Introduction: PVC Speaker From Scratch!

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Follow in Alexander Graham Bell's earsteps, and you can make this comically unergonomic speaker in your very own home. What is prevalent in most of our everyday lives from music to communication, speakers are an amazing invention whose fundamentals every person can re-create! This project is an acutely acoustical cutey for a cost you can afford. It's great with kids, and adults too. Have fun.

  • What: DIY PVC Speaker
  • Concepts: speakers, sound, electro-magnetism, acoustics, air
  • Cost: ~ $1 (can be cheaper too)
  • Time: ~ 15 minutes
  • Materials:
    • 3/4" PVC tube (about a foot or so)
    • 2 Magnets (that fit in tube)
    • Wax Paper
    • Rubber band
    • Mono Audio Jack
    • Magnet Wire
    • Strong Tape
    • Funnel (optional)
    • Stick-On Velcro (optional)
  • Tools:
    • Pipe Cutter
    • Scissors
    • Hot Glue gun / hot glue
    • Soldering Iron / solder (optional)

Let's speak!

Step 1: Your Tube

Prep that tube! Cut your tube in two, a bit to one side. Pull wax paper over one end, and rubber band to keep tight. Place the two cut pieces back together, and tape them up strongly. Now you have a wax paper membrane partway down your re-united tube.

Step 2: Add Magnets

Slide your two magnets carefully in, one in to both ends of the tube, so they stick together on both sides of the membrane. This is an easy trick to attach them to it.

I used cheap ceramic disc magnets, but you can up it up with neodymiums!

Step 3: Wire Coiling

The key to every electromagnetic project is making lots and lots of wire coils. Take your wire, and start wrapping it around your tube so that the center of your wire bunch is directly over your magnets. For our example, we made about 100 loops around the PVC. You can tape it in place or use a little wire to hold the bunch together.

Make sure to leave both room at both ends to connect to your audio input. We left about 12 inches on each end.

Step 4: Connect to Audio Jack

Sand a couple of inches on each end of wire so the protective coating comes off. Wrap each end around the two terminals of a mono audio jack, and if you feel like it solder it all together.

You can add electrical tape, heat shrink, or whatever finishing you'd like.

Step 5: Extras: Funnel and Velcro

If you want to jazz yours up a bit, glue in a funnel to make an easy listening experience. I also added sticky Velcro so I could hold it with one hand.

Step 6: Listen to Your JAMZ!!

You're ready to party! To Dance! To Boogie!

To....why is it so quiet with my phone? Well depending on your audio input device, all the power for your electromagnetic speaker is coming from the power from the device itself. If you connect this to something more powerful (like an amp), you'll find it comes through plenty loud. If you want to add power to the circuit itself, you can see how they did in this Instructable.

The purpose of this toy is to get the fundamentals of speakers down, which you did! You have a membrane, a resonating chamber, a permanent magnet and an oscillating electromagnetic force driven by your audio input, which is altogether pretty snazzy!

Experiment with other magnets, power sources, resonating chambers, and see what you can find to turn up the beats. To learn more about speakers, I like this resource to get started.

Have a great one! Sounding off!