OK, so as a lover of the 80's boom box I was inspired to make my own boom box for the beach, the pool, a picnic, barbeque, or whatever occasion required music. I actually already have one but I ended up putting 2 speakers in EACH sealed cabinet which made the sound kind of muddy sounding. Plus I really loved the bigger boom boxes that utilized multiple speakers in their design which were indeed dominant in the 80's : Pioneer, Sony, TEAC, Toshiba, Aiwa, Lasonic...the list goes on and on.
Said boom box would need to be portable and of course loud. It also needed to be Bluetooth capable and able to charge your music device whenever its charge gets low. I wanted a long playback time which means that whatever pushed the music had to be extremely efficient. Of course it would definitely need to be powered by a 12v S.L.A. battery. Last but not least I planned on buying nothing and using only what I had on hand. So anyway let's begin.
TOOLS and MATERIALS NEEDED :
No "specialty" or "exotic" tools were used nor needed. My list was pretty basic.
1. saw ( electric or hand)
2. jig saw
3. straight edge (ruler, 4 ft. level or straight 2" X 4")
5. crimpers/wire cutter
6. screwdrivers (flat and phillips)
7. sander or sanding block
8. drill bits
9. volt meter( for checking polarity because both SURE devices are VERY temperamental when it comes to improper polarity, trust me!)
10. hot glue gun
1. ⅜" plywood
2. pieces of aluminum (for face plate and access hatch; not a necessity).
3. toggle switch, lighted(does not need to be lighted but that's what I had.)
4. wood filler
5. caulking (for sealing speaker cabinets)
6. assorted wood screws
7. a handle of some sort (I cut the top off the back rest of a cheap wooden chair.)
8. 12v car cigarette lighter phone charger
9. 12v S.L.A. battery ( remember the bigger the battery the longer it plays BUT the bigger the battery the heavier your boom box will be.)
10. wiring (assorted gauges as needed)
11. crimp fittings (assorted)
12. rubber feet
13. sandpaper (I used 450 and 150 grit)
14. paint (spray or brush on)
15. SURE Electronics 12v-36v 4x100 watt class d amp
16. SURE Electronics 9v-15v Bluetooth unit
Step 1: Layout and Cutting of Plywood.
Since I wanted my boom box to be on the larger side I designed mine to be 41" l X 9" w X 9" h. So I ended up laying out 2 pieces each 41" l X 9" w, 2 pieces each 41" l X 8⅛"w, and 4 pieces each 8⅛" X 8⅛" square. Layout then check and double-check your measurements before cutting. Once you are satisfied with your measurements cut them out.
Step 2: Sand Edges After Cutting.
No picture for this but after cutting lightly sand all the edges. This will make it easier to put the box together.
Step 3: Put the Box Together.
After sanding pieces mark where your screws will go then pre-drill your screw holes. Before assembly apply wood glue to all edges as you go. Screw box together all the while wiping away excess glue. Make sure all screws are counter sunk. Once your box is assembled we follow it up with adding wood filler to all screw holes, gouges, and deep scratches.
I almost forgot to add that at this point you can add the carrying handle to the top as you can see in a couple of pictures.
After that step is sanding.
Step 4: Sanding, Sanding, Sanding !!!!
Alright once you put your box together, and once you cut out an access hatch on the back, and once you cut a small square out of the front where the power button and the phone charger will go we are ready to sand.
You can either use a palm sander or a sanding block to smooth your box out for painting. This step is a boring but essential one even if it is the most boring. So sand, sand ,sand !
Step 5: Cut Out Door and Front Face.
Unfortunately I do not have any pics of this part because I already had the front and back aluminum pieces from another boom box. However ,this step is simple and straight forward.
(If you have no aluminum sheets that's okay because you can use plywood for the access hatch on the back and forego the front face plate.)
Take an exact measurement of the back door and transfer those measurements to an aluminum sheet. Then either cut it out with a jig saw or score it out with a sharp point. Once your shape is cut sand it all smooth paying particular attention to the edges. Then cut out holes where the power switch and the charger will go. Also cut out vent holes on the access hatch.
Step 6: Painting the Boom Box.
Okay this part gave me fits as I had no idea what color to paint my boom box. I decided on a camouflage pattern and decided on gray, white, and black as my colors. The only thing I didn't want was your standard leaves/grass/tree limb scheme.
One morning I had an excellent idea for the pattern : guitars ! But not just any guitars, I printed out the outlines of iconic artists who helped shape the rock n roll/metal scene. Artists like Rick Nielson's (Cheap Trick) 5-neck guitar, Jimmy Page's (Led Zepp) double neck guitar, Dimebag Darrell's (Pantera) Dean from Hell, Eddie Van Halen's (Van Halen) Frankenstein guitar, Randy Rhoades' (Ozzy Ozbourne) Flying V, Jimi Hendrix's Stratocaster, Angus Young's(AC/DC) Gibson, Ace Frehley's(KISS) Less Paul guitar, and Stevie Ray Vaughn's Number One. So as stated above I printed pictures of the guitars, cut them out, then set them aside.
I spray painted the entire box a light gray, then after it dried I spot painted the guitars all over the box using a darker gray. After they dried I repeated the painting of the guitars with a white, then repeated the process with black spray paint. NOTE : I glued the guitar cutouts to the end of bamboo skewers so as to not get paint all over my fingers.
Well what you see as far as the camouflage scheme goes I named Guitar Godz® pattern. My first attempt at a camouflage pattern which in my opinion turned out not too shabby.
Step 7: Install the Electronics.
I wired, then installed the 4 speakers onto the box. I then installed the amp and the Bluetooth unit being extremely careful to pay special attention to the polarity. I then installed the power switch and the charger. Lastly I installed the battery and gave it a test run which, thanks to God, everything that was supposed to light up did indeed light up. Lastly I installed the rear access hatch.
Step 8: Crank It Up!
Well it sounds great! I'm no electrical engineer but the amp is rated for 4 x 100 watts at 36 volts at full volume. I am only using a 12 volt battery so I am guessing that I am getting 25 watts x 4 at a moderately decent volume. Just an electrically uneducated guess but I doubt I'm too far off.
Looks great and sounds great so I'm happy!
Best of luck and kudos to anyone who attempts a project similar to this at all. I love building boom boxes and will likely build a different one in the future. Thank you for your time.