Hybrid Wood IPhone Amplifier Speaker

Introduction: Hybrid Wood IPhone Amplifier Speaker

About: 14 yrs old, Woodworking, woodcarving, knifemaking, DIY how to, and much more are just what I do everyday! Stay tuned and find out what I make next!

When you're working in the shop, cleaning, or even just relaxing; music is the number one essential to get your brain gears turning. And for this project, you're going to get those gears turning and learn how to make a Hybrid Wood iPhone Amplifier Speaker! There are many different choices and designs to choose from with this project, and it's the perfect opportunity to get your imagination flowing and build whatever comes to mind!

So without further ado, let's get started!

Materials/ Tools Used:

  • Brown Mallee Burl Wood (or live-edge wood)
  • Two-part Resin (slow-cure resin)
  • Cardboard
  • Clear Packing Tape
  • Pencil
  • Razor Blade
  • Hot Glue Gun (with glue sticks)
  • Disposable Cup & Stir Stick
  • Scale
  • (optional) Heatgun/ Torch
  • PearlX Pigments
  • Woodworking Square
  • Table Saw
  • Palm Sander
  • Router w/ 1/4" Straight Bit
  • C-Clamp x4
  • Wood Glue
  • Sandpaper (120-1000 grit)
  • Rejuvenating Oil (or finish of choice)
  • Buffing Wheel (optional)
  • Scroll Saw (optional)
  • Disc Sander (optional)

DISCLAIMER:

This process can be dangerous, and operating any type of machinery is dangerous. Showing how to do this process I hold absolutely no responsibility for anything that happens to you, your equipment, or anyone else around you while performing this procedure and/or procedures.

Step 1: Choose the Wood, Make the Mold

To start this project, the first thing you will need to find is some live-edge wood. Any wood of choice will work, there is no specific species that works best. For this project, I wanted to use something special and decided to make this project with rare Brown Mallee Burl.

If you are unfamiliar with what a Burl is, it is easily described as a tumor that grows on trees. These tumors form when a defection in the tree forms, and it naturally tries to fix that defection; most of the time by growing a branch where that defection is. If the defection is not fixed by the branch that tried to grow, it will try to grow another. This process repeats hundreds of times, in which these little areas where a branch tried to form grows spikes. These spikes are what's so special about burls, especially the figure in the wood beneath them. Burls can get as big as 10 ft in diameter, some can be as big as 1 inch in diameter. They're are a very rare formation of the wood, in which they are highly sought-after by woodworkers.

Now that we know what burls are, let's get started on making the mold! Once you have your burl and/or live-edge wood, you will want to create a mold for it. Your pieces of wood must be 2.75" inches long, and 1" inch thick. Width does not matter as much, as long as you can fit one or more pieces of wood into a 2.75" x 2.75" mold. (see images above)

To start, you will want to use a piece of cardboard to make the mold. A silicone mold would work perfect for this project; but because we're trying to use as minimal tools as possible, we will use cardboard. You will want to mark a square that's 2.75" x 2.75" inches, and then mark a larger square around it that's about 1.5" from the previous square. Mark these lines with a pencil. (see images above) Once done, use a Razor Blade to cut out the mold. You will only want to cut on the designated areas, in which you will cut out the cornered rectangles (see images above). Keep in mind that in order to keep your casting symmetrical, your cuts must be symmetrical.

Once done, you're ready for the next step!

Step 2: Putting It All Together

Now that the mold is cut out, it's time to put it all together! To start, cover one side of the cardboard in transparent packing tape. You will want to make sure that the entire surface of the cardboard is covered. Without doing so, the mold cannot be removed from the wood. Once done, fold each flap towards the center and crease it; this will make for better fit later on. Then, use a hot-glue gun and apply glue to one side of the wood. Press the wood unto one of the flaps, then apply glue to the bottom of the piece and press it together until dry (see images above). Once done, (if there is more than one piece of wood in the mold) repeat the same process with the other piece of wood. Then, insert glue into each corner of the mold; make sure that no liquid can escape these areas. Apply tape to corners if desired.

Once done, you're ready for the next step!

Step 3: Mixing the Resin

Now that the mold is ready, it's time to start mixing the resin. You will want to use slow-curing resin for this project to ensure that as many bubbles in the resin rise to the top and can be sanded away. This is very important if you do not want air bubbles in your finished product. Then next thing you will need is a dye. For this project I decided to use Blue PearlX dye due to its phenomenal colors when mixed into the resin. And lastly, you will want a scale and a stir-stick for mixing the resin.

To start, measure 1.00 ounces of hardener using the scale, and 1.00 ounces of resin into a disposable cup (part 1 and part 2). Keep in mind that the more square centimeters of the mold that the wood covers, the less resin you will need. You can experiment with this by simply using water and filling the mold to its desired point; then allowing to dry as quickly as possible. Once the desired about of resin is poured, stir the resin slowly, and thoroughly for 2 minutes. Once done, use another stir-stick to insert the Blue PearlX dye. If you are using liquid dyes, mix as many drops as you desire; then mix for 1 minute.

Once done, you're ready for the next step!

Step 4: Pouring the Resin

Now that the resin is mixed, it's time to pour the resin into the mold. Keep in mind that this process should be done in a time-frame of no less than 5 minutes to ensure that the resin as time to set, and allow the bubbles in the resin to rise. Pouring the resin is a fairly simple process; pour it slowly, and make sure to pour it evenly into each area. Once done, let sit for about 1 minute then use a torch and/or heat gun and gently heat the surface of the resin. This will pop any bubbles in the resin, as well as make most of them rise to the top.

Once done, allow the resin cure for 24 hours in a well-ventilated area.

Step 5: Remove the Mold

Now that the resin has been poured into the mold, and allowed to cure overnight; it's time to remove the mold from the wood. Start by peeling away the corners first, then peeling each away. Then, peel away the mold from the bottom of the piece. The only thing that should be left now is the wood, the resin, and the hot glue. You can see how the resin cured throughout the piece by pacing it in front of a bright light, and allow the light to shine through it.

Keep in mind that because we lined the inside with tape, this made for better removal of the mold from the resin.

Once done, you're ready for the next step!

Step 6: Trimming, and Squaring

Now that the mold is removed, it's time to square the block on the Table Saw. This essentially means that we are going to cut the block so that it it perfectly symmetrical. To start, use a Table Saw (and/ or bandsaw) and use the Sled to measure the blade 1/16" of an inch past the outside of the wood. Then, run the pieces through. If the block still has glue where you cut, move the sled back about a 1/16" of an inch again, and repeat. Use the same process on all four sides. Once done, use the flattest face of the block, and place it against the sled. Then, raise the blade angle to about 1/4" inch higher than the block, and trim the uneven face (or raise it half as thick as the block, and run it through twice). Once done, repeat the process with the opposing side. The final dimensions should be around 2 5/8" x 2 5/8" x 7/8" (in inches).

DISCLAIMER:

This process can be dangerous, and operating any type of machinery is dangerous. Showing how to do this process I hold absolutely no responsibility for anything that happens to you, your equipment, or anyone else around you while performing this procedure and/or procedures.

Once everything is squared and symmetrical, you're ready for the next step!

Step 7: Marking, and Routing

Now that the block has been squared on the table saw, it's time to mark the inside-design and use a router to rout it out. You will need to start by tracing the design unto the bottom of the wood. An attachment is provided to print-out. Once done, use a Router and rout out the design using a Straight bit. The depth of the cut should be 6/8" deep, leaving a 1/8" lip on the top. This process should be done slowly, with careful precision; practice on scrap-pieces first if needed. This process can also be done with Chisels, in which the design can be carved out by hand. This process can be very difficult, but would still provide the cut needed.

Once the design is routed out, it's time to move on to the next step!

Step 8: Cutting the Slot

Now that the design has been routed out, it's time to cut the groove in which the phone will rest into the speaker. To start, measure the Table Saw blade depth to 3/8". Then, measure the Table Saw Sled at 1/8". Once done, start by cutting the top of the piece (opposite from the side you routed out). Then, move the sled to 1/4", and repeat to cut slits into the wood. Repeat this process until the groove is 3/8" wide. This process can also be done using the Router.

NOTE:

It helps to put a clamp on the block, then use that to hold the piece while cutting on the Table Saw. Using a router to do this may require a Router Table.

Once done, you're ready for the next step!

Step 9: Glueing the Bottom

Now that the slit has been cut into the block, it's time to glue some wood to act as the bottom of the speaker. To start, you will need a 1/8" thick strip of wood. The wood I decided to use is a darker colored wood called Wenge. These pieces were 2" wide, but pieces 2 5/8" square would be perfect. Start by applying Wood-glue to the bottom of the piece (the routed side), then spread the glue around the piece using your finger and/or stir-stick. Once done, set the wood unto the piece and clamp it using four C-Clamps. Allow to dry for 4 hours before moving on.

Once done, you're ready for the next step!

Step 10: Cutting, and Sanding

Now that the bottom piece has been glued to the block, it's time to trim the excess material and sand the block smooth! To start, use a Scroll Saw and/or hand-saw to cut the remaining excess material away. Do not cut too close to the block; you do not want deep scratches in the block for these will be difficult to sand away. Once done, use a Disc sander to sand the excess material away. This can also be done using a Palm Sander, and/or sandpaper. Then, sand the block smooth starting with 120 grit, and working your way up to 1000 grit.

Once done, you're ready for the next step!

Step 11: Glueing the Feet

Now that the piece is sanded smooth, it's time to glue feet to the bottom of the piece. The feet must be 1/8" thick. These can be made out of Dowels, but to make the project look more natural I decided to use Twigs. To start, apply a small drop of glue to each foot, and press it unto the bottom of the piece. Make sure that all of these are symmetrical, and are all aligned according to each other.

Once done, allow to dry for 4 hrs before moving on; then you're ready for the next step!

Step 12: Finishing, and Polishing

Now that the feet are glued to the bottom of the piece, your speaker is almost finished! Now, it's time to oil the piece and polish it. To start, I will use Watco Rejuvenating Oil to the piece using a Paper Towel. Any wood finish will work, just make sure not to use any stains. Apply an even coat to the entire piece, and repeat the process for 5 coats. Then, take it to the buffing wheel and polish the piece. This process of polishing is optional, but it is a great way to make you project look much nicer!

Once done, you're done!!

Step 13: Finished!

Now, your iPhone Amplifier Speaker is finished! This was an outstanding amount of fun to make, and I enjoyed every minute of building it! Brown Mallee Burl, Ocean Blue Resin, Wenge, and a perfect polish; the perfect combination for a very impressive product! Not only is it a great project to make, but it's an instrument that will inspire you to make even more things. No matter the difficulty, give it a try and do your best! So get into your shop, grab some wood; and get inspired to make something amazing!

Want to see more? Visit my Website and Youtube Channel to see more projects like this!

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