Speaker End Table

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About: Making (and breaking) projects in my shop every 2 weeks (or so)

Almost one year ago I built my first piece of "fine" furniture (at least for me). It was an end table made from solid walnut with traditional joinery. One of the ideas was to have a removable drawer that I could replace with a Bluetooth speaker. Well after a year that idea is a reality!

Tools & Materials

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Step 1: Cut Down the MDF Box

The main speaker is built from 3/4in MDF. This is cut from a sheet down to a strip on the table saw. It is then cut to width on the miter saw.

Step 2: Cut the MDF Strips at an Angle

Using an angle gauge the table is set up to cut at a 45 degree angle. All four sides of the box are cut on the table saw.

Step 3: Glue the Box Assembly Together

The box is glued together by first laying all the pieces upside down on a work surface. I then added glue and folded the pieces together. The box was secured with tape and clamps while the wood glue dried.

Step 4: Spray Paint the Box Black

The box body is spray painted black on all sides.

Step 5: Prepare the Walnut Front Face

The front face of the speaker is made from 3/4 in walnut. This was a rough cut piece so I got it flat and square on the planer and jointer. The walnut front was then cut to size on the table.

Step 6: Design the Front Face in Fusion 360

This step could be skipped if you don’t have a CNC but I wanted to create a unique 3D design. I used Fusion 360 to mimic the effect of water rippling from the speaker's face.

Also since I didn’t have a large enough bit to cut out the speaker holes these were designed into the model as well.

Step 7: Cut the Front Face on a CNC

The front face was cut in two different passes. The first was an adaptive facing operation using a 1/4 in uncut bit. The second operation refined and smoothed the design using a ball noise bit.

Step 8: Wire Up the Electronics

So I won’t go into great detail here on the wiring on the electronics. I bought a speaker kit from Kirby at Kirby Meets Audio. I’m using his Fawn speaker plans and speaker kit. He provides great plans to put it all together.

But a quick overview….

Step 9: Attach the Woofer and Tweet to the Front Face.

The subwoofer is screwed into the speaker face. The tweeter can be friction fit into place. This could also be secured with super glue.

Step 10: Wire Up the Crossover

These plans include a passive crossover design. The basic idea is that through inducers, resistors and capacitors you can split the audio signal for your different sized speakers. These parts were soldered together and I used heat shrink and electrical tape to secure all the joints

Finally, attach the volume knob to the front face

Step 11: Cut Out the Speaker Back

The back is cut from a piece of MDF and painted black. I used a CNC to cut a hole large enough for the speaker out ports.

The back electronics are screwed into place. They include a power port, 1/16 audio jack and power switch.

Step 12: Drill Rear Components

Holes were drilled for the rear components with their appropriate sized bits. I then used a Forstner bit to remove materials around those holes from the back so that the electronics could fit into place.

Step 13: Secure Soundboard Into Place

I didn’t have any spacer on hand so I secured the soundboard directly to the back of the speaker back. I plan to go back and insulate this later but for not it is seeming to work.

Step 14: Finish the Front Face

This step should have been done before I wired up the electronics. I was able to remove them enough so I could oil the front speaker’s surface. I used a few coats of Generals Arm-R-Seal. Then for the speaker body, I used a several coats of shellac.

Step 15: Glue the Front Face

Wood glue was used to attach the front face to the speaker box. This was clamped into place so that it could dry.

Step 16: Attach the Back Panel

The back panel is attached with countersunk screws. This allows me to open the speaker up if anything ever needs to be repaired or modified in the future.

Step 17: Adjust the Reveal of the Speaker

Step 18: That’s It!

And that’s it! I’ve been using an Amazon Echo with the speaker it is working great!

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    10 Discussions

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    Faber Ferrarius

    13 days ago

    Nice post! Quick technical note, you have a small spelling error in the last sentence of Step 13: I plan to go back and insulate this later but for not (should be "now")it is seeming to work.

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    Ham-made

    15 days ago

    Rocking end table makeorbreakshop!
    I'm a music teacher and did something similar (albeit not as elegant) to the top drawer of my desk! I use the open and close feature of the drawer as an option to create an open or closed back amp.
    Cheers!
    Mr. Ham

    20191119_141302.jpg
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    Pricklysauce

    16 days ago

    👏👏👏👏 so good...I am sure it sounds as good as it looks...

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    Alex in NZ

    16 days ago

    Beautiful way of disguising the driver units! Thank you for sharing your ideas :-)

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    bugsy_malone 666

    16 days ago

    I really like the design of that, its how to bring modern music to something so classical looking :) I think one Change I would have looked at is having maybe a Walnut knob for the volume and have positioned the volume/on knob to look like an actual handle, as the rest looks so spot in it looks a little out of place. Other than that, quite inspiring :)

    1 reply

    That's a great idea! Yeh the knob was what came stock with the kit and i'm not in love with it. There is enough space in the back that you can push it out but integrating a handle into the design would be a great upgrade!