Introduction: Building an Easy Steampunked MP3 Player

In a Steampunk group on FB the question came up if it is difficult to build"some Steampunk that is functioning".

And not so expensive, because a lot of Steampunk gadgets are using expensive materials.

OK, Lady's and Gents lets go in that corner over there. The corner where all these "never used materials" are dusting up.

Lets have a look at all these stuff:

  • 2 cardboard tubes
  • Some pieces of plywood
  • An old 10mm brass nut and a washer
  • Some brass distance holders
  • Some plastic distance holders
  • 2 push buttons or momentary switches
  • 1 on / off switch
  • Some brass screws
  • Some brass knurled screws
  • Paint (green Hammerite)
  • Wax stain (cherry)
  • Some wires
  • A small loudspeaker from a laptop or old radio
  • A MP3 Player module >> KLICK (this one has a 3W mono amplifier on board)
  • A batteries case 3 x AA

But the tools! If you build Steampunk, you always have to use expensive tools.

Lets have a look into your toolbox:

  • A rechargeable drill
  • A hole saw
  • Some Forstner bits
  • Some screwdrivers
  • Soldering iron
  • Some brushes
  • Some pieces of sandpaper

Excellent, lets start :-)

This tutorial is an example you can vary it as you like :-)

Step 1: Preparing the Wooden Parts for the Speaker and the Player

First lets produce some round pieces of plywood we need.

Cut 4 pieces with 100mm diameter approx 1.6mm thick. Two for the speaker and two for the MP 3 player.

Cut 2 pieces with 100mm diameter approx 3mm thick. This will be the top and bottom cover for the MP3 player.

Carve in the thicker 4 pieces slots so the cardboard tube will fit. If you are not able to do this it is also possible to glue the tubes directly to wood.

In two of the thicker pieces cut a 80mm hole so you will get two rings. This is important, because we need access to the MP3 player and the batteries case.

In both the top and the bottom covers drill 3mm holes around the edge as shown in the pictures. I drilled 8 holes in the top and 4 holes in the bottom cover.

Widen the middle hole in the top cover so that the USB Slot is accessible. You can cover this with a washer, if you like.

See the pictures for details.

Step 2: Building the Speakers Case

We are using 2of the thicker plywood pieces in this step.

Drill the hole for the speaker. A bit smaller than the speakers diameter.

Use the Forstner bit to carve a place for the cone

Drill for holes for the distance holders in the top an bottom cover.

Check if everything fits in place

Then use sand paper to smooth everything.

Step 3: Staining Glueing and Painting

Stain the wooden parts of the speaker with wax stain (I used the color cherry)

Than glue the speaker and the cone in place.

While the stain and the glue are drying paint the cardboard tube.

Before you use the Hammerite (green) paint you have to pre paint the cardboard with a nitro based pre paint.

After it dried sand it with sandpaper (600)

Drill two 3mm holes for the brass screws to build the terminal for the interconnection. (see picture above)

Paint it with Hammerite.

Let everything dry.

Step 4: Mounting the Speaker

Just follow the pictures to see how the speaker is mounted together.

Make a test before you glue everything together.

Congratulation the first part is ready.

Lets build the MP3 player...

Step 5: Building the MP3 Player

The first steps are the same as building the speaker.

The only difference is that we have the top and the bottom cover split in two parts each,

the ring and the cover. This is why we need access to the batteries case and the MP3 player.

The holes for the interconnection with the speaker are drilled trough the upper ring. (see picture above)

First do the sanding waxing, pre painting and painting with Hammerite.

As you can see I painted the top cover and the bottom cover in green as the cardboard tube.

Let everything dry (one night and one day would be perfect).

After everything has dried lets do the cabling:

Batteries case black/red >> switch / switch black/red >> MP3 module (soldering pads are marked)

Push button1 or momentary button1, two wires >> prev/--

Push button2 or momentary button2, two wires >> next/++

You can solder the cables for next/++ and prev/-- directly to the pads on the module.

Speaker output, two wires >> brass screws with knurled nuts (see pictures)

The MP3 module can be mounted using a small piece of wood to be glued underneath the top cover so he USB slot will be assessable trough the middle hole.

Step 6: How to Operate

The operation is easy.

  • Format the USB memory to FAT or FAT32
  • Place music files onto the root of the USB memory.
  • The module supports MP3 format
  • USB memory up to 32G
  • TF Card up to16G
  • Insert the USB memory
  • Power on


  • prev/v-- >> short > prev. track / long > decrease volume
  • next/v++ >> short > next track / long > increase volume
  • P/P/Mode >> short > Play / Pause / long > USB / SD
  • Repeat >> short > repeats the current track in a loop


If you set the volume to a specific value and you press one of the prev/v-- or next/v++ buttons (short), the current volume level will be stored.

The power range is 3.7-5.5V, some USB memories are able to run with 4.5V please test it.

Have fun everybody!