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iPod/iPhone Passive Speaker


This is a quick and fun project. You can have most of it completed in a few hours. I built my prototype in an evening.

iPod touches and iPhones have built in speakers in the base. However, the sound is rather "tinny". You can of course buy some sort of electronic speakers or dock or some other technology. Even just putting your iPhone inside a coffee cup will amplify and focus the sound. But I'm a woodworker, looking for a challenge...

Essentially, by building some sort of a base with a built in funnel or cone shape, you can focus and improve the sound. It sounds much fuller and louder. If you google "passive iPhone (or iPod) speaker" you will see many intricate options out there, many for sale.

As an experiment, I grabbed a chunk of wood and marked and cut out a simple funnel shape, and then glued on some sides. I then fitted in a couple blocks to support the iPod. The sound was amazingly improved. I was rather surprised, given how ad-hoc my design had been. Still, it works, so I pressed ahead with making another one and documenting it as I did so.

Top view... the blocks that the iPod rests on kind of blend in with the sides, unfortunately.

This top slot needs to be wide enough to allow your iPod to easily slip in and out, but not too wide so that it flops around. The blocks keep it from sliding down too far inside.

Lower view of the prototype, looking up into the mouth of the funnel.
I started with two pieces of thick spalted maple from my scrap pile, which needed to be glued together to make up the core of the speaker. As well I had some cherry for the sides, leftover from a picture frame project I completed last year.
I first had to resaw the cherry and then plane it down to about 1/4" of thickness.
The core pieces were jointed, glued, and clamped together to make a larger piece.
After it was trimmed to size I used the prototype as a guide when marking the location for the funnel openings. The funnel shape itself I just drew freehand on the side of the blank.
... and then brought it to the bandsaw and cut it out with a thin blade.
Ready for gluing, the prototype is beside the pieces of the new one.
No nails, no screws, just glue.
A pair of small blocks are glued inside the top of the piece, about 1/2" down from the top. I used 5-minute epoxy, which made this procedure just a bit easier and quicker.
A belt sander made quick work of smoothing and rounding the sides.
I kept the finish simple and just sprayed on a number of coats of spray lacquer. In time and with UV exposure, the cherry sides will darken to a rich dark red, which will make for a lovely contrast with the pale maple core

And here below are a couple of pictures of the finished project.


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