Author Topic: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers  (Read 23899 times)

Offline Toxxyc

My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« on: June 23, 2017, 03:12:28 PM »
OK so as promised, here is the thread for my DIY bookshelf speakers build.  These are the first ever speakers I'll be building for home use, and I am extremely excited.  I have to date only ever built speakers and enclosures for car use (99% of which were subwoofer boxes for making as much noise as possible), so this is something I'm not used to (the fine work).

The build was intended to be as cheap as possible while not installing absolute crap, so I tried to save money wherever I could.  I kept this in mind while purchasing the drivers and everything else as well, and this is what I came up with.  The specifications for these speakers are as follows:

Drivers:
Woofers:  Sica Z002601 5", 120W drivers
Tweeters:  Sica Z009220 1", 160W silk dome tweeters

Crossovers:
Skytronic 2-way crossover, 100W, 12dB/Oct, 8ohm, crossing over at 3.5kHz

Enclosure:
Volume:  7.6l (excluding the volume of the braces, drivers, crossovers, cables and stuffing)
Material:  16mm MDF, CNC cut, double-thickness baffle

I'll start assembling the enclosure this weekend and post pics in the coming week.  I just saw the MDF that was cut and it looks absolutely incredible.  The precision is astounding, I'm going to wager a guess and say that it'll be REALLY easy to assemble as well.  Can't wait.  I still need to order ports, binding posts and a veneer/vinyl covering for the enclosures, or I should paint them with a textured paint.  I'm still deciding, and I have no idea where to get veneer.  Most shops look at me like I'm crazy when I ask for it...

Anyway, the design of the enclosure looks like this:





And my total cost so far:

Drivers & Crossovers:  R1,000
MDF and CNC:  R400

Looking forward to posting updates!

Offline Toxxyc

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 01:23:45 PM »
UPDATE:  Even with a very busy weekend I did manage to squeeze some time off to grab some pictures and doing a little bit of building.

The drivers and crossovers:


And the MDF cut to size:


I had hopes that, with the accurate cutting of these panels on the CNC (which was VERY accurate, but still out by like 0.5mm on some places), I would not have a need for screws.  I was correct!  Gluing:


As mentioned, the cutting was done HIGHLY accurately (according to me, anyway), and I'll definitely pay someone with a CNC to do it again in the future:


When inserting the braces I saw the problem with extreme accuracy again.  The measurements ending in precise millimeters does not allow of fluctuation, so I had to sand down the braces a little bit to fit properly.  About 0.5mm down in total and it slid in with proper force to where it needed to go:


The rear panels of the speakers sit to tight I'm not even sure if I should glue them.  I have to hammer them in and then they SIT:


Front and open back:


And a final picture with the empty cabinets next to the TV, where they will spend their time when it hopefully works out like it should.  Cabinets are slightly larger than I had expected and quite heavy, even empty:


So for now this is where I am.  My next step is to find bass ports, binding posts or some other form of connection to the inside of the speakers as well as to find someone/somewhere that can use a router to countersink a 10mm wide piece around the driver holes.  I originally planned to just mount them on the surface and while it looks fine for the tweeter the midbass driver looks really, really "cheap" just mounted on the surface.  I needs to sink in about 5mm and it'll look much better.  Once that's done I can glue the additional baffle on each cabinet, drill the holes for the driver mounting screws and start looking for screws to use.  Anyone have an idea of what screws will look good?  I don't want to use chipboard screws with those fat and coarse heads, they look shitty.

Oh, and that brings me to my final point.  Where the hell can I find veneer/vinyl?  I might have to paint the cabinets at this pace because nobody can help me.  I either have to buy massive amounts or send the cabinets away to be done, neither of which is an option for me at all, to be honest.

Offline Toxxyc

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 08:13:46 AM »
And update!  I'm doing as little as possible to that I have something to do while I get the rest of what I need, so last night I mounted the first crossover.  It went better than I expected, with this result:

Measuring and drilling the holes (3mm dia, about 4mm deep so it won't hurt the enclosure):


Sinking the standoffs was fun.  I did it before, but this was my first try with MDF.  They sit well, and tap perfectly in a 3mm hole:


Checking to see if I didn't measure like an idiot...Nope, I didn't:


And fixed to the panel:


Spacing will allow for the binding posts or connectors to the mounted below the crossover, low in the cabinet.  Will also keep flex to a minimum if more drilling is done since it's low near a joint:


Just look at it peeking at me:


This is turning into one hell of a fun build, to be honest...  :D

Offline The Godfather

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 08:21:42 AM »
This is turning into one hell of a fun build, to be honest...  :D
Thats what its all about

Offline Toxxyc

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 09:00:37 AM »
Thats what its all about

Indeed!  I can already see myself building the next set as well.  I just hope the rest of my required parts come soon, as I can't complete it without them.  When that's done, I'm going to need to hope that my amplifier is here, or I won't be able to test them...

Oh yes and that reminds me, is there anyone that can cut a rabbet edge around the baffle in/around Fourways for me?  It needs to be about 12mm wide and about 4mm deep.  I can go buy a bottom-bearing router bit for this specific purpose but it seems like a daft idea to me, since I'll only use it this once, probably.

Offline The Godfather

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 09:15:51 AM »
You can get self adhesive vinyl wrap from Builders Warehouse. I would think this will be the easiest to start with and therefore will give the neatest result.

You should be able to get very thin solids +3mm - SeanS found some here in Cape Town. Cant remember where he found it though. If you are going for a real wood finish I would recommend this over actual veneer unless you are getting a pro company (eg Veneer Concepts) to apply the veneer. I imagine this will not be cost effective though. Veneer is really difficult to apply properly

Remember connectors on speakers dont always need to be "binding posts" they can even be things like speakon connectors which can sometimes be cheaper, but you would need to diy specialised cables. Bolts with holes drilled through can also be effective. Always a balancing act between price, willingness to diy, required finish and ingenuity.

Offline Curlycat

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2017, 09:24:10 AM »
Great going Toxxyc  :thumbs: finally we see the result of your MDF search. Glad it worked well for you, it's looking good already. Speaker DIY is addictive, why not just buy the rabbiting bit, you are probably going to use it again.
I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.  Alan Watts

Offline vinyljan

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2017, 10:08:18 AM »
 :2thumbs: Nice to see a plan come together
A shot across the bow

Offline Toxxyc

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2017, 10:15:06 AM »
You can get self adhesive vinyl wrap from Builders Warehouse. I would think this will be the easiest to start with and therefore will give the neatest result.

I'm just scared that I'll be left with those "joining marks" where the vinyl will meet, this is my biggest worry with using that.  How would a textured paint fare?  I don't really want to paint the MDF (because I think the vinyl wrapping will look much better) but if there's no other options that I can feasibly see myself succeeding at...?

Great going Toxxyc  :thumbs: finally we see the result of your MDF search. Glad it worked well for you, it's looking good already. Speaker DIY is addictive, why not just buy the rabbiting bit, you are probably going to use it again.

Yeah you're right.  They're not expensive either, like R80 or something.  I'm just confused on the measuring of the bit though, awaiting the store to get back to me on that :P

Offline Shonver

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Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2017, 10:40:56 AM »
I don't recommend applying vinyl directly to MDF. I think it will creep and joint lines will show. I second the recommendation of thick veneer.
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Offline Curlycat

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2017, 10:42:59 AM »
Rustoleum Leakseal will give a nice rubberized textured finish, able to hide small imperfections. If you apply it correctly it can look really good, trick is right distance of the can from the box and light coats. Just a pity it's a tad expensive, but great product.
I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.  Alan Watts

Offline Toxxyc

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2017, 10:53:38 AM »
I don't recommend applying vinyl directly to MDF. I think it will creep and joint lines will show. I second the recommendation of thick veneer.

Yeah but where to get that that doesn't cost a fortune either?  I've looked, all places I found don't want to do small jobs like mine...  :/

Rustoleum Leakseal will give a nice rubberized textured finish, able to hide small imperfections. If you apply it correctly it can look really good, trick is right distance of the can from the box and light coats. Just a pity it's a tad expensive, but great product.

This is what I had in mind as well, yes.  Or perhaps a pure black finish that can be sanded to very smooth.  I've yet to decide.

Offline Shonver

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Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2017, 11:03:44 AM »
Yeah but where to get that that doesn't cost a fortune either?  I've looked, all places I found don't want to do small jobs like mine...  :/

Our local The DIY Shop has plywood offcuts that have hard wood on the outside. you may want to explore this option.
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Offline Toxxyc

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2017, 11:33:33 AM »
I've thought about a stained wood cladding, but was told it's not a feasible solution because it might creep.  Man, this is difficult...

Offline Toxxyc

Re: My first ever DIY bookshelf speakers
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2017, 02:15:59 PM »
First off, sorry @curlycat for placing this in the wrong section...  O.o

Secondly, I bit (hurr-durr) the bullet and bought a rabbeting bit.  1/2" (12.7mm) should give me the clearance I need to countersink both the midbass and the tweeter.  The tweeter will fit PERFECTLY (it needs a 12mm rabbet) and the midbass will looks slightly smaller than the hole, but that's fine because the ears MUST fit into the rabbet.  I get now why people hate drivers with ear-type mounts.

Lastly, I checked at my local Builders and the have that self-adhesive vinyl (like DC-fix) that I was thinking of.  It looks REALLY **** though, to be honest, and I won't be sticking that on my speakers at all.  It's a glossy, obviously printed vinyl sheet, 45cm wide and 2m long.  I ran the calculations in my head and found that it won't be possible to "wrap" the whole speaker in a single piece, since it's simply too narrow.  I'll have to cut it up into "panels", which is what I've wanted to avoid from the start, so that's not happening AT ALL.  Unless I can find a quality, preferably textured vinyl wrap that's in the colour I would prefer, I'll be going with a painted finish.

Regarding the paints - I looked at a bunch of paints at Builders as well just now, and Rust-Oleum has a very nice variety to choose from.  I saw that LeakSeal and it looked familiar, so when I asked I was told that it does have a soft-touch "rubbery" finish, which I do not want.  It attracts dust badly (experience talking here), so that's not an option.  They do have a 2X series though that seems like a primer and paint combination that could work perfectly.  It comes in a million colours and doesn't require any special preparation (even though I will definitely sand the speaker a bit before doing anything).

My final option is to get a proper spray paint and perhaps someone with a compressor and spray gun to try and achieve a piano black finish, but that's going to be HARD, I think.

Oh and PS:  Builders doesn't stock brass bolts anymore.  I'll have to source elsewhere if I try go that route.