Introduction: DIY Wooden Bluetooth Speaker
There are thousands of versions of this project on the internet already. Why am I making one? Because I want to :) I have my own vision of a perfect Bluetooth speaker (perfect for me) and I would like to show you my design and build process! Also, Bluetooth speaker is great as the first project for anyone that is just starting with making. It's relatively simple to build, has a little bit of everything (3D printing, woodworking, CNC, electronics) and is useful so not only fun to build but also fun to use in the workshop to build new projects!
Follow me to don't miss my new projects:
Step 1: Watch the Video!
Step 2: Parts
As always let's start with parts that we will need to build a simple Bluetooth speaker. There are a lot of different versions of Bluetooth board, speakers, batteries and so on. I decided to choose optimal components when it comes to price and size. Sure quality of those isn't the best and we are not going to beat Bose or JBL here, but that's not the point.
When it comes to the case it's up to you how you will build it. I wanted to use my Dremel CNC for this project and mill it out of pallet plank. Additionally, I made a felt cover for the speakers with a laser.
I know what some people will say "you use all of those fancy tools, that's not DIY!" As I said a good thing about such speakers is that you can make them however you want! You can use the same electronics and build the case with drill and handsaw only, you can use a 3D printer, CNC machine, laser cutter. MDF, palette wood, acrylic, 3D printing materials even metal will be fine for such projects. Let your creativity decide how to make the best Bluetooth speaker for you!
Step 3: Case
There are millions of ways to build the case as I said. I will show you only one because "I did it my way..." :)
That was the main part to be "designed". I wanted to make it look good (at least for me). Minimalistic simple design, a combination of wood and felt was great for that. I wanted to use materials that I have - palette wood that otherwise would be thrown out so this project is also eco friendly :)
To machine the wood I will, of course, use my Dremel CNC
I started by designing the case on the paper just to experiment with different shapes and ideas. At this point, I don't think about dimensions at all, that way it is easier to focus only on the design. Once I found a proper shape and decided on the materials that I want to use I opened Fusion 360 and started designing. At this point, you have to think about dimensions, space for electronics and speakers but no worries, it's still easy to change things before we start machining (in Fusion 360 on the bottom you have a timeline, if you don't know how this works you should play with it a little bit because that's a super powerful tool to easily modify your project).
I end up with a case that consists of parts milled on my CNC machine and 2 parts cut on a laser cutter. CNC machined parts are divided into 3 pieces that I machined out of palette wood and then glued together. To machine those I used 4 flute 1/8 inch milling bit. With a laser, I cut a piece of plywood with two holes for speakers and felt cover that's the exact same size as plywood piece but without holes for speakers. Together machining took about 2 hours.
After milling it's always a good idea to sand those pieces down a little bit, work on the edges and some tool marks. After that, I glued all 3 pieces together. And then there was a problem because I really like the look of natural wood and I wanted to keep it as it was but there were a lot of imperfections and small holes in the wood (mostly because of nails). After thinking a lot on what to do I decided to fill those holes with filler and by using proper paint I wanted to age the case (is that what you say if you want to make wood look older? :)) I wasn't sure if this will work out as planned but it did! I even liked the final look a lot :D
Just remember that we still have to put in placeable the electronics so don't close your case completely at this point, we will do that later.
Step 4: Electronics
Fortunately when it comes to simple Bluetooth speakers projects electronics is super simple, you can use of the shelf components and you don't have to worry about designing special PCBs or creating your own schematic.
The first thing that we need is a Bluetooth receiver board with a build-in amplifier so that can connect speakers to it and then via Bluetooth play some music. You can also use the Bluetooth board without an amplifier and connect external one and then connect speakers to this amplifier. For sure you can get better sound by using some high-quality amplifiers but as I said that's not the point of this project. The important thing right here is that your amplifier must have enough power to handle speakers that you want to use.
When it comes to the speakers you have plenty of them. I am not an expert so I am not going to tell you how to choose the best speakers. I decided to choose an inexpensive option just in case something went wrong with my project :) Maybe if I will ever try to build another Bluetooth speaker I will try to find better parts and achieve great quality, it wasn't the goal of this one. It doesn't have to be perfect to be important for you, remember that.
We also need some cable to connect speakers to the amplifier board. Cables with a connector that are supplied with Bluetooth board are quite short and you will most likely need to solder the additional cable to connect that easily. Plus and minus are labeled on the speakers so make sure to solder them as labeled (Plus is red and minus is black). It shouldn't matter for the speakers, but because it's labeled like that let's keep it that way.
The last thing is the battery. We want this speaker to be portable so we need a battery. In my case for the Bluetooth board that I used single-cell 18650 battery is enough. The nominal voltage of such a battery is 3.7V and maximal 4.2. The speaker should last about 4 hours on a single battery and we can recharge it through a USB port. Don't solder the cables straight to the battery because that's dangerous! Use a battery basket to properly connect a battery to the Bluetooth amplifier board. Add a switch on one of the cables between basket and Bluetooth board so that you can turn on and off the speaker. And put the batter in place.
Step 5: Assembly
Maybe you already started doing that and assembled electronics together with the case in the last step but if not that's a good moment to do that. To mount the Bluetooth amplifier board inside the case I used a double-sided tape (I know that's not really professional but works fine) and a screw. Battery basket and speakers are fixed with screws. Pieces of the case are glued together, front plywood panel for speakers is fixed with small screws and on top of that, I glued a felt cover.
Step 6: Felt Front
Let's talk a little bit more about this felt cover. I really wanted to use a laser cutter for this project and because I was playing with felt recently that was kind of an obvious choice for me. I really like this material, I don't know why but it is somehow very raw and soft at the same time. This small "modern" touch to the project works very well with the aged look of the wood. Also, keep in mind that you can make this cover out of anything you want. Soft materials like felt work great because sound can go through it, materials like wood or acrylic are not the best choice. You can even skip the cover and just leave speakers as they are, some people prefer it that way. It's your speaker so do what you want!
Step 7: Battery and Charging
The Bluetooth amplifier board has build-in low and high voltage protection for batteries so you can simply charge the battery through it's USB port with a normal smartphone charger. One downside is that because of how I connected the battery through the switch you need to turn on the speaker.
Step 8: Conclusion
In the end you not only have a cool Bluetooth speaker but also a new project that you build and new experience that you can use in your next projects! Every day spent in the workshop can be more fun now :) Working with Max Richter or the Lumineers int he background is always better :)
Thanks for reading and happy making!!!
P.S. Check out my new CNC project: https://indystry.cc/indymill/