My goal was to create a homemade jukebox that wouldn't look out of place in our house. I already had all my music on my PC, a nice Logitech speaker system, and a jukebox program that I've used for years (DWJukebox). I'm well aware of my limits as a carpenter, and came up with a solution that works well for me, and, perhaps more importantly, it also is perfectly acceptable to my wife. Although this Instructable will show how I modified my bookcase, it should serve to show that the main concept can be repeated on any suitable bookcase: Enclose the speakers behind a grill cloth, route the AC and audio wiring as discretely as possible, and place the monitor (all-in-one PC in my case) and control devices at a comfortable height for use.
I started with a very nice book case from Sam's Club, the "Addison" bookcase by Whalen. Unfortunately, my subwoofer is way too deep to fit on the bookshelves and be front-firing. I could have cut the back out of the bottom section of the cabinet and placed the unit in the corner, but I found the sound to be acceptable just putting it in sideways. The intake horn of the woofer faces the front in order to have the air move as freely as possible.
I had originally intended for the subwoofer to be in the bottom, but for the L and R satellite speakers to be up higher in the cabinet, on a shelf below the PC monitor. However, I tried listening to various placements and decided that my speakers (YMMV) sounded best when mounted lower, right above the subwoofer. That was good news, because I would only have to make a single grill cloth frame.
Again, recognizing my limits when it comes to carpentry, I made the frame without taking a single real measurement. The frame is made of square 5/8 x 5/8 x 36 inch hardwood dowels from the local homecenter. I laid one across the bottom and marked where I needed to cut with a pencil, then cut it with my jigsaw, as I was too lazy to get out the miter box. I repeated the process, slowly building up pieces to the point of screwing angle braces at each corner with 3 out of 4 screws. I put it in the bookcase and trued it up and then added the 4th screws, testing after each corner was completed and re-truing.
I stapled material that I picked up at the local fabric store onto the frame. It's not true grill cloth, but it will be eventually once I order some online. Well, actually my wife is going to pick out the cloth she wants and I'll swap it out when the time comes. I set the cloth covered frame aside after verifying that it friction-fitted into my bookshelf. On most bookcases, the frame would need to be attached in some way, but on mine, since the adjustable shelves are set back 3/4 inches from the front frame, I was able to inset the frame.
All that was really left was the following:
1) I cut a 2" hole in the back bottom left corner of the bookcase for an outlet strip/power cord.
2) I cut out a small triangular piece of the back left corner of each shelf with a jigsaw blade that claimed to cut wood smoothly. It did a good job.
3) I routed the power cable and audio cables from the suboofer and the PC as required through that back left hand corner area, through the space gained by the triangular cutouts.
When that was all done, I placed the grill cloth frame on. I now have a wholly self-contained jukebox-as-furniture unit in my living room.
The last picture shows the USB Keypad that I modified to control the functions of the DWJukebox application, as well as the on/off/volume control for the Logitech speaker system. I have the PC itself set to boot up to a touchscreen front end called Simple Touch FE, where I can easily select the jukebox program without need for a full keyboard. I can easily connect a keyboard when I wish to do maintenance of my mp3 files, etc. A wireless keyboard would also be appropriate.
I particularly like how I don't have a keyboard on this PC which really functions now as my living room stereo. I also like the way that the entire unit, to me, gives off a vibe of a 're-imagined' hi-fi. I really love the jukebox interface, queing up songs and dropping my quarters into the little piggy banks you see up by the PC in a couple of shots. 3 songs for a quarter.
This concept would also work very well with a laptop, netbook, or even an iPod or smart phone as the unit in the top. Your laptop could be easily removed for work or travel and do double-duty playing your mp3 collection in this type of arrangement. I guarantee the sound from this is far more impressive than any little docking speaker you'd buy at the local discount store!