Instructables

Turn Nearly Anything into a Speaker

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Picture of Turn Nearly Anything into a Speaker
You can turn nearly any object into a speaker by using a piezo disc and a handful of additional components. While this may seem like magic, there is actually a rather simple technical explanation. By driving a piezo disc using an amplifier, the disc vibrates and then resonates the sound wave through whatever object the disc is attached to. When the object vibrates, it disturbs the air and makes sound. This is not only a fun trick, but also allows for a lot of interesting experimentation and creative projects.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
You will need:

(x1) Audio output transformer (radioshack #273-1380)
(x2) 1/8" mono jacks (radioshack #274-0251)
(x1) 3" x 2" x 1" project enclosure (radioshack #270-1801)
(x1) Piezo transducer (radioshack #273-0073)
(x1) 6' stripped-end audio mono cable (radioshack #42-2434)
(x1) Mini audio amplifier (radioshack #277-1008)
(x2) 6' audio mono cable (radioshack #42-2420)
(x1) Assorted shrink tube (radioshack #278-1627)
(x1) Audio player with output jack
(x1) Roll of double-sided tape

Step 2: Solder

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Solder the red wire from the audio output transformer to the ground tab on the mono jack, and the white wire to the signal tab. This will be the input jack.

Solder the green wire from the audio output transformer to the ground tab on the other mono jack, and the blue wire to the signal tab. This will be the output jack.

Trim the black wire to remove any exposed uninsulated wire.

Step 3: Holes

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Make a mark centered upon each of the 1" x 2" sides of the project enclosure.

Drill both of these marks with a 1/4" drill bit.

Step 4: Install

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Remove the mounting nuts from the mono jacks, and then pass each of the mono jacks through one of the 1/4" holes.

Finally, mount them firmly in place with their mounting nuts.

Step 5: Glue (optional)

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To keep the audio output jack from rattling around inside the enclosure, hot glue it in place

Step 6: Close

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Place the lid back onto the project enclosure, and fasten it shut with the included set of screws.
trarial3 months ago

I don't think Nicolas Collins would mind you using his (exact) setup to turn a piezo disc into an audio driver, but the least you could do is mention that you got every single part of this instructable except for the pictures from his (excellent) book "Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking." Parts numbers, even the exact same battery powered amp. C'mon dude. Have some integrity. At least so you can spread around the knowledge of said book! To anyone else reading, definitely check it out, it's got way more audio projects than just this, and even some interesting circuit-bending and video sections.

opendna trarial23 days ago

This comment sold a book.

Thanks for pointing that out. I'd be sure to check it out

Misac-kun5 months ago

okay. You used a Amp and a Transformer to drive the piezo. Is the transformer really needed or it will work fine without it?

parisusa10 months ago
Kazmataz: your comment is so cheesey! But you are quite sharp. :) is it wrong that I expected to see a photo of this thing stuck to an 8 track? Retro-fun?
doxsys11 months ago
What kind of frequency response do you get out of it? I'm assuming we're not talking hi fidelity here, but how good does the sound get if you attach it to an optimal surface?
ynze11 months ago
A video, a video, please please give us a video :-)
randofo (author)  ynze11 months ago
I thought about it, but it would be really boring to watch and the audio would probably not sound very good.
kazmataz randofo11 months ago
Oh stop, I'm sure the cheese shredder sounded grate
doxsys kazmataz11 months ago
Bahahaha! It was OK, but I think he's sticking with the glue gun.
njeyanth kazmataz11 months ago
marry me, please
dbbd kazmataz11 months ago
Nice answer :-)
Like. Like.
ynze kazmataz11 months ago
Oh thanks kazmataz! Randy, go and explore the power of video editing. You can do it, really!
saifbunni11 months ago
so does the audio output transformer really work in matching the impedance ? I've been trying to get a piezo pre amp for a while now, and so far no luck. any help is appreciated . great instructable. Saif
nikolayduke11 months ago
Does it matter witch side its plugged into
astroboy90711 months ago
Just a tip: Sparkfun sells transducers, I think up to 1W that are decently priced. Just if you want more POWER! (cue Jeremy Clarkson)
tutdude9811 months ago
what transformer actually does? since W in is same as W out
Good question. I omitted the piece with the transformer, and it appears to be working fine. I don't have the knowledge to tell you which is better though.
bclamore tutdude9811 months ago
I'm guessing impedance matching. Increases efficiency.
Bartuss11 months ago
freak......Nah just another great tutorial :D
damau11 months ago
The cool thing about this is you can easily modify this to "Turn nearly anything into a microphone. Just watch out for feedback. Great ible.
KROKKENOSTER11 months ago
This is now a way to have music everywhere where a body ain't allowed to have it. Just use a body that will resonate when you strike it with a metal object like a small hammer and it must "ring" Excellent idea
njeyanth11 months ago
Awesome :o
jbodden111 months ago
The cheese grater speaker only sounds good with polkas from Wisconsin...
markpa11 months ago
very smart!!!!!!!!!!!
arthurdent11 months ago
I have a frog-shaped speaker posted here already. Would that count?
joshuao11 months ago
This is an awesome ible. I bought one of these a few days ago for $10 on amazon.
vishalapr11 months ago
Great project! I am gonna try this out with my nerf guns :D
http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20130802/nerf-nstrike-elite-centurion-mega-blaster/
Trying to use an arduino for the music instead of an ipod and hopefully it will all fit in snug :)
M.C. Langer11 months ago
Awesome project!!! I love it!
tech savvy11 months ago
Very well done instructable , this is something i'll have to try making ,
keep up the great work
Sweet! I made a paper plate into a speaker once! It's awesome to hear music from strange things :)
HollyMann11 months ago
This would be a fun an interesting project to do with my son - thanks! :)
Byzula11 months ago
Wow that is so cool!
randofo (author)  Byzula11 months ago
Yup, and it is a ton of fun. You can do some strange and interesting things with it (like sticking it to your forehead).