Introduction: Wireless Robot Speaker
Thanks for checking out my instuctable on how I built my Apocalypse themed Robot Wifi Speaker.
This is my Third wifi speaker build. It integrates with my other 4 diy built wifi speakers to make a full multi-room audio system that is controlled centrally on my tablet. You can see the other builds and get more info on the whole system in the last step of this instructable.
This particular speaker use a 4.1 channel gaming speaker system fitted together in the shape of a robot.
Step 1: Materials
To build this robot speaker you will need;
yellow and black spray paint
square timber stumps (for the arms)
A single wood sheet. ( Can be anything really. I used a shelf - you need this for the feet)
Washers, nuts & threaded bar (to attach the arms)
medium grit sand paper for wood
Note - keep the sawdust from the cutting process = I used this to age the robot when painting it
A 2.1 or larger speaker system - I used a cambridge soundworks 4.1 computer speaker set but only used 2 of the 4 satellite speakers.
Airport express 2nd gen or newer. Circa $50 delivered - Sourced on amazon second hand.
Step 2: Design
I used the above image as a base reference and went from there. The cube shape that makes the body is actually the subwoofer from the speaker system. The arms are just 2 pieces of 75mm x 75mm timber cut so that they fit together at the "elbow".
The size of the arms and feet are relative to the size of the subwoofer. I made them so they look like everything is just slightly out of proportion. To give that classic big bulky war robot look.
NOTE - Don't use cheap hammers to build robots. Mine Exploded!... : -)
Step 3: Prep the Subwoofer
> First I disassembled the subwoofer, removing the plate amp and the driver.
> It was then safe to drill a hole either side of the unit. This is for the threaded bar that holds the arms in place.
> I then glued 3 blocks of timber on the top to create a larger overall body with a space at the front for the robots head. I sanded the wood and used filler on the joints to create a smooth uniform surface.
Step 4: Arms
While the glue on the subwoofer is curing I began cutting out the pieces to form the arms.
> I used 75mm x 75mm (2.95" X 2.95") timber cut into 4 equal sections. I cut the upper arm piece for each arm slightly narrower then the lower pieces. I then cut two square blocks for the "hands".
> Using a junior hacksaw with a metal cutting blade I cut a length of threaded bar to fix through the top of the are at the "shoulder" into the subwoofer. Allow enough length for a nut and washer at each end and in between. I then cut one for the elbow joint and the wrist joint to hold the hand on.
> The images show the technique of attached the hand blocks. Basically hammer a nut to within an inch of it's life so it embeds itself into the timber flush with the face. Use a small length of bar to screw the hand and arm together. I used additional washers at the elbow joint to ensure the correct spacing.
> At this point i disassembled the arms and used a mitre saw to cut angles along the edge of each piece to give it that robot square look. I then sanded them smooth.
Step 5: Legs
The legs were pretty simple.
> I took an old shelf and cut two "U" shapes out with a jigsaw. I sanded the edges round and smooth.
> I then cut a block of timber to fit in between the two legs. I glued the legs to the block then the block to the under side of the subwoofer.
Step 6: Paint and Distressed Metal Technique
I wanted the robot to look battle scared, used and generally roboty...
> After sanding everything and cleaning off the dust I set the pieces out and coated everything black.
> Next I decided where to stick masking tape to form the shapes and numbers. The masking tape keeps the black areas untouched throughout the overcoating process leaving clean negative shapes.
> After sticking all the masking tape down I applied a single layer of safety yellow to one piece at a time. Before the paint sets I sprinkled fine saw dust from the cutting process over the still wet paint. After about 30 minutes I applied a second coat that seals the sawdust in place. Before the top coat cures I rubbed my finger along the edges to rough the paint job up. This is the easiest way to make faux metal robot paint.
> I also painted the speaker grill and cloth with a light coat so as not to impede the frequency range passing through.
> The final step was to remove the masking tape and touch up as needed...
Step 7: Assembly
> After the paint cured I assembled the arms and attached them to the body.
> Then I attached fingers to the hands by drilling out 3 shallow holes and glueing in three short pieces of curtain pole. At this point I cut the hands down to a much smaller size because it looked better
> To add character to the arms I glued on a plastic handle and painted it black. On the other arm I bent a basket shape from galvanised mesh. (Taken from a desk pen holder thing) I then painted two dead batteries black and stuck them in the attached basket. Gives the robot a more authentic functional look.
> I then attached the arms to the body and glued the 2 satellite speakers to the back. Having the speakers face out left and right gives the overall sound more body. This essentially makes the sound "fuller" as the audio bounces round the room.
> The final step was to glue in an Apple Airport Express (2nd Gen) inside the subwoofer enclosure and run the wires through a small hole. The power cable was simply spliced into the cable for the speaker itself and the aux cable plugged into the aux in port on the speakers amp. I then re-inserted the plate amp and driver to finish the assembly. I glued the volume knob on the top next to the head.
Step 8: Setting Up Airplay Wireless Music
The main feature of this speaker is that it is wireless and runs using the airplay protocol. The express connects to the subwoofers aux in port. I can then set it up on my network so that I can connect to it and stream audio.
Weather you want to connect to this speaker with single device such as an Iphone or use it like I did in my multi speaker configuration the set up is the same. Your smart phone will see one or more devices and you simply select which one you want to use. If you're doing it the way I am, you need a windows platform and airfoil software. To keep things clean and simple I used a cheap Windows 8.1 based tablet. Small and light like an ipad but a fully functioning windows environment. More info on how I set up the speakers can be found in the last step.
As each home is different you may want to follow the official apple set up guid as this details each possible scenario.
Step 9: Every Robot Needs a Face...
The head is basically a small cardboard tube, cut to length and painted black. I cut a mouth guard from cardboard and glued it in place. I super glued 2 washer and two nuts together for the eyes and were ready to go.
Step 10: 5 Speaker Multi-room Wireless System
This speaker was part of a set of 5 that make up my wireless multi-room audio hifi system. If you are not interested in making more than one speaker or playing audio in multiple rooms wirelessly you can skip this step.
I put together 5 speakers in total. Each can be found on instructable on my user page (Links below). Each one is designed with an apple airport express hidden inside. This allows them to connect to my existing wifi network at home. When each is connected, a piece of software called Airfoil can detect them as airplay speakers. (you can name each speaker for easy identification). I run this application on a small windows 8.1 tablet. (cost $199 of amazon.com).
In summary - I control each of the five speakers from the tablet. I can adjust the volume globally or individually on each speaker. Airfoil captures the tablets audio output regardless of the source. I simply tap the Airfoil icon and it auto opens Spotify and begins capturing its audio output and broadcasts it out to each of the speakers. It calculates the distance of each speaker from the router (directly related to transmission time) keeping everything in sync and eco/delay free.
Check the app out on the publishers website here...
I also listen to mixes on youtube and using this method allows me to hear it in every room. I can also play tunes on single speakers if needed. Just hit the mute button in the app on the other speakers. As a final added bonus - Each airport express can extend my wifi range by a significant radius and a USB device can be attached to each one. You can make a usb printer wireless or attached storage etc... I didn't utilise this feature but it was tempting and it may come in handy in the future. Thanks for looking at my wifi speaker instructable. As mentioned, you can see the other four on my user page and if you think any of them are worthy, please vote for them. If you are looking to make something similar and have any questions, comments or issues please feel free to message me.
Speaker One - Minimal Tower Speaker
Speaker Two - Minimal Cube Speaker
Speaker Three - Apocalypse Robot - (This Speaker)
Speaker Four - Full Hifi tower speaker & Subwoofer
Speaker Five - Kandi Skull Portable speaker