Introduction: Make a SPEAKERBOARD
The SPEAKERBOARD is a product stemming from a design project that aims for people to be more in touch with their electronics. It is a modular design made out of salvaged speakers.
I have very limited electronics experience, this is not a professional audiophile project!
This product is used as a medium for my audio pieces linked further on, discussing the importance of repair and REthinking hardware to create more sustainable electronics: how can people feel more in touch with their electronics, fix them and make them last longer. I hope you have fun creating this object.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
For this project you will need:
- an acrylic board of 5mm thickness (can use alternative materials such as mdd and wood)
- an bluetooth amplifier board 2x 50 W
- different types of screws with wing nuts and nuts (M5, M4, M2.5, M3) 12mm length
- midrange speaker drivers
- tin-lead solder
- legs or a stand: see step 5 to figure out what kind of legs you can create with what materials
- a 12V lithium-ion power supply (optional)
- 12V plug (can easily be found at home)
- wire cables
used: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Cables-Fabric-L...: chosen for the look and feel, there are cheaper ones out there and ones that are less thick
- battery support
- PLA filament for your battery holder see alternatives with materials bellow at STEP 6
A lot of this material is salvageable, you can find some items in flea markets or in some of your outdated products.
- Soldering iron and solder
- Wire cutter and stripper
- Small flathead screwdriver
- Table saw to cut the board
- electric drill with the bits that fit your screws (2.5, 3, 4, 5.5mm)
3D printing and laser cutting were used but are not necessary for the project.
Step 2: Select and Cut Your Board
For this project, I used a clear acrylic board with dimensions 5 X 600 X 500 mm . You can cut your board to any size you desire and can use mdf or plywood as alternatives. Feel free to select colours for your own original finish.
Make sure the board is sturdy enough to support your circuit. The boards were laser-cut to size, you can get pre-cut boards or cut them yourself.
How to cut acrylic:
Here are a few links on how to cut wood straight, either with table or circular saws.
Step 3: The Electronics Part - Your Circuit
WARNING: The circuit is not at professional audio standard
For the electronics circuit part of this project you have to make sure of two things:
- that the voltage (V) capacity of your battery and/or plug and amplifier match
- that you wire your speakers in a way that they don't get overblown by power they can't handle.
Since this is a multi speaker installation and that there are only 2 outputs for the amp, it is safer to wire the speakers in parallel.
There are buttons on your board that allow you to control your speaker (see picture) but thanks to the bluetooth you can regulate everything from your phone as well.
This link explains the concepts of voltage, power and independence and how to wire your speakers.
Step 4: Components Layout and Hole Sizes
This will help you address certain constraints of cable length. The battery and amplifier used in this circuit need to be close to each other due to cable length. Set them on your board to determine where you want them to be placed and measure those dimensions.
Your amp will generally need to be near a bottom corner of your board: especially if you plan not to use a portable battery.
Create holes for your battery holder, amps and speakers, this will vary based on your part measurements. The files below correspond to some standard speaker sizes, drawing of amp board holes ect.
I also added a handle to make the speakers portable. Here are two versions I used. These were laser cut.
If you don't have a laser, draw the holes on your board with a marker after cutting out your stencil measurements, if you are using acrylic and there is no protective film, place masking tape on the drilling areas to draw the outlines and to protect your board while cutting. For linear cutouts, (for handles or the space for the speaker terminals) create pilot holes at the edges, make sure your holes don't cross the boundaries of your square and use a jigsaw to cut the straight lines, use a flat steel file to create sharp corners.
Make sure you have a sacrificial board underneath so that the end of the hole is clean and to protect your working surface. If you are using acrylic here are some suggestions on how to cut acrylic safely. Also Keep the protective film on your acrylic as long as possible to avoid scratches.
For the larger holes, many drill bits and hole saw bits are available to purchase.
Here is a link on how to cut acrylic:
Speakers can be found in lots of places and are very durable parts! you could salvage them from an old speaker doc that you no longer use or find old speakers in the flea market or certain charity shops.
See document speakermeasurements to measure the right size holes for your drivers!
I put the laser cutting files I used for my board but for your object, it will vary based on the speakers you have available. There are however some standard sizes you can check if these match.
Step 5: Make a Stand for Your Board
The metal feet:
Using this diagram I made two metal feet that would hold my board up and were removable.
They are made from steel bars that have dimensions 0.3mm thickness and 30mm width.
I drew a diagram to size and recreated the bend using a 90 degree metal bender and by fixing the bar into a workbench clamp to get the tighter correct bend. Then using clamps and a welding machine, I spot welded the two parts together and 2 holes in the top part of the legs. I then made a 5.5 mm hole for M5 screws with their washers and M5 butterfly nuts
Buy steel rods:https://www.austenknapman.co.uk/mild-steel/mild-st...
Alternative wooden stand:
I also created a simpler wooden stand as an alternative for another version of the speaker. I used a plywood plank the width of my board and created 4 rounded triangles of the same size that are screwed into the plank from underneath. Sand the top corners of the triangle to make sliding the board easier and less prone to damage your board. Use the maximum height and width as the metal feet for the dimensions of the triangles if you are using a 500X600 board. I used M3 22mm countersunk screws.
To screw the base and triangle and the base together, use a smaller drill bit to create the initial holes in the rectangular base.
This requires 12mm thick plywood for the triangles and 6mm thick for the board.
Step 6: Adding a Rechargeable Battery, Soldering and Assembly
You can add a rechargeable battery to make your speakers portable. I also created a battery holder that I made to fit the specific battery I bought, a 12DC from Safari Drives. See stl file to 3D print the battery holder adapted to this battery.
Note on the battery I used: It will take a while to charge, at times I've had to plug it into the charger, and into the board, remove the charger and then it worked great.
How to solder:
It is very important that your holes near the terminals are big enough to fit your cables. Determine the cable length you want between the two speakers you wire in parallel, cut at least 15mm longer than your measurements to allow for some trimming and not putting too much stress on the wire. I used the bronze cables for the positive and white for the negative wires.
You have to solder your speakers as you go and not before assembly since the speakers don't go fully through the holes. Get someone to hold the speakers for you while you solder or find a way to secure them at the right height.
The cables linked to the amp can be screwed into the amp terminals with a small flathead screwdriver.
Choice of the wire:
I chose fabric flex wires because they are more elegant but they are also less practical that thinner wires, I also used shrink wrap to protect the end of the cables from fraying. I used white for the negative wires and bronzer for the positive.
TIME FOR ASSEMBLY!
Screws and Bolts:
Secure your speakers by adding the screws. You can use a minimum of 2 screws per speaker driver. The less you use, the easier the dissassembly.
By using butterfly nuts you create a design that is easier to disassemble if you ever want to reuse your components or switch them up!
Connect your speaker to a power source and connect to the amp bluetooth (SANWU AUDIO) and TADA!
You have a brand new SPEAKERBOARD!