Introduction: Sonic Architect: Vai Lasercut Portable Speakers
This instructable is on building a Lasercut 2.0 portable speaker. I've spent a considerable amount of time on looking at different types of amplifiers, drivers, power sources, enclosures.
As this was one of my initial build, I used a standard 2.0 speaker system for computers. The speakers were USB powered, so I had to get my own power supply to make them portable.
Enclosure was made using 2.5mm MDF sheet which was lasercut using an 30 Watt CO2 Epilog Lasercutter.
I've made a sealed enclosure type of speaker as I didn't want to give bass port. So you have to make sure that the enclosure you make is airtight. It improves the speaker performance. I got more bass output over the original speakers which were not sealed.
List of Parts:
- USB Powered Computer Speakers (Mini USB Speaker)
- Power Bank (4000mAH Power Bank)
- Male to Female USB Type B
- On/Off Switch (Single Pole Double Throw)
- 3.5mm Female Jack
- 4 Magnet and something magnetic to put on grill. I used bits of old iron measuring tape.
- Acrylic Paint
Tools and Material:
- Soldering Iron and Solder
- PU foam (For sealing the speakers)
- Glue Gun
- Glue stick
- Wood polish
- Lasercutter and in case no access to one you can just cut the piece to dimension and make the box
I'll attaching the lasercutter file for 2.5mm thick MDF. There are some part which were relevant to my configuration. The parts have been put in this way for efficient lasercutting. Feel free to add or delete parts.
Final dimension of my speakers is 15.5 cm x 10 cm x 9.5 cm
Step 1: Opening Up Your Computer Speakers
- Using the screw driver open up the speaker boxes. Mine had phillips head.
- Take photo of the amplifier board so that you have a reference of the wiring.
- Cut the connections to take out the amplifier board and speaker drivers out of the box. And in case you don't want to cut the connection figure out a way of making a slot in the box so that the wires can pass.
- Keep the smaller things like screws safe as they can be used later.
You can salvage a 3.5mm jack as we won't be needing that in our build.
Step 2: Laser Cutting the Panels
I cut my panels at a nearby FabLab. You can get them cut at a FabLab or a makerspace nearby. I used an Epilog Mini 24, 30 Watt CO2 Laser cutter with a bed size of 60 cm x 30 cm. The cutting files attached are for 2.5mm thick MDF. If you want to make them in other thickness you would have to make changes in the file. The tabs and slots which interlock are set for a thickness of 2.5mm.
In the Panel Image I've labelled the different panels and the settings I used two different types of cuts:
- Black Lines: Through Cut
- Vector Cutting
- Power: 100
- Speed: 9
- Frequency: 1250
- Purple Lines: Half Cut
- Vector Cutting
- Power: 50
- Speed: 75
- Frequency: 1250
Purples lines are used for branding and labeling the controls. So, we just need them to make a mark on MDF.
If you are using some other laser cutter and know its setting go ahead with that. Just make sure that the through cuts are done properly, otherwise you would have to re cut or sand the MDF which would lead to air gaps.
Step 3: Part List
The parts have been labeled in the image shown above. I fixed the power bank to the top panel.
Holes in the speaker mounting plate can be changed according to the diameter of the drivers. But most of the times the speaker which comes in 2.0 speaker system have this diameter only.
Step 4: Preparing the Different Components
Block Diagram of the setup is given in the images
Power supply to amplifier
Amplifier couldn't be directly connected to the power bank. An On/Off switch was soldered between the amplifier and power bank so that battery discharge can be eliminated. Superglue the On/Off switch to the right panel in the power slot. Be very careful when you superglue the switch as the superglue might block it. I kept on toggling the switch when the glue was drying.
Audio In Circuit
The 3.5mm jack was cut and in its place a 3.5mm female jack was soldered to the amplifier board. Super glue the 3.5mm female jack into the right panel audio in slot
3.5mm jack was eliminated cause it is one of the most venerable part in the speaker. So, fixing it up once broken would be a problem as the speakers would be completely sealed. AUX cable can be replaced easily if damaged.
The potentiometer dial on the amplifier board was having too small a circumference. A laser cut dial was superglued on the plastic one so that it can be accessed on the right panel.
The amplifier board had to be mounted on the right panel and for that I had to superglue two of amplifier mounts and one magnet mount. You'll have to super glue two of these two the right panel and have to adjust the potentiometer dial in the volume slot. I had cut some extra magnet mounts which i used to position the amplifier board to make the movement of dial smooth.
Mount the speaker using the screws which were taken from the original speaker box. You need to make sure that the speaker are sealed from the back side using hot glue.
USB Type B mount
Superglue 4 of USB mounts to form a cavity in which the cord can be inserted. Superglue the female side of the cord into the mounts and then the whole thing to the right panel in front of the charger slot.
Solder the Speakers
Solder the speakers back to the amplifier board. Be sure to check the polarity of the speakers.
Mounting the Power bank
I made a mount for my power bank using lasercut MDF panels. I haven't attached the file for that as the power banks would vary. My power bank had 4 led indicators to show the battery level. I had made 4 corresponding holes in the top panel to indicate battery level. I used double side foam tape to fix my power bank in the MDF box. Then I used superglue to fix the assembly on the top panel.
I glued a piece of cartridge sheet behind the equalizer pattern in the back panel to stop the air leaking from it.
I put hot glue on the solders so that the wires don't come off.
Step 5: Assembly
To assemble the speakers follow the steps
- Take the bottom panel and insert the speaker mounting plate into the slots of the bottom.
- Lock the right panel with the bottom and speaker mounting plate and glue them using superglue.
- Lock the left panel with the bottom and speaker mounting plate and glue them.
- Lock the back panel with the bottom, right and left panel and glue them. Make sure that you fill all the gaps so that there is no air leakage.
- Plug the USB cable from amplifier and the charging cable from the charging slot into the power bank.
- Lock the top panel with all the sides and glue them.
- Glue the grill spacers in front of the speaker mounting plate.
- Glue the magnet mounts on the front side of the speaker mounting plate. I used 4 circular magnets of 7.5mm dia on the four corners.
- Cut PU foam in of the same size as the exposed speaker mount plate. Make holes in it equivalent to speaker diameter and glue it to front of the plate.
- I cut off squares of 8mm x 8mm out of an old metal measuring tape and glued it to the back side of the grill corresponding to the position of the magnets.
I've shown some renders to suggest the assembly order.
Step 6: Handle and Footpegs
I had some dark maroon leather piece with me. I used two strips of 15 cm x 2 cm to make the handle.
I glued to two stripes using rubber based glue. Then I made two slots using a leather cutting die. You can make slots using a cutter or a x acto knife as well. Just be careful while cutting. I used some polish on the handle to make it clean. Apply soldering iron to the edges of the handle to make them uniform and it gives it a darker shade. But be careful that the soldering iron doesn't touch the top and bottom surface of handle, otherwise it will leave marks.
I used two screws to put the handle in place. Put the screws towards the inner side of the slot to provide space when you lift the handle. I put a bit of superglue where the screws were put. This can be a bit tricky as the handle will come in way.
Then using two strips of leather 8 cm x 1 cm I made the footpegs. I glued the strips using rubber based glue.
Step 7: Finishing Touches
Use emery paper to sand the speaker box. I used wood polish to seal the wood.
I painted the front side of my grill in the same color of my handle. You can paint it in the color of your choice.
I painted the PU foam and back side of the grill having the metal tape bit black in color.
Plug in an AUX cable, switch on the the speaker and you are good to go.
Let the Music Play.
Any questions, comments or criticisms always welcome!