Introduction: Waterproof Speaker for Better Shower Singing
If you are like me--and I know you are--you LOVE to sing in the shower and you SUCK at it! There's nothing I can do about having a terrible singing voice, but the thing that really bugs me, and probably everyone else within range of my voice, is that I can never remember the words to the songs. I keep repeating about a line and a half from the chorus and then accidentally end up singing an entirely different song altogether.
I've occasionally brought a set of computer speakers into the bathroom with me and plugged my mp3 player into them. While this is nice, it's a pain in the behind and I'm always nervous about splashing them and shorting something out.
I decided what was needed was a waterproof enclosure for the speakers and the mp3 player. I actually built this project as a Christmas gift for my girlfriend, as she loves singing in the shower even more than I do and is actually good at it. I did my best to make this look nice and professional, rather than my usual cobbled together mess of wires and circuit boards.
Just a quick warning, I don't know how waterproof this really is. I suspect it'll be safe to splash it every now and then, but I wouldn't recommend actually using it IN the shower. Nearby should be good enough.
Here's a little youtube video I cooked up for this instructable. Some of the shots are pretty dark, but I think I've figured out how to avoid that in the future. On the plus side, It does have me singing in the shower!
***UPDATE 5/5/10: If you build your own set of waterproof speaks, post some pictures in the comments and I'll send you a patch!***
Step 1: Gather Materials
- 1 pair of 9 volt computer speakers (from your local thrift store)
- 1 waterproof container that opens easily (I used a pantry storage bin from Fred Meyers)
- 1 power button of some sort (mine was harvested from an old printer)
- 1 pair of disposable rubber gloves ***dustinbikes suggests using nitrile gloves, as they don't deteriorate from chemicals as badly, and are more resistant to ripping. I suspect this would be a good way to go!
- A small amount of light fabric
- 1 9 volt battery clip
- Silicone sealant
- Hot Glue
- Wire or plastic mesh
- Some plastic to use as a frame
- About 3" of 5/16 or 1/4" dowel
- Electrical tape
- Spray paint
- Glass/tile boring bits
- Soldering Iron
- Hot glue gun
- Dremil tool
- Hand saw
- Permanent marker
- Hobby knife
- Scissors (very sharp!)
Step 2: Prep the Speakers
No pictures of the process of disassembling the speakers, as I already had mine taken apart when I started. It's simply a matter of taking everything out of the speaker case without breaking anything. Save the volume knobs!
After that, replace the wall wart power adapter with a nine volt battery clip. Remember to check the polarity.
With the speakers I had, at this point I also moved an oversized capacitor from the top of the board to the bottom, and replaced the dim green LED with a nice bright blue one, which I arranged to point up where the power button would be. I used a semitransparent rubber button, so when it's on the button glows blue. It looks quite nice!
Step 3: Cut Out the Speaker Holes
Figure out where you want the speakers positioned, then tack them in place with hot glue. With a permanent marker, trace out the spots where the speakers will go.
Next, use a hobby knife to score a line where you will be cutting--I find this helps to guide the dremel. Using whatever bit you like, cut out the holes with your dremel. I used one of the green rock looking bits. I'm sure it's not designed for doing this to plastics, but hey, it worked!
Clean up the holes so you don't have a bunch of frayed plastic hanging out, and you're done with this step.
Step 4: Seal the Holes and Install the Speakers
You'll want some sort of waterproof membrane over these holes, so nothing drips inside. I used a disposable rubber glove, as it was both thin and waterproof. Using a very sharp pair of scissors, cut part of the glove in the shape of the two holes and epoxy it from the inside. I would have used hot glue, but I was concerned about melting the rubber. After the epoxy hardens, seal up the edges with some black silicone sealant.
The last picture below is me testing to make sure it was actually sealed.
Step 5: Drill the Control Holes
Position the circuit board where you'd like it to be and mark off where you'll have to make holes for the control knobs and power button. Use your glass and tile boring bits for this, and make sure everything will fit nicely. For my project, I had to make sure the knob holes were just big enough that the knobs would turn freely, and for the switch I had to make sure a hot glue stick would fit through smoothly--more on that later.
Step 6: Seal the Control Knob Holes
Your version of this may be different, but for mine I knew the power button could be sealed from the outside, but the "Volume" and "Tone" knobs would need to be sealed somehow, but still turn. I didn't feel up to rigging some sort of o-ring or gasket system, so I took the easy way out, which may or may not actually hold up in the long run.
I cut the tips off of two fingers of the rubber gloves and sealed them over holes from the inside. Once the circuit board is installed, the plastic knobs will fit over the potentiometer knobs with the rubber still in between them. I left enough rubber so that it would be loose and still turn. See the pictures below if that was confusing!
If anyone out there has a better idea of how to accomplish this, let me know. This was the best I could come up with, with just a couple of days left before Christmas.
Step 7: Install the Circuit Board
As discussed in the last step, the "Volume" and "Tone" knobs connect to the circuit board from the outside. With the rubber gloves in place, this is actually a very tight fit. Once installed, the circuit board pretty much stays in place.
With my trusty E-6000 epoxy in hand, I glued one side of the board to the wall of the container, and also cut out a couple of dowel struts to support the other side of the board (see pics below). Your own project may not be quite the same, but I recommend securing the circuit board firmly in place.
The power switch on the circuit board is the push in click in, push in click out type. The semitransparent rubber button I harvested from an old printer was hollow, and it fit a mini sized glue stick perfectly. I cut the gluestick to just the right length to operate the board switch and epoxied the button onto the outside, further sealing it with some silicone.
At this point I also taped off the outside of the power button in preparation for the next step.
Step 8: Paint!
Close everything up and grab the spraypaint! I used a nice gloss black, two coats on each side. I tried to use a clear enamel as well, but found out the hard way that the two brands of paint didn't mesh well. The enamel dissolved some of the black!
Step 9: Make a Speaker Grill
I thought the rubber gloved and epoxied holes looked kind of crappy, so I built a little speaker grill. It was very basic, just a plastic frame cut to size and then some window bug mesh stretched over it. I tacked everything in place with hot glue and then epoxied it to the speaker itself, finishing off with a couple more coats of black paint.
Step 10: Control Labels
The original goal here was to print up some labels, glue them on, and then hit the whole shebang with some clear enamel spray. As I mentioned a couple of steps ago, the enamel happened to dissolve some the black paint! This made my labels shift, and also absorb some of the black, so after it dried I got some silver paint and redid the labels by hand. I think this actually looks a bit nicer than the original idea.
Step 11: Finishing Touches
Just a couple of things left to do here. My 9v clip was in a case, so I epoxied magnets to it, and epoxied more magnets to the inside of the speaker case, so as to hold it in place.
The final thing to do is to cram a little light fabric up into the speaker case. That will keep all cords out of the way.
You're done! Now go and give the gift of music . . . in the shower!
Step 12: Final Thoughts
Well this was a fun project and, I think, a nice gift! It didn't turn out as professional (read: commercial) looking as I had hoped, but it still looks pretty good, and most importantly, my girlfriend said she liked it.
Please take a moment to comment, leave me a rating, and/or subscribe! Any and all feedback, positive, negative, or meh is greatly appreciated. Let me know what you thought of the writing, my methods, the pictures, the video, my singing voice, anything!
Thanks very much for reading, and if you make your own, post some pictures in the comments. If you do, I'll send you a DIY patch!