My Custom Designed 25W RMS ipod/mp3 Player Speaker Sound System

September 3, 2014 in and cool stuff., Arts Crafts and other, Woodworking and Furniture

mp3 speaker dock sound system

I’m big on recycling and feel the highest form of recycling is to re-purpose and reuse things that would otherwise be discarded.  This project is built largely from re-purposed recycled components. It’s fabrication used 3d printing, cnc machining, electronics, and woodworking.  The inspiration came about when I was visiting my buddy and he asked me to help him move a giant older DLP television out of his basement to the curb.  Realizing it was going to the dump, I asked if I could take a few useful parts from it.  Originally planning to only grab the connector plate off  the back that I needed for another project, we ended up taking the TV apart and I recovered the power supply unit, speakers, some circuit boards and the connectors I was originally after.  Research online showed that the speakers were really quite nice units, fully shielded with decent Theile/Small specifications.  There was an onboard self contained amplifier chip in the TDA family that was easily desoldered and built into a small stand alone audio amp.   I had been wanting a small nice powered speaker unit for some time and  I now had all the parts I needed to build myself one.

Desktop Active Speakers -0811      Desktop Active Speakers -0810

I went with a slightly retro design for this unit.   I didn’t really reference anything outside of some basics, like the golden ratio and standard speaker enclosure practices.  I’m very happy with how it looks and sounds.  I think it’s very attractive, fitting well with the rest of my things.

 

Maple desktop powered speaker system - insides

Before buttoning it all up there was several rounds of testing out the electronics, switches, power supply, etc to ensure everything worked correctly.  In the end I removed the screw terminals on the PCB and soldered the wires directly worrying that they might come loose with vibration from the music.

 

Desktop Active Speakers -0635        Desktop Active Speakers -0751

The amplifier housing on the left is 3d printed in ABS, as is the power supply housing on the right in the above photo.  I went with a machined metal vent/cover plate milled on my converted CNC machine.  I’m a big fan of Krylon’s ultra Flat Black paint and used this on the back cover for a nice matte black finish.

 

Desktop Active Speakers -0749

The power supply is a standard unit I kept from some piece of electronics that was out dated.  A few minor modifications, remote plug, switched line inputs and an active LED on the front panel all were done the power supply.   Then I designed and 3D printed a case to mount it safely into the speaker unit.

 

Maple desktop powered speaker system

The lighter wood for the outer bodycame from a storm downed maple that I milled into lumber three or so summers ago and dried.   The front and back boards came from a log off a riverland maple my lifelong friend’s father let me take when he cleared some off his property a couple years ago.  Even the front plate is machined from aluminum recycled from an old PC case.

 

Desktop Active Speakers -0814

The finished speaker unit sounds amazing.  I missed a few pictures in the build process. The inside is fully sealed with a divider keeping the two chambers separate.  I also used some polyester batting as internal dampening to increase the effective internal  “volume” of the speaker enclosures.  This unit survived a 48 hrs continuous stress test without any issues.  I love how it looks as well as how good it sounds!

Child Safe Natural Wood Finish – by weight this time

May 15, 2014 in Arts Crafts and other, Woodworking and Furniture

Kid safe wood toy finish

In my earlier post, I shared details of how I make the child safe wood finish made from purified beeswax and mineral oil that I use on my wooden creations meant for little ones.  In the past year I’ve had several emails asking for a more specific ratio of wax to oil.    As I needed to make more of this kid safe finish for my wooden toys available in my etsy shop, I used a scale and took notes while cooking up a batch.

1 pint of Mineral Oil  ~ 380g

Shaved purified Beeswax ~ 25g

Making it about 6% beeswax.  I hope this helps answer your questions if you want to make larger batches or be more precise in mixing up this nontoxic finish that works great on wooden toys you may be crafting.

 

***  Using hot oil and wax over an open flame can be dangerous.  If you have a gas stove, you should use extreme caution or a double boiler.  It’s not really any different then deep frying with oil or crisco on your stove top but I had a friend who suggested I put a warning up here about using oil on a stovetop and I think he is correct.  An alternative method is to use a double boiler with a jar as your container for the wax and oil.   As with all things, use your head, be smart when doing projects at home, and above all BE SAFE! 

 

 

Ferrari 308 GTS Magnum PI Plastic Model Kit Built

March 23, 2014 in Arts Crafts and other, Custom Cars and Automotive

Ferrari 308 model built

While looking through old photos to find some for a longtime friends upcoming retirement party I came across these pictures of the Magnum PI Ferrari 308 GTS model kit I built as a Christmas present for my good friend who owns one of these cars.  You may have seen my earlier posts where I built a custom Stainless Steel Exhaust for my friends Ferrari 308, if not please check it out as it is a thing of beauty.  Final pics are in this second post on the Ferrari custom exhaust project by clicking here.

magnum PI Model Kit      magnum PI Model Kit 2

    My friend had bought his Ferrari early in the year.  We had many fun times driving in it, working on it, and reveling in the fact that he owned the car we always dreamed about when we were younger and fans of Magnum PI.  I decided I would put my model building skills to work and make him an almost identical replica of the car for his desk at work as his Christmas gift for that year.  I had done this for another friend the year before and I regularly heard how much he loved it when we chatted.  The challenge was of course finding a kit, as the show and car were both over 25 years old.  I went to Ebay, and even there I had little luck.  Finally I came across a mint in the box still sealed kit at an online webshop that specialized in Old Out of Production (OOP) plastic model kits.  I payed a small fortune, but I purchased the kit. I had been taking lots of detail photos of his car when we went out cruising in it so I had reference material to base my model off and match details exactly.

Custom Ferrari 308 Quatrovalvo model -0927

Custom Ferrari 308 Quatrovalvo model -0930

Custom Built Ferrari 308 Model

I think the model came out pretty good. I would even go so far as to say I am quite proud of it.   There is not a lot of how to in this post, just wanted to share this model and the memory with some of my friends.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

 

Salt Powered Robot Kit Build and Review

March 4, 2014 in Arts Crafts and other

Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7767

I love the modern prevalence of robot kits available for children to build.  They have many different types of kits available for different age groups.  My nephew visited me a while back and I had picked up a The Salt Powered Robot Kit for us to build together.  This post shows the build process, which he did almost entirely himself.

Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7740      Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7741

This Salt Powered Robot Kit is made by 4M as part of their Green Science line, and comes in a nicely illustrated box. My Nephew was super excited when he saw that I had a robot project for him during his visit.  In the past we had great fun building a Tin can robot kit.   

Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7744     Robot kit build

With this kit I let my nephew do all the work, while I offered guidance and took photos. Taking the parts out of the box, we quickly realized it could have been in a much smaller box.  Just one small bag of parts and some detailed instructions.

Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7747     Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7746

Expanding the photos above will allow you to read the instruction sheet for the Salt Powered Robot.  In case someone needs them in the future.  The single sprue of plastic parts is laid out and the other bags contain the small parts needed to make this robot go, a motor, screws, cathode and anode plates and a separator.  You have to supply your own salt and water.

Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7749      Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7752

I’m pretty proud my lil Nephew managed this robot build all by himself.  At the age of 6 years old, he did (almost) everything to build this kit by himself, .

Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7753    Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7756

We spread out the parts after cutting them from the sprue.  Assembly following the instructions was quite straight forward.  My little nephew could read and follow the instructions easily. The one part that he was not able to do himself was snapping the two axles into place.  He was not strong enough for this part.  Even when he put his entire weight on them they refused to snap in place.  My only contribution to this robots construction was that I helped install the two axle pieces.

Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7758    Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7759

There were a few small screws which he managed to put in entirely on his own with a small screwdriver.

Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7763     Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-7767

This was a fun kit to build. You have to mix up salt water, I used a shot glass and a tablespoon of salt into warm water.  The instructions call for a saturated solution, meaning you have solid salt remaining after stirring so the water has as much salt dissolved in it as possible.   The two plates used to make the “battery” that powers the motor last for some time.  The robot went for some 10-15 minutes. 

Video of the Salt Powered Robot in action

The above video link shows the robot kit in action.  This robot kit and many others are great fun for children.  Next time you need a gift for a little girl or boy, consider an educational kit like this over another stuffed animal, doll, car, or action figure.