I always liked zeppelins and their steampunk-dieselpunk interior as well as exterior details.
Then I thought of designing and building a functional product I can use in daily life in the form a zeppelin. Of course an audio product I imagined would best fit to this aim. After seeing mp3 player modules on ebay, I kinda decided and started to work. First i did some search among the zeppelin photos and sketches on the net and decided how the main shape of my design will be.
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Step 1: Parts Used
I've found an mp3 player module on ebay which is sold for around 10 usd. There was also a bidding for it and I've bid and got one for 4.8dollars :D.
it has a 3w rms output so I bought several 3w speakers. As the actual output of the mp3 module would be less than 3w, these speakers would do the job i thought. And they did. The mp3 module comes with a remote control and all cables necessary for power and speaker connections. The speakers are 40mm in diameter and they sound ok. I've used an old 5v cell phone adapter as the power source but it is a bit weak, I recommend a more powerful power source, like8-10w. The product has got ample room inside, so an 18650 li-ion battery and a battery charger module can also be placed in. I've tested the module with 4.2v output of the li-ion battery, it works great. So you can also add the battery and charger module for making the product completely portable and charge it via usb when the bat gets drained. I've also bought and tested those batteries and chargers. They are so long lasting, never plan to use a battery apart from li-ions in future projects.
battery charging module.(there are also micro usb versions of this on ebay, look for it)
Step 2: 3D Modeling
Then started 3d modeling on solidworks. Started with the basic form that I've thought of, later added the other details of the zeppelin like the tail, gondola, steampunk jet motors and the bracket for the mp3 module. Gondola and the jets also work as a stand for the zeppelin, enabling it to stand on surface. I've also added holes for cable entry on top, speakers to front and aft, and an other hole at the top for hanging the zeppelin from above.
Step 3: Interior Details for the Placement of Parts
I've designed the loudspeakers to be located at front and aft of the zeppelin and the mp3 module in the middle. So some details are needed inside the product to hold them in place. There are two screw holes for holding the speakers in place and two screws for holding the module in place. And 4 additional screws for holding the two parts of the zeppelin together.
You can download the STL parts for 3d printing the zeppelin from THIS LINK.
Step 4: Printing & Assembly
After printing and cleaning the parts, the order of assembly will be as follows,
1.solder the wires (that come with the module) to both of the speakers
2. install the speakers to their places at front and aft parts of the zeppelin. you can screw them at their places by using small metal parts or plastic parts you can cut from a scrap piece and drill a hole on. You can also glue them to their places. Your preference. Hot silicon works, I've tried.
3. Install a 3.5 jack socket if you want your power connection to be removable. Or directly put the power cable into the zeppelin thru the power hole. Next to the hanging hole above. Solder the ends of the cable to the power cable that comes with the mp3 module. Be careful for the polarities for the power cable.
4. Assemble the both halves of the speaker together with the 4 screw holes. Tighten them a bit to disable the product generate vibration noises in use.
5. Take the power and speaker connections out from the front hole and connect them to the mp3 module.
6. Screw the mp3 module in.
7. Your zeppelin should be ready to fly now.
I've printed the parts by using a semitransparent abs material and placed several leds inside with changing colors so the product became a lamp also. There is a led on the mp3 module, I've changed its pointing direction to the inside, towards the top of the blimp, making the hole thing glow red while playing music. A vumeter placed inside can also be nice.
Wish you happy printing and building.
Participated in the
DIY Audio and Music Contest