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Author Topic: Victorian Boombox Mk. II brainstorming  (Read 1157 times)
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2019, 09:32:09 am »

Disaster.

I just made a $22 mistake.

I happily went to the hardware shop to buy the Burgundy colour spray to finish the sconce bases, and tonight I proceeded to give the bases a new coat of paint. It was all perfect when I noticed something funny happening on the surface of the drying paint.

It started cracking. As the paint dried it started cracking and peeling like if I had sprayed a layer of paint remover. I tried to remove the paint with a rag before it dried, but to no avail, the surface was already the consistency of hard rubber, smeared cracked and half peeled across black and red layers of paint. Obviously the paint was already too thick as well, but the solvent of the new paint was the culprit.

When layering paint, boys and girls, always make sure that the solvent in all the layers is the same. If the top coat has a much stronger solvent (Rustoleum) it will soften, crack and peel the underlying surfaces (Krylon, and god knows what solvent was used for the factory finish).

Now the sconce bases are a mess. The finish is completely destroyed. I don't feel like buying paint stripper and stripping or sanding all the paint. I might as well throw away the sconces and buy a new pair. I could substitute the sconce bases for wood plates, but the point of the prototype is to demonstrate the most quick and efficient way of building this over and over again. I'm not making a one-off.

I'm so angry at myself for overlooking that important detail.

I probably won't have time to work on this project this next week. I have to do my tax report this weekend and in the middle of next week I will be shutting down the shop where I work and move to another one of our shops. Luckily I didn't lose my job, but this is the third time in as many years that I have to close a shop and move.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2019, 09:42:54 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2019, 03:24:52 am »

Ch ch ch changes.... Ch ch chanaanges.... To quote the late David Bowie.

After my tantrum (no, not really), and after doing my tax work, I got a little time on Friday and Saturday, and I found a new pair of sconces. I moved away from the type that I found before. Being a little more clear headed, after the taxes, I realized that insisting on the first pair of sconces I showed was creating problems for me, and I wasn't following my own advice on simplifying the build.

To begin with, I should not be painting the sconces at all. I didn't in the first generation Boombox. Also the Mk I box had issues regarding the strength of the sconces. When walking in public during meetings or SXSW, the neck of the sconces would bend if I hit something or someone hard enough. The shorter the arm of the sconce, the better.

So I got these short sconces, round base, and no necks. They're very round, and made from thicker metal plate. Finished in flat black they already have gold pinstriping. Not as sexy as the black and gold pipes from before, but I eliminate any structural issues, and I promise not to paint them.

And noting that the PVC enclosures are substantially heavier than the satellite speakers of the Mk I, it makes more sense.

Changed to this lamp base instead



The horns now look a bit more natural, and I'm trying to decide whether to give them a wooden plate or base of some kind to make them removable and they can stand on their own like the computer sound system they comprise.

The shades still need to be attached somehow, but the PVC enclosure is rigidly held by a threaded lamp pipe, and I'm figuring out whether to just wire the cables directly, or add an RCA phono jack to the back of the speaker, right inside the lamp threaded pipe. Easier said than done, but it's worth it. I just worry about being able to get the "stand alone" RCA jacks in the future.

The lamp shades and speakers. Note the threaded lamp rod through the back of the lamp holder.









I think I'm liking a little bit of white with the red and black. At the risk of adding too many colours I wonder if that would be workable...
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« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2019, 09:15:31 pm »

Then later this Saturday I came back after work and found a little time to paint a new set of wooden plates. I couldn't get the same shape as before, so I chose the simplest shape I could find. Being able to find parts over and over is very important, and I'd you can't find them, you should be able to make them on your own. So a plain rectangular shape is better.

The new plates are simpler and darker with a semi satin finish done by over-spraying the piece, just to erase the wood grain.



I think that the darker Burgundy colour is a much better match. I can't believe how much difference a simple shade of colour has on the final look. I think it's also better to erase the gloss or shine of the paint. Matte finish looks good because the colour is already very dark.

So I just present below the plates on the subwoofer cabinet and place the satellite speakers on the sides. The Boombox will have a very compact "vertical" look because the lamps have no necks. All is good, I think, because it will give the piece an odd geometry more akin to another era.

I also purchased a brassy handle that I though felt very comfortable in the hand. It is rather long, so it can only fit transversely over the subwoofer cabinet.

This presentation gives you an idea of what the final piece will look like









It may look like I may be close to getting to the end, but looks are deceiving. None of the Bluetooth wiring has been done. The lamp shades are attached to nothing as of yet, and there is no bezel for the satellite speakers. Additionally I'd like to explore making the bases detachable and with feet or a base to allow them to angle a bit upwards as satellite speakers.

And let's not mention the top console that has the on/off button and the headphones jack. In that sense this Boombox is remarkably similar to the Mk. I build., but there is no room at the top for the little console. I may just place it in the back or maybe over the small red plate in front below the subwoofer port... I don't know yet...
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« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2019, 01:46:51 am »

Those lampshade/sconces are really going to have the satellite speakers in them, right?
That's been my assumption, they are speaker cones ala phonograph.

I like the idea of the steel handle on top, but it looks modern industrial.  Is there a cabinet handle in the black/bronze style at the hardware store that might match the sconces more (in my imagination of a recent visit to Lowes there is).


For the bit of what PVC between the lamp shade and sconce, consider painting it black.  I think that would blend it in as part of the sconce before the cone starts.

Assuming I'm right and those are going to be speakers, I'd fasten them to the side (really good glue?), but consider setting them high (perhaps on level with the main body's cone).  That might yield and attractive, unusual silhouette. 

On looking at the side view, I feel the black box body is at a crossroads.  You could stop there and have this neo-victorian post-fancy-artstyle device, or add more victorian to it.  Much like the routered edges of the plaques, the box itself needs edge or corner dressing.  I've seen Michaels  carry these corner plates (like you'd find on an antique suitecase or jewelry box).  That or some fancy filligree line work around the edges (perhaps in the red or white).

That's just some thoughts that came to my mind.  What I'd do next if it was my project.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2019, 09:35:43 am »

Those lampshade/sconces are really going to have the satellite speakers in them, right?
That's been my assumption, they are speaker cones ala phonograph.

I like the idea of the steel handle on top, but it looks modern industrial.  Is there a cabinet handle in the black/bronze style at the hardware store that might match the sconces more (in my imagination of a recent visit to Lowes there is).


For the bit of what PVC between the lamp shade and sconce, consider painting it black.  I think that would blend it in as part of the sconce before the cone starts.

Assuming I'm right and those are going to be speakers, I'd fasten them to the side (really good glue?), but consider setting them high (perhaps on level with the main body's cone).  That might yield and attractive, unusual silhouette.  

On looking at the side view, I feel the black box body is at a crossroads.  You could stop there and have this neo-victorian post-fancy-artstyle device, or add more victorian to it.  Much like the routered edges of the plaques, the box itself needs edge or corner dressing.  I've seen Michaels  carry these corner plates (like you'd find on an antique suitecase or jewelry box).  That or some fancy filligree line work around the edges (perhaps in the red or white).

That's just some thoughts that came to my mind.  What I'd do next if it was my project.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with.



Yes See my last post in the previous page of this thread. The lamp shades house an airtight PVC pipe enclosure which serves as speaker cabinet, and will hold a small 2-inch mid-range driver (see pictures in the last page above your first post). The shades themselves are just cosmetic, though. They are acoustically transparent because they're made of cloth.

The sconces will be bolted to the centre of the sides of the  subwoofer, but tilted upward by about 45 degrees, as I did with the first Victorian Boombox (look down the list of threads in Tactile. There is a thread dedicated to the original Victorian Boombox - it's not too far down the list because I updated it not too long ago.).

There is special hardware that comes with the sconce kit. A flat plate is strongly attached with screws to the centre of each side of the subwoofer (wood screws) . Machine screws the protrude from the metal plate in the opposite direction which go through two holes in the metal sconce base, and you have knurled brass knobs to fasten the sconce base, to let you detach  and re attach the sconces at will.

The reason for this arrangement is to avoid damage during shipping. The second reason possibly could be for the sconces to function as normal satellite speakers do, that is, placed far away from each other. However having detachable satellite horns, requires that I add or attach a wooden plate to the sconce base, so the sconce doesn't tilt forward under its own weight; the PVC speaker enclosures are very heavy, and the little speaker is all the way to the front (see pictures in the previous page).

The handle will be a bit hard to get from regular big box hardware shops. The one you see in the picture is antique brass finish over aluminium from Home Depot (I don't know if that shows well in the picture - I took the picture in the morning and the natural light was very blue, so you may see it as white steel, it's actually dark golden). The one I used in the first Victorian Boombox was actual black wrought iron, hand made and all bumpy, rust and all, but I found it  by serendipity at Hobby Lobby about 8 years ago and they don't carry anything that big any longer (see that other Victorian Boombox thread for pics) .

The handle must be big and comfortable to allow you to carry the Boombox which is relatively heavy once assembled (this one is much smaller, but the original weighed 32 lbs), but most cabinet handles are small and uncomfortable, they don't fit a whole human hand.

The other constraint is that once I move out of the US, I will need to either mail order the handles or find a replacement made in Mexico (I need to make the same unit over and over again - this is a model for sale, not a one-off like the original). Actually it will be much easier to get a wrought iron handle in Mexico and I'm  betting I will find some small shop to make them for me. But for the moment though, I have to use a handle as large as I can find at Home Depot and either in a gold tone or black (Home Depot is widely present in Mexico as well) .

I'm ambivalent on the corners of the subwoofer as you say. But something is telling me to leave the black edges alone. I feel that there will be something akin to rivets on the wood, even if it's only one rivet per corner. . I still have to bolt the wood plates and decorated the routed edges. I need to see what it looks like before committing to another embellishment. When I started the project, I was thinking of those laser cut panels you wrote about instead of the plates, but I decided to wait on that and get the basic stuff done. I think I'd like the box edge proper be more industrial.

The white PVC needs to be painted black, as you wrote, though for some reason I like the red black combination with white highlights... I don't know why exactly . It's definitely a Non Victorian color scheme. I'd say more natural in 1960's "Mod" Britain. But I have a clue in the back of my mind:

When I was a little kid I used to build speakers out of tin cans and then I'd spray them red black and white. And when I was in high school and later in my first year of college, I used to build analogue surround sound processors out of Radio Shack parts (Dolby 3 channel type /1970s Quadraphonic 4 channel type - really simple to build). And I was smart enough to research contemporary progress on something called  "Binaural Sound" which is the basis of many 3D surround sound schemes used in the audio and video game industry today (though the math, Laplace transforms, eluded me at the time, a couple of years would pass before I was mathematically savvy to understand the theory).

But back in my first year, I knew everything about Op-Amps and I'd buy small breadboard and LM 1458 chip. Radio Shack used to sell these really neat black remote-control shaped boxes with space for a 9V battery and breadboard. The little box was meant to connect to a second amplifier in your house, taking input from the front amplifier, and the surround output to drive the rear speakers of your home sound system. And guess what colour scheme I used to paint the enclosures? Black and red with a white pinstripe. I'd print a British Underground logo which read "Underground Sound" and I'd sell the boxes to my college mates.  Grin so you see, this is a long standing tradition of mine...

The actual idea is to use gold pinstripe on the routed edges of the wood plates, matching the handle and pinstripe on the sconce bases. I haven't really thought about a 4 colour scheme. Officially it's Black, Oxblood and Gold.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 08:28:59 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #30 on: April 16, 2019, 08:40:02 pm »

Aaargh! Last night I just noted a defect on the brassy handle I got from Home Depot. The gloss finish is cracking and peeling! Actually, it can be scrathed off with just the fingernail!! That is horribly poor quality for cabinet handles. Normally cabinet handles made from brushed metal are finished with a ceramic based lacquer or powder coating that is tougher than nails. You can take a torch to the handle and the paint will not melt or burn (I know because I tried aging some brushed nickel cabinet handles years ago). You should only be able to remove the finish by sanding. So I'm very bummed to see that happening to this handle. I can't pass on this low quality to the consumer, though I really like th handle.  I'm going to have to search again...

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« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2019, 07:43:04 pm »

Very cool J. Wilhelm! Shocked
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2019, 01:39:54 am »

Very cool J. Wilhelm! Shocked

Thank you! It's something that I revived out of a need for a new shop. But I've been very busy this last week, changing work office and yesterday I was too late and too tired to do anything with it. I'm having a hard time adjusting to the new schedule at work.

I will try to do something this week. Although the new schedule will bring more money and precludes the need for a second income, I still want to open a new shop. My plans for this go beyond my school loans.

I guess I will try developing new products for the summer as well - assuming I have any time for it! And honestly the new work schedule is the gentlest least intrusive way to earn more money! Getting a second job would imply working 7 days a week, so I wouldn't even know when to build anything!
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2019, 08:58:07 am »

Gilding the Lilly...

I'm sorry I haven't got much progress to show folks. I've been extremely busy with work for the last week, just trying to adjust to a new schedule and new route, and not sleeping and not eating much, apparently.

I'm slowly settling in, and I have a lot less free time to build things, so this is going to be a challenge. I'm nowhere close to the point where  could quit my job to work full time on this - but if I strike it just right, I hope I could be at some point. It's been a long time since I was a dedicated maker.

Last weekend, I the gilded plates with a very expensive enamel which to me looks just like Testors enamel  Undecided  But admittedly after drying for 3 days, the finish does look like old gold leaf. What made the paint look horrible on the Pickelhaube's spike is what makes it look nice this time around.






This below is a mock up of what I think it would look like. I haven't angled the side speakers upward yet, but I'm debating whether to do that or leave them in horizontal position. In theory they could even be made movable, but keeping the horns tight would then be an issue. I will explore that idea soon.








This boombox is proving to be very much the same as the Mk I in many respects, including design faults, and one of those is the need for a pre-amplifier. The sound coming out of the box seems low for the power rating of the amplifier, and I know what the problem is. I went through the same issue with the Altec Lansing PC speaker system in the first Boombox.

The issue is the input of the speaker system's amplifier: it expects to be plugged to a *power amplifier*, usually a 3-5 W chip on the motherboard of a computer. But, normally hi-fi audio devices are tuned to line-level input which means (correct me if I'm wrong) a 1mV signal. In this case the input of the computer system must match the output of some little amplifier chip, something like an LM 386, Realtek ALC662, or some such.

The last time I solved the problem by building a tiny 10X voltage amplifier which I powered with a 9V transformer and connected in between the output of the iPod dock, and the amplifier's input's. I'm going to have to do the same this time, but connecting to the output of the Bluetooth receiver. The sound quality should be good, it's just the inconvenience of having to build an extra amplifier and an additional power supply for it. The amplifier's voltage multiplication should be very low to insure that no distortion is introduced into the signal - the lower the power amplification, the cleaner the signal will be. I just want to increase the peak to peak voltage of the input by a little bit. The sound should be very clean and frequency response fairly flat way past 20kHz at 10X amplification with good operational amplifier chips.

I have a good mind to perhaps use something like a compact external sound card instead, connected via USB, and thus have the ability to use the whole boombox as an external sound card as well. We'll see. I just need more time to work on this box than I seem to have!
« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 09:08:01 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Deimos
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« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2019, 01:40:45 pm »

What did you use as a Clear coat on the handle to ensure the gold paint/leaf  doesn't wear off with handling? 
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« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2019, 06:17:23 pm »

That is looking brilliant! I think the idea of making it an external souncard sounds good - maybe make that an optional extra to the main system?

Yours,
Miranda.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2019, 11:12:31 pm »

What did you use as a Clear coat on the handle to ensure the gold paint/leaf  doesn't wear off with handling? 

Actually, I'm going to return that piece as defective. I just used it for the photo with a coat of polyurethane. I think the issue was a bad batch in the factory. I'll be looking for substitutes, but for the moment I'm sticking with that model. The wrought iron ones I used to find don't exist anymore.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2019, 11:16:45 pm »

That is looking brilliant! I think the idea of making it an external souncard sounds good - maybe make that an optional extra to the main system?

Yours,
Miranda.

Thank you! I never used a sound card in the Mk. I because it had the iPod Dock already and that functioned as an audio/video hub of sorts. I think the pre-amplifier is mandatory, so it can't be an "extra," but it would be a nice feature on what is otherwise an inexpensive speaker system. I'm a very Old School audiophile, who mourns the loss of sound quality as soon as we made everything portable, so I need lots of inputs outputs and control knobs to be happy. There's a number of solutions available out there.
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Deimos
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« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2019, 02:11:10 pm »

Actually, I'm going to return that piece as defective. I just used it for the photo with a coat of polyurethane. I think the issue was a bad batch in the factory. I'll be looking for substitutes, but for the moment I'm sticking with that model. The wrought iron ones I used to find don't exist anymore.

Here's a place to check out.  It has some vintage looking pulls:
https://www.vandykes.com/cabinet-pulls/c/508/

Also, here: https://www.houseofantiquehardware.com/decorative-knobs-and-pulls
 
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