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Build Your Own Customizable Fab Speakers [How-to]

Build Your Own Customizable Fab Speakers [How-to]

David A. Mellis’ is all about open source, and he pioneered it as a co-creator of Arduino, the microcontroller that enables the average person to build robots, and the average robot to build other robots and then play gin rummy with them, or whatever it is robots do for fun. Mellis’ latest invention is geared towards reorienting the average person with the technical aspect of amplification.

Fab Speakers are an open source speaker system that you can build and customize yourself. It takes only a basic level of technical knowledge to build these bad boys, and once you do, the mechanics of other types of speakers won’t seem so tough. You might even be able to make improvements on Mellis’ design, which is exactly what an open source kind of guy wants to see.

Here’s a rundown of the basic way to put Fab Speakers together. If you’re planning on getting inventive quick and straying from the basic directions, please don’t yell at us if your Fab Speakers suck or don’t work.

For this project you’ll need the Fab Speakers kit, a hot glue gun, wood glue, a soldering iron, some wood, and some fabric. We’ve grouped the steps into four convenient parts for… well, for the sake of convenience.

First off, you’ll need to solder the electronic components. Basically, you attach the chip, battery holder and switch onto an board, and then connect each speaker to the output nodes on the board using speaker wire. There’s quite a bit of soldering to be done here, much of it in tiny spaces. If you poke at the components in random places with the soldering iron, we’ve calculated that there is a one in 4,334,501 chance that you will hit all the necessary spots, and your Fab Speakers will work. There is also a 1 in 2 chance that you will injure yourself or someone around you—these statistics brought to you by our new mantra of convenience.


Now it’s time to invoke those industrial design skills you didn’t think you had back in architecture school, and that you suddenly discovered you did have the day after you dropped out. You’re going to build the frame for each speaker. For this part, you’ll need a hot glue gun to glue some of the parts together. Do NOT consume this glue! Seriously, I just ate like two sticks of it and aside from my tongue being burned, I can’t see out of my left eye (though I may have simply glued it shut).


Now it’s time to glue the fabric onto the outside of the speaker and make it look a whole lot sleeker. Once you’ve got the correct sized fabric positioned on the speaker, unholster your glue gun and th… wait, you don’t have a holster for your glue gun? It didn’t come with one? Yeesh. Alright, well just don’t go out like that, without a holster, you’ll look ridiculous. What do you mean? There are plenty of good reasons to carry around a glue gun. I’m all out of glue though, can you spot me a stick? I won’t eat it. Well, not all of it.


Now that you’ve eaten copious amounts of glue during this construction process, you’re going to want to finish these speakers up, kick back, relax, and enjoy some music. All that’s left to do is glue the wooden veneer to the outside of the speaker. This is the final touch in making your Fab Speakers look and sound great. Some users have innovated on enclosures for these speakers, using glass jars and other items. If you catch wind of one you like, you can always modify your Fab Speakers. After all, you built them!


[via Create Digital Music]

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