Build a Talk Box Inside a Toilet Plunger




With a soldering iron, a pair of computer speakers, and some plumbing equipment (including a Toilet Plunger). You can build a pretty good Talk Box (a talk box is what artists like Daft Punk use to get that Robot Voice Effect on songs like Around the World, and Harder Better Faster Stronger).

When looking for youtube videos about talk boxes I stumbled across MootBooXLe's
Video about building a Ghetto Talk box.

When Building My Ghetto talk box a came up with some improvements on the construction
and materials and decided to make my own how-to for building a better than Ghetto
talk box.

To build your Toilet Plunger talk box you will need:

A pair of mid range powered computer speakers.
A 4 ft 1/2 inch diameter vinyl hose.
A Plumbing Cap from Home Depot (the one I used was a Nibco 5817 ABS DWV Plastic Plumbing Cap that was just a little larger than the naked speaker).
A Rubber Toilet Plunger (I've used both a red and black plunger and they both work fine, you want to make sure that the plumbing cap fits inside the plunger very tightly and that no air escapes).
A Roll of duct tape
A musical instrument to plug the speakers into.
A soldering Iron
And Finally basic tools for disassembling things... screw driver, Pliers etc...

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Step 1: Disassemble, Remove Speaker, Solder, Reassble

Most Powered computer speakers have a left speaker that detaches and the right speaker has
the electronics etc.

You don't need the left speaker.

Disassemble the right Speaker and detach the speaker from the speaker case.
Most of these speakers don't have long enough wires attached to the speaker itself for you to
leave the speaker outside of the speaker case once it's removed.
Since this is probably the case you can cut the wires that attach to the speaker terminals,
and solder some longer wires from the circuit board.. to the speaker.

Find a hole in the speaker case (or drill one... i didn't have a drill so I used some scissors as a AWL and that did the trick).
Run your wires that Attach to the speaker out of that hole and then solder them to your speaker.
Then put the speaker back together so its less of a mess.

At this point the speaker should be functional.. but the speaker itself will be external to the speaker enclosure.

Step 2: Use Duct Tape to Protect Your Soldering

The Soldering on your speaker, and speaker itself is pretty delicate... so it's a good idea put duct tape over the back of the speaker and wires to protect them from being damaged.
(don't put tape anywhere on the front of the speaker or it will mess up the sound).

Step 3: Drill Hole in Plumbing Cap and Insert Vinyl Hose

Step 3

Take your plumbing cap.. and a drill (or I just used scissors as an awl).
Make a hole in the middle of the top of the plumbing cap.
You want to make the hole a bit smaller that your vinyl hose, this is so you won't have to glue the tube into the hole.
The tube is pliable enough that once the hole is just a little smaller than the hose you should be able to force the tube in (lots of twisting and arm power).
Make sure the tube only goes into the cap about 1/2 and inch to 3/4s of an inch.
(you don't want the tube to puncture the speaker when the parts are put together).

Step 4: Put Speaker in Plunger, Then Plumbing Cap Over Speaker/Into Plunger

Take your speaker, place it int he bottom of the plunger so the speaker is facing out towards you.
Take your plumbing cap and hose, and slide the plumbing cap into the plunger until it's int he plunger as far as it will go without puncturing the speaker.

Step 5: Plug It In, Turn It On, and Test It

Plug the speaker into a power outlet, and plug the audio cable into something that produces audio. (an mp3 player, a synthesizer.. or a toy musical keyboard like the one I used)

Once you hear the sound coming from the Vinyl Hose you can put the hose in your mouth and move your mouth around like you're saying words without actually speaking.

You'll sort of be able to hear the words you're mouthing. This produces a wha-wha effect on music/synthesizers/guitars etc...

The more you exaggerate your mouth movements the more it will sound like actual words.

For best results used a Musical Keyboard or Software/Hardware Synth that Makes a loud Gritty Saw Tooth WAVE
Some good VST Plugins to try running through your talk box are the Delay LlamaThe Oberon , and the Devil Inside Synth

Step 6: Additional Info

The Casio Pt-1 Keyboard that I used in the video is modified or circuit bent.
Normally the pitch of the keyboard wouldn't be able to go that low, but by soldering some paper brads to the Tuning knob
on the back of the keyboard... and then leading another paper brad to another point on the motherboard i'm able to pitch it down significantly. (like a whammy bar).
The Casio Pt-1 probably isn't the best keyboard to use with a talk box unless you modify it as I did.



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    83 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 6

    Awesome ! gonna try it out right now !
    that's gonna make it in our Zappa cover band. I play Rhodes and Hammond, i'm sure they'll fit with it.
    thanks, man


    8 years ago on Step 6

    do you have anything on how to mod a key board to get a pitch bend like the instructions on circuit bending?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Gross, let's suck on a tube that's attached to something that touched my poop.


    8 years ago on Step 2

    Or you could use heat-shrink to make it look more pro.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Drilling a hole in the pipe cap to tun the speaker wire though and tying a knot in it for a strain relief before soldering the wire to the speaker terminals would be best in the long run for anyone duplicating this project.

    a plunger is that thing that makes it so your toilet can flush... and new is when it hasnt been well used... and used is when it has been stuck in your toilet after something else that is clogging up the toilet... when i make one... i will be using a new one for some health reasons... hope this helps.

    One may as well buy a new one to use. Because you going to have to buy new one to do the job of any used one taken out of service to make this toy. Unless a plunger was stuck in the variety box bought at an auction, and you have a surplus plunger in the home .

    you can wash it all you want. but you are basically inhailing the air from that place. so unless you stick it in bleach over night you will not be able to get it as clean as it can be, and even then you will be lucky.

    but... The new plunger could off-gas all sorts of plasticisers and other nasties, on account of it not being made from food-grade plastic, (just one of the reasons to not brew beer in a garbage can, even if it's a new one). Even food-grade plastic is held somewhat suspect these days. Anyhow, you'd be inhaling that new plastic smell, with all it's hormone disrupting goodness. Then again, the used plunger could be deteriorating and releasing more gunk, especially if subjected to harsh cleansers. I guess the safe thing to do would be to do nothing and just stare blankly at the walls for a while...

    i agree. in fact, it's much too dangerous to even go outside these days. home delivery is a must for the truly safety conscious.

    but.. staying inside, one could fall victim to deadly radon gas, or sick building syndrome, or even the dreaded hantavirus (depending on the number of mouses in your houses) Or I suppose a person could open a window from time to time, and maybe invest in a mousetrap or pussycat.

    I agree. I probably should have just stayed in the womb. That whole gestation thing was kind of a drag too, in retrospect. Shoulda eschewed fertilization entirely, and opted for permanent ova-hood. But then I'd only be half here; or rather 0.375 here, as I'm only about three quarters here already. (Some might argue I'm neither here nor there)... Say, did you know that Google has a built in calculator?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    not to be petty, but you aren't really inhaling air from the plunger. if air were exiting the tube, there would be a partial vacuum inside the plunger. you are sending sound through the tube by vibrating the air. it's like shaking an elongated slinky. the movement transmits but the actual metal of the slinky does not. either way, thoroughly scrubbed wouldn't kill you if you were too drunk to drive to the hardware store.


    11 years ago on Step 6

    Thanks for the how to, awesome plunger idea. Gonna try it out, any advice on recording the finished sound? Just do it near a mic? Any way to mount a mic to that hose? Thanks again! (btw, love your around the world)

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    What you want to do is get a microphone and a mic stand. Tape the tube to the side of the mic so that about 2 inches of the tube go into your mouth. You can record through the mic.