Introduction: DIY Speakers/Boombox

About: I've been on Instructables for about 2-3 years now but just recently posted my first one! Check it out!

Hello Instructable World! This is my very first project for me to make a tutorial on. In the past, I've just been an avid Instructable stalker (viewing projects all the time without commenting or anything...), but now I've gotten around to posting one! My boombox's aesthetics and structure were inspired by this Instructable by philxter and the actual electronics were based off several other speaker projects. I apologize ahead of time for the lack of pictures in some steps because, like most of you know, it's hard to remember to take pictures when you get caught up in a project. By the way, I'm entering this into the Remix, DIY University, and Tech Contests, so if y'all like my Instructable vote for me! and if you don't like it, then still vote!:D

So basically the reason why I decided to make a boom box is because 1.) The speakers in my laptop were going out, pretty quiet, and the quality was simply bad. 2.) I was looking for a project that dealt with electronics, but also required some woodworking. 3.) A couple years ago I had the huge realization some time after discovering this site that I can make whatever I want. I don't have to pay someone/company for something I, eh, kind of want. I can make exactly what I want and be proud of my accomplishment. 4.) I was also bored last summer :)

Step 1: Gather Materials

For the electronics...

  1. Speakers (I got these for a pretty good deal)
  2. An amp
  3. Auxiliary cord
  4. Extension cord

For the box...

  1. 1"x1" wood
  2. 1/2" plywood
  3. Wood glue
  4. Wood filler
  5. Plenty of wood screws
  6. Artificial leather
  7. Spray
  8. 1mm cotton string
  9. Corner protectors
  10. Rubber feet
  11. Handle

And for tools you'll most likely need...

  1. Hand drill
  2. Table saw
  3. Belt sander
  4. Leather needle
  5. Leather hole punch (I didn't use one... worst decision ever...)
  6. Jigsaw
  7. Counter sink bit
  8. Staple gun
  9. Exacto-knife

Step 2: Cutting the Wood and Building the Box

Unfortunately I don't have too many pictures of this step, but it should be relatively straight forward, especially if you've had woodworking experience in the past. Basically what you want to do is calculate the dimensions of the plywood based on the size boom box you want. Once you get the sides cut, cut the frame 1"x1" wood to size. Then, screw and glue the plywood first to the frame pieces then add on other pieces of plywood to the frame. (Don't screw directly from plywood to plywood or you'll risk it splitting). It's also good to use a counter sink and wood filler to make the screw heads flush and smooth. Attach all sides but the back until later. To finish up the structure, attach pieces of the 1"x1" wood in order to mount the amp.

Now cut the holes for your speakers and amp using the jigsaw. You might need to go back over your work and sand down any edges for a better fit.

I originally wanted the outside of my box to be just like the one I remixed, but I couldn't find any corner protectors or edges so I had to improvise. I decided to, instead of stapling the edges and covering with edging, to hand sew them together for a unique look and use rounded corners. Although the end product I think looks really cool, it was extremely tedious. I recommend using the original technique rather than mine unless you really like my look.

Because I could only find rounded corners, I had to use a belt sander to round all the edges to fit them (again, very tedious).

In addition, I used caulk at this point in the build because I figured it would help with sound quality (I later found out that with the type of speakers I got it didn't make a difference), so only caulk if you need to.

Finally, make a notches in the top left and bottom right corners to run the cords through later.

Step 3: Upholstery/ Electronics

As you upholster your box, you will have to put in the electronics and attach the back piece before finishing up the sewing.

Begin by cutting the leather to fit the size of your box. *Be sure to take extreme care while doing this because if you mess up you'll have to completely start over with the leather after sewing because it won't fit... this happened to me and as you can believe, was very disheartening.* You want to cut it slightly shorter than your wood dimensions so it will be a snug fit, but not too much so that it can't stretch enough. About 1/8 on each side should be good depending on the type of fake leather you got.

The most time consuming and tedious part of my project was sewing the leather together, especially because I struggled pulling my needle through without using a leather punch which I highly suggest. So first mark off where you want all your holes (I did 1/2in from the edge and apart from each other). Then use a baseball stitch by using two lengths of string overlapping and tying off the ends. Attach all the sides together, but leave the back like a flap.

Then place the leather over the box and cut a long "x" over the amp hole using an exacto knife, fold back the sides tightly and staple them down. It was hard to fit a staple gun in the tight area so I also used small tacks. Next, screw the amp to the mounts you added earlier.

You can then peel off the leather except where you stapled it and spray adhesive on it then quickly put it back on for a snug fit.

Using you fingers to feel where the holes for the speakers are, staple the leather down to the frame. Then cut the circles out. Staples are fine to use as long as the edges of the speakers cover them like mine did.

My amp came with a bulky wall plug that would have just been a hassle so I attached an extension cord to it and hot glued them inside the box so that only the extension cord comes out.

At this point plug in the aux cord to the back of the amp and you may need to widen the notches you made earlier for the plugs for a better fit and check to make sure the back plywood piece fits with the notches.

Using whatever hardware came with your speakers, mount them in the circles and attach them accordingly to your amp.

If you haven't already, be sure to test all of the electronics before screwing on the back plywood piece.

After attaching and sanding the back, finish sewing the leather and simply go around the plugs.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

So as of right now you have a completely functional boom box. Now all that needs to be done are the final touches.

Screw in the top four corners and handle. Then, screw the bottom four with the feet using the same screw (shown in the first picture).

Now perhaps is the most important step: Plug the extension cord into the wall, plug in your phone/computer, switch the amp on, and finally jam out while letting the world hear all your favorite tunes :D

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DIY University Contest

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