Introduction: Honeycomb HiFi Speakers With Stone Effect Cabinets
Yes, I know, another speaker build!
I thought I would get on the resin hype for this one and do something outside of what I am used to with these types of builds!
The inspiration for this has come from a recent fascination with honeycomb structures. Combining this with wanting to use resin, I decided on a resin inlay design.
I've also had a recent obsession with stone effect spray paint, I have done a number of projects using this fantastic, textured paint. I love the way it makes a boring cabinet bring a little bit of class to a speaker build.
If you liked this build, please check out my Instagram where I have other projects you may like :)
These speakers are for sale at the moment, but I am also taking custom speaker commisions if you are after something special!
Step 1: Materials
One of the good things about speaker building is that the materials are very available. Most builds will typically feature a cabinet made from plywood or mdf and a front baffle made from hardwood.
For this build I'm using white oak for the baffle and MDF for the cabinet.
For this particular build, however, I wanted to get on the epoxy hype and see what I could come up with when combining it with a speaker build. So I got some casting resin and I ended up using blue chalk, ground up, to add colour to the resin. I got this make shift resin pigment idea from Peter Browns video on the topic:
Step 2: Machining the Inlay
For the inlay, I put together a Fusion 360 model and generated some toolpaths for my Shapeoko 3. Once the work-piece is on the machine, it's just a matter of letting the CNC do it's thing.
A minor amount of cleanup is required with a sharp endmill, just a light edgebreak is required with some 240 grit sandpaper. The cutout for the driver will be machined after the epoxy has been poured (and cured).
Step 3: Epoxy Inlay
I mixed up a batch of epoxy based on some volume calculations from the Fusion 360 model. Adding the chalk dust produced a nice marine blue colour which really went well with the oak.
Step 4: Scraping and Sanding
The resin contracted a bit on curing and so a lot of hand work was required to plane and scrape the surface down to flat.
I then used the orbital sander to take them up to 240 grit, a final sanding up to 400 grit will be done after everything is machined.
Step 5: Machining Speaker Cut Out
After the epoxy was cured, I put the baffles back on the CNC and re centered them for the driver cutouts.
Step 6: Routing Chamfers
My router table is undergoing and upgrade and so I was unable to use it for this project. I improvised and just screwed the old router plate to my workbench which worked surprisingly well!
I cut a roughly 10mm chamfer on the front edges of each baffle along with the front of the driver cut out.
Step 7: Driver Installation
Normally I would use screws to hold the driver in place but for some of these simple builds I like to use CA and activator the hold the driver in place and then seal around the edges with hot glue. Not the best fixation but I have found that it works quite well.
Step 8: Making the Cabinet
I cut the cabinet panels to a rough size and then used the CNC to make the more accurate cuts. The CNC also added in the rabbet for the back panel of the speaker.
To assemble the cabinets, I used wood glue as it works best with MDF and used CA and activator to essentiall clamps the joints while the wood glue dried. I find this a very quick and efficient way of assembling MDF structures.
Step 9: Stone Effect Cabinet Finish
Recently I have become a bit obsessed with stone textured spray paint, I think it adds such a nice effect to an otherwise fairly plain part of the speaker. Not only this, but it also hides any imperfections which is definitely a bonus!
I first painted the cabinets with a couple of coats of white primer to seal up the MDF endgrain and hide most of the larger imperfections in the cabinets. I then used two coats of the pebble effect paint from rustoleum to give the final look to the cabinets.
Step 10: Rear Panel
For the rear panel I used some leftover laminate flooring as it has a high density with a nice aesthetic oak effect (with grey stain) coating. I used a small block plane to cut a chamfer on the back edges of the back panel to help it be pressed into the rabbet in the back of the cabinet.
Step 11: Glue Up and Binding Posts
The front baffle was then glued onto the front of the cabinet and I installed the binding post tray to the back panel.
The back panel was then pressed into place with a bit of glue and sealed with some decorators caulk. this means that it is easily removable if any maintenance or upgrades are required.
Step 12: Finishing Touches
Unfortunately I didn't have any speaker spikes left in my collection, nor did I have the M6 bolts I used to make my own in my Nautilus build!
For now, these thick felt self-adhesive feet will do. They offer some isolation from the surface the speakers are on but are not as good as proper spikes, so this is an upgrade on the to do list.
Step 13: Conclusion
I really like how these speakers turned out, they look quite different from anything I have ever made or seen. There were a few issues along the way, mainly with the chalk dust not being fine enough and so some of the honeycomb segments were a bit patchy with some cloudy bits as well. In future I will either stick to proper pigments or do a better job on grinding the chalk!
The stone effect paint is still one of my favorite parts and it will definitely feature in future projects, especially considering that there are several different types available!