DIY: iPod Dock From Reused Parts and Leftover Chicken

DIY: iPod Dock From Reused Parts and Leftover Chicken

Jul 17, 2009

We have tried out a lot of docks here on Unplggd. We love the variety that's available out there in terms of quality, price, functionality and design. So there is really no reason to do what I have begun doing. I suppose you could say that I am compelled to build. Maybe I can't stand to see good materials go to waste. Maybe I just want to try something that no one else has done or create something so amazingly specific, that I would never find it out on the market. Maybe I just need a dock and don't have the extra cash lounging around to buy one.

Ok- I have a lot of materials lying around that could easily end up in landfills. I know, I am a hero... but seriously, there is a lot of junk that can be made into something very slick and finished. A lot of people go for the whimsical, found object look, and we love that here and there, but it can be nice to create something that is as new as anything you can buy at a store.

The previous owners of my house left behind a few treasures when they moved out. They built the house in 1958 and have had a few years to collect a lot of interesting things. 4 pieces of mahogany, that were presumably part of an old child's bed, have been collecting dust in the corner of the garage. I have taken them out many times to admire and imagine, but have not come up with anything to do with them until now.

I really wanted to create something like an old boombox or "Box" as we used to call them in NY. I wanted there to be absolutely no kitsch value to it though, this is not a "Remember the eighties?! They were so awesome because of friggin products!" No, not this time. The size and shape were convenient because they took up a certain amount of room that was enough to look like a serious stereo but not so big that you needed to reserve a place to put them.

Secondly, I wanted to use some old speakers that I had from a system that I loved. These were some tiny little 3" drivers that came out of a JVC mini-stereo. I used them to review the Dayton T-amp a little while back.

Thirdly, I wanted to use said T-amp to power the system... as you will read from the Dayton review, that part will not work out in this arrangement. I was originally going to take apart the T-amp and use the very tiny amp part inside the box. I will discuss the replacement amp in a later installment.

Lastly, I wanted there to be only wood on the front panel. The speaker grills will be holes drilled through the wood. Nothing but wood.

The first thing I needed to do was cut and join this wood. Since it is only about 4" wide, I needed to mate up two halves to create an 8"ish width... There are these channels cut through the whole piece that will have to be filled in certain areas to make sure the speaker boxes are sealed, but that is not a big issue.

I threw in a sliver of ash to create a little contrast. This stuff comes in a precut tape that is used to veneer edges. This was a hard thing to do since the clamping pressure causes the wood to slide a little in one direction or another. I used slow drying wood glue from titebond so I had some time to get it right.

After that, I cut off the excess and sanded down the front panel. On the back I needed to cut out some space for the speakers to go. Since I am using the wood as the grill, it can't be too thick or it will affect the sound. What I did is use a mini-router from rotozip and set up a template that would cut out the right sized box shape. This is not what this tool was built for, so not so easy to do. Patience. I had to add an extra layer of masonite to build up the thickness since the tool does not retract far enough.

All worked out fine. The last thing I did for this epsiode is frame out the box itself. I have a bunch of MDF around that was perfect for the job. I measured the sizes of the original boxes and made my interior volumes the same. I will transfer the same ports over to the new construction so that I maximize use of the old materials. The amp will go in the middle chamber and I left a lot of room there for other things... air movement being one... sorry about the photo... hehe.

This is a pretty intense project but can be approached from many different levels of expertise. If you know a lot about this stuff, you can make it very complex. If you don't, you can just glue a bunch of preexisting parts together. Tune in next time for more dockiness.

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