How to Build a Bioshock Infinite Voxophone




I have played through Bioshock Infinite 3 times so far. I enjoyed the hidden modern day pop music. i found a lot of the full songs on the internet, and put them on my MP3 player. After that I thought i would like to make a creative way to play them, and i needed a new project to build.

It took me 2 weeks to build what i think is as close to a real voxophone that will play music from the game as well as become a set of portable speakers that i can hook to my phone and other devices.

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Step 1: Find a Good View

First i had to play different chapters of bioshock to find a good view of one of the units in the game and get a good screen capture to draw real size.

I found a good one at the street fair just before the raffle, i took a capture of it and printed it big enough to fit 4  8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper. after that i fit a real record on top, to see if it is the correct size.  ( I used a 33 rpm LP which is 11 3/4" record. Iv since been told that a 78 rpm would be more accurate to the 1912 time period, those are 10".

Step 2: Pattern

After I had the size right i cut out the pattern. i measured the pattern and went to the hardware store. i bought 4, 1/4" x 6" x 4' red oak boards, and 2, 2" x 2" x4' boards.  i forgot to bring the record and pattern with me (i like to visualize things, so i used a bucket lid to see how many boards id need. )   

Step 3: Layout and Cutting

I put the paper template on the wood and traced in pencil twice to make the front and back. I cut it with a jigsaw, i had to make the top and bottom parts separately. i had to do the top front and back twice because the grain is very straight on red oak and when i was cutting the right side where the square part sticks up i split the board twice.  after that, i laid out the 2" x 2" plank on top in order to trace and cut it to form the side and bottom pieces.

     After i had all the pieces cut out, i used wood glue and 1" brads to nail the pieces together.
the only parts that are not nailed are the front bottom area and a cover that will go across the bottom to hold the batteries later.
the front is attached with screws. i pre drilled them and drilled a bevel in the cover with a larger bit so that the screws would sink in level with the front panel.

Step 4: Speaker Grille

the speaker grille in the game is nickel plated metal. i wanted to melt soda cans and make it from aluminum. i gave up on that idea and decided to use fiberglass resin. first i made a mold from foam-board that i got from a craft store. its paper on the back and front, with Styrofoam between. i cut it from another part of the same paper template i used on the wood parts.

i poured the resin into the mold and let it sit overnight. in the morning i tried to sand it smooth, but it was very brittle and one side cracked off. 

i started over using plexiglass i traced the pattern with a sharpie and cut it out with a jigsaw. this was a lot tougher and more resilient.
I sanded it, and painted it with chrome spray paint. it didn't stick very well so i did a layer of clear coat over it. now the paint has a shiny hard shell over it and resembles metal. 

     then i drilled holes to attach the grille to the front.

Step 5: Sanding, Cutting, Wiring, and Staining

Once assembled, the edges are still very uneven. It took a lot of sanding to get them even, then i rounded the corners.

After the sanding was done, i cut holes in the front for speakers and an access panel in the center. i hot glued 3" speakers in place then mounted a 3 watt amplifier from DATAKIT no. 80-900. I used 2 6v rechargeable batteries to power everything, and a $5 green usb charger to power an mp3 player and bluetooth receiver.
i wired the amplifier to all the various inputs with a rotary switch and a 5k ohm stereo potentiometer
the center of the 3 pins goes into the amp, one side goes to the source selector the other goes to ground. 
i needed a large red light for the front, i think its either a power light, or it blinks brighter and dimmer with the sound level. i decided power was easier. i used a taillight i found since it looked almost like the game.

then i stained the outer surfaces and glued canvas to the inner side of the speaker grilles.

Step 6: Making the Tone Arm and Needle

I chose to make the tone arm and needle from resin but needed a good mold to make them from. i took several 12 oz soda cans and cut 2 of them 1/2" from the bottom and the other 2 of them 2" from the bottom. i pushed the bottom out so that it looked like a dome facing out instead of inward and attached the smaller ones one inside the other but facing opposite directions so that id have a nice looking shape. i did the same with the larger. i punched a hole so that i could pour in resin.  i let them set over night, then peeled off the soda cans leaving 2 solid plastic feeling discs. i drilled a 1/2' hole half way through the thinner one and all the way through the thicker one. 

     I used a 1/2" bending spring to bend copper water tubing to the right shape to make the tone arm, then painted it all chrome. I then drilled a 1/2" hole in the top of the case so i could fit the tone arm to the case. 

I glued a record ( in my case perry como, found for $1 at salvation army) to a large computer fan with the blades removed. i didn't get it completely centered so it rattles a bit as its going around but so far its not bad enough to redo it, and i think it adds character.

Step 7: A Little Wiring Detail

the MP3 player needed to be controlled but i didn't want it visible. i took the keys out and soldered a wire to rewind, play/pause, and fast forward. and 1 wire to ground. on the other end of the wire i soldered 3 new keys one side of each key goes to ground and the other goes to the contacts for ff, rw or play. Then i drilled 3 holes above the left speakers so that they would be behind the speaker cloth and you can still feel them with your finger without seeing them.

I mounted all the components inside so that they allow the record to spin, and everything fits in the case. 

the completed project in action <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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    9 Discussions


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    That's true. How big is a 78? I went looking for 45s at salvation army but I found only 33s and I forgot the size difference


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    They're 10" typically, but 12" were used for longer classical works. It sort of hit and miss with 78s in thrift stores. Many times, they'll turn up broken.

    This is...fantastic. Lovely build! Although, J. Fink would disapprove of your laborious method of shaping the speaker grille ;)

    Home Depot sells aluminum sheet for cheap. I can't recall its thickness but I plated my workbench with it. It's easy to trim using tin snips and IMO would be perfectly suited for the Voxophone's speaker grille.

    As an aside...I love the game, and have played through three times so far. I recently beat 1999/Scavenger Hunt; it took me a little while but was worth it. I really appreciate all the work you put into this build.


    6 years ago

    Curse you, you beat me to it lol. Well done though.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    A very original build, thanks for sharing!

    (on your YouTube video, look for the 'embed' code and paste it into the editor here so your video will appear as part of your project)