Introduction: Speaker Cab for Vibration Speaker
Lets say you've upgraded your Bluetooth speaker arsenal to include a vibration speaker. There are several decent ones in the market. A few are very good. We sell an awesome one and HMDX makes an interesting one as well. If you don't know how these work, just imagine a decent/good Bluetooth Speaker that has thumping bass. Not "better bass", I'm talking shakes the shot glass off the table bass.
If you know how these work, you know that different surfaces produce different sounds. At home I use mine primarily on my nightside table. Solid wood. Hollow interior. It is an ideal chamber to make big noise and annoy my wife. At work I have to be a bit more considerate. I still want that Vibration Speaker thump, but at a lower volume. Being 3D printer enthusiasts we tinkered with creating a speaker cab that enhanced the natural tendencies of vibration speakers - keeping the thump in-tact - but that also enhances the highs and mids.
The following is a cab we created that did just that. Keep in mind, this is just our maker/tinker minds playing around. I'm sure others can create better cab designs. With that said, here's a quick overview of what we did. If we come up with better designs (or have some awesome ones sent to us) we'll post links here.
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Step 1: Build Your 3D File.
I built this one in TinkerCad. It's no Maya, but for simple geometries it is my favorite platform. I started with a single block 150mm x 90mm. 40mm tall.
Size matters with these, but not as much as you might expect. It only matters if it's too small (my wife is nodding as I type this). You need room to not only place the speaker on top, but with enough internal room for a support pillar.
So I started with a solid block (sized above), then created a hollow block 146mm x 86mm, centered it, set 2mm from the bottom and used it to cut out the middle. That gives me 2mm walls all around.
Step 2: Support Pillar
Vibration speakers want support. A science nerd (said with pure love in my heart) could probably explain why - all I know is that a cab without rattles and a cab with booms. Build a pillar.
- Start with a cone. Size it to give yourself some solid connection between bottom and pillar.
- Add a tube. Keep it centered.
- Top it off with another cone flipped 180.
- Not only does this give you a solid connection with the top, when your printer starts printing over dead space it helps to have the flare up there to bridge the gap. Meaning - the wider the flare the less open space your printer is laying filament across.
- Make sure there's no dead space between the top of this pillar and the top of the walls. If it's not tall enough it won't connect to the lid. That's bad.
Step 3: Add a Spot for Wood or Glass (optional)
Vibration speakers sound best on wood or glass. This cab file has a section up top designed to hold a 40x50mm piece of wood.
- start with a 40x50 block right. Take it up 3mm.
- create a 36x46 block as a hollow-out. Center it in the 40x50 block.
- Join/Group to hollow this out, leaving only a square ridge to hold your wood or glass element.
Step 4: Print It Out.
Here is a finished piece - by itself and with wood. Place speaker in the center of the wood, pair with phone, play something with stupid bass, enjoy.
Step 5: Play Around
I discovered that I get different bass and frequency responses depending on whether the cab is upside down or right-side up. If I place upside down, with wood piece against my desk I get more mids in the 1k-2k range. Rightside up pushes more mid/lows in the 200-500 range. But that could just be the type of wood you use.
I printed the same thing with no square on top to hold wood, placed a glass piece on top and had a more full range response. But then I broke that glass piece so I tried the wood angel. IMO, I prefer the glass response, but at my desk, when co-workers are around, this cab with wood piece is a perfect compromise. I feel the bass thumping through my desk, but get a natural sound hit my ears, even at low volumes.
I also found that placing the cab on a thin piece of napkin or paper towel helps the whole thing not rattle on the desk. Too think a napkin and it looses the bass. Nothing at all and it rattles a bit unless you printed that base out 100% level and flat. If so, you're better at this than I.
For the record, I have 4 cabs printed out now.
Step 6: Make More
Different shapes, different sounds. Some sucky. The cute little roundishgon sounds like a you would expect. Bad. The red with longer wood piece sounds stellar. It has 4mm walls and 3 internal pillars. For my next trick I'm going to make a similar cab, solid walls, big supports, but twice the size. I'll post pics and a review later.
Also - I've played with ports and they don't seem to make a difference. But maybe you're smarter than I and can figure that part out.
For the record, it doesn't suck working for a company that sells PLA filament. "time to um....test more spools to make sure they're up to our quality standards...taking these 3 spools home tonight...thanks...."