Quantcast

Some help appreciated with a few design basics

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
Hi all

I have a project that I'd like to attempt once I have created a rough prototype, but I am quite new to doing 'proper' woodwork so am after some basic construction and material suggestions if people can humour my ignorance and newby questions. Apologies in advance if this is not the correct place for asking but it seemed like it would be.

What I would like to do is to create an amplified ipad speaker cabinet/dock using some nice quality hardwood in the construction.
I'm intending on using the guts from a set of active monitor speakers with a little extra wiring, and I'm happy with the electronics side of things, but my previous work with wood has been crude and hasty at best so I need advice with this. Partly I don't want to bite off more than I can chew as a novice, but partly just advice about construction techniques that would be suited to this project.

At a very basic level I'm planning on building something of outwardly similar proportions/style as this thing:
http://www.tdkperformance.com/en-us/Hom ... io-System/

But using wood for the cabinet, with smaller radius corners, and most notably that where the central speaker driver is situated in the above product is where the ipad would be positioned in my project. I was initially thinking of a rotating cradle to allow a change of orientation between portrait/landscape, but the more I think of it, the more I think it would end up looking silly and 'heath robinson', so in all likeliness it will be some sort of very wide slot that the ipad will simply slide into.

My intention is to build a very rough prototype speaker box first so that I can mash out the general layup and hopefully get my design mistakes out of the way with that where it won't cause a big waste of time/effort/money/tears.
Once that's done and functioning and I have ironed out any issues to then begin slowly trying to make a refined version from better materials and parts that will be a lot more pleasing to the eye/touch.

I have not purchased good quality wood in the past except for a bundle of Iroko battens that I used for various small items around the house and on my boat. So initially I had delusions that I could buy some 'sheets' of walnut and get cracking.

Of course in reality things don't work like that so I'm either going to have to lower my sights a little in terms of the wood used, or (assuming this isn't a cardinal sin on here - and apologies if it is!!) but to potentially use a cheap wood to construct the cabinet itself, then apply the likes of walnut veneer to it, and finish it.

I have a fairly well equipped garage with the likes of:
Bandsaw
Mill
Lathe (metal but sure I could use if for turning wood)
Bench sander
Pillar drill

And plenty of hand power tools like router, jigsaw, drills, belt sander, orbital sander, power plane etc
Plus chisels and the like

So I think in terms of kit I should have sufficient to enable me to make something slightly better than Blue Peter level, but I'm not used to using these things for anything that involves the words finish or finesse!

To begin with, as mentioned, I'm unsure of what sort of construction a cabinet like this should be. So if anyone can point me towards any relevant diagrams, tutorials, links etc that would help educate me I'd be really grateful.

In the meantime I will start coming up with approximate dimensions for the prototype box etc so I can start doing something.

Many thanks in advance for any helpful advice.
Jim
 

paultnl

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2011
Messages
356
Reaction score
0
Location
Ely, Cambridgeshire
I am sure others will be along with better suggestions, but I would go with MDF for basic construction with a view to applying veneer once you have it worked out.
 

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
Thanks for the suggestion. I've used MDF plenty of times before as it's easy to work with and would do the job ok I guess for the basis of it.

In terms of the actual construction would I be looking at something along the lines of this?


...but with larger pieces inside the corners so that they can be manipulated into curves? Or should I be joining the panels using some sort of proper jointing technique (this really is an area that I know very little about apart from how some look, like dovetails, biscuit joints etc).

Haven't the faintest how I would then apply a hardwood veneer to a curved piece like that, but I do like the idea of using brass on this project as well for various fittings/controls so it might be feasible to get wide brass tube and cut it into quarters lengthways to cover such bits. Or something.... :?

The fine details of the design & finish don't overly worry me at this stage as it's so far off, but it doesn't hurt to chuck thoughts around I guess, in case I forget any ideas I've had.

By the way the dimensions of that TDK box are 24 (L) x 6 (W) x 15.5 (H) inches, which is about the same 60 cm that I'd roughly envisaged width wise if nothing else. I could probably get away with height of about 12 inches but not really less. I think I'd also want it a more like 8" deep rather than 6". Undecided at present as to whether or not it would be a 2 channel design, or 2.1 with a subwoofer inside (not visible at the front).
 

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
This is the sort of construction I was considering:


And (if you'll forgive the crude 'artists impression') hopefully something that ends up looking something vaguely along these lines (but nice!) at the end of the process:
 

RogerP

Established Member
Joined
7 Jan 2011
Messages
3,785
Reaction score
2
Location
Gloucester
Many professionally made speaker enclosures are made from MDF and then wood veneered or covered with faux leather or other fabric. I dislike MDF, the toxic nature and all pervading dust of the stuff puts me off, so as far as possible I don't use it. I think I'd make a basic construction with 18m birch ply with radiused corners and then cover with leather-look heat shrinkable vinyl. With this sort of "technological" thing, however well it's made, a wood finish will I think still look "home-made".
 

Oryxdesign

Established Member
Joined
30 Dec 2007
Messages
1,716
Reaction score
0
Location
Kent, UK
How about like this


The green bits could be veneered mdf with the corners being made from solid to match. The grain can be in a different direction or the same direction and you could inlay a contrasting timber in the joint.
 

Attachments

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
Thanks Simon - that looks a great idea for what I need as it will really allow me to have a reasonable radius to the corner curves, but still be solid and have a nice material.

RogerP":jolfzebq said:
Many professionally made speaker enclosures are made from MDF and then wood veneered or covered with faux leather or other fabric. I dislike MDF, the toxic nature and all pervading dust of the stuff puts me off, so as far as possible I don't use it. I think I'd make a basic construction with 18m birch ply with radiused corners and then cover with leather-look heat shrinkable vinyl. With this sort of "technological" thing, however well it's made, a wood finish will I think still look "home-made".
I agree Roger that I'm not a fan really of MDF other than it being easy to work with. Even then though you can't do anything small where it tends to just 'fluff' and come apart. Tis the nature of the beast I suppose.
I have a got a load of stressed effect tan leather actually from a sofa & armchair that we replaced a year or so ago and I could not bring myself to get rid without first removing all this nice leather for possible future projects, so I may be able to make use of some now.

I understand your last comment and I have certainly seen things as you describe, but have also seen some lovely pieces of kit in wooden cabinets/housings and I'd like to try. If nothing else it will be a learning experience, even if it doesn't end up quite how I envisage.

I'm in mental turmoil again over the electronics side of things at the moment, trying to decide what will be best since today I decided it might work best to use a set of component car speakers (6.5" drivers plus crossovers and tweeters together in a matched set), plus a small internal sub, and 3 channel amp, or to go with the previous ideas. It's hard to decide.

Also, I remembered a pile of wood at my mother's house so called in there on the way home from work tonight to see what i could find.
I have a few cupboard door size pieces which are all a very dark colour, and some is hardwood, but I haven't the faintest idea what.
My grandfather loved woodwork and used to make furniture and clocks, and he had left a load at her house. I figure since I love using wood and am priviledged to have much better tools etc than my father or grandfather were lucky enough to have I should at least make the effort to try and make something decent with it all.
 

RogerP

Established Member
Joined
7 Jan 2011
Messages
3,785
Reaction score
2
Location
Gloucester
Cret":300d833a said:
..........
Also, I remembered a pile of wood at my mother's house so called in there on the way home from work tonight to see what i could find.
I have a few cupboard door size pieces which are all a very dark colour, and some is hardwood, but I haven't the faintest idea what.
My grandfather loved woodwork and used to make furniture and clocks, and he had left a load at her house. I figure since I love using wood and am priviledged to have much better tools etc than my father or grandfather were lucky enough to have I should at least make the effort to try and make something decent with it all.
Sounds you have a treasure trove waiting to be unveiled! Lucky man :)

Post some photos eventually, remember on this board ... no photos and it didn't happen :wink:
 

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
Well a lot of pile turned out to be ropey old wooden window frames that are no used to man nor beast really, but I got a few useful bits.

If I manage to make something that I'm not fully ashamed of then pics will of course follow in due course.

I have made my first enormous blunder however. :roll: :oops:
Having got a little carried away with the prospect of what I was building I began to overlook the original purpose which was something that could sit by the side of my bed. It's a small set of drawers it would sit on and having suddenly realised and measured the space, it got to be a max of about 16 or 17 inches wide, which scuppers a few things.

Still perfectly doable, just not quite how I wanted. But it does make the electronics side of things more simple I think by forcing me to use smaller speakers and thus making some options more realistic.
Every cloud and all that! :lol:
 

Oryxdesign

Established Member
Joined
30 Dec 2007
Messages
1,716
Reaction score
0
Location
Kent, UK
Could you use a 2 channel amp that is bridge able for the sub and fit that in the rear?
 

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
Thanks for the suggestion Simon - I could do yes, but I've actually reached a decision and made a purchase this evening after a few hours poring over countless sets of reviews/specs etc.
http://www.trust.com/products/product.aspx?artnr=17249

Loads of good reviews about sound quality, it includes a wired remote which will make it very easy to position the volume where I want on the box, and it has a very high RMS output for something like this (my first hifi separate amp was only 10w rms more and plenty punchy), which should mean it has an easy life and if required will go loud without struggling or distorting.
And all for the princely sum of £30 delivered brand new!! :D

I have a selection of other speaker drivers I can potentially use if the satellite ones are really teeny when removed from their casings, including some Eltax bookshelf speakers with 4" main drivers. These would be fine with the power from this speaker set and probably sound and look a little better than the satellite drivers, plus the eltax drivers are easily unbolted, and have tidy surrounds (for use with grills removed), so all should be good with this lot one way or another.

Will update as soon as I've actually done something.....
 

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
Well no pics yet, but I started the very steps of doing as smaller prototype yesterday.

I need to cut a slight recessed edge for a speaker driver to sit on the front of the panel (maybe 2-3mm wide recessed ring) then the circle within that cut out.
It's only a 3" diameter circle so I wasn't sure of the best means of cutting this neatly given I'm using a piece of MDF for this. I've got a normal router but I thought the router attachment for my dremel might be better given the small size.
Couldn't even use the trammel bar for the dremel one so I put a screw the base plate to give a smaller radius circle for this job. It cut a recess as I wanted, but pretty badly rough.

Is that most likely down to the soft fluffy nature of MDY in conjunction with the tiny 3.2 mm dremel router bit? Or more likely just practise? Or both?
I did another test circle on a piece of pine scrap and it was much neater but still not brilliant.

What would be the neatest means of cutting a nicely edged 3" circle like this?

I'm not massively concerned at this stage since the real job will be cutting this recess in a hardwood veneer so should cut a nicer edge. I'll try to find a scrap of hardwood I can practise on to get a better idea, but any tips for this?
I might try to see if I can make an extra base for the big router to try with that perhaps but I have no experience of trying to be meticulously neat historically, so I do appreciate the wisdom of you folk. :)
 

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
Thanks Paul

I should have mentioned that I do have several sizes of hole saw, but none at all as big as 3" diameter, so the question was more in the sense of cutting any size that might not fit in with a specific sized piece of kit.

Or would that normally be a case for the router?
 

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
New speaker/amp set arrived yesterday, and bought MDF today.
More planning and test bits to be done next I think, as well as research about fittings etc.

Oh, and I bought a copy of this to try and educate myself a little better.... :D
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0679766111
 

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
Also have got sketchup installed and learned a couple of simple things on it.
This is vaguely how I would like the front panel to be constructed. The green is meant to be a felt sort of material to be soft for the ipad to sit against slide on in the guide slots routed into the panel.
Round the front opening I'd like a brass L section trim of some sort or possibly the same but hardwood. Not sure yet.
There will also obviously be some basic controls and likely a pair of old fashioned VU meters.

Not figured out how to profile the edges of the sketchup models etc, so here's the first primitive attempt anyway:


I should add that on this model I haven't actually used any measurements so it's by no means to scale!!
 

Cret

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2008
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
IoM
Well there's been a slight change of plan folks and a slight shuffle of priorities hence no updates in the last 10 days.

For one, I decided I just wouldn't be happy with this layout since I really wanted the ipad to dock in landscape mode, not portrait.
The issue with that is the amount of space it would need to take up with the speakers on the side of the ipad.

I came up with the idea that having things in a stretched hexagon shape (I forget the proper word) would mean the whole thing can sit at an angle (which it would be anyway) and with angled panels for the speakers would allow landscape orientation, plus would still fit in the space it needs to occupy. Will look slightly odd I suppose, and will hardly give the best stereo imaging but we're hardly talking about hifi here anyway given the kit involved.
This is the top or bottom plate marked out in 18mm mdf:


Not going to use the main drivers from the speaker set I bought because despite appearances they only have one small driver per satellite speaker box (not that much of a shock tbh):



Instead I'm using the drivers from some Eltax bookshelf speakers I have that are not used at present. They're nothing amazing either but for an ipad dock they're more than good enough, so the speaker/amp setup is like this including the subwoofer driver from the new speaker set (which is actually a surprisingly capable unit):


Have spent a while tidying my garage/workshop to try and make clean space for concentrating on this job but reached the conclusion it's going to be annoying with my bike still in bits so have made a conscious decision to get it put back together fairly quickly before getting on with this. It'll free up a lot of space to concentrate on the job.

Plus my compressor is taking up loads of remaining floor space at the moment while I try to fix it, so really that needs sorting too - am waiting for parts from Sealey then hopefully that can be moved back into its cabinet out of the way.

In the meantime however I've got a couple of books on woodwork in the last week or so, and earlier on decided to try my first dovetail joint on some scrap wood.
Was actually pretty easy although the results look awful (they are a nice tight fit though despite the horrible looking gaps!). Was very satisfying to cut though, especially for a first effort and I didn't actually use the chisels, just a fine cut saw and stanley knife, with some pretty lax measuring/marking.
I can appreciate why it's satisfying to do things by hand like this and hone your skills to eventually get really pleasing results. :)

This will look horrifying to you folks but this is my fairly hastily measured and cut first ever dovetail:


Anyway, once I've made a bit of space in my garage I'll be getting on with this project again, but I really ought to get the bike back in one piece (or near enough) etc before concentrating on this.
 
Top