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Old 18th December 2012, 05:37 PM   #1
Frank40 is offline Frank40  Denmark
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Default Speaker unit from Scratch, anyone

Is there some one that has build a speaker unit from scratch. I really like to get some more ideas..... I have started a project se: A dream of mine but there is a lot more I would like to know and one way is buy experimenting. But if there is some one with has experience in building speakers, I would like to learn more.
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Old 18th December 2012, 06:06 PM   #2
sreten is online now sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

Unless you have a radical and brilliant alternative to current driver designs,
that works, there seems very little point in building random poor drivers.

Generally speaking, most of it has been done before, whilst reinventing
the wheel may be interesting, it takes a long time to discover the stuff
that is built into decent modern drivers, or isn't for cheap nasty ones.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 18th December 2012, 06:29 PM   #3
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Frank,
I do build speakers from scratch but it isn't a simple endeavor. Some components I wouldn't bother with unless I had something that needed to be out of the ordinary. These are things like speaker frames, surround, spider, dustcap. But that doesn't mean that you can just use anything or as Sreten said why bother. I have my voicecoils wound for me by Precision Econowind and have to specify all the details of their construction. The cone material is of my own design and development and this is what led me to develop the entire speaker as I had created a new material that was better than anything else I know of. But even this is not an easy task. I not only had to develop the material but also the tooling to produce the cone. Unless you have a machine shop or access to one that could get quite expensive in itself. I am in the middle of a redesign to create a new packaged housing, a molded housing that I will make myself. I have the molding equipment to do that. That is going to require a new surround that doesn't exist and again more tooling. So as you can see it is not an easy thing to do. If you just wanted to build a speaker to see how it all works you could try and get samples of parts and put one together yourself. China is very cooperative in giving small samples if they think you are a serious developer. But even assembling the speaker will take tooling. Tooling for centering the voicecoil in the gap, for attaching the cone to former joint, attaching the surround to the cone, etc. If you want to PM me go ahead. I will tell what I can, but it is not for the weak of heart, or something that is easy to do. Then comes the testing, more money for equipment....
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Old 18th December 2012, 07:54 PM   #4
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Well, I make my own speakers from scratch.
I mean *hardcore* scratch, start with 18Ga cold rolled steel sheet, 1/4" to 3/8" SAE1010 flat steel, 18 ft long 10L14 bar, the works.
Work is 90% metallurgical, 10% what anybody thinks of as "speaker building".
Have already made thousands of speakers, both for personal use, selling to the public ( or other guitar amp makers) and exporting.
Don't have my own hydraulic presses, rent shop time at any convenient car parts maker.
Also sold my lathe, found guys who charge me less than paying a salary for a lathe guy.
The job also includes spot resistance soldering, galvanizing (preferred) or phosphatizing/powder painting , magnetizing (I have 2 machines, I'm building a 3rd one).
The actual speaker finishing (cone, suspension, VC, etc. ) takes only 20 minutes per unit, including soldering, applying edge, dustcap, etc.

Last edited by JMFahey; 18th December 2012 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 18th December 2012, 08:24 PM   #5
sreten is online now sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

My point is essentially if you decided to make car engines, that is
what you've decided to do, and you'd be a fool not to use every
tried and tested approach, unless you are an engineering genius.

rgds, sreten.
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Old 18th December 2012, 08:38 PM   #6
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JMFahey,
I guess you are as hardcore as I am then. I also do the motor structure from raw steel but I don't make my own frame as I found some that fit the bill and they are so cheap from China no reason to do that. I do have my magnets magnetized before I get them as you can not magnetize them once the assembly is put together, not with the design I use. And you are right about the machining. Sometimes it is cheaper to have the Chinese make something and supply the steel than it cost just for the machining here in the US. 1008 steel is not something that is readily available here in the US anymore, it is considered junk steel here. I have used 1215 steel that has less carbon than 1008 anyway. But besides the magnetic circuit I do make the cones myself, that is a large reason that my speakers are very different than any other. I assume since your speakers are for guitar that you are using a paper cone. Glad I am not the only one this crazy.

Steven
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Old 18th December 2012, 08:50 PM   #7
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sreten,
I can't disagree with you at all. But it is the little things that make the difference in how a speaker sounds. I agree that any science or math major could understand how the device works on a simple basis it is all in the littlest details why one speaker sounds different than another. As simple as things like the adhesive you use or the former material the voicecoil is wound on. It has been a hundred years of development and we still don't have a perfect reproducer. I think that is what makes the challenge worth it for me. I hate to just make what someone else has already done.

Steven
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Old 19th December 2012, 12:37 AM   #8
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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JMFahey,
How are paper cones made? Mold tooling, mix paper slurry, press, dry, treat with dope? Sounds like a lot of areas that can be tweaked.
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Old 19th December 2012, 01:56 AM   #9
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xrk,
I have never seen the exact process of the paper cone production but you are correct that there are many steps in the process. I would have to say that paper is probably a bit of misnomer, there is more than just paper in the cones. I know that some manufacturers use what is called reticulated fibers in the blend and I think they also can add cotton and other fibers to change the properties of the final product. That would be one of the oldest developmental areas of loudspeaker construction. Nobody I know would say that the process could not be changed or improved, that would discount any newer materials you could add to the mix. I personally don't work with paper cones, I leave that for other more traditional manufacturers. Isn't science fun.....
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Old 19th December 2012, 03:45 PM   #10
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Cool thread.
I use paper cones, nowadays imported from China.
For the record, I *have* made my paper cones , but quality was very poor.
Best sounding were those where I started with a flat piece of similar to business card cardboard, cut it in the proper shape, then soaked it and then pressed between male and female Aluminum dies.
Similar to Jensen "seamed cone" guitar speakers.
The cone worked, but self destructed quickly, I'm certain because it was regular cardboard.
Then I made a wirescreen mold, similar to what "art recycled" paper makers use.
Met a limited success in (then unavailable in Argentina) 15" cones but sound was very dull.
They were soft, thick and spongy.
Later I learnt I needed an extra step, pressing the cone between male/female dies and drying it with superheated (200 ļC) steam, so it comes out of the die dry, thin and hard.
Mine were uncomfortably similar to *thick* recycled toilet paper or egg cartons (very similar technology).
When I get a camera I'll post a picture of a home made 15" cone, I have a few remaining.
Yes, the paper mix is a "witches' brew", I had to spy a guy who made them commercially but kept everything very very secret.
He mixed what looks like dirty water, he used an old cast iron bathtub, no kidding, and he dropped there "wood paste", a brown stuff which comes in "bricks" and is the base material to make brown paper bags and such, plus dirty white "long fiber" (probably crushed cotton rags) plus some kind of water based glue plus some "secret additives" which I guess included some kind of gelatin or animal glue, also a little glycerin to keep it "wet" and flexible even on a hot dry day (or in the sun) plus the universal dye: smoke black, which is preferred because it's very black, *light* and stable.
Otherwise cones would be same colour as cheap box cardboard.
So, it *can* be done, but worth pursuing only to set up a small factory and sell them.

As of crazyness, it's not that bad if it's the only way to get something otherwise unavailable
I started making Guitar amps in Argentina in 1969, and Importing was blocked by lots of red tape and high tariff walls , so if you wanted something, you had to make it ... which is good.
Lots of small factories everywhere, that's why I could get in direct contact with people who could make special things for me.
As in: car parts stampers who agreed to stamp frames for me, using combinations of dies they already had (in fact, my first 15" frames were based on CitroŽn wheel caps), or a grocer scale maker who cut and bent my chassis or paint makers who mixed small batches (5 gallons) of special paint or adhesives or cone edge doping , or a pot maker who made special curve or value ones in small 200 or 300 unit orders, etc.
It was a tinkerer's paradise!!
Unfortunately, most now have sold their machinery and simply import Chinese stuff with their own brand stamped.
And we lost 80% (or more) of Industrial workplaces.
I'm one of the very few who keeps manufacturing in small scale, but most of my ex colleagues now drive a taxi, or have a small convenience store or ice cream parlor or a Burger/Hot Dog place or whatever.
And If I had to start now, I don't think it would be possible.
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