Introduction: Airplay Cube Speaker
Thanks for checking out my instuctable on how I built my Minimal Cube Speaker.
This is my Second 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. You can see the other builds and get more info on the whole system in the last step of this instructable.
This particular speaker has a wood top and bottom and 2 sides forming the cube shape. The sleek minimal mesh grill is surprisingly easy to produce. The unit uses a cheap 4.1 channel gaming speaker system by Cambridge soundworks. They are great for the size, only 12v but loud. I only used 2 of the 4 satellites though for this build to keep it small and clean looking. This speaker is my favourite of the five I have made.
Step 1: What You Need
> Soft wood timber - (See cutting the timber for quantity)
> 1mm thick by 25mm wide aluminium strips
> Epoxy adhesive
> aluminium fly screen material
> Light density Fleece material
> Staples and stapler
> a printer (to print the finish for the top)
> wood glue
> 2.1 or 4.1 channel speaker system
> Apple Airport Express (2nd gen or newer)
Step 2: Cutting Timber and Building the Enclosure
I cut the following to build the enclosure; (all out of 20mm (0.78") thick softwood timber)
> 4 x 300mm (11.81") by 300mm
> When my squares were cut I glued the pieces together to form a cube. I also used 3 screws per side on the top and bottom to add strength to the joint. The images show some curved strips but they were scrapped. I never used them as it was another idea I changed my mind on.
Note that if you use a different set of speakers to build this your enclosure size may need to be adjusted.
Step 3: Install the Subwoofer
Before the subwoofer was fixed onto place i needed to move the port. The original position of the port was on the side. I removed the plastic port and sealed the hole with a small piece of timber glued into place. I then cut a now hole out at the rear of the subwoofer the same size and glued the plastic port in. The location of the port is more for sound positioning than performance. In this case, moving the port to the back was fine.
Installing the subwoofer was simple. I used epoxy glue to adhere the sub into the enclosure. A clamp held it in place for an hour while the adhesive set.
Step 4: Aluminium Mesh and Cloth
The look of this speaker is surprisingly easy t achieve.
> I cut the fleece material to size. You need enough the cover the speaker as the images show.
> I then did the same for the aluminium mesh - This is the kind that they install in your fly screens on your windows and doors.
> Because this is soft wood I got away with using a standard stapler. I placed the cloth along the edges first then laid the mesh on top. When it was all lined up I stapled it all into place and removed the excess with a new sharp blade. the aluminium mesh can be easily cut with a normal pair of scissors.
> To leave access, I stopped the mesh and fleece a couple inches in from the edge on the pack face. The mesh was black and the fleece dark blue.
Step 5: Aluminium Finishing Strips and Decoupage Top.
To cover the staples in the last step I used 1mm thick by 25mm strips of aluminium.
> I started by clamping the strip flush on one side leaving the entire length sticking up in the air. then I used a second clamp to hold straight piece of timber right at the top edge. With the clamps in place I simply bent the thin alu round to meet the next face.
> I then removed the clamps and repeated the process. Eventually resulting in a square of alu.
> I did this for the bottom and the top edges.
> I then used epoxy glue to adhere the alu strips to the edge flush with the top and bottom.
> The top was literally covered with a printed picture from google image search of brushed aluminium in black.
> After printing, I filled the screw heads with wood glue and coated the whole surface. I then placed the picture on the glue. You need a full coverage rate for the bond to be good,
> After curing for an hour I used a sharp blade to trim off the excess. It actually turned out really great.
Step 6: Satellites & Airport Express
I installed the small satellite speakers simply by glueing them on top of the subwoofer with epoxy adhesive. I'm sure superglue would also work well for this.
The main feature of this speaker is that it is wireless and runs using the airplay protocol. To achieve this I epoxy glued the airport express inside the unit. The express connects to the subwoofers aux in port. I can then set it up on my network so that I can connect to it and stream audio.
Weather you want to connect to this speaker with single device such as an Iphone or use it like I did in my multi speaker configuration the set up is the same. Your smart phone will see one or more devices and you simply select which one you want to use. If you're doing it the way I am, you need a windows platform and airfoil software. To keep things clean and simple I used a cheap Windows 8.1 based tablet. Small and light like an ipad but a fully functioning windows environment. More info on how I set up the speakers can be found in the last step.
As each home is different you may want to follow the official apple set up guid as this details each possible scenario. http://support.apple.com/en-au/HT202192
The speakers themselves are easy to wire up. The satellites are connected to the rear of the sub with a phono cable, there is a power on/off knob (Left on because the unit is powered on/off at the plug) and the aux cable to the airport express. To keep things clean, I used a 2 pin power cable splitter. I have one power cable running into the unit. Inside the splitter splits into two, one connects to the 12v transformer for the speakers and the other directly to the express.
Step 7: 5 Speaker Multi-room Wireless Audio 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... http://www.rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/
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 - (This Speaker)
Speaker Three - Apocalypse Robot
Speaker Four - Full Hifi tower speaker & Subwoofer
Speaker Five - Kandi Skull Portable speaker
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