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Picture of Hanging Glass Speakers
Before I get into all of the details pertaining to how I made these I would like to give a shoutout to fellow instructable member randofo and his glass speaker instructable which inspired me to make my own set, but with a twist.

Alright, enough introductions lets get into it!
First off I'd like to say, if you aren't a picky audiophile and want a set of speakers that looks insanely awesome then this instructable is for you!
You are most likely wondering what exactly is a glass speaker? As randofo put it, "[T]his set of speakers resonates glass to produce sound. While this may seem complicated, the technical explanation is actually rather simple. Each speaker has a tactile transducer attached to the center, which is a device that vibrates the glass to produce sound waves."

You may be wondering how they sound and how well they work. Well the best way to describe it would be "glassy," if you ever get a listen you will understand. It has a very distinct sharp sound to it. The bass is surprisingly strong, and since the sound produced on a large surface (a lot larger than a regular speaker) you can actually feel and see it. One downside of these speakers is that the highs seem to get cut off and muffled slightly. To fix that I would suggest using thinner glass, although you'd run the risk of it shattering.
An additional interesting aspect of these speakers is that sound is produce on both sides of the speaker and it is not a one directional speaker. This seems to fill the entire room with sound better than conventional speakers.

Here is a video of the final result (keep in mind, the microphone on my phone doesn't do justice for the actual sound quality).

Anyways, enjoy the instructable!

 
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Step 1: Materials

Hardware:
2 - Panes of 1/4 inch thick storm glass 12x20in
10ft - 1/16in steel cable
12ft - 18ga speaker wire
4 - 1/4in Heavy-duty wall anchors and 1/4in eyebolts
6 - 1/16in wire clamps
2 - Tactile transducers
1 - Lepai Amplifier 
1 - Roll of electrical tape

Tools:
Drill
3/8in boring bit
Dremel
Dremel drill bit
Wrench
Ruler/Measuring tape
Marker
Protractor

Step 2: Glass Panes

Picture of Glass Panes
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The main part of these speakers is obviously the panes of glass that resonate to produce the sound.

I knew that I wanted glass speakers for my room I just did not know where place them. These are not your average sized speakers and they take up some serious space, I had a small room so I was conflicted on where to place them.
Ingeniously my father suggested that I hang them from the ceiling.

The next problem I faced was how exactly to hang them. I decided that the best plan of attack would be to drill holes and thread a cable through.

Drilling through glass is a whole lot easier than it sounds. At first I tried using a regular "glass" drill bit and handheld drill but that proved to make unsightly holes and eventually led to me accidentally cracking off the corner of one of the panes and having to get them recut (They were originally going to be 12x24in, although I am glad they cracked as I like the smaller size 12x20). The best method for drilling holes through glass is using a Dremel and Dremel drill bit. It is much easier to make holes with a Dremel than a handheld drill, as the handheld drill slips when first trying to make a hole.

First, set the pane on a clean level surface and make sure nothing under it will crack or scratch it.
Next, make two marks in the corners on the ends of the panes 2 inches from the top and 2 inches in from the sides. They should be 8 inches apart.
After that, using the Dremel at level 7-8 begin drilling out the holes. I cannot stress enough that you need to have patience as you could easily end up with a broken corner. If you have experience working with a Dremel there is not much to say about the drilling process as it is quite straight forward.
I made the holes about 1/4 inch in size.

One last thing, WEAR A FACE MASK AND GOGGLES! This process creates immense amounts of fine glass dust that would be detrimental to your health if inhaled.

Step 3: Transducer placement

Picture of Transducer placement
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After the drilling process is complete you will find the panes of glass covered in a nice fine glass powder. Clean them as much as possible, you want the transducer to stick very firmly in place.

Using a meter/yard, make an X in the middle by marking diagonally from corner to opposite corner. I, for some reason blanked out and found it by making a T which was a little more difficult but produced the same results.

Now that you have the marks made, flip over the panes and remove the wax paper from the two rings on the transducers. Carefully and firmly place them in the center. Make sure that both transducers are rotated the same way, ideally in a direction that the wires would hang down away from the holes that you had just made.

Speaking of wires, now is the time to roughly measure out 6ft for both speakers. Strip the ends of each side and attach to the transducer with whatever minimal soldering skills you may have. So don't comment saying I have crappy soldering skills, I know that.

To make the speakers easier to handle and for aesthetic purposes I lined the edges with electrical tape. In no way does is effect the sound. 

Step 4: Ceiling Prep

Now that the speakers are basically complete, you will need to find a suitable location to hang these masterpieces. I chose directly above my desk hanging 3ft apart facing inward at a 45 degree angle towards where I would be sitting.

Clear off your desk and hop up on it. Take a yard stick and measure 12 inches away from the wall make 2 or more marks in different locations. Draw a line that is 3 feet long centered over the middle of the desk. Next at the end of the lines make a 8 inch long 45 degree angle. The point of the angle and the end of the 8 inch line will be where the two holes will be to hang each speaker from the ceiling.

Take the 3/8 boring bit and begin to drill the holes. This is a very dusty process so make sure again that your desk is clear for easy clean up.

Step 5: Hanging the Speakers

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Now that the holes have been drilled, clean them out and push the insulation out of the way. It is necessary that you clear them out completely otherwise the anchors will not full extend all the way, if you don't get them in correctly the first time there is no going back.

Insert the anchors and get them to extend fully. Once in place they will be able to support up to 80 pounds each. These things are seriously strong. Looking back, I feel I went a little overkill. If you attempt this I would suggest using smaller anchors and thus smaller holes will be drilled in your ceiling.

You will need the help of someone else for the final hanging, they can hold the pane of glass while you thread the cable through the holes on the glass, thread through the holes of the eyebolts, and tighten the wire clamps.

Once you get the speakers hanging adjust them to a height that is level and satisfies you.

Step 6: Finish

Picture of Finish
Congrats! You are now complete and have a awesome set of speakers that look so good they could be considered art!

Insert the ends of the wires into the amp while being mindful of Left/Right and Positive/Negative. Place all of your belongings back on your desk, kick back, and listen to some sweet tunes.
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PaulF55 months ago

Does the glass have to be flat? I think these would be awesome in a man shed if they were made out of two rear windscreens from a particular model vehicle (identical of course). My worry is the concave would lessen the arc of the sound produced. I suppose you could always just turn them around.

mfrontuto1 year ago

I have an entertainment center with glass panels that size, could I do this with them since they are already mounted to the cabinet?

It should work.

You may get vibration noise from the hinges and cabinet though.

I think I will try rigging up some rubber gaskets and cut them to size on the top and bottom of where the glass and hinges come into contact, that should fix the problem

quick note-

PARTS EXPRESS has some new, interesting drivers:

http://www.parts-express.com/promo/dayton_audio_exciters?Nao=0&Nrpp=16&keyword=dayton_audio_exciters&isPromotional=true&N=4294967118&Nrs=collection()/record[endeca:matches(.,"P_PortalID","1")

arzie20001 year ago

can it work on plexiglass or polycarbonates? And does the transducer have to be at the middle? Can it be at the sides?

It'll work. I'd put it in the center. I'm with you, it looks a little ugly. Maybe tint the window? If you put the transducer on the outer edge of the glass, you may not get a better tone. Sound is waves. Think of dropping a rock in the middle a pond that has water that is really smooth with no waves. As you drop the rock, you will see the waves radiate out from the impact point in a circular manner. Now think of the same pond, only drop the rock closer to the edge. Some waves will travel farther out into the pond, while others will terminate at the shoreline. Hope this helps! God Bless.

I was thinking of plexiglass, just in case if it breaks, it won't be harmful around kids.
Thanks for the input, I'll try building my own and post it here as well.

Arzie, circletrack37 was my old account that had my old email. This is my new one. Fwiw. Jim

kve231 year ago

Does the glass have to be tempered or plate? Or does it matter?

Evan2010 (author)  kve231 year ago

I'm sure any glass would work just fine

andyru has it absolutely correct! The front and rear sound waves tend to cancel each other, especially at frequencies with wavelengths near the dimensions of the speaker. If you were to wrap the edges of the glass with some lightweight wood (wide picture frame style), creating a pseudo infinite baffle, which would increase the distance the sound waves travel from the front to the back, the high frequencies would return. Of course, you lose the great effect of the glass! Perhaps a frame of glass or clear/color acrylic. The driven glass panel should probably be acoustically isolated from any edge treatment to avoid mechanical dampening.

Really enjoyed the project and the photos!

-cgp

Say, CGP, if I am to understand your comment, could I use a custom picture frame to accomplish the baffle? They typically come with cardboard backing and glass for the front. What if I used the glass in the back, behind the glass speaker plus frame? Would the cardboard do? Both? Or, would this be better accomplished by fabricating an open rectangular rear frame of, say, acrylic?

Thanks, all, for the valuable insights. I had never ever heard of glass speakers before this. I'm going to use mine for entertaining and teaching my son.'.

I appreciate the kind words.

Last part 1st- almost ANY surface can vibrate enough to make sound- consider a wind-up music box mechanism. By itself, it makes almost no sound, but when you attach it to a soundboard (perhaps a wood, metal or plastic box) it becomes much louder, depending on the surface area and the flexibility (also referred to as damping factor) of the soundboard. Consider also the piano- vibrating strings, by themselves, are barely discernible. When the strings are attached to a piano's large, specially designed soundboard, the output is incredible!

My comment about a frame to hold the glass sheet soundboard (or any flat-sheet soundboard) was to introduce a method of separating the front and rear sound waves, thereby helping prevent cancellation of the front and rear sound waves. It's called a "pseudo infinite baffle", very common in open-back guitar speaker cabinets.

A true infinite baffle would be huge...

I would also consider mounting a driver of this type off-center, to help reduce standing-wave patterns in the soundboard.

FYI- these driver types have been around for decades- they were originally sold to turn an entire wall in your home into a speaker.

You are absolutely correct, and this is why they are more suitable for in wall installations, including glass wall. where the rear is "walled off" from the front.

The wall I installed the transducers has fiberglass insulation behind.

sconner11 year ago

Why not just use crimp blade connectors? No solder, and you can easily replace the wires if you want to mount them farther apart in the future.

maxhuey1 year ago

when we were travelling in Japan a few years ago, I bought 6 of this Sound Transducers from Kawase & Co. They were manufactured by AEL. I have mounted these on the room wall made of just about any materials and they sound as good if not better than a set of full range speakers. The entire wall produce the sound so one can not tell where the sound is coming from. I have also use epoxy to glue this to glass doors and windows, it produce the same good result. I have been searching all over the net for it but no result so far.

Echonic Sound Transducer.jpg
They are the echonic sound transducer wa3020. There's two on ebay right now, but they're 200 bucks each. This is from the mid-seventies, though, so they'll be hard to find cheaper as nos. you can set up a saved search for that name and number and ebay will tell you when there's a new listing.
I went back to the old building that I had installed 2 of these Echonic Transducers, the building is not occupied so I asked the owner if I can remove them. he agreed so i now have 2 sitting on my table waiting to be installed. I am going to attach them on the inside of my Aluminum garage door. The door have fiberglass insulation between the inside and outside skin. This tree is 6 years old
y neighbor is going to be very happy when I play their native dance music!
I've found a similar modern device.

http://m.ebay.com/itm/Vidsonix-Sonic-Ghost-3-Tactile-Transducer-1-Unit-/350469285633

This seems more similar to the ones you had than the HiWave one in this ible.
-Olaf

I read a couple of reviews for this one, it seem not able to produce close to a flat response and bass is not as good as Echosonics. Have not find many other reviews to judge.

at $35 (with shipping) a pop, seems ok for experiments. I hope this one does not have typical tin can sound like many other transducers, which is not good for true ghost surround sound purposes.

I went ahead and picked one up for curiosity. Just 20 bucks. I'll check back in and let you know how I like it.

Wow! that's a good find... I guess at $200 a piece, I would not call it expensive, I probably paid $30 a piece back then.

I should go yank it out of the building where I installed these puppies when it comes to time to demolish the building. I still have half a dozen of these transducers at my home waiting to be installed around the home theater room, probably good enough for 5.1 Dolby.

Would it tamp the sound too much if one edge of the glass was anchored? Because as awesome as these look hung from the ceiling, it would be rad if you could make the glass doors on the cabinet holding your stereo system do double-duty as the speakers for that stereo system!

These are seriously cool, either way. Great instructable!

If you found a way of anchoring it in a semi-flexible manner. Like thick foam tape all around. Randofo's Instructable uses rubber and this one has them suspended. There's another one out there where it's laced with paracord around a frame. In all of these, the glass is allow some movement.

Evan2010 (author)  jjdebenedictis1 year ago

Check out randofo's instructable http://www.instructables.com/id/Glass-Speakers/

He has them mounted and I don't believe it would dampen the sound at all. I was debating whether or not to place them on a window but opted against it for the neighbors sake.

telorand1 year ago

Nice idea!

I can't say I'm a fan of the sound they produce, but as you said, it's not for picky audiophiles like myself! The concept and application are both still cool, though!

criggie1 year ago

Does dust sit on them or get shaken off by use? Could you run the wires back up the cables for a tidier look?

dhanhurley1 year ago

Hi from Schwaben,DE.... You can put the sonic source on the EDGES of the glass... Check-out EDGE TECHNOLOGY...... Ciao ... Dhan

Foxtrot701 year ago

This is the same principle, in reverse, used in clandestine recording. In that instance an IR laser beam is bounced off the glass. The reflected beam, pulses at the same rate as the sound produced within the room, being captured via an IR photo-transistor.

imperio1 year ago

speakers .... very strange!

Could you attach a wav file '

andyru1 year ago

Hi

One of the problems with speakers is that the box, needs to approximate an infinity barrier. Sound waves emitted by 2 speakers overlap and cause destructive and constructive compound waves. If you have an open speaker with no box then sound waves can travel from the front and around to the back causing constructive and destructive compounds. This is why a stereo system can only ever approximate a live performance. This principle of destructive sound is used on noise cancelling headphones. In explanation if sine wave is added to a sine wave 180 degrees out of phase then the result is zero. This is a long standing principle of speaker box design, how do you eliminate sound coming into the back of the speaker and spoiling the sound?

This is a great concept. I may have to try it out. One suggestion I would make is that you can buy the panes of glass with the edges sanded. That way, it is safer to handle. And you don't have to wrap the edges if you don't want to for appearance reasons.

uj_boy1 year ago

I love this idea! Really great effort!

Easy question, maybe. Your choice of transducer - based on power
handling at 20 watts, impedance or just the mounting ease of double
sided tape. I have found others at 5 and 10 watts and range from 4 to 8
ohms. Thoughts/advice on using a lower watt transducer, say 5 watts at
8 ohms versus the 20 watts. I posted this same query to Randofo's page as well as perhaps you used the one he did based on proven theory.

Evan2010 (author)  iminthebathroom1 year ago

I used the one he did partly because it was tried and true and partly because I don't believe the 5-10 watt would be powerful enough to resonate the glass.

muddog151 year ago
What would happen if you used plexiglass?
Evan2010 (author)  muddog151 year ago

It would probably sound fine although be more muffled. The glass is ridged which makes the sound clearer. Although I was playing around with the transducer before I mounted it and it sounded great when placed it against the wall. It'd be interesting to make hidden speakers out of an entire wall by placing the transducer inside it.

I don't think plexi glass would work. It's the make up of regular glass that makes this work.

You did a great job just uploading the video. I've kinda wondered about the sound quality of glass resonated sound. The project is great but the sound is... well... yeah its glassy. Like someone knocking on glass. It's a fabulous idea but I would miss the clarity of traditional speakers. I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile at all, but I don't think this is ready for the masses. Maybe thinner glass would help?
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