Introduction: Smokin' Speakers: Cigar Box Speakers
Want to make some cool looking speakers for under $100?
Have some extra speakers or cigar boxes laying around?
Well, whichever the case, you've clicked on the right post! Prepare to make a cool project that is sure to impress!
There is much variety when making these speaker boxes. The complexity of these projects largely depend on your choice of speakers and cigar box. Overall, be prepared to overcome any challenges especially when drilling, wiring or polishing overall aesthetics! This is a fairly straight forward project if the right steps are taken.
Approximate Project Time (4 hours)
Cool link of another box made by Make: Weekend Projects
Step 1: Materials & Tools
In order to make this speaker box, you will need quite a few supplies!
- Cigar Box
- Speakers (Full Range)
- Amplifier Board
- Power Supply (12 Volt)
- Speaker Wire
- Screws/ Mounting Hardware
- Painter's Tape
- Auxiliary cord (3.5 mm jack)
- Speaker cloth or comparable material (Aesthetic to cover speaker cone)
- Cork sheet or roll (I used cork coasters)
- Rubber Feeting
- Assorted Drill Bits
- All-purpose glue
- Sound Foam (I used egg-crate mattress foam)
- Soldering Iron
- Wire Strippers
- Drill (big enough chuck to fit a hole saw bit)
- Drill Press tall enough to fit a Cigar Box long-ways
- or Portable Drive that will fit a larger bit size
Step 2: Choosing Speakers
This is a very important part for supplies preparation. Your speaker choice will determine the size of your required hole-saw bit, the length of your mounting screws, the size of your required cigar box and most likely a few other metrics.
It is important to choose a good pair of speakers that do not crackle or have any defects. The speakers I used are as follows: https://www.amazon.com/DROK-110043-Amplifier-Ampli...
They were a bit pricey but have been great speakers thus far. An alternate option is to look through this website plethora of mini-speaker options. They have many options at fair prices.
Overall, choose a good pair of speakers that sound good to you. Take your time with research and do some looking around.
Step 3: Choosing a Box
After choosing your speakers, you then must pick a box that will fit which ever sized speakers you have chosen.
In general, I recommend a sturdy cigar box that seems constructed fairly well. (After all, you will have sound waves reverberating through the box and anything flimsy would sound awful) Some specificities to keep in mind are the inner thickness of the walls on the box and if the top has a clasping mechanism or not. By keeping this in mind, you will have a better idea for how to mount your speakers in the box. (i.e., length of screws, securing the top, ability to support weight of heavier speakers, etc..)
Besides general construction, choose a box that you think looks cool! There are hundreds of options out there!
I chose my box based on its thickness of wood, how air tight it was and overall aesthetic appeal.
Step 4: Marking and Box Preparation
After obtaining a box, you will need to make the proper marks and measurements before drilling.
I placed painter's tape over the box (non-marking) in order to make marks for where the best location to drill would be. I then squared a ruler to the edges of the box and equally centered my drilling points on each panel.
Since I had 2 speakers, I wanted a uniform-look, so proceeded to center them on opposing sides of the box. I also drilled a smaller hole in the back panel of the speaker in order to suffice as the ported-hole. I have had good experience with "porting" smaller enclosures and feel it definitely makes a difference.
You don't have to center things either. Some people even drill holes through the top lid to mount their speakers. It all comes down to your cigar box construction and how you would best prefer your speaker location.
Step 5: Drill Out the Holes
After making your markings, you can move on to the drilling process!
Many drill presses are not vertically spaciously enough to fit the total length of a cigar box and drill bit, so make sure you find a drill press or mobile drill that will satisfy this requirement.
When drilling such small holes in such thin wood, I prefer to use a hole-saw bit with a pilot bit in the center of it. This helps to steady your initial tapping of the wood as you continue to drill deeper into in.
Be sure to slowly apply pressure and not drill into the wood too quickly. Due to how thin cigar box wood is, it has a tendency to crack or split if you drill too fast.
After drilling, take your sand paper and smooth any rough edges from your initial cuts. Then make sure to clean-off the inside and outside of your cigar box before proceeding. I used an air hose to spray off any remaining particles of wood dust.
Step 6: Speaker Preparation
After finishing your drilling, you will need to prepare other materials before mounting your speakers.
For this specific project, I used sheet cork as a gasket between the speaker and the cigar box panel for mounting purposes. This helps to prevent the speaker cone from being smashed against the box panel after mounting. It also provides extras width that can be taken advantage of if your mounting hardware is a bit longer.
In addition to the sheet cork, I also used some Hobby Lobby netting fabric as speaker cloth. This provides an aesthetic appeal as well as a slight bit of protection for the speaker cone. After cutting out the cork gasket, I glued a piece of fabric over the top of it.
*X-acto knives are very helpful in cutting precise gaskets and are worth the investment!
Step 7: Install the Speakers
Now that a majority of your preparation is over, it is time to install your speakers!
Depending on the composition of your cigar box, some wood can be a bit softer while other wood can be a pain to screw into. For my build, I was able to line up my speakers with holes on the inside of the box and just hand-tighten wood screws with a cross-tip screwdriver. In other cases, a small drill might be required in addition to some creative thinking on how to fit the drill into box, with the speaker already in it.
Make sure all your screws are tight, as you want a secure fit to the box so that there are no unwanted reverberations!
Step 8: Wiring the Speakers
After mounting your speakers to the inside of your box, you then need to wire them to your amplifier board!
Some speakers and wires have tabs that plug to the correct locations while others are just metal tabs and bare speaker wire. In my case, one side of the speaker wire was screwed into slots on the amplifier board while the other side was bare wire.
If you have just bare wire, you will need to solder the proper wires onto the appropriate tabs. Make sure you solder the positive (+) to the positive (+) tab and the negative (-) to the negative tab (-). Make sure your speaker wire has a solid connection with no chance of coming undone.
Step 9: Enjoy Your Speaker!
Now you have finished the majority of your speaker box build!
Make sure to plug your 12 volt power supply into your amplifier and your Aux. cord into the input jack. After this, make sure the volume on the board is at least halfway up and test out the sound! Hopefully there are no odd reverberations or noises when playing different ranges of music.
After hooking up my amplifier board and plugging in my cell phone, I decided to also put sound foam into the box. The foam helps to absorb any hollow-sounds that reverberate within the box and give it a fuller, less tinny effect.
Great job on making your speaker, it's not as difficult as it may seem!
Step 10: Future Improvements
Unfortunately, I have not yet finalized the build on this cigar box. I regularly like to utilize boxes with small clasps on them. This helps to secure the top of the box and contain the sound. The box that I used did not have a clasp on it, so I will most likely make my own clasping system or drive a small nail through the top of it..
In addition to everything already performed, I also added small rubber foot caps on the bottom of the box. This helps to keep the box from vibrating on rough surfaces when playing loud music and raises the overall bottom just slightly.
If I were to add anything more to this one, I would potentially add a bluetooth module to that I could have a wireless connection.
Overall, I am very satisfied in how this turned out. The box looks aesthetically appealing and sounds great!
Thanks for checking out my post. I hope you enjoyed it and that it aided in the construction of your own unique cigar box speaker!