuff from the house/shed. The wife said it mustn't look like a coffin and must be easy to use. I decided rather than waste time designing one i'd just rip off apple's design.
This is the first Instructable I've done so please be gentle!

Step 1: The Bits

Picture of The Bits

As my budget was low (i.e. sod all!) I had to go rooting around the garage. Luckily I have a few bits of old car hifi and computer stuff floating around so that helped.

Here are the ingediants:-

1 X amplifier (15 year old pioneer) you can buy really cheap amps from maplin for a few quid
1 X 240v - 12v power supply which came from a knackered LCD monitor
1 X 13cm speaker came from an old Renault 19
2 X tweeters came from the same old renault
2 X crossovers from my old VW Polo hifi system
1 X sealed lead acid battery which came from my house alarm(please don't burgle me!)
assorted wire(from off the floor)
MDF 12mm is all I had
Isopon filler (yanks call it Bondo)
glue, nails and white gloss paint
Apple universal dock and remote (came off my desk, but you can get them for £15 off eBay)

Step 2: Laying Out the MDF

Picture of Laying Out the MDF

I had a rough idea in my head as to how it should look, so i didn't draw it on paper. I simply grabbed my piece of MDF and drew the front baffle board on it.
Once i had cut this out i simply used it as a template to make the rear of the box.

( I know i should have done lots of maths to calculate the exact box dimensions based on the speaker specs but as it's an old speaker I couldn't really be arsed so I just guessed)

Step 3: The Round Bits 1

Picture of The Round Bits 1

I now used the trusty circular saw to cut loads of 1 inch by 15cm strips of MDF and began to glue and nail them between the front and rear baffle.
Keeping them as close to each other as possible is a good idea.
I forgot to say, that I used a jigsaw to cut the baffles out.

Step 4: Filler (joy)

Picture of Filler (joy)

Now the SMELLY bit!

I mixed up the first coat of filler and applied as neatly as I could.
It took me three batches to finish the first coat.
I then applied a few more coats until it was somewhere near.

Filling/Bondoing is easy enough if you follow the instructions. I'm sure there are other guides to this on this site if you have a look.

Step 5: Sanding

Picture of Sanding

Once the first coat of filler had set I attacked it with a surform until it was about the right shape. I then applied a couple more coats interspersed with surforming until it looked right.
Once that was done (took bloody hours) I began the dull task of sanding.
I started with grade 40 and worked my way to 1500 wet and dry.
I did this by hand because I'm too tight to buy and electric sander. I dare say if you have one you should use it. I would also recommend a face mask, unless you like having pink snot.

Step 6: Cut the Baffle

Picture of Cut the Baffle

I probable should have done this before I assembled the box, but to be honest I forgot.
I simple cut out the speaker and tweeter holes with a jigsaw and the used the router to make a flange for the speaker to sit into.

Step 7: Paint

Picture of Paint

once all the holes were cut on the front I drilled a hole of about 12mm on the top and 3mm on the back(more about them later) and masked the edges up.
I spray painted the baffle in matt black, I didn't really have to in the end but at this time i wasn't sure if I was going to make a grill or not.
Once the black was dry I removed the masking tape and applied the first layer of white primer.

I got excited at this point because it started to look good so I popped open my first beer.
I know you shouldn't drink and use power tools but, Hey! it's fun.

Step 8: More Paint (and Beer)

Picture of More Paint (and Beer)

I applied a couple of coats of normal white primer (indoor woodwork type stuff) and then gave it a light sand with P600.
I then gave in 3 coats of white gloss with a bit of sanding in between and finally a good rub with some P1500.

Step 9: The Grill (and More Beer)

Picture of The Grill (and More Beer)

I decided at this point that for the full fake Apple effect I had to make a grill for the front.
This was a simple matter of using the box as a template to mark out the shape on a scrap bit of 5mm laminate flooring and then cut it out with the jigsaw.
Once that was complete I sprayed it matt black.
When the paint was dry I glued some black nylon cloth (sexy old bed sheet from my pervert past) onto the panel with some spray carpet adhesive.

Step 10: The Guts (and Yet More Beer)

Picture of The Guts (and Yet More Beer)

Obviously I was getting pretty drunk by now, but I soldiered on none the less as the end was in sight.

I screwed the 13cm speaker into the box with some black drywall screws and the glued the tweeters in with epoxy resin (Araldite)

I the screwed the little pioneer amp and the crossover networks in.

I should really of taken more photos of this bit but to be honest, I was pretty mashed by now(Stella Artois).

I then soldered all the connections up. If you are wondering, I used the stereo output of the amp into the stereo input of the 2 crossovers and then used the high frequency outputs to drive the tweeters and used the positive of one x-over and the negative of the other x-over to drive the woofer (a sort of tri-mode).

The lead acid battery was then glued inside with No-More-Nails and all the relevant connections made.

On the top of the box I epoxyed my iPod universal dock and ran the wires for USB and audio through the 12mm hole.I then filled the hole with white bathroom sealant.

On the back of the box I glued the 12v power supply and ran the wire in through the 3mm hole.

I wired the 12v to the battery and powered the amp of the battery. Car hifi amps have a 12v remote trigger wire to turn them on so I fitted a small flick switch on the back of the box to turn the amp on/off.

I will add a 12v to USB charger inside when the budget allows (they sell these in Maplin for a few quid)

I used some self adhesive velcro fastening to attach the grill, but will make a better job of that later.

Step 11: The End

Picture of The End

I plugged in my iPhone and amazingly it worked first time.
I set the volume on the phone to Max using the Apple remote and then turned the gain up on the amp until it was just below the level where it was distorting. This way the kids/wife won't blow the speakers up.
Finally I put some cushion fluff inside to act as wadding, but standing waves shouldn't be too much of an issue due to all the stuff inside the box.

I will buy a USB charger and plumb that in to charge the iPod and then screw a base onto the bottom to seal the box. But for now it sounds pretty damn good and looks quite Apple!

Other than the above, Job Done! I have a cool looking iPod speaker that cost sod all and is rechargble as well.


bigrigatoni (author)2010-03-27

That looks really good! I bet it sounds great. The ones you buy in the store are a complete joke unless you want to pay upwards of $500.

abadfart (author)2009-06-01

very nice can some one help me with video cords

shteef (author)abadfart2009-09-22

what do you need to know mate?

RhonnieH (author)2008-09-29

Wow! This boy is a genius!! He must take after his parents. Hope he gives this to his mUther when he leaves.

mman1506 (author)RhonnieH2009-06-02

he drinks beer how is a boy he is a man

mman1506 (author)mman15062009-06-02

(removed by author or community request)

eonmac (author)2009-01-07

top work. Imagine what you could do if you had more stella. 8- )

boris_81 (author)2009-01-07

Kick @ss!! :D

MjPadfoot (author)2008-12-29

i hvnt read through the instructible yet but...1- that looks like my iphone. 2- i'm mad about speakers, luv'em, but cant really afford'em (always broke) and 3- i couldnt make something this cool if my life depended on it!!! so i'll trust that it works pretty well, and give u 5 stars and making something so wicked! cheers!

flash1322 (author)2008-09-13

Could you make me one

dudeguy1234 (author)flash13222008-09-14

Yes. I'll email it to you.

flash1322 (author)dudeguy12342008-09-14

email what

dudeguy1234 (author)flash13222008-09-14

*facepalm* It was a joke referring to you asking for him to make you a speaker, so I said sarcastically "I'll email you one." You can't email physical objects. Now what little humor there was is dead, so thanks for making me explain it.

MjPadfoot (author)dudeguy12342008-12-29

awww...dont was awesome sarcasm!

urbosssez (author)dudeguy12342008-09-16


mwwdesign (author)dudeguy12342008-09-18

LOL. Best comment so far! Love your work.

michaelrbellis (author)2008-12-25

pink snot or lung cancer... neither are very nice. Great tutorial by the way. And brilliant handy work, very impressive.

shmuley95 (author)2008-11-29

to be honest with you, this is the fist time i clicked this instructable even though its the 100th time i've seen it. i thought it was some stupid minor adjustment for $200 speakers lol. i thought these were bought and at least $100 nice job 6/5 stars and yes i meant 6.

sonic_dan (author)2008-09-12

this is awesome :D i have most of the bits laying around. don't fancy making the casing though so i'd probably fit it into a creatively selected object of some sort...

mondaymonkey (author)sonic_dan2008-10-19

best to put it in a case. The sound projection will be louder, and more clear and crisp. The best cases are heavy and don't vibrate much.

Budmcfer38 (author)2008-10-01

this is soo cool!

how_may_i_help_you (author)2008-09-27

yeah same

~INVENTOR~ (author)2008-09-25

very cool. i will probably make one since i need one!!!! thanks!!!!! =)

villebazy (author)2008-09-20

loved it and the unmistakable english sense of humour.

mweston (author)2008-09-12

Great design, you could make it really thin, just enough room to clear the speaker drivers and then add some little "feet." Rhat would look cool flush against a wall :-)

hcold (author)mweston2008-09-19

Don't forget to 'calculate' the open space for optimal sound creation etc.

mweston (author)hcold2008-09-19

What I'm thinking is that if you take small piece of dense wood and connect the rear of the speakers to the outer housing it will transmit sound throughout the box... but it would only help sound if it was mono, otherwise it would mix channels. Just and idea, but you'll still have to keep some space- you are right about that. I'm no sound expert, so correct me if I'm wrong because I don't want to ruin anyones project ;-P

sirant (author)2008-09-19

Damn fine project! Considering the cost of such devices to buy, and the "questionable" quality of such products, definitely a worthwhile project! I certainly hope your son appreciates the hard work his dad put into this project, beers or not! I am not an ipod owner, but I definitely appreciate hard work and excellent effort when I see it! 3 thumbs up brother! Loved it!

old_bass_masta (author)2008-09-18

i absolutely love your english.

Hombre3000 (author)2008-09-18

That's really cool! I wish I had a use for it, though. (Un)fortunately, I have a pseudo-hifi system in my room.

mados123 (author)2008-09-18

Great Job! Always wondered about the different ways rounded edges were done. Good choice of beer too!

gamer (author)2008-09-12

Very nice... I love it... Only wish I had an ipod; the Sansa e200 series doesn't have any docks with remote control or all that good stuff :-( 5/5... Awsome work! Understandable without reading! -Gamer

yeah, you should get an iPod, after all the e2xx series is worth nothing lol did you get the "sync to continue music subscription" or "bad track" message yet? lol

jm313 (author)2008-09-17

nice job sell it on ebay as an apple exclusive ha ha ha.

Arliem (author)2008-09-17

This rocks. I happen to have an extra psp dock hanging around that has a charging port a usb connector and a speaker out. If I used your case design I could even make it look like a big PSP (with 10 percent variation in design of course). Thank you for the inspiration. Now for the perspiration. Sony is proud of their accessories too. Excellent instructable.

mweston (author)2008-09-16

This is an amazing speaker system! Great job!

Th3H4rRy (author)2008-09-15

That is perfect. I see the Apple brand one and it is overly priced. I like this

shteef (author)2008-09-14

Thanks for all the really nice comments guys! very much appreciated :)

John Smith (author)2008-09-13

damn thats nice. theres no way i could do that by hand. awesome job!

lordofthedonuts (author)2008-09-12

wow, awesome finishing job!

Hutchmeister (author)2008-09-12

Nice one shteef, you can build me a coffin any day. Long live Maplins (although they are getting a bit crap, a few weeks back in the Wood Green one I was told they no long 'stock' AA battery pack/holder things. No idea if you can add to instructibles once they are written, but I'd love to see some more photos of inside and wiring when you add that USB charger. Cheers!

Sandisk1duo (author)2008-09-12

mg0930mg (author)2008-09-12

Looks exactly like an apple, possibly sell cheap ones. Ilegal apple products anyone? XD

jc817 (author)2008-09-12

Usually I save the drinking until after the project is done. You're a better man than I.

FreshPineSent (author)2008-09-12

Me + Beer + Paint = FTL ≠ Graffiti

mutface (author)2008-09-12

Really nice job, looks very professional!

vkoser (author)2008-09-12

Very nice work!

About This Instructable




More by shteef:Good quality iPod/iPhone speaker
Add instructable to: