I like big speakers because, well, they look cool. However, with the advent of small satellite speakers, you don't really see that many large tower speakers anymore. I recently came across a pair of tower speakers which were burnt out, but otherwise looked perfectly fine. It would have been a shame to throw out these monuments to acoustic technology, so I decided to get creative...
I also had an old DVD player and some DVD's just laying on my bedroom floor, so I thought to myself, "What better place to put them than inside a tower speaker?" That's when the mashing began and this instructable was born. I modified the DVD player to fit in the speaker (retaining all of its functions) and installed 3 shelves for the DVD's. I also put the speaker face on hinges, to make the DVD's both hidden and easily accessible. The finished product is shown in the picture below.
On another note:
This instructable will guide you through my "creative" process, from start to finish. In my case, I decided to make the speakers into a fully functional DVD player with 3 hidden DVD shelves (see pic 1). However, this project is definitely open to modification. I suggest that the reader keep their mind and imagination open while reading, because there are so many possible variations of this project. For instance, instead of a DVD player, you could mash up a stereo receiver or a cable box with the speaker and use the shelves to store hidden valuables, books, or old VHS tapes. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and any extra electronics you may have lying around.
Step 1: Materials
Here are some of the things which you will need to attack this project:
Things to be Mashed Up:
Tower Speakers (the bigger the better!), DVD player, DVD's, About 2 sq ft of wood (I used some drawers from a dresser my neighbor was throwing out)
Drill, Saw, Sander (optional), Measuring Tape. Clamps (if you have them)
Wood Glue, Screws, Hinges, Magnetic Door Catch (optional), duct tape
Step 2: Making the First Incision...
Since the whole point of this project is to maintain the appearance of the speaker, care must be taken during this step. The front of the speaker (which contains the individual speakers) must be removed so the DVD player and shelves can be installed. However, depending on the speaker you're using, this may be tricky.
My speaker was glued together on all sides, and the front was screwed on from the inside. Therefore, I had to use my jigsaw to remove the back side of the speaker (pic 1) to get to the screws that secured the front of the speaker (pic 2). While this did create a large hole in the back of the speaker, it did make the rest of the work easier.
Note: Before attacking your speaker with a jigsaw, make sure it's not held together by screws. We want to make as little an impact on the external appearance of the speaker as possible...
Step 3: Modifying the Individual Speakers
While you have individual speakers exposed, you may want to remove the magnets. The magnets are actually quite powerful and can be used later in the project to keep the door in place. They also take up quite a bit of space, so it's a good idea to remove them to leave as much space as possible for the shelves. However, if you like them, you can certainly leave them there!
I first unscrewed each of the speakers before prying off the magnets with a screwdriver. After measuring the larger speaker, I found that I had to saw off the back part if I was going to fit DVD's behind it. I used the jigsaw with a fine blade to saw each of the four arms holding the magnet in place, and then screwed the speakers back in place. This step gave made the speakers intrude into the speaker box 2" less than they had before, enabling me to fit DVD's behind them. I also use one of the speaker magnets on my fridge now!
Step 4: Mashing the DVD Player
Now it's time to begin the mashing! At this point you have two options, depending upon the size of your DVD player. You can either fit it into the speaker on its own shelf (making the entire thing hidden!) or you may have to modify a larger DVD player to fit into a smaller speaker. In my case, I had to modify my DVD player to fit, here's how I did it:
First off, open up your DVD player (see pic 1). You should have at least five main parts, including the DVD reader, processor board, AV board, power board, and the face plate circuit. Luckily, I found that I could still use the face plate of my DVD player by trimming it down to the width of the speaker (see pic 2). I highly recommend finding a way to do this, as it retains the user-interface capability. My faceplate also came with brackets on each side, which I used to keep it in place (see pic 3). Once the faceplate was installed, I proceeded to fit all of the other components into the speaker. This will take some time - it's almost like origami with electronics. Just be patient and try to make it as compact as possible. Here are some pointers which may help:
1) First and foremost - be safe! Be careful to avoid any possible short circuits or bare wires which may ignite fires. Remember - you are putting an electronic device in a wooden housing (which is flammable!). Just keep all of the components away from one another and you should be fine. If you are still wary, make a scaffold out of plastic to contain the electronics. I finished this project 3 weeks ago and I haven't had any problems at all.
2) If you don't excel at origami, you may need to snip some wires and resolder them. This option requires a little more expertise, but will give you a lot more flexibility.
3) The circuit boards can go anywhere, but the DVD reader must be lined up with the slot on the face plate! Remember that the DVD tray has to slide in and out of that small slot. I used wood spacers to position mine and it works fine!
4) Since the circuit boards may take up more vertical space than the face plate, you may have to cut some scrap wood to cover it up (see pic 5)
Step 5: Cutting the Shelves
Now it's time for some woodworking! I attached the diagram of my wood cuts below. You will need to cut the following:
1) 3 shelves
2) 6 supports (left and right) for those shelves
3) Any other pieces you may need to cover up the DVD electronics or to make a shelf for your intact DVD player
I used some drawers from a dresser (which my neighbor threw out) for wood, but you can use fresh or scrap wood. Keep in mind that you may have to modify the shelf dimensions, depending on the speaker you're using. My shelves have notches so that the front is flush with the speaker face.
Step 6: Installing the Shelves
Now that your shelves are cut, it's time to put them in place. I've included the designs for my shelves below. Obviously, your designs may vary, but here are some general guidelines:
1) Make sure that the shelf supports (tiny squares in pictures below) are level with one another. You don't want any tilting shelves! You can easily do this by carefully measuring the height of each support.
2) Also make sure that your shelves are at least 8" apart, since DVD's are approximately 7.5" tall.
3) Make sure that the speakers will not run into your shelves when you put the face back on. Measure exactly where the speakers will intrude into the speaker box and make sure not to put any shelves in that space.
I used wood glue to glue the supports into place. You should use clamps to keep them in place and let them sit for at least half an hour at room temperature to dry. Otherwise, they will warp (from the added moisture of the glue).
Once the supports are in place, simply rest the shelves on top of them!
Step 7: Everything Hinges Upon This Step!
Now we must reattach the speaker face to our creation. However, we will obviously not screw it on as it was before, we shall add hinges so we can cover or expose the DVD shelves. First, select the side you want the hinges on. Consider where you will be putting the finished product and how you would like the door to open.
Once you've selected a side for the hinges, measure about 1-2" from the top and bottom of the speaker face and speaker, and position the hinges. Be careful to line them up before setting the screws - you don't want to have a slanted door! Either make good measurements, or have someone else hold the door in position as you line it all up and install the hinges. I highly recommend having an electric drill for this step. Don't forget to predrill those holes!
Step 8: Back to the Back...
Now that the front is mostly finished, we can seal up the hole we made in the back (pic 1). There are a few variations on this step, depending on what wood you have available and how compact you made the DVD player.
I believe the best thing to do here would be to cut and secure a sheet of 1/8" plywood to the back to cover the hole. In my case, I wanted to use as little new material as possible and my DVD reader stuck out the back about 2". Therefore, I had to trim the original back piece that I cut, and I secured it to the back with some scrap wood I had from the drawers (pic 2).
Once I secured the back, the DVD reader still stuck out the back (pic 3). To cover up this blemish, I fabricated a box out of some 1/8" plywood (pics 4 & 5). Make sure that you leave some space for the A/V and power cords to reach the DVD player ports. Once that was done, all I had to do was glue it to the back piece and viola! No more exposed electronics (pic 6)!
Step 9: Harness the Power of Magnetism
In order to keep the door from swinging open, we need a catch that will hold the door in place while allowing you to open it with some applied force. I chose to use magnets to hold the door closed, but there are various other latching mechanisms available at your local home goods store. Here are some tips for using magnets:
One option is to buy a magnetic catch from Wal-Mart. These babies cost about $0.78 a piece and come with all the hardware you'll need. I attached one in the upper left hand corner of my speaker box (see pic 1), and it does a very nice job of holding the door without excessive force. Remember to predrill any holes!!!!
Alternatively: Remember those magnets from the speakers in step 3? Here's where we can use them. It turns out that the metal that the speakers are made out of is also magnetic. If you secure one of the speaker magnets in the correct position (see pic 1), it will catch the speaker metal on the door and hold it closed! I recommend using only the smaller magnets, as the larger ones may be difficult to install and too strong. A good epoxy should keep the magnet in place.
Step 10: Insert DVD(s)...
Congratulations! You have made something really cool!
Now all you have to do is fill up the shelves with DVD's and enjoy! Take some time to make sure your hinges are operating properly and the DVD player is fully functional.
Step 11: Other Options..
On a final note, this instructable is intended to be more of an inspiration than a strict protocol. There are many things that you can hide within a tower speaker. They are inconspicuous, yet they offer a lot of volume to hide or conceal something in. For example, I'm going to use the other speaker in the set to make shelves for an Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and N64 (see below).
All in all, use your imagination! Go forth and mash up!