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Speaker builders - what tools do I NEED?


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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Kenneth Harden

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Posted March 17 2006 - 06:03 AM

To build smallish speakers (no tower speakers, huge subs). Table saw, router and Jasper Jigs, clamps for cabinets, what other stuff is needed? I will assume making sure the cabinet lines up perfectly perpendicular is very important as well! What tools do I *NEED* to get started? Thanks!

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Blaine_M

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Posted March 17 2006 - 08:49 AM

Glue, nails, a right angle square and you should have it covered.

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Mike Keith

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Posted March 17 2006 - 10:05 AM

A good orbital sander is a must, and a compound miter saw is a very nice addition as well.

#4 of 11 ONLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted March 17 2006 - 10:15 AM

Just to let you into what you are getting yourself into, here's a link to my page of construction photos for my 2-ways I built about 5 years ago.

Or you could just buy pre-made enclosures from Parts Express.
"Jee-sus, it's like Iwo Jima out there" - Roger Sterling on "Mad Men"
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#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Kenneth Harden

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Posted March 17 2006 - 04:41 PM

Thanks guys! Patrick, the link to your project is dead.

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Chris!R

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Posted March 18 2006 - 03:18 AM

If you don't have tools you can also check out some of the vocational schools in your area. Some of them may have continuing ed classes where you can work on your project or have 'open shop' on the weekends where you can pay a daily fee to use the shop.

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Joe L.

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Posted March 18 2006 - 03:53 AM

What you *NEED* is very different than what you could use.

You *NEED* to be able to cut straight lines in MDF or plywood.
You can do that with a table saw with a good accurate fence, or, you can do it with a circular saw, a straight-edge, and two clamps.

You do *NEED* a few clamps. More is better, but with a few you can clamp and use then screws to replace the clamps while the glue dries. You can not have too many clamps.

A router and a circle cutting jig will allow you to make accurate holes for the drivers, but you can use a scrap of wood to make your own circle cutting jig if you do not want to purchase a Jasper-Jig.

I used a circular saw, a straight-edge, clamps, utility knife, a router, homemade circle cutting jig, more clamps, a square, and assorted router bits (mostly a roller bearing flush-trimming bit and a 1/2 inch roundover bit) when building a set of speakers for my home-theater. I did not use a table-saw or power miter-saw.

Oh yes, if you value your eyes, ears, and your lungs, you *NEED* safety glasses, ear-protectors, and a good respirator/dust-mask. MDF dust is NOT good to breath.

I took advantage of the "factory" square edges on pre-cut MDF from my local super-hardware/lumber store and planned my cuts accordingly. I was able to make identical size pieces for sides, front/back, etc by clamping a slightly oversize cut to another (accurately cut) board and using the flush-trimmiing bit in my router to make them the same size.

One of my rear channel enclosures being glued... Did I mention you can not have too many clamps?
Posted Image

After rounding over the front edges with the router and a bit of sanding. (I used a block of wood and sandpaper, a power sander would make it go faster, but you don't *NEED* a power sander)
Posted Image


After applying veneer. (I used a utility knife to trim the veneer... you need one if you are working with veneer)
Posted Image

After dying the veneer. You might need a brush or two, but it would depend on how you finish the enclosures. Spray paint from a can, self-stick vinyl, varnish or lacquer are all potential finishes. Here I used a foam "brush"
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Finished and on their stands. They are used for the rear channels in my theater. I think they qualify as "small" speakers. The others you can see were all done with the same tools, so larger enclosures can be built using the same techniques, just a bit more sawdust.
Posted Image

Now, would some of the other power tools mentioned make the job go faster?, sure, but you don't *NEED* them to make small speakers (or big ones)

Joe L.

#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Kenneth Harden

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Posted March 18 2006 - 04:36 AM

Wow, very nice. I don't see any screws on those speakers - what holds them together (other than will power, voodoo, etc.)?

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Joe L.

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Posted March 18 2006 - 05:04 AM

Good eyes... Just glue. (Yellow carpenter glue) That is why I said "the more clamps, the better". I built the Left/Right and Center channel enclosures first and at that time I did not own as many clamps. I did use screws with a few clamps on them, moving the clamps as I added pieces. Over Christmas that year I caught a sale at Harbor Freight and purchased a lot of clamps for about $3.00 each. They make a big difference when assembling speaker enclosures. When I built the rear surround enclosures I used no Voodoo, Will-power, biscuits, screws or nails, just yellow glue and clamps. Joe L.

#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Blaine_M

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Posted March 18 2006 - 07:53 AM

I built these using the following...

Table saw with good fence, nails, glue, clamps, router, 1/2 inch roundover bit for router, trimming bit for router, no rez for internal rezonance control, a 3 inch hole saw, drill and drill bits, veneer from OakWood veneer, DAP contact cement, a cheap orbital sander, MDF, jig saw to cut out the square port on the back, polyurethane, fine grit sand paper. If you look into companies like GR-Research you can get the front baffle already cut out and it comes with magnets imbeded into the wood for included grill covers. We built a pair of GR-research AV-1's at the same time we did the AV-3 shown in the pic..

Posted Image

Check out this site, very good sounding stuff.....

GR-Research

#11 of 11 ONLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted March 18 2006 - 02:22 PM

Are you sure this link is dead? It works for me now. Maybe the webserver was acting up earlier after midnight.

Here's my DIY page of projects if the other link doesn't work.
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