Thursday, November 08, 2012
EXPEDIT iTunes Speaker Hack
Materials: IKEA EXPEDIT, EXPEDIT door insert kits, speaker parts
Description: In addition to being PANYL's shop manager, I am a pro bassist and a dedicated audiophile. I've been building my own speakers since I was a teen. So when I found a bunch of perfectly good speaker parts in the garbage, that was a pretty clear sign that it was time for me to do my first IKEA hack. Make sure to watch the video at the end!
What you will need for this hack:
- An EXPEDIT bookcase (any size will do, as long as it has two free slots for the speakers)
- Three EXPEDIT door inserts
- Two woofers, two tweeters, two speak jack assemblies, two crossovers and the associated wiring.
1. The EXPEDIT insert kits were already assembled so I removed the doors and caulked the interior joints. I set aside the door pieces to use as the front of the speaker cabinet, which is called the "baffle".
2. The insert kits each have 4 of the 6 sides necessary to build a cube. I used the panels from a third insert kit to cut out the remaining sides I would need to complete the two cabinets. Because the panels that form the inserts aren't all of the same dimensions, for each speaker I wound up cutting a 12½" x 13⅜" and an 11 13/16" x 13 ⅜" panel. I glued and screwed these in place so that I had 5-sided cube, and caulked the inside joints.
3. To affix the the front baffle to the cube, I used 1" x 2" trim from Home Depot to cut out two 11 ¾" fastening blocks.
4. On the front baffle, I cut holes out for the woofer, the tweeter and two "ports" (these are holes that allow air to go into and out of the speaker when the woofer moves back and forth). I used a hole saw for the tweet and port holes, and a jigsaw for the bigger woofer hole.
5. To connect the fastening blocks to the back of the baffle, I roughed the back surface of the baffle with a sharp blade and then used construction adhesive and screws to mount the blocks. One important step was to countersink holes on the front surface of the baffle so that the screw-heads would be totally flush.
6. The next step was soldering the woofer and tweeter connects and the input jack to the crossover, and then putting all the outward facing pieces into the baffle.
The next-to-last step was to cut holes in the rear of the boxes for the input jacks.
Finally I put some foam batting inside the boxes to dampen internal reflections, and slid the front-baffle assembly into the cabinet. I fastened the baffle by drilling flat head screws into the mounting blocks from the sides of the speaker box (again I countersunk holes into the side exterior).
The sound is clean and robust - and they can handle quite a bit of power. Audio-enthusiasts know that MDF, which is pretty much synonymous with IKEA, is the go-to material for building speakers because it's so dense.
Please watch the video on the PANYL website and let me know what you think!
See more of the Expedit speaker.