Speaker Stands

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Ok, after pricing quality speaker stands, I have decided to build my own. I am thinking of using 3/4" think Oak plywood left over from building my entertainment center for the base and platform. This will be good since it will match my decor and please the wife ;) . For the "posts" that run between the base and speaker platform, I have two options. I can either use 3 pieces of 1"x2" Oak facing, cut to length and set in a triangular configuration. Or, I can use 3 pieces of PVC painted a metallic silver or black or whatever. I have these following questions:

1. Will oak be ok to use or will it be too resonate?
2. If I use PVC for the posts, how will I attach them to the base and platform peices?
3. What is the point of filling the PVC with sand? To make them more stable?
4. What are the purpose of spikes on the base?
5. How do you determine the proper height for your rear surround speakers?(This is what I'm building the stands for. After determining what height they need to be set at, then I'll know how tall t make the stands.)

Attached is a diagram of how the posts would be laid out on the base using first the oak facing and second the PVC.

That should about do it. Any help you can give me will me greatly appreciated.
 

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robv60 said:
Ok, after pricing quality speaker stands, I have decided to build my own. I am thinking of using 3/4" think Oak plywood left over from building my entertainment center for the base and platform. This will be good since it will match my decor and please the wife ;) . For the "posts" that run between the base and speaker platform, I have two options. I can either use 3 pieces of 1"x2" Oak facing, cut to length and set in a triangular configuration. Or, I can use 3 pieces of PVC painted a metallic silver or black or whatever. I have these following questions:

1. Will oak be ok to use or will it be too resonate?
2. If I use PVC for the posts, how will I attach them to the base and platform peices?
3. What is the point of filling the PVC with sand? To make them more stable?
4. What are the purpose of spikes on the base?
5. How do you determine the proper height for your rear surround speakers?(This is what I'm building the stands for. After determining what height they need to be set at, then I'll know how tall t make the stands.)

Attached is a diagram of how the posts would be laid out on the base using first the oak facing and second the PVC.

That should about do it. Any help you can give me will me greatly appreciated.

First, I'm not sure about oak, I'd use it, but then again, I don't go for the overly esoteric ideas.

Secondly for attaching PVC you have a couple of choices depending upon the amount of work you want/are capable of doing. You could route a dado or cutout for the ends to sit in and glue them to the wood. You could glue a blank into the ends of the PVC and screw from the other side into them. (Position the screws so that the speaker sitting on top will hide them or counter-sink them and use wood plugs to cover them) One final thought would be to purchase three lengths of all-thread and bolt the two plates to each other with the all-threads inside each PVC pipe.

As to filling with sand, yes it makes it more stable and it also eliminates the resonance chambers within the PVC pipes as well. (For fun just take the pieces and heft them without sand, pretty darn light, aren't they?)

The spikes, if I remember correctly, are used to keep the speakers from setting up resonances in the floor. I'm not sure on this, so don't quote me.

As for height, since they're surround, its not that big a factor, but I'd say the higher the better. My current ones are a little below ear level, and I end up localizing surround effects right to the speaker closest. (If its going to both) My next placement will put them up higher so that I can, hopefully, reduce the localization issue.

On a personal note, I kind-of like the flat pieces the way you have them laid out. I'm assuming the support pieces will be solid oak by the way, otherwise you'll be staring at the ugly plywood edges. (Even edge banding isn't much better, it'll still stick out)

Hope this helps you some!
 
Thanks for the thoughts. I have actually thought of the all thread idea. Problem was i couldnt figure out how to fill them with sand and THEN tighten the top & bottom down. Glue idea will probably work. I could use a forsner bit that I have to make a flat-bottomed hole about 1/4 - 1/2" deep and sit the pvc in the holes. I would be concerned about the glue coming loose , however. The upright supports would be solid oak. Its the kind of oak strips that are used for cabinet facing that you can pickup at Lowes or Home Depot. The two square pieces at the top and bottom will be made of Oak plywood but i plan on using some leftover vaneer to hide the cut edges. Worked well for my entertainment center. I actually had some plans sent to me from the person that made this post - http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3257&highlight=speaker+stand+plans , the plans look great, but according to him, the materials should cost $100 :eek: ! I would rather buy some for a heck of alot cheaper. However i do like the way his suppots look since they are actually metal and not painted pvc. "Metal" paints never look metal.
 
try metal conduit instead of pvc

I played around with using metal pipes intended to carry electrical wires. Home Depot type places stock them and I used a 3" & 2" variety. It looks really good next to the wood -it isn't a high quality finish, but I kinda like it - and its much more solid than pvc, and not too expensive
 
Yeah, i looked at some(conduit) tonight at Lowe's. I was concerned about the finish, if they could be polished, I would definately like to use some. Problem is having it cut. I wouldnt want to hack through that stuff with a hacksaw. Have you tried polishing it to see what kind of finish you can get?
 
....continued. After looking at PVC, I'm just not sure how strong it would be. Im sure it would be adequate, but it just seems kind of flimsy. Thats why I checked out the conduit. By the way, how did you have your "pipe" laid out on the base of your stand? Did you do the three pipes as shown in the picture above or did you use two, or one,etc.? If you used say, two, how stable did the finished stand turn out?
 
I just took a look at the stands you referred to, and wow those do look nice!

As to the flimsy nature of PVC, you do realize that there are different thicknesses available, don't you? Also, remember that you're not dealing with a lot of weight. My guess would be that a stand with your design would have the compressive strength to easily hold a full grown man. The problem is shear strength, which could be helped by filling them with sand. Basically, I think they'll be stronger than you think. (This coming from someone who habitually over-engineers anything he builds!)

As to the glue giving out on the PVC, I would say use epoxy instead of glue and you'll be fine. (The forstener bit is definately the way to go, and 1/2" should be more than enough depth)

As for securing with all-thread and filling with sand, its easy, put a nut and washer on one end, thread it through the bottom plate and the empty PVC. Do this for all three pipes. Now, stand the whole thing upright. Fill the pipes with sand, add the cap piece, and tighten down, done. (This leaves the top showing the nut/washer/thread showing, which would be covered by the speaker, hopefully) Oh, one thing, I'd probably still do a shallow hole in the top and bottom plate for the PVC to sit in, to keep it from moving from side to side. (1/8" to 1/4" would be great for this)

As to the top and bottom plates themselves, some other thoughts are: if you're doing solid oak for the supports anyway, why not go solid for the plates as well? Or, if you want to use plywood, (I know, its more stable, less prone to cupping and warping) instead of using edge-banding, you could do something similar to bread-board ends. Take a scrap of oak and rip it to about 1" wide, miter the ends and use it to wrap the plywood, it'll look nicer than the edge banding. (Trust me, I built some end tables using this technique) Plus, using the solid oak edging like that will let you round over or chamfer the edge as well, and give it a more finished/sophisticated look!

As to cutting the metal conduit, you have a couple of options. One, you could ask the people at HD or Lowes to cut if for you. (Won't be as accurate, but its a possibility) Or, you could rent a metal chop saw for a day and cut them that way. (You might also be able to put a metal cutting blade in a normal chop saw, but don't know about that for sure)

Well, I think that's enough for now...

P.S. - just remember, we're not talking a lot of weight here... You don't need to engineer them to hold the entire family!!!
 
I guess I should have said epoxy rather than glue since thats what i was going to use anyway. I wasnt so much concerned about the strength of the PVC for holding the weight, i was more concerned about it bending out somewhat in the middle. Maybe sand will take care of that. I would looooooooove to do the edging technique you suggest but i do not have acces to a rip saw of any kind. The holes i was talking about using the forstner bit for were going to be for exactly what you suggested, for the PVC to fit in. One question on the threaded rods-should i expoxy the nuts to he wood to keep them from turning loose or would locking wahsers solve that?
 
1. Will oak be ok to use or will it be too resonate?
>>It doesn't matter. Use anything. No one has ever heard a speaker stand resonating and no one ever will.

2. If I use PVC for the posts, how will I attach them to the base and platform peices?
>>Get flanges that fit the pipe, glue the flanges to the pipe, and screw the flanges to the wood. Don't even think about epoxy on PVC. It won't bond. Use PVC cement.

3. What is the point of filling the PVC with sand? To make them more stable?
>> It will add weight. Whether it adds stability depends on what the stand is sitting on.

4. What are the purpose of spikes on the base?
>> One of the great audio mysteries. When used on speaker stands they do two things: impress folks who have "the religion", and poke through carpet to the hard floor below to add stability. When used on floor sitting speakers, some claim spikes will couple the speakers to the floor, others claim they will isolate speakers from the floor. I think they lift a speaker off the floor so that you can have one more vibrating surface (the bottom of the speaker) coupled to the air.

Attached is a diagram of how the posts would be laid out on the base using first the oak facing and second the PVC.
>> Schedule 40 PVC comes in grey and white (with red lettering all over it). Paint won't properly stick for the same reason epoxy won't bond. You can get paint to stick by first wiping the PVC with a rag soaked in vinegar. Let the pipe dry then paint it.

MR
 
conduit

you can easily cut conduit with a pipe cutter - its basically a "C" clamp with a rotating cutting wheel. You clamp it on and spin it around, tightening a little bit with each revolution. They're pretty cheap, although the bigger ones cost a little more (maybe $25 to cut the biggest pipe).

For my design, I used one fat pipe, with a thinner pipe directly front of it. On the base of the stand and the top of the stand (the speaker platform), I had layers of MDF (which I learned through experience is not the best for this application), with the layers getting thicker towards the back, and towards the middle laterally, so the open front area had 1 layer, the middle area with the thin pipe had two layers, and back with the fat pipe had three layers.. It looks really good that way and I'll try some ascii art.

side view (listener is to the left of this picture):


 (speaker
   goes
   here)
__________
   ____
     ||  -----
     ||   | |
     ||   | |
     ||   | |
     ||   | |
     ||   | |
    _||_-----
------------



there are lots of brackets and things that you can screw into your wooden base and then clamp on to the pipe, and get a pretty solid connection. mine was pretty wimpy because the MDF didn't like screwing very well. In order to have room for the clamps, I drilled a hole through the layered MDF for the pipe to go all the way through, and hollowed out the area underneath (thats why I came up with the layers idea in the first place. Then I could screw the clamps on to the underside of the cavity (same thing for the top surface where the speaker sits - there's a cavity for the clamps that you can cover up with a board, or simply leave it open since the speaker will cover it anyway. Then you can cap the ends and fill with sand.


PVC might be a good alternative, but only if you fill with sand. Still I can't imagine it being very rigid, no matter how thick it is. As for polishing the conduit, I thought about it back when I was building this, but I couldn't figure out how to do it, and it seems like the composition fo the metal itself is uneven, so you wouldn't get an even polish anyway. But everyone thought it looked really good when these stands were finished, although it does have a bit of an industrial look.
 
Ive used the pipe cutter you describe for copper tubing before, didnt think of that, good idea. I also thought of using paint on PVC that you can get from a Hobby supply store. It is an aluminum-colored paint. You spray on and let it dry, then buff it out with a soft cloth. Its probably the closest match to real aluminum i have seen in a paint. Now, if i can just get my hands on some threaded rods. Checked at Lowes, they didnt have any, i will check with my local ace hardware store, i know they have it because i looked there for some while working on another project. I would love to se any pics you all may have of your DIY stands.....
 
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Re: conduit

PVC pipe - especially thick wall stuff is quite rigid. I'd clamp the top and bottom plates down on the pipe with ready-rod (all thread) and any hollow cyclider should be filled with something to make it non-resonant. Dried sand is good. Wax & gravel. Lead shot & epoxy...

And you could consider copper pipe too... take some fine sandpaper too it and it looks real nice.

The toobz i built for a friend use plastic pipe, copper pipe, and an oak base (endangered species oak).

dave
 
Well, I see I'm a little late to offer more help, as you've purchased everything, but that's not to worry about. About the only things I was going to say were: a) HD should have had some, I've purchased from them in the past. (Heck, even Sears hardware has all-thread!) b) I wouldn't epoxy the nuts, I'd just use lock-nuts (Not lock washers) The lock-nuts will do wonders, the lock-washers, won't, trust me... I have a table saw held to its mobile base with lock washers, and it comes loose, a chop saw with lock-nuts, and it takes quite an effort just to get the nuts off by hand!!

Oh, by the way, you mentioned a concern of bowing on the pipes... How much weight are you putting on these things?? (Not to mention how thin are the pipes you're using?) A 1 1/2" pipe has enough compressive strength to hold over 100lbs!!! (If you're using three, you should be able to sit on it without any bowing!!!)

As for the edging, All you really need is a saw that can cut an accurate 45 degree miter, not that difficult. (If you're in the NE Ohio area, you're welcome to come over use some of my tools...) Let us know how it comes out!
 
Started working on it yesterday. Almost decided it wasnt worth the effort when I drilled my holes wrong. Now I have to re-do 1 each of the top and bottom pieces. Also, i need to purchase more washers ans nuts because I figured wrong. I am about this || close to using wood supports rather than PVC, but, I'll try again tomorrow and see if I can remedy my flaws. Learning experience....
 
Sorry to hear about the problems, but keep working at it... It should be worth it in the end. Besides, we all make mistakes. At least you realized the mistakes early on, and not when you're about to finish the project! Since you'll be out buying new nuts and washers, why not look at the lock-nuts? (They'll be a pain to put on, but trust me, once there, they won't vibrate loose!)

Also, remember to relax and double and triple check all measurements BEFORE cutting! (Trust me, it saves time and hassle later) I know its frustrating when you realize you made a mistake, but just take your time and all will work out in the end.
 
Well, the extra washers and nuts definitely helped. My problems before were I was unable to get a square cut on the PVC which has been remedied by using a miter saw. Also, I only had nuts and washers on one side of the platforms. By placing extra nuts on the other side of the platforms I was able to adjust everything properly for a better fit. I also had to go back and re-do a top and a bottom piece since before I routed the holes for the pvc out too deep. Fixed that too. Everything is cut and ready to be painted,stained and finished at this point. I think I may scrap the idea of using a metal-like paint on the pvc, instead I do black satin finish. The black will match my TV and other components. All the silvery-metal paints I tried just looked cheap somehow. Looked like I painted them rather than actually looking like metal, you know? Anyway. I took the easy way out and counter sunk some holes in each corner of the bases and inserted 1" long screws for spikes. Not the best thing, but it works. Besides, you cant see them anyway. I'll post back later and let you all know how they turn out.
 
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Make sure you give the PVC a good clean with paint thinners before you paint them to remove any mould release compound, and it probably wouldn't hurt to give them a light sanding with fine ( 600 grit) wet and dry paper, to give the paint a key.

Now I could stir up some comments from other members by making comments on the effects of different types of screws when used as spikes, but on second thoughts, best not... ;)
 
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