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Making 93% of a Tarkus, One Whole Armadillo, and Fumbling Along the Way

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  • Making 93% of a Tarkus, One Whole Armadillo, and Fumbling Along the Way

    So, I guess it's time to make a real build thread. Skip to the photos if you don't want my life story

    I first made some Quarks by Jeff Bagby, and I got hit with the DIY bug. I then made some Speedsters by Paul Carmody, and I loved the and the sound (separate build thread for them coming next month - need to do a finishing job on them, and probably making like 3 more pairs).

    I needed some new speakers for a new apartment I moved into, so I looked at all the available options from existing designs, and settled on the Tarkus/Armadillo for a HT setup in my living room. To be honest, the speedsters would probably have had enough 'oomph', but I wanted to challenge myself with no flatpacks, cutting the wood by myself,etc.

    It ended up being much more difficult than I imagined. Partly because I did it all in my living room and on a 50sq. ft. patio, and partly because this is my first time doing any sort of woodworking.

    When I first got into the idea of hi-fi, I went to some audio shows and really loved the sound of the ELAC Uni-fi line. I thought 'wow what a great sound at a great price'. As I learned more about how speakers were made, what made them tick, etc, I stumbled on the DIY scene.

    Fast forward a lot, and here I am.

    So, picture time.

    Here's the tiny patio lol.

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    Here is the cut sheet that I drew for the Tarkus:

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    Started gluing up after cutting according to the sheet. I used the 2x4 sheets from Home Depot. My living room was a disaster during this.

    I used the saw guide for circular saws found here: http://www.popularmechanics.com/home...a3602/4283497/


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    As referenced earlier, I suck at woodworking.

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    Thankfully, PL Premium saved my behind for the gaps and areas where things didn't totally line up. Due to the angles, routering wasn't super useful so I just used my random orbit sander to go to town on all the sides. Went through several discs.



  • #2
    I can only imagine how difficult it is trying to build those and not having a really decent workspace. Lots of glues will fill gaps, but only epoxy will fill and strengthen. That is, most glues will only obtain strength at the glue joint when the pieces are clamped together. Epoxy hardens to strength regardless whether you clamp the pieces or not. Epoxy will fill also fill all sorts of voids and holes and imperfections and can be routed and sanded and drilled etc.

    Comment


    • #3
      WIth regards to the title - due to the limitations of my space, I had to resize the dimensions of the tarkus ever so slightly, resulting in about 93-95% of the cabinet volumes. Per Paul's comments in other build threads, the reduction is slight enough to not account for any discernible difference in practical use.

      My dimensions came out for the bass cab as:

      12" wide, 23.5" tall, and 12" deep at the top, expanding to 18.75" deep at the base.

      The TM cab came out to be:

      8.25" wide by 12" tall, and 8.5" deep at the top by 12.5" deep at the bottom.

      Got started on the TM cab by routering out the holes needed with the jasper jig
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      And, as per my hack status, a liberal amount of bondo applied to raise/lower and get everything where it should be prior to sanding.

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      Started bracing the bass cab as well.

      I did a cross brace in the TM cab using 3/4" hardwood dowels for rigidity, and used a bunch of hardwood dowels in the bass cab.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by View Post
        I can only imagine how difficult it is trying to build those and not having a really decent workspace. Lots of glues will fill gaps, but only epoxy will fill and strengthen. That is, most glues will only obtain strength at the glue joint when the pieces are clamped together. Epoxy hardens to strength regardless whether you clamp the pieces or not. Epoxy will fill also fill all sorts of voids and holes and imperfections and can be routed and sanded and drilled etc.

        I agree - but basically everything was securely clamped for 24 hours+, and the gaps weren't in structurally important areas - I made sure to use bondo over the glue gaps to try and help prevent any air leakage or anything like that. It doesn't look pretty in the pictures, but I think that it's pretty solidly filled.

        Comment


        • #5
          I hate angles. I'm just going to say it.

          I have a lot of admiration for those who are capable of making angles work flush and sit well, etc. I vow to never use them again unless I have a CNC machine


          I couldn't figure out how to get the braces from back to front at the proper angle, prior to gluing the front face of the cab on. It was a bit of an 'analysis paralysis' situation.

          Eventually I came up with the idea of using zip-ties to hold the braces in place while gluing and measuring. I used a flat piece of MDF to simulate the front panel to see if the brace would be flush.

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          Also, as you can see, I did my ghetto crossover and placed it in the bottom of the cab. It's made on 1/4" MDF and woodglued to the cabinet.

          Comment


          • #6
            I lined the bass cabs with foam and used spray foam adhesive to secure it. I lined a good amount of the walls, but there are some gaps still. Do you think this will be a problem?

            Also, since the crossover is in the bottom, I don't want to cover it with foam, so I have left it open. Should I cover it with foam or just let it be?

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            • #7
              As for the Armadillo, I forgot to get any good photos of the build. I'm bummed because I found a great new 'crossover board' that can be used for certain crossovers.

              I went to IKEA, and got a small bamboo cutting board, sanded all sides to make sure there weren't any oils or waxes that would interfere with adhesion, and glued/drilled/ziptied the crossover to it

              http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60233426/

              It was surprisingly perfect in size. Go figure. Keep in mind, if I had a shop, this wouldn't be a big deal, but living in a small apartment, I take 'ready made' whenever I can get a chance.

              On the Armadillo thread, they talk about the resistor by the tweeter, and how the value can be from 3.3 to 6ohms. I first tried 4.7ohms, but I got a really high tweeter level. I changed it to 5.1ohms and the result was a much smoother treble to my ear.

              Then I filled it with denim insulation and sealed it up.

              Still working on the stuffing amounts, and I will adjust accordingly when I get it to the listening position, but I'm going to finish sanding, painting, etc so that it's all ready prior to that. I filled it fairly heavy in the woofer compartments and medium in the TM cabinet.

              I'll probably remove some, but I filled it heavier at first so that there's room to remove.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ScenesFromAHat View Post
                So, I guess it's time to make a real build thread. Skip to the photos if you don't want my life story
                I may need to steal that line, thanks

                Originally posted by ScenesFromAHat View Post
                It ended up being much more difficult than I imagined. Partly because I did it all in my living room and on a 50sq. ft. patio, and partly because this is my first time doing any sort of woodworking.
                Been there, done that. You'll get better ... and more creative. If you give up to flat packs, can I have the bamboo?





                Comment


                • #9
                  As far as I'm concerned, a Table Saw is by far my most important tool for making good, solid speaker cabinets. Using a table saw makes cutting out super-accurate panels extremely easy...
                  Without one, or a jig setup to do similar work, it's pretty hard to make accurate cuts. But I understand given your current situation this is what you have to work with; there really isn't room for much else. I'm actually pretty impressed with your drive to build cabinets on your own given your lack of space and tools. That's dedication!

                  You're doing fine for a rookie... jump in and do it... learn/adjust as necessary. You can never know which way the tires are pointing until you start moving, right?

                  Hey, we pretty much all started where you're at right now. By the way, I make at least one mistake on every thing I build. Experience = being able to hide your mistakes better.

                  Maybe if you want, try a small subwoofer build next. You only need one, they're pretty easy to construct, and give a good 'Bang' for your buck. I'd suggest Wolf's "Triumph" subwoofer. They're a lot of fun, the 25 Watt plate amp is on sale also. http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-...ifier--300-782 I don't think Wolf has a post for that one, so here's my post on the ones I did. http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...-items-finally You don't have to do the roundover and I want to point out my mistake... I had to slather a mix of glue and wood fiber to make a filler for my boo-boo.

                  Looks good! Keep us posted.

                  TomZ



                  *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                  *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

                  *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
                    As far as I'm concerned, a Table Saw is by far my most important tool for making good, solid speaker cabinets. Using a table saw makes cutting out super-accurate panels extremely easy...
                    Without one, or a jig setup to do similar work, it's pretty hard to make accurate cuts. But I understand given your current situation this is what you have to work with; there really isn't room for much else. I'm actually pretty impressed with your drive to build cabinets on your own given your lack of space and tools. That's dedication!

                    You're doing fine for a rookie... jump in and do it... learn/adjust as necessary. You can never know which way the tires are pointing until you start moving, right?

                    Hey, we pretty much all started where you're at right now. By the way, I make at least one mistake on every thing I build. Experience = being able to hide your mistakes better.

                    Maybe if you want, try a small subwoofer build next. You only need one, they're pretty easy to construct, and give a good 'Bang' for your buck. I'd suggest Wolf's "Triumph" subwoofer. They're a lot of fun, the 25 Watt plate amp is on sale also. http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-...ifier--300-782 I don't think Wolf has a post for that one, so here's my post on the ones I did. http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...-items-finally You don't have to do the roundover and I want to point out my mistake... I had to slather a mix of glue and wood fiber to make a filler for my boo-boo.

                    Looks good! Keep us posted.

                    TomZ




                    Thanks for the kind words Tom!

                    I'm actually in the process of building an Ultimax 12 with the PE 2.0 cu ft flat pack, and going to EQ it with a miniDSP balanced in the signal chain from the AV receiver out. So it'll go AV Receiver > miniDSP > XLS Drivecore 1502 Amp > Ultimax 12. I hope it turns out okay :S

                    With regards to the build, any thoughts so far? Anything I should change prior to 'buttoning up' the enclosures? Is the amount of foam okay and/or should I cover the crossover? I'm very much green at all this and can use any/all help.

                    Thanks again!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
                      As far as I'm concerned, a Table Saw is by far my most important tool for making good, solid speaker cabinets. Using a table saw makes cutting out super-accurate panels extremely easy...
                      Without one, or a jig setup to do similar work, it's pretty hard to make accurate cuts. But I understand given your current situation this is what you have to work with; there really isn't room for much else. I'm actually pretty impressed with your drive to build cabinets on your own given your lack of space and tools. That's dedication!

                      You're doing fine for a rookie... jump in and do it... learn/adjust as necessary. You can never know which way the tires are pointing until you start moving, right?

                      Hey, we pretty much all started where you're at right now. By the way, I make at least one mistake on every thing I build. Experience = being able to hide your mistakes better.

                      Maybe if you want, try a small subwoofer build next. You only need one, they're pretty easy to construct, and give a good 'Bang' for your buck. I'd suggest Wolf's "Triumph" subwoofer. They're a lot of fun, the 25 Watt plate amp is on sale also. http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-...ifier--300-782 I don't think Wolf has a post for that one, so here's my post on the ones I did. http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...-items-finally You don't have to do the roundover and I want to point out my mistake... I had to slather a mix of glue and wood fiber to make a filler for my boo-boo.

                      Looks good! Keep us posted.

                      TomZ


                      Mistakes are another reason why I'm so fond of using epoxy. It can fill and rebuild all sorts of mistakes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Personally, I only "stuff" sealed cabs. Ported boxes I just line w/foam. A sheet above the XO would be "OK" - but probably not required. If you DO, keep in mind that only the resistors could actually get HOT. Maybe some kind of "standoff" could hold the foam up off those, just in case. Lookin' good.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think you are doing great! And much better than the first few boxes I built myself.

                          Since you don't have room (obviously!) for a table saw, consider making yourself a couple of jigs. A straight edge saw guide and a cross cut guide are small enough to be easily stored and work great. You can make both for around $30 in materials.

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rii-N5V9GbA&t=147s cross cut sled. Use the basic idea from here and add features that you deem important.


                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfM_6RBLx0Q super simple guide. Izzy is a great guy to get tips from.
                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfM_6RBLx0Q
                          https://www.facebook.com/Mosaic-Audi...7373763888294/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Honestly, you're making bracing for angles much harder than it needs to be. All you really have to do is build the box, then cut a piece that will fit *partway* up the angled wall. Then just jam it in there with some glue on the ends. Done.

                            Anyway, tons of kudos for doing such a massive undertaking as a first woodworking project. You will certainly learn a lot--and those skills are transferable!
                            Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

                            Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
                            Twitter: @undefinition1

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Updates!

                              Glued up the cabs, and had plenty of squeeze out thanks to PL Premium-in-a-tube. Sticky fingers for a long time.

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