Iowa Shaped Speaker





Introduction: Iowa Shaped Speaker

In this instructable I show you how to build a uniquely shaped bluetooth speaker from scratch.

Step 1: Step 1: Cutting Out the Template

First you'll need to find an image of whatever shape you want; I went with the great state of Iowa! You could choose to do a Stormtrooper helmet, a piece of fruit, a beer bottle.. whatever makes you happy. Next, you're going to want to glue that image to the surface of some MDF. Then cut that bad boy out with a jigsaw, but make sure to take your time. This step sets up the rest of the project.

Step 2: Step 2: Using Your Template

Image one of this step shows what a flush trim bit is (shown in my super janky, yet effective router table). It's a router bit with a bearing on it that rides on a template to make exact copies. You're going to want to make two copies with the original template. One of those copies will become the front face plate with holes for the woofers cut out, the other copy will become a wall section (both parts shown in the pile of stuff in image three). You'll then use a nail gun and some glue to attach the face plate to the wall section. Add layers of MDF one at a time (using glue and nails) and use the flush trim bit to duplicate wall sections until you've reached your desired depth for the box. Once that desired depth has been reached add one more layer of MDF with NO GLUE and only enough nails so that you can pry it off after. This final layer will be the back of the box so you'll need to be able to remove it.

Step 3: Step 3: Components

Here are the basics of what you'll need: speakers (not pictured, I'm using an 8" woofer and a 4" full range driver), an amplifier that will be powerful enough for your speakers, a bluetooth receiver, a power supply, and a crossover to cut out low frequencies to the smaller speaker. If you can find an amplifier/bluetooth combo that will fit your needs I would advise buying one of those. The amplifier that I bought actually has dc power output therefore I'm able to power both the amp itself and the bluetooth receiver with one power supply. Speaking of the power supply-- get an adjustable one, makes it easy. The crossover that I'm using is at 600 Hz, but you'll need to adjust to whatever setup you build.

Step 4: Step 4: Assembly

I could've made the inside really pretty by using stand-offs and whatnot but hot glue was easier... Nobody will ever see it anyway, right? I used threaded inserts and bolts to hold the back plate onto the body. The hardest part of this step will be figuring out the layout for your components.

Step 5: Step 5: Bodywork and Paint

Wood filler was used to make the edges all pretty. IF YOU SKIP THE WOOD FILLER YOUR EDGES WON'T BE PRETTY. You do want it to be pretty, right? After the filler dried, I used 80/120/220 grit sandpaper to smooth everything out. I then painted the whole thing with chalkboard paint (I used chalkboard paint because it's got a nice matte black finish but it still holds up to wear and tear pretty well).

Step 6: Step 6: Optional Stand

I made a stand for mine, but you could make yours wall mounted (which would also be pretty neat). I did a super simple construction: just MDF sandwiched together with some gold leaf applied and felt feet to prevent scratching.

Step 7: Step 7: ROCK OUT!!

Thanks for checking out my speaker project! Hopefully I've been able to inspire you to try something new and if you liked what you saw I'd appreciate your vote :)

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Amps and Speakers Contest 2016



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    14 Discussions

    Super interesting design! What drivers did you use?

    A great project, thanks for the inspiration ... speakers have moved on since I was a lad ... the last set of speaker enclosures I made were 2ft (yep, 24 inches) by 2ft by 3ft high, and had 12" woofers and 3.5" tweeters and a cross-over unit .. they were a folded horn design taking the sound for a walk through acoustic wadding ... great room-filling sound quality ...but they did fill the room(!!) wife made me dismantle them in the end as we needed the space when the kids came along!!!! Thanks for a great project - voted

    "You do want it to be pretty, right?"

    Great line! That should be on a t-shirt or every woodworker's bench.

    Fantastic idea and great build! One note: for the best sound you should really know the exact volume of the air inside the chamber since each individual speaker element need a specific volume to play at it's optimum. However this could be easily achieved by making the inside a square box instead of it following the outside contours. It would probably be an easier build this way too! :-) It will make the speaker a little bigger so you will have to decide if form is more important than the sound experience. I'm sure OP's speakers sound great though...what I'm ranting about is probably more in the audiophile category! ;-)

    1 reply

    Very nice looking and a unique design. However, I agree with Paxman5 that you can easily get better sound by giving attention to the optimum enclosure size for the specific speakers you're using. It looks like good quality drive units, and the characteristics of the speakers are probably available from the manufacturer or vendor. Using that data in conjunction with an enclosure calculator like at, it should be quite easy to fine tune the design.

    Watch this video. I think you'll like it.

    Great design!!! Beautiful!

    Cool! 0_o Love it!

    I like it! Great project. Is there a second one? Maybe Nebraska!

    This is really cool, I think I'll take a stab at a PA VERSION. Where did you get the template?

    I'll always admire the human creativity.

    IOWA — 75% vowels, 100% awesome!! :)

    This is neat, I like the unique design :)