Introduction: Studio Monitor Speaker Stands
I needed a set of speaker stands and felt I could knock them together a few hours.
I decided on PVC pipe and plywood for materials. I wanted to minimize the transmission of vibration as well so there's a few hidden additions, too.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
About 1/2 sheet of 3/4" plywood. I used birch for nice wood finish.
8 ft of 3" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe. This is the heavyweight PVC that's about 1/4" thick.
8 ft of 3/8" -16 All-Thread. Get this in the electrical department where the conduit and the like are sold.
4 3/8" nuts and washers
Some wood door molding, ranch style and some smaller beveled wood trim.
8 3/8" tee nuts. These are the type that get recessed into the plywood.
8 3/8" threaded rubber-bottomed furniture feet. Your could maybe use something smaller, but I had these on hand. I need these type of feet on just about anything I put in this room because the house is old and the floors are not level. This allows me to level the base of the stands.
Some clear silicone sealant.
Some general purpose play sand.
1 long flat bungee style strap.
A couple of computer 'mouse' pads.
4d finishing nails
Table or Radial Arm Saw.
Mitre "chop' saw
Drill and 3/8", 1" and 1-1/2" wood bore bits
3/4" wide wood chisel
Step 2: Basic Design
I wanted to minimize the sound wave transmission from the speakers to the stands to the floor and I wanted them to be sturdy.
So I decided to fill the PVC pipe with the sand. That gives a good amount of weight for sturdiness. But then to try to isolate the speakers from the stands, I decided to 'float' the stand as much as possible.
Well, I've used those rubber computer mouse pads before with some good success as various types of vibration isolation aids. Why not on these, too?
So we'll create a base with the adjustable feet, lay a mouse pad on top of it, then sandwich the sand-filled PVC between two pieces of plywood. Set the stand on the base and included another mouse pad and a top sheet of plywood that the speaker actually sits upon. And since there are crazy cats that feel it is necessary to run though the house at full speed and bounce off things, we'll add a bungee strap to hold the speaker to the stand.
OK, let's build it.
Step 3: Build the Base
I decided the base of the stands should be about 1' square.
So I cut the two bottom floor bases to 11-1/2" x 11-1/2" since there will be a top plate sitting on each of these and we don't want it to touch at the sides.
Drill the holes at the 4 corners for the tee nuts for the levelers, and set the nuts into the floor base.
Instead of trying to pound these into the wood, you can run a bolt through them and the wood and then put a thick washer and nut on the other side of the wood. Tighten the nut and the tee nut pulls right into place in the plywood.
Since the All-Thread and nut are only slightly recessed, I drilled a hole in the center of the bottom floor base and used the 1-1/2" wood bore bit to enlarge the clearance.
Now we'll make the top plate for the bottom base.
Cut two pieces of the plywood 12"x12".
Set your Miter 'chop' saw up for a 45 degree tilted cut and cut the ranch molding to frame the top base.
The Ranch molding should create a shroud around base so when you set it on the floor base, it will hide the floor base from view.
Attach the ranch molding to the top base plate with glue and finishing nails.
Mark the center of the bottom side of the top base. We need to recess the nut slightly on the bottom side of the top base. So with the 1" wood bore bit, drill only about 1/4' to 3/8' deep from the bottom side. Then finish drilling a 3/8" hole directly in the center all the way through the top base.
The top base should slide over the floor base.
Step 4: Build the Top Platforms
The same concept for the top platform.
There will be a piece of plywood connected to the top of the PVC pipe and then a finish platform on top of it.
My monitors measure 6-1/2" wide and 7" deep, so I want the top finish platform to be slightly larger than the speakers. So I'll cut the top finish platform pieces to 7" wide and 8" deep. We want the top platform base to be slightly smaller than this, so we'll cut it to 6-3/4" wide and 7-3/4" deep. Adjust these dimensions for your monitor sizes.
With your chop saw miter the small trim around the top finish platform so that it will shroud the top platform base. I only trimmed three sides (front and 2 sides) of the top finish platform because I didn't have enough trim in house to do all 4 sides. Install the trim with glue and finishing nails.
In my design, it is the flat bungee that holds the speaker in place and keeps the top finish platform connected to the top platform base. We need to cut 'slits' in the top finish platform for the flat bungee to pass through. My speakers are flat on the bottom and I want the slits to be as close to edge of the speaker, so we'll cut the slits as wide as the base of the speaker (6-1/2"). My flat bungee is 3/4" wide and about 1/8" thick, so I drilled 1/8' holes at each end of the slit and then drilled 1/8" holes along the slit. I finished cutting the slits with a wood chisel.
Now would be a good time to sand the top finish platform and the top base. You can paint or otherwise finish your wood to you liking. I like light wood finish so I just used Danish Tung Oil with some accent trim paint.
OK, so now we have the base and top platform assemblies done, we'll assemble.
Step 5: Make the PVC Stands
You want the tweeters of the speakers to be at about ear level, so sit in your engineering chair and measure from the floor up to your ear for the height you want. Mine was about 46".
Now, figure the height of the speaker (mine are 9") and the tweeter is 1" from the top, so subtract 8" from 46" = 38". The top platform assembly is 1-3/4" (2x 3/4" plus 1/4" for the pad) and the top of the floor base assembly is about 3" from the floor. All this mathematical computation tells us that our PVC needs to be 33-1/4".
I used my chop saw to cut the PVC into two pieces 33-1/4" long. Make sure you hold the PVC tight against the fence of the saw -- you want these cuts to be as square as possible.
Now you need to cut the All-Thread for each of the stands. Since we are recessing the nuts slightly into both the top and base plates, you can add 1" to the measurement of your PVC. In our case, we'll cut it to 34-1/4". If you want, you can cut it a bit longer at this stage and trim it off once your assembly is done.
Unless you like the look of white PVC, now would be a good time to paint your PVC tubes. I used a textured spray paint which is reminiscent of a sandstone finish.
Once your painted PVC is good and dry, we do the assembly.
Place a nut and washer on one end of the All-thread and put it into the top plate for the bottom base, with the nut and washer on the recessed side. Initially, I put a top washer on the top side of this. This turned out to be a mistake. Since you may have to tighten the All-Thread, it is best to allow the bottom to extend more into the floor base since it is hidden from view.
Line one end of the PVC with a fair amount of the silicone sealant and then place it over the All-thread, gooey side down, to the base. Center the PVC on the base. Put the top plate on and finger tighten another nut and washer on the All-thread. Allow the silicone to set.
Once the silicone has set, we can fill the PVC with sand. The sand should be dry, so I spread mine out on a roll of paper in the hot sun to dry it out. Now you can take off the top plate and start pouring your sand carefully into the PVC. I stopped several times to lightly pack down the sand with a stick. Once you've filled, packed and filled some more, level off the sand around the top of the All-thread and line the rim of the top of the PVC with a bead of silicone. Place the top plate on the All-thread with the recessed hole to the top, place your washer and nut and tighten up the nut good and snug. Make sure the top plate is properly aligned to the base before tightening.
Repeat for the other stand. It will go quicker.
Now, we'll put it all together
Step 6: Assembly
Time to put it all together.
Center the top finish plate on top of the top platform. Mark the location of the slits on the top platform. Lift the top finish plate and thread one side of the flat bungee through the top of the slit on the top finish plate. Align the bungee to the marks you just made on the top platform and staple the bungee to the top platform.
Take the other end of the bungee and thread it down through the other slit and staple it to other side of the top platform.
Cut one of your mouse pads to fit the top platform, around the bungee staples and the center nut.
Pull the bungee tight through the slits so the top finish plate lays flat on the top platform.
Cut another mouse pad or two to fit the lower floor base, with a hole cut in the center of the pad for the nut.
If you need, level the floor base on the floor by adjusting the feet.
Now place the assembled stand onto the lower floor base.
Slide the speaker under the bungee strap.
Step 7: Finished Product
Well, it took a few more hours than I first thought, but I'm pleased with the outcome.
Speaker stands in place and the music is rockin'