Minimal tools for Audio DIY
I was thinking we could put together a thead that could be transferred to to Wikki, as a basic guide for what tools you need to get started in this DIY lark, thinking minimalist, rather than the useful tools and techniques thread which is great, but over the top for newbies.
I will kick off the thread with my idea of minimalist tools for Loudspeaker cabinet construction, and I hope other people can contribute for other areas.
Router, with 3/4 and 1/4 inch bits and a 1/2inch roundover,(optional), circle cutting guide and guide bush.
Half a dozen clamps of varying sizes.
Straightedge and square.
Drill with selection of bits and screwdriver bits.
Mask, ear defenders, and safety glasses.
Total cost, buying budget but reasonable tools, about £100.
With these tools, panels can be cut to size roughly with the handsaw, trimmed to exact size with the router and straightedge. If rebates are required they can also be cut as above. Glueing up can either use clamps or screws.
Holes and rebates for drivers can be cut using the circle cutting jig, using the 1/4 inch bit, ( which must be plunge capable), as can port holes. Square cutouts can be made using offcuts to made a guide template, then using the router guide bush to follow them.
Ok, thats my suggestions, anyone else care to comment?
I have made 1 speaker box, for a subwoofer. It is a 50litre cube with no ports and at teh time the only tools I had were a drill and a jigsaw. I got a friend to cut the wood with a circular saw he had setup outside for cutting firewood, and he planed the edges smooth... I cut the speaker hole with my jigsaw and glued/screwed the box together.. It isn't hifi, but its good enough for me.. :)
Yes, we can all usually borrow tools, but I set this up to give advice on what you need to buy if you cannot, and need to know minimal amount of tools you need:)
To your wood working list I add a table saw with a decent fence and a DIY panel cutting sled. I bought a Makita contractor saw for around $250, but there are other brands that sell for around $125.
For electronics work, my list includes:
- Precision, flush cutting diagonal cutters ($20, don't scrimp on these).
- Small needle nose pliers ($5).
- Wire stripper (kind with individual notches for each wire gauge, not a one size nicks all type ) ($5).
- Tweezers ($2-$3).
- Hemastats ($2, Pakistan copies are fine).
- Dental picks ($2).
- Soldering Station (Hakko 936) ($80)
- Solder remover (braid or sucker) ($3 - $20)
- Flux Pen ($4)
- Dremel tool ($40)
- Dremel drill press ($40)
- Multimeter ($20 - $100)
- SPL meter ($40 Radio Shack model is fine)
- Used scope off of ebay ($25 to $50)
And most important of all:
- Ears (free)
- Discerning mind (lots of time and effort)
All price estimates are in $US
You don't really need to have a table saw or even a friend with one;) . Building supplies stores which sell MDF or plywood, can cut the panels for you without extra charge and with pretty good precision (usually 1mm or less, if you keep an eye on the operator;) ). In North America, Home Depot is providing this kind of services.
These are the tools I use every day:
Excelite fine diag's, needle nose and grippers.
Weller 12 watt soldering pencil
Weller 125 watt gun
Solder wick and solder puller
<b>For cabinet building:</b>
12" Delta contractor saw
2 hp Porter-Cable router
Porter Cable detail sander
Black and Decker electric drill
clamps and more clamps
For metal work, there are 3 stationary tools that will make your life much easier: drill press, band saw and belt sander. When you look around (especially in a second hand tool market), you can get all of them for less than $200. If you have enough space in your work area, it's money well spend.:)
If you're just building an amp kit, do you really need a dremel and stand?
All these suggestions are fine, but what I was really trying to do with this thread was to get people to think laterally, and work out ways of doing things that need the least amount of tools, yet are straightforward for a beginner:)
Peter- what are the minimal tools you would need to build an amp case if you really thought about it?
Jackinnj, fine but that is about $700 worth of kit- how could you cut it down? As I said in my first post, you can make accurate, true panels for a box with just a square, straightedge and router.
Keep up the suggestions!:cool:
I am a new convert to DIY. These are tools I bought a couple of months back when I started building my Zen4:
Router $60 (and bits - as much as the router itself)
Drill Press $80 (Father's day sale at Sears - actual price $120). Bits extra.
Palm Sander $20
Soldering Station $100
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