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Vintage radio into a speaker for an MP3 player...

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Picture of Vintage radio into a speaker for an MP3 player...
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I got this out of the trash pile from when I helped my wifes Grandmother move... This was in the attic of her house for the past 50 years. The wires were all cracked and frayed, the finish was cracked an peeling...
I loved the look of this old radio, I had cleaned it and used it for decoration for about a year before i decided to turn it into a speaker for my IPod.. I used an old radio alarm clock speaker box.
 
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Step 1: Gut the radio and repair any cracks

Picture of Gut the radio and repair any cracks
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There were four screw on the bottom of this radio that I had to remove to slide out the entire radio from the radio case(very convenient). After removing the radio tray I removed the dry rot speaker cloth and wiped the inside with a damp rag. I had to glue and clamp a few spots that were either cracked or separated from another connecting piece... These were such small issues i didnt take any pics. I also removed all the circuitry and tubes i did not need in the radio anymore. what I had left was a bottom tray with a bracket that attached the large round tuner window. I cleaned all these items with warm soap and water and set aside...

Step 2: Sand and re-finish the radio case...

Picture of Sand and re-finish the radio case...
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Using a chisel I popped the black speaker grids off of the radio case. They came off pretty easy actually.
Sanded the entire outside with 220 grit sandpaper down to bare wood. Then I sprayed the outside with water based "Polycrylic" wood finish. 2 coats light sanding in-between with 400 grit. After that, using some black paint and a q-tip I touched up the black spots that needed to be touched up. I'm actually pretty happy with the results. I like the look of the wood without the dark stain they had on it previously...
ivanjacob9 months ago
You could gut some pc speakers for a small amp.
SlickSqueegie (author)  ivanjacob8 months ago
I did exactly that. Thanks! :)
HollyMann9 months ago
I love this! That is the best looking vintage radio I have ever seen - love that style..awesome instructable!
SlickSqueegie (author)  HollyMann9 months ago
:) Thanks
ctx198511 months ago
You did an AMAZING job of refinishing this radio! It looks fantastic!
SlickSqueegie (author)  ctx198511 months ago
Thank you.
sunshiine1 year ago
There is so much talent here! Thanks for sharing your hard work!
sunshiine
SlickSqueegie (author)  sunshiine1 year ago
its my pleasure! thanks for the compliments!
eyesee1 year ago
Thank you ray.
ray741 year ago
Great job :D
I love the look of the really old school radios.
SlickSqueegie (author)  ray741 year ago
Thank you ray.
bajablue1 year ago
I haven't seen a triple-play and this great project may just be it! So excited for you!!!!
SlickSqueegie (author)  bajablue1 year ago
Fingers crossed!
This site is great!
poofrabbit1 year ago
Congratulations on being a finalist in the DIY Audio Contest!! Good luck to you! I mean seriously look at you go! YAY!!!!
SlickSqueegie (author)  poofrabbit1 year ago
WOW! This instructable is a finalist in two contests?!!!
I cannot believe it! I use this thing every day at my kitchen table every morning with my coffee and ipad! Im so thankfull that this project has done so well in these contests!
And i so want that camera! Well, heres hoping!
Thanks again poof!
poofrabbit1 year ago
Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the hack it contest! Good luck to you!
SlickSqueegie (author)  poofrabbit1 year ago
Thanks poof. Its up against some nice ibles!
Great looking project! Well documented and photographed, and worthy of your win in the Cabot Woodcare Contest... Congrats!

I did something very similar, but took the easy way out with my Decopunk iPod rig - I bought a retro radio with a built in cassette adapter;-)

Now you just need to dress up the iPod... Might I suggest a Steampunk iPod stand or a Steampunk iPod case?;-)

Oh, and 5 stars!
SlickSqueegie (author)  Winged Fist1 year ago
Thank you very much! I like your stuff... many great ideas... I'm actually working on an amplified speaker box with a dock for the ipod or pad I have... I gutted a broken Ihome radio alarm clock and grabbed the dock connector from it... now I need to figure out what wires do what for the dock connector.....

bajablue1 year ago
CONGRATS, slick!!!!
SlickSqueegie (author)  bajablue1 year ago
I'm so GEEKED! :D Thanks
bajablue1 year ago
100% gorgeous work!!!!!
SlickSqueegie (author)  bajablue1 year ago
Thank you very much!

I just noticed I made finalist in the woodcare contest! Yay!
YAY, indeed!  ;-D

I really love this project and good luck to you!!!!!
Fible19901 year ago
It looks very nice, the only problem it's about getting the vintage radio :| where did you get one?
My friend wanted me to do this exact thing to a radio he had.

He found his at a swap meet in the middle of Hollywood. So I guess you can get them at flea markets. May need to replace the tubes and check the wiring if you get one.
Actually the tubes are usually the one thing thats alright in these old radios. The things to replace are the capacitors and resistors, then cleaning the pots and maybe replacing some bad wires.

The capacitors of the 30s were made of wax and cardboard, not so good after 70 years. This is why you'll get old radios that have insanely loud "humming" sounds coming from them.

The resistors usually go bad as well and their resistance goes through the roof. This is why you'll often see old radios for sale with the owner saying "it turns on, but the sound is very faint." You just have a bad resistor.

These old radios will work just fine if you replace about $5 worth of parts on them, and then spend a lot of time soldering them into place. They're cool pieces to have around and to show off.
SlickSqueegie (author)  hackmattr1 year ago
The tubes and wiring were gutted....
SlickSqueegie (author)  Fible19901 year ago
Thanks...
This radio was my wife's grandfathers. It no longer functioned. Normaly I would never remove the old finish from antique piece like this... Nor would I hack up the insides like I did here. But this piece is now an heirloom to her...

Look to flea markets and estate sales...
How did you get the glass dome so clean? Normally I see these yellowing and are hard to get back to a pristine look like you've done.
SlickSqueegie (author)  bricabracwizard1 year ago
I removed it from its case and soaked it in dish soap water and ammonia.. after a good soak wash it with a rag...
Maybe i got lucky with it being in good condition...
I love this. Two additions that could be really cool:
1) Pick up an iPod dock accessory and mount it flush with the top. This would solve your amplification problem and allow you to charge your iPod. Unfortunately, they run about $60, but that is still cheaper than an iHome.
2) Rip a clock mechanism from an old clock and make that tuner a timepiece!
SlickSqueegie (author)  kdickerson_az1 year ago
Well, the income clock radio has a charging dock built in, I didn't cut any wires, it all unplugged... And shouldn't I be able to use the amp out of the I home as well?
These are things I looked into prior to finishing this instructable, but I found myself just simply out of my element... I don't know how to go about using the items I already have. I also have another old clock radio ready to be taken apart and use those ties as well, but I just don't know where to begin....

Thanks for looking...
You can use this dock which will give you better amplification and it only costs a few dollars, I use this for my equipment with no problems. It gives you an audio out and a usb port to plug in to your computer if you need to. Put your phone in this (Even though it says its for an iPhone 4, I've used this for most of the apple products, iTouch, iPhone 3 etc).  ....you get the idea?
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