I came up with this idea as a way to disguise my surround sound speakers. They looked out of place in our old fashioned house. I thought this would be a good way to make use of old cigar boxes.
I saw someone else did a similar Instructable, but theirs was more functional and less decorative.
Note that I am not an audiophile, so I cannot tell you if this drastically changes the sound of the speakers. I am sure there are changes that can be made to this to improve the acoustic performance. Also note that modifying your speakers in any way probably voids their warrantee. Mine are probably eight years old so I wasn’t too worried about ruining them.
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Step 1: Tools & Materials
For this project you’ll need the following materials:
Cigar boxes (same quantity as the number of speakers, and large enough to fit the speakers)
Midget louvers (approximately the same diameter as the speaker cones)
2 component epoxy
Low expansion foam (optional)
hole saw bit (same size and midget louvers)
other miscellaneous drill bits
Dremel tool with cut off wheel and router bit
scrap piece of wood
I used a few other tools not listed here for optional steps. The tools you will need may vary depending on the construction of the speakers you are using and how fancy you want to get with the mounting and wiring.
I already had the midget louvers for another project. You can purchase these online from construction suppliers. I got the cigar boxes on ebay for less than $5 per box. If you are a cigar smoker, this will give you an excuse to go buy a bunch of cigars, or a use for your empty boxes.
Step 2: Louver Preparation
Prepare the midget louver covers for the speakers. I chose spray paint that was close in color to the cigar boxes. You could use metallic paint or whatever you want depending on how you want them to look. I also needed to cut off part of the inside lip of the midget louver due to the thickness of the cigar boxes. I used the cut off wheel on my Dremel tool to do this. If you need to do this, I would recommend cutting the louver before painting. I managed to scratch the paint in a few places while doing the cutting. Alternatively you could use something else to cover the speaker cone, even the original cover for the speaker.
Step 3: Speaker Preparation
Prepare your speakers: This step will vary depending on the construction of the speakers you are using. For mine I removed the front grill and flattened the rounded ridges on the face so the speaker would mount flat against the inside of the cigar box. I also cut out the jack for the speaker wires on the back of the case, as there was not enough depth in my speaker boxes for the wiring to clear. These were put together in such a way that it would have been difficult to completely remove the original case and re-mount them in the cigar box. I figure this should also retain better acoustics.
Step 4: Make a Template
Make a paper template for the hole or holes you will need in the cigar box. Make the template the full size of the speaker assembly so you don’t accidentally put the holes too close to the side of the cigar box. Use the template to lay out the holes on the cigar box. Double check that the speaker assembly fits where the holes are going to go.
Step 5: Drill the Holes
Clamp a scrap piece of plywood to the inside of the cigar box. This is to keep the cigar box wood from splitting. You may also want to put some masking tape on the outside of the box to protect the finish. For mine I drilled the small hole first with a ½” spade bit. I then drilled the larger hole with a 3” hole saw. Clean up the edges of the holes with sandpaper.
Step 6: Drill Holes for the Wires
Drill a hole in the bottom of the cigar box near the back side of the box for the wiring. Then use a router bit in a Dremel tool to cut a notch for the wire to lie into. This is so the box will sit nice and flat. Alternatively, you could mount connectors on the cigar box so the wires are removable.
Step 7: Mount the Speaker in the Box
Feed the speaker wire out through the hole in the bottom. Do a final test fit of the speaker components in the cigar box. You may want to make a couple alignment marks on the inside of the box. I mounted my speakers to the box with two component epoxy. There were two ridges on the front of the speaker that I applied the epoxy to. You may want to do this differently depending on what your speaker assembly looks like. Obviously you do not want to do anything that will impede the movement of the speaker cone or damage it.
Step 8: Insulate the Box
I had a can of low expansion insulating foam on hand, so I decided to fill in most of the empty space in the cigar box. I figured this would cut down on any unwanted vibration coming from the cigar box. In my case, the speakers are still in their original cases, so the acoustics of the speaker should not be affected. I would not do this if you are removing your speakers from their cases. Instead, you might just want to glue some acoustic batt insulation to the back walls of the cigar box. Someone that knows more about speaker construction may have a better idea on how to optimize the acoustics in this situation.
Step 9: Install the Louvers
Attached the midget louvers to the front of the cigar box. I glued these in place with more two component epoxy. Alternatively, you could probably bend the inside lip of the louver so it fits snugly in the opening, if you want to be able to remove it for dusting or whatever. Tip: use rubbing alcohol to clean up any excess epoxy before it sets.
Step 10: Finish
Put the lid back on the cigar box, wire it back to your system, and you have a nice set of cigar box speakers accentuating your décor!