Building a Bluetooth Speaker into a Side Table

November 15, 2019

Almost one year ago I built my first piece of "fine" furniture (at least for me). It was an end table made from solid walnut with traditional joinery. One of the ideas was to have a removable drawer that I could replace with a bluetooth speaker. Well after a year that idea is a reality!

Check out the Full Plans Here
STEPS

Step 1: Cut down the MDF Box

The main speaker is built from 3/4in MDF.  This is cut from a sheet down to a strip on the table saw. It is then cut to width on the miter saw.

Step 2: Cut the MDF Strips at an Angle

Each of the MDF strips are cut at a 45 degree angle.

All four sides of the box are cut on the table saw.

Step 3: Glue the box assembly together

The box is glued together by first laying all the pieces upside down on a work surface.

I then added glue and folded the pieces together.  The box was secured with tape and clamps while the wood glue dried.

Step 4: Spray paint the box black

The box body is spray painted black on all sides.

Step 5: Prepare the walnut front face

The front face of the speaker is made from 3/4 in walnut.  This was a rough cut piece so I got it flat and square on the planer and jointer.   The walnut front was then cut to size on the table.

Step 6: Design the front face in Fusion 360

This step could be skipped if you don’t have a CNC but I wanted to create a unique 3D design.  I used Fusion 360 to mimic the effect of water rippling from the speaker's face.

Also since I didn’t have a large enough bit to cut out the speaker holes these were designed into the model as well.

Step 7: Cut the front face on a CNC

The front face was cut in two different passes.  The first was an adaptive facing operation  using a 1/4 in uncut bit.

The second operation refined and smoothed the design using a ball noise bit.

Step 8: Wire up the electronics

So I won’t go into great detail here on the wiring on the electronics.  I bought a speaker kit from Kirby at Kirby Meets Audio.  I’m using his Fawn speaker plans and speaker kit.  He provides great plans to put it all together.

But a quick overview….

Step 9: Attach the woofer and tweeter to the front face.

The subwoofer is screwed into the speaker face.

Step 10: Wire up the crossover

These plans include a passive crossover design.  The basic idea is that through inducers, resistors and capacitors you can split the audio signal for your different sized speakers.

Step 11: Cut out the speaker back

The back is cut from a piece of MDF and painted black. I used a CNC to cut a hole large enough fro the speaker out ports.

The back electronics are screwed into place.  They include a power port, 1/16 audio jack and power switch.

Step 12: Drill rear components

Holes were drilled for the rear components with their appropriate sized bits.  I then used a Forstner bit to remove materials around those holes from the back so that the electronics could fit into place.

Step 13: Secure soundboard into place

I didn’t have any spacer on hand so I secured the soundboard directly to the back of the speaker back.  I plan to go back and insulate this later but for not it is seeming to work.

Step 14: Finish the Front Face

This step should have been done before I wired up the electronics.  I was able to remove them enough so I could oil the front speaker’s surface.  I used a few coats of Generals Arm-R-Seal.

Then for the speaker body, I used a several coats of shellac.

Step 15: Glue the front face

Wood glue was used to attach the front face to the speaker box.   This was clamped into place so that it could dry.

Step 16: Attach the Back Panel

The back panel is attached with countersunk screws.  This allows me to open the speaker up if anything ever needs to be repaired or modified in the future.

Step 17: Adjust the Reveal of the Speaker

I used some small spaces to adjust the reveal around the front face of the speaker.  I plan to attach feet to the speaker in the future that can also be removed if the speaker is not insides the end table.

That's It!

And that's it!  I've been using an Amazon Echo with the speaker it is working great!