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speakers done, how should I finish? [pics]


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21 replies to this topic

#1 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt:Brunmeier

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Posted April 15 2005 - 02:01 AM

I've posted these before, but I'm going home in two weeks so I'm going to need to make a decision pretty soon.

Here they are:
http://www.epalla.com/speakers/16.jpg

Big fellas aren't they. Before anyone pokes fun, I didn't just "cut holes" for the ports - the specs called for two 3/4" dia. ports, which is the width of the MDF. So many people have called me on that Posted Image

Anyway, I obviously need to finish them somehow, but I really can't think of what I want to do. They're going to be in a college house and I want to keep them, so obviously I care a lot more about durability and cost effectiveness than anything else.

That said, there are a bunch of things I could do..

1. Primer/High Gloss black paint/Poly coat - would look really shiny, could be really cool if I do it right.

2. Textured spraypaint - the idea would be to get it more like an industrial speaker - something like a roll on truck bedliner would work well for this too. It'd be durable as hell, kinda pricey to do bed liner though.

3. Carpet - pretty standard I guess..

4. Veneer - expensive, I don't think it would look that great just because of the size and.. squareness of the speakers. I'm really not even considering veneer at the moment.

There's probably other stuff too, I just can't think of it at the moment. Anyway, once I decide on a finish I still have to combine it with a grill and I'm kind of wondering if I want to do metal corner pieces. They might be moved around a bunch in their lifetime and it's just MDF on the corners which we all know dents pretty easily. Anyone have any input on this? Am I going to want metal corners for sure?

As for grills - it's cheapest and easiest to just get a metal grill to cover the driver obviously. I could make a grill with a simple wood frame and grill cloth, it would be a different look though.

I want something that will protect the drivers but still look good, and I really haven't found much yet. These things are simple:
http://www.partsexpr....number=260-375

But I think we can all agree they're not the best looking grills. The ones with straight bars across look a little better, but definitely don't provide all that much protection for the driver.

So yeah, I want to know:
What should I do to finish them?
Do I need metal feet on a MDF box if I plan to move them around a bunch?
What should I do about a grill?

#2 of 22 OFFLINE   ThomasW

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Posted April 15 2005 - 02:45 AM

Quote:
Big fellas aren't they
Yep and so is a 500K picture file. I have a high speed connection but many people don't. If you compress your pic to 50K, that's a lot more friendly to dial-up users.

Yes use feet or road cabinet corners if you plan on moving them a bunch.

The best low buck finish is truck bed liner

#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Ryan Schnacke

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Posted April 15 2005 - 06:46 AM

Quote:
I didn't just "cut holes" for the ports - the specs called for two 3/4" dia. ports, which is the width of the MDF.


Did you mean 3/4" diameter or 3/4" length for the port? Big difference and what you described is not what I see.

#4 of 22 OFFLINE   stephanX

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Posted April 15 2005 - 02:54 PM

are those selenium co ax 15s? if they are you are so lucky.

I vote for a fauc leather vynil finish, like guitar amps, that would be cool. and def do the corner protectors if you go this route.

and since im wearing a red green t shirt im obliged to say
COVER EM WITH DUCK TAPE!
Can your 450$(cad) sub hit 120db at 40hz?

#5 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt:Brunmeier

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Posted April 15 2005 - 05:07 PM

er, I meant 3/4" length and 4" dia.

sorry, good call Posted Image

Vinyl, I didn't consider that. With a spray on glue of some kind? That could be interesting. I'd definitely have to use corner pieces for that.

#6 of 22 OFFLINE   PaulDF

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Posted April 15 2005 - 06:22 PM

How much time do you have to finish these babies?

Definitely the quickest is to apply a textured finish from a spray can. And corner protectors would add a lot of durability. future touch ups might even be possible.

I am in the process of finishing a set of speakers. I decided on primer/gloss black enamel/clearcoat. It has been over 2 weeks and I have only finally sprayed my last panel of black. 2 coats primer, and so far 1 coat black enamel. In my case (as I am very obsessive) I only spray onto a horizontal surface, which limits me to about a coat a week. At this rate I have another 2 or 3 weeks until I am done.

I spend roughly 1 to 1.5 hours a night sanding, and then spraying 3 panels (3 speakers), then cleaning up. I will admit I am very patient, and I am quite novice at fine finishing. My last project was primer/gloss black and looks quite good. Took me about 3 weeks but alot of people ask me what kind of finish is it?

My point is this... IMO gloss black looks best, and can be quite durable with the right paint. BUT, to make a nice job takes a lot of time. Seems to me an autobody painter could pull it off quick and do a nice job, but for a price. Besides, it is a DIY project right?

As for the grills, I cut a wood frame from 3/8 plywood, painted it black, and covered it with grillcloth. Attached it with magnets embedded in the grill and speaker baffle. Works quite well. This also allows a custom look for your speakers. You must take into consideration the excursion of your drivers though!

#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt:Brunmeier

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Posted April 16 2005 - 01:12 PM

Yeah I'm pretty sure I'm gonan go with the primer/high gloss/clear coat solution. These things are MDF so they're going to suck up a lot of paint, but that's why primer's cheap right Posted Image

I don't know why it should be going so slow, the only thing you should actually have to sand (on wood) is the clear coat, I've never heard of people sanding down the actual paint layers.

Still, it will take a lot of time and a lot of paint. It could get really expensive really fast if it takes 3 cans per speaker (one of each kind of paint) since I'm painting just less than a 4'x8' sheet of wood here.

#8 of 22 OFFLINE   Stephen Hopkins

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Posted April 16 2005 - 04:40 PM

To get a piano black finish you're going to need to multiple sandings on EVERY layer of primer, paint, and clear coat working your way up from say a 220 grit to a 400, 600, 800, and 1200. Any imperfection will show through the layers on top of it. It's also going to take alot more than 3 cans per speaker and cheap paint is not going to give you the kind of finish you want. If you want piano black you'll probably be better off with a laminate of some sort.

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt:Brunmeier

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Posted April 17 2005 - 03:16 PM

I guess I'm going to have to compromise somewhere along the way.. Sanding an actual paint layer sounds goofy to me no matter what. I think I'll get good (enough) results with a thick coat of primer/sand then two layers of black and then two layers of clear coat with sanding between.

#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted April 18 2005 - 08:55 AM

Quote:
I could make a grill with a simple wood frame and grill cloth, it would be a different look though.


I'd say, since your ports are so shallow and you can see the egg-carton-foam... I might go with grill cloth over the whole front to cover that.

As far as the finish goes.. I usually try to match the decor of the room they'll be sitting in. Which, looking at the picture, seems to be oak. But that's just me. Posted Image

Quote:
Do I need metal feet on a MDF box if I plan to move them around a bunch?


I usually use some stick-on or nail-on Magic Sliders

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   Brian Bunge

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Posted April 18 2005 - 11:52 AM

Quote:
I guess I'm going to have to compromise somewhere along the way.. Sanding an actual paint layer sounds goofy to me no matter what.


Matt,

I've been watching American Hotrod on Discovery Channel for about a year now, and even with a professional spray booth and spray equipment they still sand the paint to get rid of the "orange peel".
Brian Bunge
RAD Home Theater

#12 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt:Brunmeier

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Posted April 19 2005 - 06:04 AM

all right, all right - there are applications, especially involving metal or something that needs to be extensively primed because it doesn't like to hold paint where you'll end up wet sanding every single layer that you put on short of the final (or in many cases even the final sealer).

That said - MDF is not such a surface. If I wanted a true piano black finish I'd need a hard wood or I could use laminate as suggested. There's no way it could look truly piano black, but it can look high gloss black and have a very smooth finish.

Nobody paints furniture, it's always stained - but if they did paint furniture, they wouldn't sand their paint layers except with an extremely high grit sandpaper - and that's if they were being a perfectionist. It's just not necessary on wood.

I've painted a lot of different things, and I've sanded paint layers on wood before, and it makes a difference for detail, I'll give you that - but for one tone finishes it really isn't necessary unless you tend to throw your paint layers on way too thick.

#13 of 22 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted April 19 2005 - 09:33 AM

You should give piano black laminate a looksie. Jack Gilvey did that with one of his subs, and it came out looking pretty nice.
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#14 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt:Brunmeier

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Posted April 19 2005 - 12:55 PM

where would I pick up something like that? It's a little hard to find..

#15 of 22 OFFLINE   PaulDF

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Posted April 19 2005 - 02:45 PM

Well Matt, let us know how your paint job turns out if you do decide to paint. And how you did it.

Sanding between coats is just the way I paint things when I want them to look good. This works out well as I am compulsive by nature. Piano black is my objective, though I know I will not achieve it. Not to say it can't be done on MDF, just not by me! But that doesn't mean I can't try!

#16 of 22 OFFLINE   Kevin Deacon

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Posted April 20 2005 - 02:20 AM

If you go through all the work of a high gloss finish and take them to the college house, the first time somebody sets his beer on one and makes a ring you are going to be pissed.

Use the textured paint with corners for durability. Especially in a college house. Put some handles on the sides and make a removeable mdf baffle cover with black cloth.

#17 of 22 OFFLINE   KenLeBlanc

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Posted April 20 2005 - 05:27 AM

Yeah what Kevin said. Also I hope they are well built as you might have some women dancing on top of them. If you have good parties anyway Posted Image

#18 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt:Brunmeier

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Posted April 21 2005 - 10:32 AM

we're putting a couple big pieces of wood across the tops of them to make them into an entertainment center (sort of). There'll be no drinks set directly on them.

Sound'll come from the floor instead of from ear level, but it's the best thing we've come up with.

#19 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt:Brunmeier

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Posted May 14 2005 - 12:26 PM

finished:

www.epalla.com/speakers/finished.jpg
www.epalla.com/speakers/finished2.jpg

It's one layer of primer, two layers of high gloss black. Some of them are done better than others, but overall I'm fairly happy with the way they turned out. I decided to make the ports 4" long too, to hide the foam and to tune it a little. It all works out nicely.

They're not quite as shiny as I was going for, but for the money I'm happy with the finish. I didn't even put a clear coat on. If they start to get a little bit beat up I might have to do that - that'd make them as shiny as originally intended too.

There are no major blemishes in the paint, some of them look a little bit like it on the edges because they got some sawdust on them carrying them through the workshop.

#20 of 22 OFFLINE   KenLeBlanc

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Posted May 14 2005 - 01:08 PM

Wow, those look sweet. Did you figure out how much $$ they cost you ?


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