The Boombarrow: a Loud, Portable, Inexpensive Sound System

Introduction: The Boombarrow: a Loud, Portable, Inexpensive Sound System

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Need an extremely loud, portable and inexpensive sound system? Look no further!

The boombarrow is a wheelbarrow-like portable speaker system that uses floor-standing speakers (I found mine at a yard sale for about $10), an amp (I used an '80s amp with a radio tuner and record inputs), and a homemade single-wheeled device to wheel the system around.

Step 1: Materials

Like a wheelbarrow, the Boombarrow consists of only a few critical elements that can each be tailored to your needs:

  • The handle, used to cart the 'barrow around and stabilize the barrow on a slope.
  • The mounting structure, used to hold the speakers and the amplifier between the wheel and the handle.
  • The wheel, used to transport the 'barrow.
  • The sound system, usually consisting of speakers, an amplifier, and potentially a receiver and battery.

When you are designing the barrow, consider the geometry of the sound system you'd like to integrate as that will effect the dimensions of the mounting structure. Also consider the terrain on which you'd like to use the 'barrow, as that will effect the wheel choice and handle support system.

Here's the material list for my boombox, with the prices I spent for the materials (these can vary enormously depending on the source):

  • $10 - 2 ratchet straps of sufficient length to secure the sound system to the mounting structure as shown
  • $5 - A hardwood board of sufficient strength to support the chosen sound system (this is your mounting structure). These can often be found for free from previous projects.
  • $10-$20 - A sound system. In my case, this consisted of some old and loud speakers I found at a yard-sale for about $10, and an old amp/receiver that was lying around in my attic
  • $4-$8 - A hinge, for mounting the handle onto the main board mounting structure
  • $5 - Hinge mounting hardware and blocks used to support the handle at the desired carrying angle
  • $5 - Handle wood - I made the handle from a single cross bar and two cut pieces of hardwood rounded handles that were attached to the cross-piece with some 3/8" lag bolts
  • $0-$10 - Bicycle wheel and fork. I got a used Walmart bike from the dumpster for free.
  • $5 - Bike fork mounting hardware (I used 3 hose clamps)

I spent around $40 for the 'barrow, but it could easily run closer to $60.

Step 2: Tools

I used the following tools to build my 'barrow. Many substitutions would work, and I've listed a couple.

  • Circular saw - for cutting the mounting board and handlebars to length and making the wheel notch in the mounting board - could use a handsaw or a jigsaw or bandsaw.
  • Philips screwdriver - used for mounting the bike fork and mounting the hinge
  • Wrench or socket - to tighten the lag bolts used to build the handlebar
  • Drill with a 3/8" drill bit - for making the holes to pass through the hose clamps

Step 3: Mount the Wheel

  • Use a hacksaw to cut the fork off the bike you are planning to use - or you can disassemble it by removing the handlebars and sliding out the fork
  • Cut the mounting board to the appropriate length for your sound system
  • Cut a notch in the end of the board to fit the wheel
  • Secure the wheel to the mounting board. I did this using 3 hose clamps, two around each side of the fork as close to the axel as possible, and one far up on the fork. You can drill the mounting board and pass the hoseclamp through

Step 4: Build and Mount the Handlebar

  • Construct the handlebar however you like - make sure that the two handles are positioned at an appropriate distance for your carrying style
  • Mount the door hinge onto the mounting board. I mounted it to the bottom side so that the handlebar will bind on the stop blocks when it is brought into the carrying position so that the handles are held at the appropriate height.
  • Fix the handle onto the other side of the door hinge as shown. I used long bolts and mounted the stop blocks at the same time so that the same hardware both connected the stop blocks and the door hinge.
  • Add stop blocks which will determine what angle the handle will bind at in carrying position. - Make sure that the position will fit your height.

Step 5: Attach the Sound System

Position the speakers as needed relative to the mounting board and use the ratchet straps to sandwich everything together.

Step 6: Listen to Grooves on the Hillside

Now you've built your 'barrow, and the only thing left is to listen to that booming bass while gardening, playing B-ball or raging at a block party. Let me know how your boombarrows came out in the comments!

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    5 years ago

    Lol, that would be fun to roll into a party :)


    Reply 5 years ago

    I built it for the farm I worked for. We would use it to blast the hillside while we planted chard, weeded, or popped some fresh peas. We would also use it for outdoor movies, when we'd point a projector at a taught bed-sheet. One time 70 people showed up for our 'walk in' farm movies and the speakers were plenty loud!