UpCyled Bookshelf Speakers

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About: Designer, Maker, CNC Enthusiast, Audio Lover

These speakers were based on a very old fashioned set of metal enclosure speakers that sounded pretty poor but actually had good quality drivers inside so I decided to upgrade them!

To see more examples of the things I make; check out my website.

or check out my etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MakeALittleMore?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Step 1: Salvaging the Drivers

Naturally the first step in this build was to salvage the components needed for the rebuild from old set of speakers. They were held in with some screws and glue so the disassembly was not too challenging at all.

Step 2: Designing and CAM

Next I designed the enclosure for the speakers based on the measurements of the drivers found within the old pair.

The design was simple and classic with a woofer, mid and tweeter. I couldn't find the specs for the drivers so I estimated the volume. I designed them in fusion 360 and also did the cam for the parts including the mitred joints.

Step 3: Machining and Cleanup

The machining was very straight forward and was quite quick. The miters were cut with an endmill so the steps needed to be sanded to produce a clean miter. The rest of the pieces were straight forward 2.5D parts that were cut out easily.

Step 4: Assembly Pt1

Chamfers were added to the front panels. The parts that make up the rest of the enclosure were aligned and then masking taped up. Glue was put in the miters and the box was taped up. I used a band clamp to aid the tape in holding the box together. I wanted a darker aesthetic for the enclosure that would contrast the plain white oak front. I used black paint which I rubbed into the grain and then wiped off the excess. Once it was dry I sanded the whole enclosure to remove any more excess.

Step 5: Adding Mesh

To protect the paper cones of the drivers I added some very porous cloth in front of each driver.

Step 6: Varnishing

I added the back panel and then used a glossy varnish to cover the whole enclosure. I find yacht varnish gives a very nice finish and protects the body of the speaker well.

Step 7: Front Panel Glue Up

Next, the front panel could be glue on to the body and all the wiring done including the crossovers. The panels are slightly inset to to add more clamping pressure I used a block of wood and some tape to push down on the front.

Step 8: Back Panel

Sound dampening material was added to the enclosure and the back panel was attached with double sided foam tape which not only seals the enclosure but also means the panel can be easily removed for maintenance. The binding posts were added and screwed down.

Step 9: Finished!

This was a simple and fun little project to get a little bit more life out of a pair of old speakers. They sounded better than the originals and look much much nicer so I think the up cycle was a success!

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    11 Discussions

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    BrownDogGadgets

    2 months ago

    I just had a conversation with a local speaker tinkerer about this today! He was hand cutting faces which took forever. I offered to laser cut or CNC him some if he ever needed it.

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    brendenniller

    3 months ago

    Very nice project. How much do you think I would spend on this project if I wanted to do something similar?

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    RichardL144

    5 months ago on Step 4

    Why put fabric over the speakers internally? ANY fabric colors the sound. Better with no fabric. Or put a proper acoustic cloth front panel. I personally think the look you have is quite odd.

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    pgs070947

    5 months ago

    Nice job.

    Try Osmo Polyx-oil for a finish on white oak etc. Gives a far more natural finish than varnish and is very hard wearing

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    nonobadog

    5 months ago

    Nice looking speakers! But do you find the tweeters have less dispersion now that they are set back in that little tunnel?

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    Gastonone

    5 months ago

    Please be sure all is air tight: enclosure, backplate and the drivers.
    Cones will give tighter low frequencies and as a result better higher frequencies.
    Try upgrading the parts used in the filter..
    They look great!

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    Capt Caveman

    Tip 5 months ago

    Another tip would be to add some soft feet to them, they would just rumble all over the place. I personally use some small nails or screws through the base to just lift the speaker body and prevent any speaker rumble.

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    Capt Caveman

    Tip 5 months ago

    A small tip I use for every type of varnish, and some paints, is to put the tin of varnish into a bigger tub/bucket and add hot water to thin the varnish. It helps with the application and also creates a very nice and smooth finish.

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    Capt Caveman

    5 months ago

    Very nice looking speakers, The only down point is that I would of liked to see more information regarding the crossovers and wiring in general, maybe a little more detail in the instructions but all in all a very nice addition.

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    JollyE

    5 months ago

    I'm just passing by to say, WOW.
    Those are beautiful speakers and I hope to get to this level someday!

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    meztek

    5 months ago

    Very nice work. Did you apply varnish directly to freshly sanded wood surfaces? I usually stain my woodworking projects first but I like the natural bright colors you achieve here.