This project is exactly what the title says. A Bluetooth ukulele speaker that hangs from the wall! not only is it aesthetically pleasing to be on the wall with nothing under it but it actually serves a purpose to! speakers sound their best when they are not resting on something solid, this allows for better resonance and ultimately a richer sound. it was a very fun project and it can easily be adapted to fit other wall hanging instruments such as an acoustic guitar.
Step 1: Materials, Equipment and Tools
Although i used many different power tools for this project, anyone else who wants to give this a shot can easily do all of this with hand tools.
Rotary Tool with carbon cutting bit
Orbital Sander with various grits of sandpaper
Stationary Belt Sander
Soldering Iron and Solder
Red Oak Plywood (any kind can be used)
2 Part Epoxy
Green Painters Tape
Wood Stain of Choice
Speakers (2x) Mounting Screws (8x)
Amplifier and Mounting Screws (4x)
Battery (18650 li ion)
Wall Mount for Guitar
Step 2: Picking and Modifying the Vessel
For years i played the ukulele, however over the last few years it has just been sitting in my closet. Instead of throwing it away i decided to turn it into a stylish Bluetooth speaker. initially i picked the ukulele because of the sound hole that was in there for its original purpose. upon further inspection i realized that the sound hole was just slightly too large for the speakers i had to sit in.
In order to get around this problem i decided to cut a large square hole in the face of the uke and cover it with a "uke-shaped" plywood sheet.
Once the square hole was cut i sanded down the remaining face of the uke for the epoxy to better grab onto.
Step 3: Cutting the Plywood
In order to make a new face for the uke i chose to use 1/8 inch plywood with red oak on the front. I chose red oak because this is as close as i could find to the grain of mahogany (original uke wood) and the stain would also make it even closer to the original colour.
I took the ukulele and measured where the neck meets the body with the micrometer. I traced out these dimensions on one edge of the plywood sheet and cut it out with the rotary tool. I did this so that when i traced the body of the ukulele, the plywood would be flush with the uke body.
Once the line had been traced i cut it out of the plywood sheet with about a half inch of grace so that i could just sand down to the final dimensions. better safe than sorry!
Step 4: Placing the Components
This is a very important part of the project, finding a way to arrange the components that look good. I had decided on a linear pattern down the center of the uke. To find the center of the new plywood face i found the center of the top and the bottom of the uke, drew points, then finally drew a line right down the center.
*Tip* Because the uke and the components are symmetrical, do all line work and drawing on the back of the plywood. This will ensure that absolutely no lines show up when it comes to staining and finishing.
I then arranged the components spacing in a way that would be visually pleasing and drew them out on the plywood back.
*Tip* although eye-balling the measurements of the components can be done i would recommend that a micrometer is used to ensure the utmost precision.
Step 5: Adding the Battery
I had an old 18650 battery laying around from a previous project so i decided to use it in this one. The battery is best added before the addition of the new uke face.
*tip* if the leads going to the battery are not long enough to hang out of the front of the uke, then solder some longer leads on it to make it easier to assemble later.
Mix up a small amount of epoxy and place some in the ukuleles internal cavity where you want the battery to live.
Step 6: Adding the New Face
In order to prevent squeeze out of epoxy onto the outside of the ukulele i would recommend taping up the sides of the uke. Additional tape can be used on the back to prevent scratches from impacting the rest of the uke body.
Take the new plywood face and ensure it lines up with the center of the uke body. the neck void we created earlier can help with lining it up perfectly.
Once the uke is prepped, mix up a decent amount of epoxy, enough to properly secure it with the left over sanded tabs on the original uke face. Ensure the "pretty" side of the new face is face up, apply epoxy to it and place it down on the uke. use the neck groove to line it up. Apply weight to it and leave to dry for at least 24 hours.
Once the epoxy has been given time to cure properly its time to sand the edges of the new face down to its final size. Another great reason to have the body taped up is preventing over sanding of the new face and ruining the finish on the sides of the uke. Initially use the belt sander to take off large amounts quickly but when you get close to the sides of the uke switch to a hand held palm sander or orbital sander to finish it off.
Next move to final sanding, start with 80 grit sand paper to smooth out all irregular surfaces and gradually work up to 220 grit sand paper.
Once everything is smooth, clean the face surface with a cloth to remove any particulates. Stain the face with the wood stain of your choosing, let cure for 6 hours and finally apply a light coat of poly urethane and let dry.
Step 7: Final Assembly
The final assembly is very easy, simple install the speakers with screws into the appropriate holes in the new face and feed the wires to the hole where the amplifier will sit. Take the leads from the speaker and battery and solder them to the amplifier. Install the amplifier with screws
When complete hang the stereo on the guitar wall mount and enjoy the full resonant sounds this stereo offers!
Participated in the
Audio Contest 2017