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Author Topic: Victorian Boombox Mk. II brainstorming  (Read 3831 times)
Deimos
Gunner
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United States United States


aka Countess Millicent Addlewood


« Reply #50 on: July 01, 2019, 08:27:51 am »

"Grossly overbuilt and heavy, but isn't that what Steampunk is all about?"

No problem....just include a winch or hoist with it.  ;-D
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Here is a test to find out if your mission in life is complete:
If you're alive, it isn't. -- Lauren Bacall
Miranda.T
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #51 on: July 01, 2019, 07:53:26 pm »

It continues to look really impressive - it makes me think of a Steampunk submersible or maybe what the EVA pods from 2001: A Space Odyssey would have looked like if that had been a Steampunk movie.

Yours,
Miranda.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #52 on: July 09, 2019, 11:51:09 pm »

"Grossly overbuilt and heavy, but isn't that what Steampunk is all about?"

No problem....just include a winch or hoist with it.  ;-D

I may well do that!

It continues to look really impressive - it makes me think of a Steampunk submersible or maybe what the EVA pods from 2001: A Space Odyssey would have looked like if that had been a Steampunk movie.

Yours,
Miranda.

Well I never though about that! Etheric survival pods in 1899,  A Space Odyssey ?

Things are going to change a bit. During the last two weekends, I started working on the horn baffles and secondary horns. To be honest it became nigh impossible to find smaller lamp shades with a suitable shape, and by serendipity I found a pair of aluminium lamp post base covers. The kind that you place around a steel tube used as a garden lamp shaft.

Initially I thought I'd use the aluminium parts directly, but they were too big and square, and at $7 à piece, quite expensive. I also found a pair of plastic air duct adapters, made from thin ABS plastic or some such. They looked about the right size for a smaller horn, but ugly and unfinished.



After debating in my head how difficult it'd be to cut the square parts of the the aluminium cover, I realized the plastic adapter fit over the aluminium base. And I further realized the space in between made a perfect mold for a flange or bezel.


I thought of two alternatives, molding something like plaster, or molding with Sculpey / Fimo. My first try with a ""light weight" plaster was a disaster. The product was what I'd call "construction merengue" which seems to be a latex rubber foam of some sort with ultra fine silica sand mixed in. I'm sure it has its uses, but outside of a toxic soufflée, I don't know what those uses would be.


My trial with Sculpey was much more successful. The bezel made from it does shrink as it cools down, so it's necessary to split the piece into parts. The surface feels like a rough molded ceramic, and with its imperfections one could paint it with acrylic to give a cast iron look. Gluing the bezel to the plastic adapter would be done by way of Latex glue. So it's a mish mash of all new water soluble plastics being used to make these horns.


The horn serves double duty as both a stand alone horn for the upper midrange speakers, and as an insert and bezel for the higher range lower speakers. For the latter case, the horn has space for foam filling and I can use latex glue to glue the plastic adapter to the inner cloth lining of the lamp shade. I thought that'd give a much less awkward method of attachment for the lampshades, so I can forget about the silly aluminium clips..


The exercise was not cheap, however. The trial and error method cost me about $50. I also spent a good bit with the cast swivel supports and copper pipe holders... So I have to make a final tally and reacess the cost of the Machine. But I'm hoping this will take care of the horns' configuration finally.

« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 12:30:43 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #53 on: July 22, 2019, 06:23:03 am »

Trying out my hand at reproducing a cast iron look with Sculpey and acrylic paint


This plastic will be a little bit of a challenge, because the Sculpey can't be painted with enamel or oil based paints. The surface of the plastic will behave differently from the abs plastic. So I have used acrylic paint over the Sculpey and Latex glue joints. I will have to cover them to spray paint the rest of the cylinder. I'm debating whether to add rivets to the cylinder.

Attaching these sleeves to the speaker bodies turned out to be easier than expected, though it is also a bag of material issues. The general idea is that the lamp shades and horns will be mounted in  a way that dampens vibrations, and be removable in case of damage, and for transport purposes too. I had the idea last week to use rubber insulation strips, like those used to weather-proof windows to create a flexible gasket which both holds the plastic cylinder shown above and provides friction so it may not slip off the speakers.


Just a couple of strips are needed to give a very strong and flexible attachment point. But as everything else in this project, when you fix a problem, two new problems arise. At the present time the gaskets look beautiful in white, and provide strong and flexible grip. But therein lies the problem. The rubber will not take kindly to paint. And the bare surface of the plastic is best to allow the rubber to develop its grip and to allow the rubber strips to be glued. So it's like all of the plastic components are resisting color.

I will need to figure that out. The obvious is to simply not paint the inside of the couple / cylinder shown, but that means the white colour will be visible on the upper horns. The other idea is to enamel around the rubber gaskets. I will not enamel under the rubber gaskets, because these will be attached with cyanoacrylate, as enamel grip is questionable at best. And on both upper horns and lower horns, you now have a space gap that will leak sound to the rear. That will not be much of an issue, I suspect, if I can use foam to fill the gap. But painting around all those rubber foamy and plasticky bits will be an issue.

I think I'll have to start deciding right now what colour the upper horns will be and commit to that choice, because to go further I need the pieces prepared before applying the gaskets. Specifically the inside and outside will have to be painted with a brush and enamel. I may apply colour "piping" like red or gold later on. I can get brown gaskets, but that is my only choice. Chocolate brown or snow white.

For the lower horns, the couplers / cylinders are mostly hidden from view, so they'll not be painted. The issue is more that of filling a plethora of gaps with neoprene foam sheet and some gray polystyrene insulation foam strips, again the window insulation type. I even found out that the hardware store has fiberglass insulation sheets sold individually. Great for speaker projects.







These speaker enclosures / horns are a Pandora's Box of materials and complexity. The last photo is probably the easiest. Just enamel the speaker body and use a sheet of neoprene to seal the rear gap left by the lamp shade. The stickiest problem is coming up with a bezel to cover the front gap of the lower speakers. There are these door knob polished brass bezels which would look great, but they're rather pricy at $5 a pop. I may bite the bullet on that one.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 07:08:27 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #54 on: July 24, 2019, 09:14:04 am »

Dear ladies and gentlemen :

I'm facing a problem. While the black paint looks good on the horns, I noticed that it makes the speakers, particularly the red horns look smaller. I don't know why, but I just think the white looks better as the "interior" of the "horns."




Now I had decided today to use these brass door knob reinforcement plates as bezels to cover the gap between the small bluish aluminium drivers and the Sculpey scalloped bezel:


 I know it would look great with the black contrasting the gold. But I can't help feeling that even the golden bezel would look small relative to the horn. In other words, by using black I have made the horns look less impressive.

I fear that the white not only looks good, but serves a role in determining the importance of the horns. It's a bit like white tyres on a car. I used to have this Garrard (Gradiente) 1980s era sound system with white cones on all the drivers of the black speakers, and to date, I think those were the best looking speakers I ever saw. It's psychological but I'm very biased that way.

Can't I just make the excuse that these are "sound reverberation ceramic horns"?  Any opinions? Black or white?

I remain Truly Yours,

J. Wilhelm
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 09:24:54 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Banfili
Zeppelin Captain
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Australia Australia



« Reply #55 on: July 24, 2019, 11:48:10 pm »

Personally, I like the white, and the idea of white ceramic horns sounds cool! Why does it need four horns? I like it better with just two - think four makes it look cluttered!
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 11:49:47 pm by Banfili » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2019, 01:24:02 am »

Personally, I like the white, and the idea of white ceramic horns sounds cool! Why does it need four horns? I like it better with just two - think four makes it look cluttered!

Hi Banfili! Yeah it does clutter the look a bit. On the other hand, I thought the system looked a bit bare like it was before.

The reason the modification is practical, is because there was a major flaw in the frequency response of the system (look at the sound analysis I did in the previous pages of the thread). I had to add speakers tuned to fill a horrible gap in mid-range sound that I noticed around 900 Hz or so. It was so bad that you could not hear the vocals on some songs (like a Kareoke machine). Fortunately a Hi Fi review pundit online had made an exact analysis of this same system as sold from factory. He came to the conclusion that the fault was engineered into the amplifier and speakers. So I made my own sound "analysis" using a white noise generator and I engineered 2 additional speakers to more or less fill the sound gap.

Using this amplifier I won't be able to use less than the speakers shown, even I engineer a crossover (ideal) for the smaller speakers. That's the problem with smaller hi fi systems, you really need the tweeters and the mid-range speakers to comfortably reproduce the whole spectrum.

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Banfili
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Australia Australia



« Reply #57 on: July 25, 2019, 02:42:04 pm »

Personally, I like the white, and the idea of white ceramic horns sounds cool! Why does it need four horns? I like it better with just two - think four makes it look cluttered!

Hi Banfili! Yeah it does clutter the look a bit. On the other hand, I thought the system looked a bit bare like it was before.

The reason the modification is practical, is because there was a major flaw in the frequency response of the system (look at the sound analysis I did in the previous pages of the thread). I had to add speakers tuned to fill a horrible gap in mid-range sound that I noticed around 900 Hz or so. It was so bad that you could not hear the vocals on some songs (like a Kareoke machine). Fortunately a Hi Fi review pundit online had made an exact analysis of this same system as sold from factory. He came to the conclusion that the fault was engineered into the amplifier and speakers. So I made my own sound "analysis" using a white noise generator and I engineered 2 additional speakers to more or less fill the sound gap.

Using this amplifier I won't be able to use less than the speakers shown, even I engineer a crossover (ideal) for the smaller speakers. That's the problem with smaller hi fi systems, you really need the tweeters and the mid-range speakers to comfortably reproduce the whole spectrum.

That explains that! Electronics is  not my thing ... I sort of muddle along, but by no means an expert. Grin
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #58 on: July 26, 2019, 08:00:54 am »

Actually the hard part is the acoustics. It's more like an art. I may try my hand at some actual electronics by building a passive crossover for each channel. That's one of the advantages of having each driver in its own enclosure. The crossover can be a tiny box with solenoids and capacitors tucked somewhere under the box or in the back. That will require no battery or mains power.


In the meantime, I'm trying to advance on this colour issue. I tried my hand at painting one of the Sculpey bezels with acrylic paint. Flat black was a pretty good choice. It looks a lot like old painted cast iron. In fact I painted the rest of the plastic adapter with "Krylon Fusion" for plastic, but I discovered that while nice, the finish is a bit smooth to pass for cast iron. The scalloped Sculpey bezel on the other hand is full of tiny bumps and scratches that with the chalky caked acrylic paint make it look like a passable painted iron facsimile (I can't paint Sculpey with Krylon, it'll melt the plastic, that's why I used acrylic). The solution is to paint over the plastic coupler over the Krylon with the acrylic to give it a rougher matte black finish. Even if it doesn't stick too well to the Krylon, the underside is already flat black. It should be resistant to scratches.

I then had the idea of using a gold paint marker to paint some "piping" on the bezel. It looks pretty good and helps outline the horn.  Since the horn is so dark, you can't even see the scalloped surface of the Sculpey. The only way to make it visible is to outline the scallops with the gold piping.


On the bottom horns, I tried my hand at painting gold piping over the (burned) white Sculpey. It looked horrible. It erased the beautiful scallops and the gold looked brown. So I went ahead and painted the bezels back to white using acrylic paint. The Sculpey comes out a bit burned from the oven, so it's not quite white, but a bit like cream or pink. So I did not use snow white acrylic, but light cream colour - which is perfectly invisible in these photos, I realize, but looks more like real ceramic in person.

So this is where I stand I'm inclined to make the bottom bezels "ceramic" but remain sceptical and yet completely put off by black on the bottom horns. The top horns I think are OK with black and the colour serves to make the satellites look smaller, to aid with the cluttering issue.




I think it's clear from the pictures that all Sculpey bezels need a secondary bezel to close the distance with the diameter of the driver units. That is the job of the brass plates I show in previous posts, so you can imagine a brass ring around all driver units.

Oh well. Time will tell what else I think of..

Cheers,

JW
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 08:17:25 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Deimos
Gunner
**
United States United States


aka Countess Millicent Addlewood


« Reply #59 on: July 26, 2019, 11:33:52 am »

Oh, that gold piping on the flat black bezel is the way to go!
It just screams "VINTAGE!"  Do it, do it, do it! Muy bueno!   
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Miranda.T
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #60 on: July 26, 2019, 02:10:00 pm »

I have to agree the black and gold is an inspired choice; I hope the planned electrical modifications progress as well as the aesthetics are  Smiley.

Yours,
Miranda.
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