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  • Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

    So for my next build I really want to try and tackle a translamination cabinet using baltic birch. Looking extensively over the web for examples I've really only seen examples where each layer covers the entire circumference of the enclosure.

    With the prices of quality baltic birch or apple ply I was hoping to cut down on costs by mostly limiting this construction technique to the curved side walls by making the bulk of the enclosures height out of rib pieces. I've attached some renderings to better illustrate this idea. I've determined that this approach will cut my BB stock requirements in half which is a significant cost savings

    My primary question is if anybody has done something similar or see any flaws in this approach. I don't think I've seen any examples of it prior and doubt I'm clever enough to come up with a new idea so I'm skeptical. Second question would be about cross bracing and how many layers of this should be sufficient? The walls are a continuous arc and will be appx 1.25" thick. The rendering below only has one in the middle and thinking 3 might be a good idea, however determining a layout to get them to fit around the port while evenly distributing the amount of wall braced among them it proving difficult.

    I really appreciate any insights or ideas...
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

    While I have never made an enclosure the way your purposing. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work well. I have a suggestion, and it will help align all the pieces together more easily. By adding holes for threaded rods to glue the pieces together. When the lamination is dried you could fill the holes with wooden dowels or whatever you please. I tried to make picture similar to yours to show my point.

    You could add more holes for added stability when gluing the pieces together.
    Don't know if that helps but gave me an idea to try one myself, so thanks.
    Thanks ,
    JB

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    • #3
      Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

      I drool over translam construction... Though I think (in my head) that your approach would barely gain anything over regular panel construction. You would still have 4 corner joints to deal with, and the loss in rigidity that comes along with them. Sure, the sides may be more "dead" but that can be accomplished with extensive bracing, or thicker material. I absolutely have no guff about "doing something just because" and your cabinet would be trick, but since you mentioned budget a few times, you would have to squeeze the penny quite a bit to make it cost-time effective.

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      • #4
        Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

        Originally posted by ROTECH View Post
        I drool over translam construction... Though I think (in my head) that your approach would barely gain anything over regular panel construction. You would still have 4 corner joints to deal with, and the loss in rigidity that comes along with them. Sure, the sides may be more "dead" but that can be accomplished with extensive bracing, or thicker material. I absolutely have no guff about "doing something just because" and your cabinet would be trick, but since you mentioned budget a few times, you would have to squeeze the penny quite a bit to make it cost-time effective.
        To me the strength is more about the grain orientation than one single piece. Try this.... take, say.. 5 pieces of similar scrap 1/2" ply, lay them on top of each other with two 2x4 or similar bits about 3' apart or so.... stand on it (if you're big enough.... it will bow... if not reduce the # of pieces until it does), take those same pieces and orient them side by side vertically and stand on them (use a clamp to hold them together.... not tight... not screwed so you can claim the difference... even though it does make one...lol). I would go on to say that you need to be exact on measurements and repeating each one perfectly to be able to take full advantage of it... I'd say go for it, and take your time!
        Last edited by BElstro; 02-01-2012, 04:05 AM. Reason: 12" ply??? lol

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        • #5
          Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

          well, your taking into account for the basic makeup of any plywood- it has directional strength. Whenever you buy certain plywoods, they are printed right on them which direction for strength.
          Absolutly, any plywood when stressed against the grain will be untold amounts of times stronger. I did mention this in my first post, that the translam sides would surely be stronger than any single panel layer, though because the translam stops at all 4 corners, you are only gaining lateral rigidity on the 2 side panels. That same rigidity can easily be had with well-thought-out bracing. But again, I am definately a fan of doing things because you can, and I would love to see this build happen just as the OP planned it.

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          • #6
            Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

            Definitely possible and this has been done before. Magico mini is one example of a commercial design employing the same translam approach, our fellow PE member DoubleTap has also employed this in his vapor audio Cirrus design. List goes on.

            Adding the threaded rods, cutting a chamber in the middle of the panels and filling that space with viscoelastic material, these are good ideas.

            This thread might be useful for you:
            http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi...ld-thread.html

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            • #7
              Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

              Though I use a vertical lamination orientation, this is basically how I built the Ansonica. I expect to do almost exactly this on a later build.

              C
              diVine Audio

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              • #8
                Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

                Does this provide any additional sound dampening that isn't provided by bending ply under stress? It seems to me that by clamping thinner sheets into the curved radius, it puts the sheets under stress, and this stress prevents vibrations and surface modulations from the sound waves. I used something called 'bending ply' which is plywood with all grain running parallel for all plys. This allows it to bend relatively easily around forms, though it still is under stress and requires strapping/clamping while gluing because of spring-back.

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                • #9
                  Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

                  I have never cared for curved cabs. I have considered making a square translam cab from simple straight pieces of BB, each layer being made of four separate sides, with the corners alternating lengths looking much like a dovetail joint, or the classic log cabin corner, and using holes at the corners for alignment dowels as posted previously.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

                    Thanks for all the responses from everyone and am feeling more confident and better informed.

                    djg, I suppose that is ultimately the reason I am going this route. I've built so many 'boxes' that I think I just want something different shaped sitting in front of me this go around.

                    Carrick I do not think this will provide anything that stressed layer construction will not, in fact probably the opposite. However I tried the bending ply before and from a mechanical standpoint am fairly certain it does not induce enough stress to appreciably offer any of the benefits. Maybe we used two different products but what I have seen has been exclusively poplar and could easily be bent and held by hand. I tried it before and was not happy with the results until I put a viscoelastic layer on top and then covered it 1/4" of fiberglass. I think using a stiffer and denser product like HDF or masonite has shown to produce excellent results however building enough layers to get an appreciable thickness and the whole construction process seems more difficult to me than the translam approach, especially trying to then replicate the 1.75" radius roundovers on the baffle.

                    ROTECH I see your point I plan on using pretty hefty front and rear baffle material, 2.25" and 1.5" thick laminations of MDF and BB respectively. Do you think that the glue joint would be a weak link? My thinking is that the sides will present the largest dimensions and want the curved shape more than anything to provide extra rigidity? I'm thinking the biggest drawback is probably the necessity to make all the "ribs" uniform. My plan is to cut them all a little oversized and then use a flush trim bit after gluing going one layer at a time. Thinking about using pilot holes and finishing nails to keep them aligned but am a bit worried about leaving the metal in there with the possibility that it will resonate?

                    Also CJD seeing photos of your Ansonica's were in large part an inspiration as I really loved the look. Hopefullly can get off work early and make it to the lumber yard this friday afternoon. Now the biggest question will be what type of veneer to cover the baffle with??? Thinking walnut burl but that will probably change.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

                      Is it your plan to use a finish that will leave the laminations and plies visible? I personally like that look, a lot. If that's the idea, I think your approach is just what I'd do, and perhaps will do someday. But if the enclosure is to be painted or veneered, I'll opt for MDF because of the cost involved.

                      As for wall rigidity, I don't think you need curved sides to achieve adequate resistance to resonant panels. And as has been pointed out in many discussions about bracing, elaborate bracing schemes aren't necessary and probably don't provide any measurable benefit. But, curved enclosures sure do look nice, and for me, that's a legitimate reason to go that route. I'm just skeptical that any real acoustic benefit is there -- a significant and measurable benefit, that is. Theoretical arguments can be made I'm sure.

                      Anyway, I guess I'm rambling. I started out to say I like the approach you've planned, and ended up wondering if there's any significant and measurable benefit.
                      Tritrix HT:http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=222519
                      Dayton 12" Subwoofer: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=222930
                      Overnight Sensations: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=223751
                      Cerberus sub: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...hlight=cerebus
                      Duellatis: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=224943
                      NTN's: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=227902

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                      • #12
                        Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

                        It looks like the finished speaker could be really heavy depending on what material you chose for the lamination layers. Weight may not be an issue or a factor.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

                          That is the plan soundslike, leave the plys visible. I think that combined with the curved cabinet is an awesome look and is my main motivation. Any acoustic benefit is really just a bonus. I do wonder though if I need more braces, the curved sides should actually help considerably with rigidity and will be relatively thick for the material. However the internal volume will be 18.75" high and one brace seems like skimping, I'm concerned however about wedging them around the port and driver and concerns about clearence and reflections.

                          Smith they should be pretty damn heavy, but hey nothing help from my younger brother and a six pack can't fix ;)

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                          • #14
                            Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

                            Funny, I was just thinking about this same method last week. I want to try making a jig for my jigsaw to cut the curves, that way I'd only loose about 1/16" of material from the actual cut, vs. using a router and losing 1/4" of material. I totally agree though, the look is killer, but the traditional method of construction is far too cost/labor intensive for the average diyer. With the right jig it may cut a lot of the time out of the equation. Somebody should just invent trans-lam veneer :D
                            My modest builds:
                            Armadillo TM, A.K.A. Lil' Dillo
                            Tarkus/Armadillo build #2
                            Armadillo Center Channel
                            Au-Rock-O Sub
                            Tarkus
                            Staining MDF tutorial

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                            • #15
                              Re: Feasibility of translamination cabinet idea

                              Since it hasn't been mentioned yet....the amount of hours reqiured to make the pieces will be significant. In addition, are you willing to subject your eyes and lungs to the resulting dust?

                              It might be worth checking into having the part CNC'd.

                              Whatever you decide to do, I look forward to seeing the results. Translam cabinets are incredibly interesting in an industrial sort of way.
                              If life were fair, Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead.
                              ~ Johnny Carson

                              Bungelow Ed's Photo Album http://techtalk.parts-express.com/album.php?u=8594

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