loading
Thanks for checking out my Instructable for making your own Retro-modern style wireless speakers using rocketfish speakers and two Ikea salad bowls.  

In a nutshell, this tutorial is a housing conversion.  We'll take the guts out of the rocketfish speakers and transfer it over to each of the salad bowls.  I came up with this idea for my blog (http://theb-roll.com) where I do one creative thing a day for a year and document it each day.  This was Day 140.

I did this conversion mostly over a period of one night so some of my solutions might seem a little temporary to you.  As we go along I will try to suggest alternative methods.

The two main ingredients in this tutorial are:

1.  The Rocketfish speakers (RF-WS01)
http://www.rocketfishproducts.com/products/home-theater/RF-WS01.html

2.  2 BLANDA MATT 11in Ikea serving bowls
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60057258

Now, lets begin...

Step 1: Opening Up the Speakers

Now its time to open up these speakers.  The tools you will need to cleanly remove the circuit boards, woofer and tweeter from it's original housing are:

A phillips head screwdriver
A smaller precision phillips head screwdriver
A T10 Torx Screwdriver
A 1/2in. Nut Driver

Begin by removing the volume knob from the front of the speakers.  It's on there tight so you might want to use some pliers of channel locks to pull it off.  Then take the 1/2in. Nut Driver and remove the screw attaching the potentiometer to the plastic housing. (see picture)

Next, take your T10 Torx screw driver and remove all of the screws off of the back of the housing.  Don't miss the four located inside the battery compartment.  There should be eight altogether (see picture)  Once the screws are removed you should be able to open the speaker housing quite easily.

Step 2: Separating the Power Supply

Examine the interior: You should see three ribbon cables connecting the two sides of the housing together. They go from a circuit board on the front housing to the power connections on the back.  (see picture)  Disconnect all three of them from the circuit board  but remember their location and orientation for when you reassemble it.  I took a picture that I referenced later.

Snip the red and black wires connected to the battery compartment on the back of the housing.  Snip them close to the battery compartment so that you leave yourself some length of wire to work with later. (see picture)

Next, you'll need to remove the power connection meant for the AC adaptor from the housing.  It's connected with some hot glue so I used a flathead screwdriver to pry it from the glue holding it to the housing. (see picture)

Then, use the precision phillips head to unscrew the AC connector from the housing.  You should be left with a bundle of wires matching the last picture in this step. (see picture)

Step 3: Removing the Rest

Turn your attention to the front side of the speaker housing.

Begin by removing the woofer and tweeter using a regular phillips head screw driver.  Be careful of the capacitor connecting the two speakers together.  A strong force could easily break the connection.  I broke the connection accidentally on one of my conversions and had to re-solder it back into position.

Remove the speakers gently and set them beside the housing.  The gray wire connecting the speakers to the circuit boards should be long enough for you to place it beside the housing.  

You should now see three circuit boards left in the housing.  Two of them easily slip out.  The last one is screwed into the back of the housing.  Remove the screws holding it in using the precision phillips head screwdriver.  Make sure you got them all out before prying.  I believe there should be eight.  There is also some black tape holding this board down as well.  After a bit of prying on each of the four corners, the board should come out fairly easily.  

The other side of this board has the Power Button, the Volume Knob and a Three-Position Switch which decides whether this speaker will be set to Left, Right or Mono.

You should now be left with something similar to the picture below.

Congratulations,  you can now chuck the ugly housing Rocketfish provided.

Step 4: Soldering the Battery Holder

For this part of the process you will need:

- 2 8AA Battery Holders
- A Box of 9V-Clips (to connect to your battery holder, see picture) 
- Soldering Iron with a small to medium tip
- Solder
- Electrical Tape (or heat-shrink tubing)

*If you don't have soldering equipment but know someone who does get them to do it for you.  It will seriously take them a few minutes to finish.

Now, it's time to solder our battery holder to our power supply.  

The Rocketfish Speakers call for 8 C batteries for each speaker. (I know!  That's a lot of batteries!  If it's any consolation my speakers are still running off the original batteries I put in there.)  

When I put this project together I had to post it on my blog the next morning.  My initial thought was that I would somehow cut out the battery compartment from the original housing and use it in my salad bowls.  I quickly realized that this wasn't going to work.  As serendipity would have it I DID have two 8AA Battery holders left-over from a previous project.  I still think if you went to your local electronics shop and picked up an 8C-Battery Holder it might fit inside the bowl and would last some time longer than the AA's.

Okay, now the step.  Take your 9V battery clip and your leftover power supply that you saved from the speaker and solder the black wires together and the red wires together.

(see pics below)

There.  Easy.  Now just tape it up with some electrical tape and your done.

Step 5: Prepping the Salad Bowls

Now, it's time to cut the holes for the speakers to sit in.  These particular speakers have 4in. woofers and 1&1/2 in. tweeters.

The tools needed for this step are:
A Drill
A 4in. Hole Saw
A 1&1/2in. Hole Saw
(If you've never used these types of bits before make sure you ask one of the hardware store employees to make sure you have everything needed to mount these bits into your drill)

Main Step:  Drill each of the holes.  I placed the Woofer directly in the center of the salad bowl and my tweeter about an inch and a half below that.  Normally tweeters are placed above woofers but since these speakers were meant to hang in trees above the party-goers heads I placed them below.  

When using the 4in Hole Saw make sure you don't press down to firmly.  To get the cleanest cut you want to ease the drill down lightly until you have a deep enough groove.  If you press too firmly then the bit has a tendency to get caught in the wood and then you have a bowl spinning out of control.

I then used a flat file to smooth out the inner rim of the hole and to clean up some leftover splinters that were still holding on.

When I cut these holes in my own salad bowls I learned the hard way about how firm to press down, especially with the 4in hole saw.  The ridges of my holes ended up a little jagged.  I believe with a more subtle amount of pressure you can get a pretty clean cut.  If it turns out jagged I would recommend a few passes of some different grained sandpaper.  From rougher to smoother.

Okay, now your ready to load in the speaker guts.

Step 6: Mounting the Woofer and Tweeter

In this half of the tutorial you might find some of my solutions to things a little temporary and I am positive that there are better ways.  I mounted everything in the salad bowls in the simplest fashion possible.

For the next few steps the tools you'll need, give or take, are:

 - A Pencil
 - Phillips Head Screwdriver
 - A 1/16th Drill bit
 - Double Stick Tape (one of those temporary solutions)
 - Gaffers Tape (Really one of those temporary solutions)
 - Small wood screws:  The thickness of the bowl is a 1/4 inch so you will want some pretty short wood screws.  Get at least 20.  I used slightly thicker wood screws for the woofer and tweeter and thinner wood screws for the circuitry.  The thinner wood screws were a bit longer because they go through the nylon spacers you'll see below.  I apologize for my lack of specifics when it comes to these screws.  You should use your own judgment when you get the salad bowls and see for yourself.

*I tended to over-buy the wood screws in various lengths in order to guarantee that I had enough to finish for the night

 - Nylon washers:  These are meant for the wood screws.  I got nylon because of the circuit boards.  it really doesn't matter what they're made of as long as they don't make contact with any of the components or pads on the circuit boards.  With my time constraints for finishing I just felt better using nylon.

-Nylon Spacers:  These are for inbetween the circuit boards and the interior of the bowl.


The first step was to screw the woofer and the tweeter into position.  Start by lining up the woofer over the 4inch hole and putting some firm pressure down to bend the metal where the screws go, to form to the curved surface of the salad bowl.  While holding it in place flip the salad bowl over to see how it's lined up.  If it's good, flip it back and mark the locations with a pencil.

I started by drilling four pilot holes with the 1/16th drill bit where I had marked with the pencil.  (See Picture)  Then I placed the woofer back into position and flipped and checked again.  I used the phillips head screwdriver and the thicker wood screws with the nylon washers to attach it.  

(The nylon washers were used because at the time I wasn't sure if my screws were going to go completely through the bowl.  The length of the screws that I had were awfully close to the same thickness of the bowl.)

Once the woofer was secured into position I repeated the process with the tweeter.

Step 7: Adding the Circuit Boards

I went for minimalism when it came to mounting the circuitry inside the salad bowls.  I used the least amount of screws possible.

To begin, reconnect the ribbon cables of the power supply (now, with the newly installed AA battery holder) back to the circuit boards.  Remember the orientation from the earlier step?  If you examine the connections you'll see that there really is only one way to connect it but I find a little more peace of mind having a reference picture.

Once connected you need to figure out how your going to orient all the boards around the salad bowl.  I wanted to give every board as much space as possible.  (See the picture below to see how I oriented everything)

I attached the circuit boards with the thinner wood screws with the nylon washers and the nylon spacers.  I didn't feel the need for pilot holes on these ones.  I used a battery powered drill at half power to gingerly screw them in.  I started with the main circuit board and used one screw with nylon washers and spacer to mount that.  Then I did the same with the receiver circuit next to it.  (see picture)

The circuit board with the switches and knobs I knew I needed to get at in order to use the speakers so I used the thick double-stick tape to mount that slightly standing up a little so I could get to the controls fairly easily. (see picture)  

*The double stick tape, in my opinion, is one of those temporary solutions I was talking about earlier.  Eventually that tape is going to come loose and perhaps a better solution is to use some small L-brackets instead.

Finally, the last step in this process is my worst temporary solution.  Because I needed to get these guys done before the next day as well as get some sleep before work.  I decided to simply Gaffers Tape the AA battery holder and the little AC connector board to the side of the interior of the bowl.  I plan on fixing this in my own speakers by using some sort of velcro solution.

OK, you have successfully finished one side of the speaker sphere.  Now, you have to go back to the beginning and repeat the process for the other side.

*No worries.  It's a lot of explanation for a pretty simple process.  Once you've done one side you will be able to do the other side in half the time.  My first complete speaker sphere took me about five hours to finish.   The second one I did took only a couple of hours.

Step 8: Connecting Both Sides of the Sphere

Now that you have finished both sides of your new retro speaker spheres it's time to connect the sides together.

I decided to use a couple of brass draw-hasps to connect the two sides of the speakers together.  There are many ways you could do this part of the process and I leave it to you to be creative.


In order to do it the way I did, the tools you'll need are:
2 Brass Draw Hasps
A Roll of Self-Adhesive Black Sponge Rubber Weather Stripping
Some Binding Straps or Some Heavy Object (You'll see why below)
A Drawer Handle (Or something more creative)

First thing I did was stick the weather stripping to the ridge of the bowl.  (See Picture Below)

After both sides have their weather stripping applied I placed them on top of each other.  I made sure that I had them lined up correctly and that my tweeters were roughly symmetrical to each other.  I didn't have a good strap at the time so I used this big heavy speaker that I had in my studio to weigh the top half down upon the bottom (See Pic Below)

That way I could attach my hasps to the bowl and be positive that it was going to be a snug fit later.  After the hasps are in place you are one step away from being done.  You still need a way to hang these guys.

This is where I used the drawer handle.  I drilled a hole slightly off from the direct top of the speaker so that when I hung the them one side would be angled downward a little.  (See Pic below)

Okay, you are officially done!  Now you can enjoy your super cool retro modern wireless speakers.

Some Final Thoughts:  I have had a person recommend placing a thin piece of MDF between the two sides of the sphere.  This way none of the sound gets cancelled out by having the two speakers directly behind each other.  It should improve the sound quality.  

I can say with great confidence that this housing is a great improvement from the original in regards to sound quality.  If you have sound coming through, the moment you connect the two sides together you will instantly hear the difference.

I hope this was helpful and I welcome your comments.  I'd love to hear about alternative methods for things that perhaps I will implement in my own speakers.  Thanks for reading and be sure to check my blog every once in a while.  I do one creative thing every day so maybe today there is something new to inspire you.

Thanks!

http://www.TheB-Roll.com
<p>Pokemon balls...this would be a great gift for the millions of collectors and all those Pokemon Go players. I love your design .</p>
<p>sanding that edge would add to the smoothness of the whole thing :)</p>
<p>Very nice, retro, and good-looking.</p><p>About whether you need one or two spheres, this speaker would be great hanging in a corner, getting a stereo image reflected from the two walls,</p>
<p>This is really awsome! I have been looking into making a pair of speakers of exactly the same salad bowls from Ikea. Seeing your design just made me want to do it even more! As the Chromecast Audio has come out, I will be using that to make the streaming quality better. Combined with the newest class D amps, it should be an awsome speaker. I will post it here when it is done. GOOD JOB! :-)</p>
<p>This is my version, the current version of IKEA's bowls aren't as nice as the version used in the original instructions. I also used UE Mini Boom speakers that can be paired with eachother via bluetooth, eleminating the need to take the speakers apart. Though it doesn't look as elegant as the round speakers.</p><p>Thank you for the inspiration!</p><p>Thank </p>
FANTASTIC Done a Mini version with the little wooden cup bougth at Ikea...<br>12cm of diameter...<br>i've create a Speaker/Calling Bluethoot Spund Ball...3watt...with charge plug.<br><br>It sound very well with wood (exactly bamboo),better than the original speaker...<br>Here my pictures<br>Thanks a lot! i love it
<p>My DIY IKEA loudspeakers made from a vase.<br><a href="http://www.stockholmviews.com/gallo-ikea-speaker.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.stockholmviews.com/gallo-ikea-speaker.h...</a></p>
man this looks awesome!!! I want to make these but those speakers are discontinued :/ know scooter set which are cost effective but produce the same specs?
similar*
It is interesting!
wow those look awsome could you describe the audio qutaliy is it good for the price
That's no moon...<br><br>Awesome Instructable. Going to do this tomorrow. Thank you.
how do yuo think i could atach a cd player or a i pod to this settup i may want to make a retro backpack with this
Nice idea for rehousing speakers. In my opinoin, the speakers look a little bland. Maybe you like the wood look, but I feel as though the salad bowls should have a design painted on them. Overall though, great Instructable!
Thanks for the comment. My wife thought the same thing when I finished them but under the time constraints I opted for just straight wood. Plus, with paint I could have easily messed them up with some underwhelming painting abilities. Although, I would like to one day sand them down and stain them a darker color.
They look beatifull in pure wood!
Call me a geek, but my initial thought was &quot;DEATH STAR!!!&quot;<br><br>Nice 'ible, though, however they're decorated!
if they're hanging in trees . . .<br>paint them to look like large fruit . . . ;- )
Hey Egon could u share us a video ?..Im especially curious about how it sounds..Its kind an exciting speaker with two opposite oriented bass drivers.<br>Btw.I thought those ikea bowls can be used in making &quot;JBL Spyro &quot; like subwoofer drive.It could be great.The only thing is how to manage the air flow inside of that sys. otherwise it may sound lil boxy.
if your using a hole saw it's best to go only half way through, until the drill bit pokes out the other side.<br>Then flip the hole (pun intended) thing over and finish from the 'back side.<br>very few if any jagged edges that way
Cool! thanks!
Also . . . A question . . .<br>if these are stereo speakers . . .<br>shouldn't they be in two spheres of their own and separated.<br>preferably hanging near a hard, relatively flat, surface
Yes, that's a great idea, especially to keep the costs down. I was initially inspired by this speaker sphere: ( http://www.engadget.com/2007/05/06/spherical-speaker-array-provides-blaring-ball-of-sound/ ) which uses multiple speakers in a sphere. <br><br>So, I just ended up going that way. I built myself two speaker spheres so that meant that I bought two sets of wireless speakers. (The more expensive option)<br><br>I liked the idea that someone on either side of the sphere is hearing the music. I initially made them for a party where guests would be amongst the speakers. Plus, the speakers themselves have a switch which can set them to be left mono, right mono or stereo, which works well for my setup.<br><br>But a great, cheaper alternative, which would still be the same process is your idea of a single speaker in two spheres.<br><br>Thanks
When doing this kind of thing you have to be sure that not only a good tight seal is gotten on the speakers (base speakers especially) but that you have the exact right volume within the bowls (not sound volume, but physical volume.)<br><br>Each speaker set or rather each store bought speaker has a sort of dead zone in the tones, where pitches become less clear, and start to blur together or become extremely quiet, because in their current housing they cannot produce the frequency as well.<br><br>When you change their housing, you take the risk that you will adjust that dead range, and make it larger. Higher quality speakers by default usually have less of this dead range, and honestly the easiest way to cover up these dead zones is by adding speakers to your stereo that cover the dead zones of the others, until you have a fully functioning range. However having a bunch of speakers is no reason to go and increase the dead range of some of your others.
Thanks for your information. How would I measure the dead zone? A rising pitch?<br><br>I'm not well educated on the subject but would I be incorrect to assume that the spherical shape of the speakers added to the fact that they're wood would serve to enhance the resonance of these dead zones?<br><br>Thanks for the comment,
if you look at some speaker boxes you will notice a &quot;vent&quot;. it is usually a particular diameter and there is a tube of a particular length. This is to accommodate the 'dead' freqs and tune the 'small' box to the woofer or sub woofer to make it &quot;acoustically larger&quot;. It is usually parallel to, but not in line with, the woofer/sub woofer. All you really want to do is allow free movement of the woofer or sub woofer diaphragm, by compressing as little air in the box surrounding it. While canceling out reflected sound freqs. The ideal container for a woofer/sub woofer is the same size as the room it's in and separate from the mid range and tweeters (not really feasible). You should be isolating the mid range/tweeter from the woofer, sub woofer. A sphere is actually a very good container for speakers as there is very little direct reflection of sound back to the diaphragm. And (imho) they really should be two separate spheres. you need two more salad bowls.<br>Also low sound freqs are omni directional. The higher the freq the more directional is it (generally speaking)
Here is a website that will help you out, even has a calculator. I know the website is mostly talking about base speakers and cars, but the reality is that the same concept applies to all speakers, location of the speakers is hardly important when talking about the enclosure (though for the best sound there is an optimum distance from the walls.) <br> <br>http://www.bcae1.com/spboxnew2.htm <br> <br>Not sure how much help it will be with speakers of spherical design though. The same volume concept should work though, just use the formula for calculating volume of a sphere. <br>Radius cubed x 4/3 x pi
You could also put some speaker wadding inside which should improve the bass response. Also, if you are going to put a baffle in, why not put a baffle on each bowl and then attach a hinge so they could be opened out to point in one direction? That would also mean they could also be laid flat on a table if necessary. Great Instructible as it stands though, thanks for the ikea idea.
Hi Egon77, did you thought about a bass-reflex hole to give more freedom to both speakers and to provide an enhanced sound quality (regarding the MDF piece you mention in your &quot;Final thoughts&quot;). Best regards, Ra&uacute;l
Hi Raul, thanks for the comment. Do you mean adding holes to the MDF partition within the speakers? If yes and you recommend that I'd would definitely do it if it improves sound. If you mean bass port holes in the outer shell I most likely won't do that.<br><br>Thanks!
Hi egon,<br>holes in the MDF partition will not help. Because you loose the isolation among both halves. My idea was an additional hole on each outer shell. I know that can be not so light...<br>BR, Ra&uacute;l
Dude, your speakers rock, you did one hell of a job. I think you should go on with the painting process......maybe trying some black piano finish !!!!!!
Thanks a lot man! A black piano finish definitely would make them look sweet!
Um, personally I like unpainted non-glossed wood. Paint hides the true beauty of it. Hand-rubbing and tung oil work well. With regard to bass porting, be very careful. A wrong-size port will have a detrimental effect. The port diameter and length are directly proportional to the speaker cone diameter and Fr (resonant frequency) - mainly Fr. Very beautiful, decorative, and functional. ~/Lee
Thanks Lee.
To cut holes in wood, rather than using an electric drill and these round hole cutter, for a quality hole go old skool use a brace and bit and an adjustable hole bit, which looks a bit (!) like this: http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/members/images/41395/Gallery/13-09-05_0114_2.jpg It's much easier to control the speed of the cut and get a really fine finish by going slow and gentle. A good sharp drill bit will cut really clean and it will also adjust any hole width instead of the standard sizes. I like this design though, they look really good and look just right for some outdoor speakers I want to make. Ikea here I come!
Thanks for the information!
You're absolutelly right for the 11/2 in. hole. The bigger one takes a another kind of tool, that works under the same principle, but the bit is fixed in a bar. It takes more money as well.
Are these the 11in or 8in bowls? Thanks
Hi, they're the 11in bowls. Sorry I have forgotten to add that bit of information in the instructable. I will add it now. Thanks.
Nice one ! If you like the design (and are willing to spend some bucks), you may check out the &quot;Planet L&quot; by Elipson. A friend of mine bought a pair of them. Really pure sound, despite some lack in very low frequencies. A pleasure for the eye and the hear ! (I don't have any links with the company... Just loved the product ;-) )
Paint it white and it would look like a personality orb from GlaDOS in Portal.
I agree was going to say the same thing all you need is some led's/el wire to make the speakers light up different colors
Goa'uld Shock grenade. Like your design!
DEATH STAR! haha
That's the most popular reaction. I thought the same thing the moment I screwed in the woofer.
I might make one just for that reason. Paint it gray with some darker gray accent lines. Then hang it from the ceiling and rig it to play Star Wars music for my doorbell. well Probably not, but that would be cool.
I would LOVE to see a real Death Star version. Please do!
When I get some extra time and money, I definitely will.
Great Gobelen Cookie Monsters!!! Youre listing some pretty pricey speakers my freind. but god knowes we all love hacking Ikea stuff, so ill work my way around it. Love the desighn, but hows it sound??

About This Instructable

129,922views

531favorites

License:

More by egon77:Retro Wireless Speakers from Ikea Salad Bowls 
Add instructable to: