Introduction: Wifi + Bluetooth Portable Speaker
Thanks for checking out my instuctable on how I built my own portable Wifi + Bluetooth speaker.
This is my fifth wifi speaker build. It integrates with my other 4 diy built wifi speakers to make a full multi-room audio system that is controlled centrally on my tablet. I have them in different rooms of the house and one for the garden You can see the other builds and get more info on the whole system in the last step of this instructable.
This particular speaker is made from plywood, uses 2 speaker drivers and a ready made bluetooth amp. The wood is from my local diy store and the electronics were from eBay. No soldering or electrical no how required... I have connected it to my multi-room system by plugging in a 2nd gen apple airport express into the aux in on the amp. So I can use it independently via bluetooth if I want to use it away from the house and on battery or on my full house system when having parties in the garden.
You can follow my design or create your own. Mine is in the shape of a skull but yours could be literally anything. The shape is made by cutting several identical shapes out of a single piece of plywood and glueing them together forming the 3 dimensional look. (More on that later)
I hope this inspires you to make something similar. If it does please let me know in the comments below.
Step 1: What You Need...
Plywood sheet - How mush i'll cover next
black oil based paint
Standard bluetooth portable speaker - Any will do. We will take this apart and up-cycle the battery and electronic board to power our new speaker. It will come with a charger. Probably 5v.
2 speaker drivers - I used a 2.5 inch and a 4.5 inch speaker for this build. keep them small as the little bluetooth amp will only put out 2 or 3 watts per channel. you'll get better performance on smaller speakers and the battery will last longer.
5v usb LED - a couple dollars on ebay. This is optional but adds a nice touch.
Step 2: Cut the Timber "blanks"
Draw your skull shape (or another shape if you want to try something different) onto cardboard. Now trace this out onto the plywood sheet.
I used a jigsaw to cut this first shape out. When it's cut, place it back on the plywood and use your router with a flush cut bit to follow the first shape. Using a flush bit will basically follow the first shape exactly. Repeat this so you have five identical shapes.
Now cut the circles out of one to accommodate the speakers you have.
Step 3: Cut the Void Out
Cut a square in the centre of three of them. Ensure that you create a big enough square to fit your speakers and the amp inside.
Cut a smaller square on the last piece. Cutting it smaller than the other three squares we just cut means that you can use the larger square to cover the cut and seal the enclosure when everything is finished. (see images)
Lastly cut the small angle shape shown in the image above on the three middle pieces. When the back layer is glued on, this small angle cut will form a flush handle for your fingers. Saves having a handle on the outside
Step 4: Glue the Layers Together
Now glue each layer together. Use plenty of wood glue, wipe the drips that squeeze out with a damp cloth and clamp overnight.
Step 5: Sand & Paint
Grab your 120 grit sand paper (one a4 sheet will do) and sand until all the bumps and dints are gone. Now take a smoother grit and give it the once over. This will create a smoother surface and the paint will look much better. The more time you spend sanding the better the paint job will look.
I chose black high gloss paint for this project. First mix some wood glue with equal amounts of water. enough to cover the piece with a light coat. leave to dry overnight. This acts as a cheap primer and works very well.
Paint all over in several thin layers. (I did three). Get a fine grit sand paper made for wet sanding paint. Can be bought at any diy store and sand lightly between each layer to remove dust an lumps that may have settled in the paint while curing. Use a tiny bit of water, just enough to create a "paste" with the paint dust and lightly sand all over. Again the more effort put in here yields better results. You can see each layer in the images above.
Step 6: Install the Bluetooth Amp, Speakers and Led
This stage is pretty easy.
Fix your speakers in place using small screws that came with the speaker.
Take apart the bluetooth speaker and follow the wires from the small built-in speakers to where they attach to the circuit board. 9 times out of 10 they will be clipped into place not soldered. Unclip the speaker wire and remove the circuit board. You will need the battery and the board. Note that if the unit has built in buttons these can be unplugged most the time with a single cable. Without getting into to much detail, the micro controllers on these boards all work without the buttons attached - its cheaper to make them all the same than change the functionality. You will still be able to adjust the volume and skip tracks through you phone.
Glue the battery and board into place. Wood glue will do this just fine. Note that the battery lasts around 2 hours at higher volumes and 3 hours at lower levels. The battery is 3.7v and could be daisy chained with other to extend playback time.
Now cut the clips on the speaker wires and re attach it to the new speakers in your enclosure and connect to the circuit board. Try to keep the polarity the same. Don't worry to much though, you wont notice the difference in this application. Yes the speaker life span can be shorter if the polarity is reversed but in low powered speakers the effect is minimal.
Unfortunately I don't have a picture of me installing the led. All I did is get a usb female to double male power splitter. This will let you plug your usb led into the second free port on the splitter, the other is for the power. (See images). I mounted the LED in a small blue box and glued it to the rear of the enclosure for that great blue glow you can see.
Step 7: 5 Speaker Multi-Room Wifi System
This speaker was part of a set of 5 that make up my wireless multi-room audio hifi system. If you are not interested in making more than one speaker or playing audio in multiple rooms wirelessly you can skip this step.
I put together 5 speakers in total. Each can be found on instructable on my user page (Links below). Each one is designed with an apple airport express hidden inside. This allows them to connect to my existing wifi network at home. When each is connected, a piece of software called Airfoil can detect them as airplay speakers. (you can name each speaker for easy identification). I run this application on a small windows 8.1 tablet. (cost $199 of amazon.com).
In summary - I control each of the five speakers from the tablet. I can adjust the volume globally or individually on each speaker. Airfoil captures the tablets audio output regardless of the source. I simply tap the Airfoil icon and it auto opens Spotify and begins capturing its audio output and broadcasts it out to each of the speakers. It calculates the distance of each speaker from the router (directly related to transmission time) keeping everything in sync and eco/delay free.
Check the app out on the publishers website here...
I also listen to mixes on youtube and using this method allows me to hear it in every room. I can also play tunes on single speakers if needed. Just hit the mute button in the app on the other speakers. As a final added bonus - Each airport express can extend my wifi range by a significant radius and a USB device can be attached to each one. You can make a usb printer wireless or attached storage etc... I didn't utilise this feature but it was tempting and it may come in handy in the future.
Thanks for looking at my wifi speaker instructable. As mentioned, you can see the other four on my user page and if you think any of them are worthy, please vote for them. If you are looking to make something similar and have any questions, comments or issues please feel free to message me.
Speaker One - Minimal Tower Speaker
Speaker Two - Minimal Cube Speaker
Speaker Three - Apocalypse Robot
Speaker Four - Full Hifi tower speaker & Subwoofer
Speaker Five - Kandi Skull Portable speaker - (This Speaker)