My daughter Kylie has been asking for a new bluetooth speaker that she could use with her phone. She has gone thru a number of cheap disposable bluetooth speakers. After researching online and finding that new speaker with marginally better quality would cost anywhere between $50 to $100, I decided to see if would be possible to make something at least as good if not better.
A great help in this process was Kirby Meets Audio on youtube. He has a fantastic series of instructional videos that introduced me to the somewhat bewildering array of options that can go into building a good speaker. The information is presented in a way to give you the knowledge and encouragement to try building. I have a lots of woodworking experience but absolutely none with electronics. This was a new experience for me and one that I will definitely repeat.
The case for this speaker was made from scraps in my woodpile. A piece of pine for the sides ended up being just the right length. I found a short off-cut of walnut that seemed like it would be perfect for the front. After a little trimming to size and lots of sanding, it looked beautiful.
I ordered the following from Parts Express for the guts of the speaker:
- Dayton Audio 3 1/2″ full range driver
- Dayton Audio Digital Audio Amplifier
- 12 volt Power Supply
- Bluetooth 4.0 Audio Receiver
Once you have the components: driver (speaker), power supply, blue tooth receiver, amplifier and assorted wires and cables. Do a dry run of the assembly to ensure that it all works well together. This was my first time assembling any kind of electronics, so I was a bit nervous when it came time to solder wires to the correct connections. This assembly went very smooth, I only had to redo a couple of connections to get everything working before soldering.
Once I had everything secured inside the enclosure, (yea for hot melt glue!). I put the back cover on place and now you can see the power led. I decided to keep the power cord inside and secured. Kylie is notorious for breaking cords, so hopefully this will survive longer than usual.
This project was lots of fun! It even sounds pretty good. If you are looking for something unique to build either for yourself or as a gift, this is a great way to go. I found that this project pushed me into areas that I was not comfortable with and forced me to expand my skills. Something we all can benefit from doing.