Here, we will retrofit a non-functioning Art Deco cast iron speaker to house an Amazon Echo Dot and RGB LED lighting. Here's what you'll need:
- Antique radio
- Amazon Echo Dot
- 1 meter of RGB LED strip/tape
- Speaker cloth - I used this from ebay - It's important to find something sturdy enough to be attached to the frame, but open enough for the sound and light from within to penetrate it
- 3D printed mount for an Echo Dot
- And/Or a 3D printer
- Flat head screwdriver
- Needle nose pliers
- Crescent wrench
- something to mix the epoxy (plastic utensils, etc.)
- Hot glue gun
- X-ACTO or utility knife
- Plastic (Solo) cup
Step 1: Demolition
Alright, first things first - Time to dismantle the spear and clear out what we don't want or need:
- First, remove the screws from the back face (x3)
- Using the crescent wrench, remove the fasteners that are holding on the front face (x3)
- Here's where the plastic cup comes in - a great way to store hardware without it rolling away
- Next, we'll pull the speaker out, snipping the wires that are connected to it
- Let's also rip out the rest of the tattered speaker cloth
- At this point, we'll want to remove the ripped paper from the speaker cone and snip the wires on the back
- This unit has some knobs and switches on the bottom - we're going to need to remove the larger knob to slip the power cables for the Echo Dot and LEDs into the unit
Now that we're done with the demolition, per se, let's get to the constructive part!
Step 2: Mount for the Echo Dot
Since it'll take a while to print, let's start on the mount for the Echo Dot:
- Using a 3D model from Thingiverse, (found here) you can print it if you have a 3D printer or print it using a service, like Shapeways
- Once complete, we'll mix up the epoxy and adhere the mount to the speaker's frame, ensuring it is as centered as possible (for aesthetics)
- This is quick setting epoxy, so we don't have to wait around for it to be cemented in place
On to the speaker cloth!
Step 3: Speaker Cloth
While the epoxy for the mount is curing, let's tackle the speaker cloth:
- We'll want to find a cloth that has good acoustic and light transmission - I actually hoped this would let more light shine through, but is okay for this application.
- The cloth I used also has a pattern, so I made sure it lined up with the ironwork grill
- Cutting a swatch with a couple of inches extra on each side, glue one part first (I started at the top)
- Once that part more less solidifies, move to the opposite side (I then went to the bottom), making sure it is nice and taut
- And finally, glue the remaining areas, making sure to pull it tight as the glue cools and sets
- Once the glue sets, use an X-ACTO or utility knife to carefully trim the excess fabric away
- Repeat for the back grill as well
Now for the electronics!
Step 4: Electronics & Reassembly
Heading towards the finish line, we'll now integrate the electronics:
- Grab your Amazon Echo Dot and push down snuggly into the 3D printed mount
- At this point, we'll need to reattach the front face with the hardware we removed with the crescent wrench
- With the front face attached to the speaker frame, it'll snap on to the speaker housing with a little push
- Now will add the LED tape - I plugged it in and tested it for a few minutes, making sure everything was working properly
- Next, we'll work the two power cables (the Dot and the LED tape) up through the hole in the bottom (where we removed the knob earlier) and peel of the adhesive backing on the LED power supply to securely mount it
- For the placement, you'll want to play around as every radio will be slightly different and to see whether or not you want to see the individual LEDs or just a soft glow from them (I chose the latter)
- When you're happy with the placement, peel off the backing to the adhesive tape and press it in place.
- Don't forget to mount the IR receiver for the LEDs somewhere that the remote control can "see" it
- Once that's done, snap on the back cover, reinsert the 3 screws from the beginning, and plug it in!
Step 5: Play!
Once you're reassembled, plug it in, set up the Echo Dot, and play!