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Old 29th May 2002, 01:53 AM   #1
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Default Finished ESL picture (finally!)

After many mistakes and errors, difficulties with parts and electronics, finally I am done. The ESL is framed with some scrap 2"x1" plexiglass. Of course, the frame is now permanently joined and the ESL is stuck right where it is. It can however tilt 360 degrees in the stand. This ESL and its counterpart were given to my brother, whom I hope will appreciate the effort put into it.
I'm already working on the pair for myself.

I guess that I should state that sonically it sounds beautiful. I'm pretty new in the audio world, so I can safely say that they are the best sounding speakers I've heard. Of course, that could be a little pride shining through.

Enough bragging,
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Old 29th May 2002, 02:06 AM   #2
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To build electrostatics is not easy...

PS:good listenning!
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Old 29th May 2002, 08:51 PM   #3
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They look great. Where did you get the basic plans and can you give us details on transformers etc. I am starting to get the bug myself. I have a couple of projects to do first but want some stats without the price.
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Old 29th May 2002, 09:00 PM   #4
Apogee is offline Apogee  United States
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Thumbs up Great Job!!!

I would also like to see the plans that you used or where the idea came from...

Again great job! Beautiful!!!

Happy listening,

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Old 29th May 2002, 11:15 PM   #5
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David and Steve,
I got my first inspiration from an online paper by Mark Rehorst. Then, I used Roger Sanders' Electrostatic Loudspeaker Cookbook for the bulk of the information. I suggest reading both of these.
As for the parts:
The transformers are the most costly. Barry Waldron sells some relatively cheap ($50) transformers specifically for ESLs at But also sells vacuum tube transformers that can be used backwards to yield a similar effect. I bought both Barry's transformers and the PT-1069 ($40) because I needed two pair (one for me, one for my brother). I wasn't able to do an A-B type test before giving away this pair. But, both worked fine.
If you can get your Mylar from Barry, do so. His Mylar is heat-shrinkable and I couldn't find it anywhere else. Otherwise you'll have to make some sort of stretching jig. Trust me, it is a lot easier to use a heat-gun.
Most of my other materials were purchased from mcmaster-carr.
Total Price is tough to calculate, but less than $400. Of course, that number doesn't account for the hours of toil. All well worth it.
If you need any help with your projects, please don't be afraid to ask.
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Old 29th May 2002, 11:36 PM   #6
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Gosh, they look incredible... great work!
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Old 1st June 2002, 06:23 PM   #7
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Thumbs up Very nice!

Beautiful work! How big are they?

The last ESLs I built used a 2" PVC pipe frame. The only thing I didn't like about it was the lack of rigidity - not the frame but the speaker. That large mass of perforated steel supported by the edges wobbles like a large drum when I bang on the frame with my hand. It probably doesn't matter because I don't bang on them with my hand while I'm listening to them, but it bugs me anyway. One of these days I'll rebuild by chopping the drivers up into 3 or 4 sections and add more horizontal pipe between them.
Or maybe start from scratch and build a frame from welded steel tubing.

Is your assembly very rigid? Did you use aluminum or steel or something else for the stators?

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Old 1st June 2002, 08:28 PM   #8
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Mark Rehorst,

Thank you for writing that paper long ago. Now I've lost all of my free time and money, but my ears thank you.

The stators are 36" x 20" and 22 gauge steel with 5/64" stagered holes. I bought them in 36" x 40" pieces from McMasterCarr. The plexiglas frame has a 5/8" groove cut into it, in which the ~1/4" speaker resides. It is not held tightly at all. No glue, or anything. But they do not wobble inside the frame too much. I guess that I got lucky. If it was a problem I imagine that I could jam some sort of shim in between the frame and the speaker at any trouble spots.

I suggest to anyone that wishes to build a pair of speakers that they utilize the "mirror stand" method of holding it up. It makes it very easy to tilt to the desired listening level. A rigidly vertical support would be unforgiving if one wished to change the layout of a room, or something.

I do not recommend that anyone build theirs with the plexiglas frame. It took a lot of time and precision milling that fortunately I had access to. A similar frame could be thrown together with some timber of your choice. Besides, plexiglas is darn expensive. I was lucky enough to come across a large supply of it for free.

Mark, I am wondering if you could describe your stretching rig. I had to kind of invent my own. I used some of the plexiglass pieces to hold the four sides of the mylar. Then I pulled each piece of plexiglass via a bolt through a frame. The mylar was just just barely above a piece of glass that provided a smooth surface for graphite grinding. The only problem is that the tension is eyeballed and the process takes a lot of time to set up properly, and a lot of clamps/vices are needed. How did you do yours?

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Old 1st June 2002, 08:29 PM   #9
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Here's a picture of the stretchig rig
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Old 1st June 2002, 11:45 PM   #10
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They're pretty freakin' cool! It looks like you did a really pro job! Congrats!!!
My girlfriend's sub is bigger than mine...
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