Intro: 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.
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="http://www.youtube.com/embed/5-tv7iJRKac" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
First Prize in the
Game.Life 3 Contest