Introduction: Turntable Cabinet

This Turntable Cabinet is a way to have a record collection, a turntable, and a good speaker system in the limited space of my small apartment.

Why vinyl in the age of Spotify, you ask? Here are a few reasons. To a sensitive ear, digital music has a sterile, tinny quality. Vinyl, on the other hand, is warm and smooth. Also, who can deny the nostalgic charm of the occasional dust-induced crackle?

Vinyl has the added benefit of forcing my frantic brain to be patient and experience the record as the artist intended: as an entire piece, with songs played in the proper sequence and a pause in the middle to flip to the B side. Also, since I can't have an endless stream of vinyl records for $8.99 a month, I'm forced to carefully curate my collection. Here's a great article on some of the less considered virtues of vinyl: http://consequenceofsound.net/2013/05/five-reasons-you-love-your-vinyl/

Step 1: Design

The design has a few basic parameters.

1) The turntable I chose is rectangular and sits on a table top. Because of that, I decided to integrate a record storage cabinet. 2) I wanted the piece to have everything you need to enjoy the music, so I integrated a sound system that could also be used for digital music. 3) Records are about 12"X12", so this would be the height and depth of the cabinet.

All of these parameters worked together for a simple solution. Originally, I was going to mount it on the wall, but when I brought it home and held it up on my wall to see how it would look, my wife said "that looks awful, why does it need to be on the wall?" As usual, she was right.

I went back to Fusion 360 (where I design pretty much everything) and designed the legs you see in the finished photos.

Fusion 360 is free for students and hobbyists, and there's a ton of educational support on it. If you want to learn to 3D model the kind of work I do, I think this is the best choice on the market. Click the links below to sign up:

Student/Educator

Hobbyist/Startup

I made the piece using 3/4" plywood and 1/4" plywood for the sound system face plate. Everything fits together like a puzzle and joins with glue and brad nails.

Step 2: Parts, 3D Files, and Templates

an Amico latching stainless steel switchFile Types:

pdf: Printable layouts of the parts. These must be printed at full scale! The "Turntable Cabinet" file must be printed at 48"X48" and the "Faceplate" file must be printed at 24"X36".

f3d: This is the fusion 360 file. Feel free tweak it to your liking!

iges: This is an exported 3D file for people who aren't on Fusion.

dxf: This is the cad file of all the templates.

Parts:

  1. Electronics:
  2. Hardware and Materials:
    • I used 3/4" Maple Veneer Plywood for everything but the face plate.
    • The faceplate is made of 1/4" Maple Veneer Plywood.
    • I used Maple Veneer to make a wood skin for the top of the turntable so that it would match the rest of the cabinet.

Step 3: Cabinet Assembly

I cut the pieces out on the Metabeam Laser Cutter we have at the Pier, but you could easily make this project using the technique described in my Digital Fabrication by Hand instructable. All you'll need is a jigsaw and/or a circular saw, and a cordless drill. The faceplate will be tricky to reproduce: I would recommend just drilling a bunch of holes for the speakers instead of the snazzy slot pattern I made.

With the pieces cut out, I put them together as shown in the diagrams using wood glue and a brad nailer. For the upper back panel with the key holes, I used screws and countersunk holes so I could remove it later if I needed to access the electronics inside.

When the glue was cured I did a couple of coats of spray-on satin Polycrylic finish with 320 grit sanding in between.

Step 4: Electronics and Tray

The electronics are pretty simple; they're just a matter of disassembling the speaker set and installing it in the electronics tray.

First, I cracked open the speaker set to get the guts out. These things are really well made, so I ended up using a Dremel with a cutoff wheel to get through it. There are two boards inside- one has the audio inputs and power receptacle, the other has the volume knob and headphone jack.

Next, I put the tray together using wood glue and clamps.

The volume knob has to be at the front of the cabinet, but there was no way to get that to work with the board it's connected to. To solve this problem, I just removed it from the board, and connected it with soldered jumper wires. I made a small bracket with screw holes that keeps it flush against the face of the tray.

The two position switch switches the input from the turntable (the line coming out of the amp) to the airport express. All of the audio feeds have to be grounded, so I just routed everything to the ground screw on the amp.

The speakers and boards all connect to the tray with small wood screws. I used some scraps of cork for the backs of the boards to keep them from rattling from the speaker vibration.

Step 5: Veneer Top

NTo make the whole piece match, I added a veneer top to the turntable. I used some Super 77 spray adhesive and carefully lined it up before smoothing it down. I oversized the veneer a little bit and trimmed it off with an exacto.

There's a power strip inside the cavity to power to the amp, turntable, speakers, and airport express. I used double-sided velcro on everything to keep it from rattling with the speaker vibration.

Step 6: New Legs

Like I said in the intro, the piece just didn't look good hanging on the wall. I made the leg assembly shown in the diagram with wood glue and screws, then simply inserted the cabinet. It fits perfectly, so there's no need for fasteners.

Step 7: Party Like It's 1969

It sounds awesome! No rattling, no buzzing, and the frequency response on the speakers is pretty good. It would probably sound system, but this suits me just fine. It also looks great in my living room.

Comments

author
Twilight Sheikah (author)2016-07-05

Just a for instance, But what if someone were to make a similar if not identical design using 3d printing. Would the acoustics be off?

author

I don't think it would make a difference as far as the acoustics. The speakers are doing all the work on that front, so you really just have to ensure there's no rattling. This would be a really big 3D printing project though!

author
flyingpuppy (author)2016-03-24

Excuse me, but does no one see the elephant in the room? THAT CHAIR is to die for! Could you do an instructable on upholstering a chair that way?

author
JON-A-TRON (author)flyingpuppy2016-03-24

Isn't it awesome? I got it here: http://www.midcenturymonger.com/collections/living-chairs/products/eamesy-style-armchair-upholstered-wood-base-light

author
astrotone (author)2015-10-14

Nice Idea, very compact.

Wall mounting could have been good too. One of the problems with turntables is acoustic feedback, where the speakers excite the turntable plinth/record and above a certain amp gain will startup a positive feedback growl which can only be stopped by turning down the volume.

Legs best for concrete floor. Wall mount best if wall is brick or stone etc. Of course you have the speakers built into the same cabinet which makes it hard to isolate the agitation.

Plasticine fitted to the underside of the turntable and housing would improve damping and stop possible feedback.

The plywood would be quite stiff though. Do you have any feedback issues?

Or is the volume only ever low?

author
JON-A-TRON (author)astrotone2015-10-14

This is precisely what I love about Insturctables. Post a project, and within a couple of days, an expert weighs in with advice and constructive criticism.

I haven't experienced any feedback or vibration issues yet. I assume this is because 1) the cabinet is made of glued-in-place plywood panels and therefore, doesn't leave much margin for parts coming loose due to sound vibration. 2) Even with 100% ("up to 11") volume, these speakers don't output enough of a frequency range or enough amplitude to create a problem. This obviously is a blessing and a curse.

In hindsight, I would recreate this project in pretty much the same way, except I would add a headphone jack on the front panel. $300 on a good pair of headphones is about equivalent to $3,000 in a speaker system.

author
astrotone (author)JON-A-TRON2015-10-14

Yes I agree with the headphones solution. Certainly no feedback there.

Not everyone can have the speakers they would really like, especially when space is an issue.

Wooden floors can of course still bounce if someone is heavy footed, which causes havoc with the stylus jumping all over the record, hence my comment about wall mounting.

Vinyl still makes me nostalgic. You have encouraged me to unbox my turntable and LPs and get in the groove.

Once again love your work

author
Carleyy (author)2015-10-13

I totally need this! My record collection is all over my room!

author
JON-A-TRON (author)Carleyy2015-10-14

Make one! You've got all the tools...

author
bricabracwizard (author)2015-10-12

Beautiful build, I love your creativity here

author

Thanks a lot!

author
Mandell (author)2015-10-13

Very nice.

author
browneaction (author)2015-10-12

It looks awesome, especially the legs. I'd love one of these.

author
JON-A-TRON (author)browneaction2015-10-12

Thanks a lot! For an afterthought, I'm pretty happy with the way the legs turned out.

author
browneaction (author)JON-A-TRON2015-10-12

Don't let your wife read this or you'll never hear the end of it.

author
BrownDogGadgets (author)2015-10-12

Very well done. Are you going to stain or paint it?

author

I was planning on painting the exposed plywood edges so they'd contrast with the wood panels, but I decided I liked the charred edge look once I'd sanded it. I see your point, though. I think if I were to make this again I would go with laminated wood panels instead of plywood, and I would design it so that the legs were integrated in the first place instead of placed on as an afterthought. It looks a little too fussy as it is with all the seams and exposed edges.

As far as finishing, I just used satin polycrylic for everything. I don't usually use wood stain, I tend to try to be a purist about what the original color of the wood was.

author
push_reset (author)2015-10-12

Yassssssss. I can't wait to make one!

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Bio: I'm a full-time Designer at the Instructables Design Studio (best job ever). My background is in residential architecture, film set design, film animatronics, media ... More »
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