This instructable is how I installed old computer speakers into a log.
I try to use all reclaimed materials for my projects and use whatever I have around me at the time of the build. Reclaim anything and everything is my moto. Natural materials, old tools, old parts and pieces. I try not to use any plastics in my build if I can avoid it. Let your imagination help you build your project. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Each of the steps also can be expanded into a project on its own. Speaker building on it's own is not easy and needs and experienced person to build them. This is more of placing old speakers into a log to make it a statement piece. Perhaps just giving an old set of computer speakers a new life. I found a few cut logs on a beach in Squamish, BC and I took it home because it was already hollow and the grain on the wood was very unique. I also had an old set of computer speakers that had this ugly old cabinet around the sub-woofer and the speakers were made with plastic, and all creme color of course. I previously had seen a log speaker called a rocket log and I thought what a great Idea. I love working with wood logs, and I like good music.
I also found inspiration from this instructables https://www.instructables.com/id/Tree-Speakers/
Step 1: Tools and Parts Required
Tools and supplies will be dependent on what you are using for materials. I try to use up any old materials that would normally just be thrown out and I try to keep from sending anything to the dump. Old tool belt, the log, the speakers, wire from other projects, old leather belt. I also try to fabricate as much as I can if I need something.
The tools I have are rebuilt or a bit older as I hate to see things set aside if I can still use them. With some new tools on the market there are endless possibilities. These pictures show some of the great tools for carving and finishing that can be used in this type of build. With the small size of carving tools you can really get some good detail in your work, and with the larger tools you can really shape some large pieces of wood.
https://www.arbortechtools.com/ce/turbo-range/ make great tools and I have used a few on my projects.
This is not a complete list as it will vary with the materials you have on hand. You can usually find a lot of materials and tools at a local reuse-it center or building supplies store
- Log (type and size is your preference)
- Bosch orbital sander and various grits of sandpaper
- chain saw
- finishing tacks
- razor blade knife
- chisels or Arbortech power carving tools
- old tool belt for the leather material
- old leather belt for handle
- Drill and hole saws with various sizes
- staple gun
- burlap bags if required to cover gaps in logs
- old set of speakers 2.1 or 5.1
- soldering iron and soldering materials
- electrical tape
Step 2: Safety First
- This tutorial is not on how to use any tools or equipment required
- There is some electronics work required and some soldering for the connection of the speakers
- There is some danger in taking apart the speaker system as the incoming power is 120 volt
- There is caution required when using the tools to do your work and personal protection is recommended when doing any work with wood and electronics
- Chain saw cutting of the is best done by someone experienced
- Hand tools have their own safety concerns and should be followed to best practices
- Always practice safe use of anything while doing a project.
Step 3: Old Working Computer Speaker
- Find an old computer speaker set preferably a 2.1 system. That is a set with two speakers and a sub-woofer. I used an old set of logitech speakers.
- Test the speakers to make sure they are working
- Remove all the electronics from the speakers setting aside the parts. It's OK to cut the speaker wires, but ensure you document where they were cut from
- Set aside for use later
- You can reclaim some old speakers or speakers from broken stereo systems. You may or may not want to build in some covers for the speakers. I got my speakers for free off the side of the road and they are mint
- This build can also be done from all new materials is you wish or choose some new parts to improve it
- Speaker wire can be lengthened at this point to custom fit your application. Soldering of wires and using new or old wire is fine.
- if you need or want to go further with this part you can modify the board any way you feel comfortable with
- Placement of the circuit board is best if you can locate the controls in a convenient spot. I chose the end of the log and ended up covering it with old leather as it was easier than cutting or customizing.
- Any extra lengths of wire I just left inside the log
- Screw fastening or hot glue can work, but caution with hot glue so it does not melt the electronics board soldering.
Step 4: Hollow Log
- You can find or make a hollow log. This instructable does not go into this as there are many different was to do it. I found a tree that was hollow and cut it to the length I wanted for the speaker.
- Clean out and make sure log is dry. This could take years if it is really green. Best to use a seasoned log or deadwood that is dry
- Clean off the bark and let that dry if required
- Sand any rough spots and the ends of the log. Best to prepare the log as much as you can now instead of later
- You can also cut out as much of the inside as you need or just clean it up so the electronics fit
- Using a chainsaw or a tool from Arbortech to clean it out sometimes takes a long time just keep at it.
- Determine how the log will sit best and if needed put some used screws or some pads or anything to keep it sturdy while in place. Use anything on hand that may be of interest.
- Find the best place on the log for placement of the two speakers and try to have the subwoofer speaker on the side for a small log setup or if you have a large log you can place anywhere even in the back. I chose the open end of log and found a speaker that fit to avoid having to cut out a hole.
- You will want to be proficient at using a hole saw to cut out speaker holes. decide if you want to recess the speakers or to have them fastened on top of the log.
- Cut hole for the speakers, fit and refit to make sure they sit flush for best performance. If they get twisted they will not work properly
- fit and refit the electronics and find best fit possible
- Cover holes with material or wood like I did or make a custom cover out of something around your shop
Step 5: Finishing
Once all the cutting and fitting is done, and your happy with your installation you can choose to leave the log natural or in my case I used a tung oil to coat the log and make it a little shiny. On the first unit I made with the small black speakers I used a piece of wood to cover one side. I used the electronics on the front and made a custom leather cover. Glued into place to protect the circuit board. The two tiny speakers were from the speakers I took apart. They had two tiny tweeters in the old ones and I chose to keep them. The log with the silver speakers had the speakers from used tower speakers and I used leather to cover the electronics on the other end. I have made a few variations from old computer speakers either picked up free or from a used thrift shop. There are also a few I mad from various pieces of wood including a wooden box from an old sawmill covered with a small slab of had cut maple. One was just a rotten log cut flat on 4 sides from cedar wood, with sub-woofer mounted on the side.
Step 6: Final Words
This is not a detailed set of instructions as it is not a set process and there is many different ways to do it. The basics is to take the old speakers and give it a new cover. There are many ways and materials and lots of videos to help on you tube and here on the instructables site.
This is my very first instructable and I hope to get better at this. If you have questions please ask and I will do my best to answer. By no means am I an expert at any of this. I try to teach myself about things as I go along. Be creative. Be bold. If you fail try again until you succeed.
I find the sound from the log is very rich and may not be a high end system, but it's great for the patio or anywhere you like. Next will be a portable battery version..
Participated in the