Instructables

Make a custom speaker housing

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Background info
This is a project that I produced for my Product Design GCSE, I then adapted it so that it would be easier to explain as an Instructable

The Project
The speaker has a custom housing that suits a certain theme, for my GCSE I chose the theme of the 4 seasons, but the main style I chose was a snowflake and that's the style that I will be using to explain the design and build proccess.

Please don't forget to vote this for the contests :)

NOTE:
It is possible that some may steps change as I continue with my GCSE and evaluate the speakers further.
 
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Step 1: Materials and equipment

Materials
  • 3mm Acrylic plastic - Speaker housing & amp housing - 1300x500mm (This may change  for your designs, but I found used this amount, and had some left over)
  • 3mm Acrylic plastic - Speaker grills - 160x100mm
  • A pair of speakers - I used a pair of Peerless 3 inch full range speakers - you might have to edit the files if you wish to use a different speaker.
  • A amp (Height needs to be under 50mm at the moment - It will require more modding otherwise, but I plan to do that soon) - I just used one that I found lying around, but you must make sure that the speakers have the right power rating.
  • x38 10mm M4 bolts - These are used to hold all the housings together (Can be a different width, but M4 is what I used and it is strong enough)
  • x8 30mm M4 bolts - These are used to hold the speaker and customisable front on. (As I said with the 20mm bolts, I used M4, but other sizes might work)
  • x46 M4 Nuts - Used to fix all the bolts in place.
  • x12 M4 Self tapping screws - This is to screw into the wall or what ever you are connecting to, length is to your discretion.
  • Hot glue
Equipment
  • Access to a laser cutter
  • Access to a oven or similar (Optional - for bending)
  • A drill
  • A pasta bowl (Optional - for bending)
  • The correct M4 tool for the fixing that you are using (In my case it was a M4 hex key)
  • Hot glue gun

Step 2: Testing and preparation

Picture of Testing and preparation
Amp_1.JPG
Amp_2.JPG
Testing
Before you design and cut the parts, you need to test that the system is working well, this is simple to test; hook up both speakers, plug in an input, add a power source and test! (Picture 1)

Preparation
At this point I advise that you prepare the parts so that you don't have any problems after you've cut the acrylic.
What you have to prepare depends on your components, but for me it was the volume dial; it wasn't at 90o, so I couldn't put it flat on a laser cut box. (Picture 2) To fix this, I took off the casing this showed me that the volume dial was a separate PCB and could be moved to suit my desired location. (Picture 3)

If you had to modify your speakers in another way, please leave a comment with pictures and I will include it.

Step 3: Getting the files

I have supplied the DXF files on Thingiverse and can be found here.
Please respect the license type. 

Step 4: Measuring and modifying

To be able to use the amp controls in the housing, you should replicate the controls onto the design files.
  1. For this, you should measure all the controls for the amp so that you can replicate the interface.
  2. Next, you open the housing file and replicate the control panel so that it can be used within your speakers
I'm sorry that I cannot supply pictures for this, but if you have any trouble with this step, then just leave a comment or inbox me with the problem and I will try to include instructions on how to replicate the controls.

Step 6: Building the bending jig

IMG_9992.JPG
IMG_9979.JPG
IMG_9980.JPG
This step is optional, but if you choose to do it you will have a curved front, to create the bend with the Snowflake I had to make a custom jig.

Materials
I used a pasta bowl, as I thought the shape was the most suitable for my needs, but you can choose any type you want - you could even bend the acrylic by hand, if you choose this method, then be warned - the acrylic will be hot.

The method
  1. Firstly I positioned the circle, that I had previously laser cut, in the centre of the bowl - this I did by eye.
  2. Next, use a permanent marker pen and draw a dot in the hole that is in the laser cut circle
  3. You then need to glue the circle to the bowl using hot glue - using the pen mark to centre it(You may use another glue, but I found that this was the easiest)
  4. Using the oven or similar, you then need to heat up the acrylic (I put it in at 100oC for 5 minutes, but I advise that you experiment with times/temperatures beforehand)
  5. While the acrylic is still hot, push it into the bowl, making sure that you use the circle to centre it properly - make sure you press down on the sides as to make them uniform
  6. Once it has cooled, remove it from the bowl

Step 7: Speaker housing assembly

Picture of Speaker housing assembly
This is the fun part; assembling the speaker housing :D

Components (Pictures 1+2)
  • A backplate piece
  • 2 wall connector pieces
  • 4 connector pieces
  • A grill
  • A grill holder
  • A grill cover
  • A speaker connector "thingy" (Bottom left)
  • A speaker
  • x8 20mm M4 Bolts
  • x4 30mm M4 Bolts
  • x12 M4 Nuts
  • A front piece (In this case, it's the Snowflake) (Picture 2)

Assembling
  1. Firstly, you need to take off all the sticky backing.
  2. Then you need to put 4 20mm bolts through two wall connectors and a backplate, fastened with 4 nuts. (Pictures 3+4)
  3. Next, you need to connect the four connector to the backplate using 4 20mm bolts and 4 nuts. (Pictures 5+6)
  4. I would now advise that you attach the speaker cable now, as it will be tricky to do so later on in the build.
  5. You now need to put the speaker cable through the speaker connector "thingy" as it will get stuck otherwise
  6. Next, add the speaker connector "thingy" to the four connectors and place the speaker on top. (Picture 7)
  7. Place the front on next. (In this case, it's the Snowflake) (Picture 8)
  8. Now place the grill piece and grill holder on top, as well as the grill cover. (Picture 9)
  9. Now you need to thread the 30mm bolt through the all the top parts and fasten into the nut that is in the connector (Picture 10 is the best picture I have at the moment, I will do another when I get the 30mm bolts)

Step 8: Amp housing assembly

Picture of Amp housing assembly
Now we will make the controls of the set-up - the amp housing.

Components (Pictures 1+2)
  • The amp
  • Anything else that is free from the amp e.g. volume dial
  • A backplate
  • A amp front
  • Two strengtheners
  • The top for the amp
  • The bottom of the amp
  • The personalised sides of the amp - I'm continuing with the Snowflake style
  • x22 20mm M4 Bolts
  • x22 M4 Nuts
  • A audio cable (Not shown)

Assembling
  1. Start of by taking off all the sticky backing.
  2. Secondly installing the amp controls into the front. (Picture 3)
  3. Next, you need to attach the front of the housing to the bottom. (Picture 4)
  4. Now you need to connect the two strengtheners to the bottom of the housing. (Picture 5)
  5. Add the backplate next, make sure you have the lettering facing towards the front of the amp. (Picture 6)
  6. The amp now goes into the centre of the housing, make sure that you connect it up to the controls, I would also recommend that you fix it in place now; hot glue would work well. (Picture 7)
  7. I would also advise that you install the wiring now. (Picture 8)
  8. The top of the housing goes on next, it should slot into the backplate and drop onto the front. Make sure that you wire the audio cable through. (Picture 9)
  9. The customised sides go on next, they should just slot onto both sides. (Picture 10)

It's now finished, I would advise that you wire the speakers up and check that it is still all in working order. (Picture 11)

Step 9: Finishing off

Mounting
The only issue that you have to consider when fixing the speakers is that the backplates aren't flat, so make sure that you don't apply the screws too tightly, otherwise it might cause the acrylic to break, apart from that, this step is fairly simple;
  1. Locate the desired location for the speakers.
  2. Make sure that all the wiring is in place correctly.
  3. Position and screw the amp in with 4 self tapping screws.
  4. Position and screw the speakers with 4 self tapping screws each.

That's it, now you can listen to you music with a pair of speakers that look good and work well! :D

Step 10: Other ideas

This is all I've included, but that does not mean you have to stop there! I thought of a couple of other ideas to try, they are as follows;
  • Pulsing LEDs - Instructions found here.
  • A desktop version - this would just be a smaller version with a stand.
I would love to hear about your own ideas. :)
mchoate1 year ago
very nicely done ... looks very clean ... couldn't you use boiling water to soften the plastic to avoid smells from cooking it (maybe that's not a problem)
alexw2150 (author)  mchoate1 year ago
Yes, you could use boiling water to soften the plastic - it may even work better, as it might give more evenly distributed heating :D I used a oven that is well used and I didn't smell anything apart from the acrylic plastic.
wobbler1 year ago
Overall, this is a clever and well thought out design. However, I think the nuts and bolts showing on the front of the amp let down its generally clean lines. Given that they are like that to hold the case together, I'd suggest putting a false white front over these, held on with either supermagnets or double sided tape with a suitable hole for the volume control. You could leave a slight gap around the volume control and sandwich an LED between the front panel and the new front to give a glow around the volume control when the amp is on.
alexw2150 (author)  wobbler1 year ago
This is a good idea, but would a line of hot glue on the inside be sufficient? As it would require less laser cutting, but it would also mean that you couldn't take the amp housing apart as easily : / Thanks for the feedback, I will experiment with your idea and see how it comes out :)
Nick_de1 year ago
Cool idea with the bowl for bending the acrylic!
Ballesss1 year ago
Sansa + rockbox is the best.
Edgar1 year ago
I have a neat pack of Instructables to talk about, today on my Blog, and your's one of them! :)
http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2012/11/instructables-traceparts-e-noticias.html
alexw2150 (author)  Edgar1 year ago
Awesome! Thanks for including it in your blog.
mischka1 year ago
Beautiful design.