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First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

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  • First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

    Hey Everyone,

    After a few weeks of thinking about it and buying some much needed tools, I've decided to build a set of Paul C's Swope HT speakers as my first experience in speaker building. I have no idea how long its going to take me (probably a long, long time...) and I'm not even sure how I want to finish them yet, but I will be documenting my progress and lessons learned here.

    I got serious last weekend and started learning some Google Sketch-up CAD to help visualize things... I got far enough to be satisfied with the models for now, and moved on to cut sheets and early material planning. For anyone who hasn't seen it yet... the Speaker Building Bible sticky on this forum is outstanding, and the software they link to called Max Cut v2 is free and AWESOME for getting optimized material layouts together!

    Last night I finally took a trip to the hardware store when I decided it was time to start buying materials instead of more tools :D. I also learned my first lesson: 4'x4' sheets of MDF do NOT fit inside of a Honda Fit... One of these days I'll get around to buying a truck!

    As of tonight, I've transferred my layout diagram from the MaxCutV2 software on to the MDF boards, so I may start making some sawdust this weekend! May need to think a bit more though, as I realized I didn't consider the air volume reduction of adding a few windowpane braces to my cabinets... More thinking to do!
    Attached Files
    Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
    Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
    The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
    SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
    The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

  • #2
    Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

    If you need to save some space, just use dowels to tie the sides together. It is easier and will use up less air space, while still giving you the bracing you need.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

      Hi Everyone,

      I got some work done this weekend (BIG thanks to my buddy with a proper table saw and dust collector!) and cut the panels for the L, R, and C speakers. I also got some appropriate screws and countersink/drill to predrill all my holes in MDF, so I'm almost ready to start glue-up. I think the best plan right now is to finish my windowpane braces (or decide to scrap them entirely and use dowels as DustinBagby suggests. If I went that route, would I just use some 3/4" or 1" OD dowels from the hardware store? I guess most of those are made of poplar or oak, and it probably doesn't matter which I use? I kind of doubt I need to go as far as making some dado holes in the internal sides of my cabinets, but is that not overkill? I've seen lots of people using the windowpane brace more than dowels...so I'm operating on majority rule for the most part...

      Drivers and crossover kit for the towers has been ordered from Meniscus and should arrive on my doorstep tomorrow! I'm holding off on ordering the center channel kit for now, until I get confidence that I'm not too far out of my element when I start assembly of crossovers and glueup of the cabinets. Judging from the inordinate amount of fun I had just drawing some circles on my baffles for speaker layout, I think I'll be OK...:D

      Here's some picture updates as well. Nice piles of MDF, some dry-fit mockup, and an idea of final project scale once it's all assembled!
      Attached Files
      Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
      Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
      The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
      SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
      The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

        Got a little more work done tonight. Did the rough cut on two of the windowpane braces I'll likely use on my towers. I've got two more to rough cut for the other tower, maybe 2 more on top of that if I decide to convert the tweeter/mid section bottom piece into a windowpane brace section coming out the rear. Whatever I decide, as soon as those braces are done, I can start planning the glue and screw construction for the cabinets.

        The big story of the day is the speaker kit from Meniscus arrived today! I am impressed with the work they put into these kits, and I am very, VERY happy to see some fancy labels that fit over the crossover boards. I'm a mechanical engineer by trade, and most of the electrical stuff falls under the category of "Black Magic and Voodoo" to me! I have no shame in taking a paint-by-numbers approach to building my crossovers ;)

        We'll see how much more work I can get done this week. Gotta be patient and do things the right way!
        Attached Files
        Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
        Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
        The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
        SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
        The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

          Originally posted by KEtheredge87 View Post
          Got a little more work done tonight. Did the rough cut on two of the windowpane braces I'll likely use on my towers. I've got two more to rough cut for the other tower, maybe 2 more on top of that if I decide to convert the tweeter/mid section bottom piece into a windowpane brace section coming out the rear. Whatever I decide, as soon as those braces are done, I can start planning the glue and screw construction for the cabinets.

          The big story of the day is the speaker kit from Meniscus arrived today! I am impressed with the work they put into these kits, and I am very, VERY happy to see some fancy labels that fit over the crossover boards. I'm a mechanical engineer by trade, and most of the electrical stuff falls under the category of "Black Magic and Voodoo" to me! I have no shame in taking a paint-by-numbers approach to building my crossovers ;)

          We'll see how much more work I can get done this week. Gotta be patient and do things the right way!
          Wow. I like the whole crossover template that is pretty cool. Looks like an excellent kit.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

            I've got some more progress to report on! I completed my windowpane braces for the towers, including two half windowpane braces that I may use in place of the standard TM sub-enclosure's bottom piece. This was my first time using a router, and I am glad I didn't go cheap with that purchase! Brand new Bosch router ran like a champ. I also bought the vacuum dust catcher attachment for the base, which I thought was pretty stupidly priced at $40 on Amazon for a few pieces of plastic, but I don't think I saw ANY MDF dust billowing out from around the router. Seems that $40 was well spent on making sure I don't totally destroy my garage with a coating of dust.

            At this point I'm a bit unsure which direction I should be heading in the build. Not sure if I should focus on constructing the cabinets to the point where I can mount drivers in the baffle, or if I should get crossovers assembled. I like that meniscus kit... but I've seen some other ideas like terminal blocks and molex connectors for each driver that I think will be helpful later if I need to work on individual boards. If I solder everything together, I won't have a choice but to work on the ENTIRE network like one big pile of spaghetti. Does anyone have suggestions on general order of operations or priorities when building these speakers?

            Here's a few more pictures to accompany the evening's work:
            1) Marking up the windowpane braces and center punching some pre-pilot holes for later drilling and jigsaw operations
            2) Plunge router setup with 3/16" roundover bit and worthwhile dust vacuum attachment installed
            3) Rough cut vs. rounded windowpane braces
            4) Final product - 4 full windowpane braces and 2 half windowpane - half TM enclosure brace-bottoms

            Thanks in advance for questions, comments, and advice!
            Attached Files
            Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
            Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
            The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
            SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
            The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

              Originally posted by KEtheredge87 View Post

              At this point I'm a bit unsure which direction I should be heading in the build. Not sure if I should focus on constructing the cabinets to the point where I can mount drivers in the baffle, or if I should get crossovers assembled. I like that meniscus kit... but I've seen some other ideas like terminal blocks and molex connectors for each driver that I think will be helpful later if I need to work on individual boards. If I solder everything together, I won't have a choice but to work on the ENTIRE network like one big pile of spaghetti. Does anyone have suggestions on general order of operations or priorities when building these speakers?
              I find weather plays a big role in how I assemble speakers as I work in an outside garage. If the weather is decent I concentrate on the actual cabinet and the finishing. When it gets cold I work on the crossovers inside on the kitchen table. Really I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this question. I prefer to build my crossovers with the least amount of non solder less connections as possible to eliminate the possibility of a lose connection. Get yourself some "soldier sucker" for deconstruction work. Works great and makes de-soldiering WAY easier if need be. I simply use crimp on female connectors for the actual drivers and then for the bulkhead connectors. If there is a problem I pull the entire board out and work on it as a unit. Make sure you build the board small enough to fit through a driver opening or else this will not work. Another thing I like to do is fully assemble the speaker prior to finishing the cabinets for a quick listen. Even measure them if you have the equipment. This will tell you weather your box is constructed properly or not. No sense in finishing a box if it doesn't work properly...Learned this the hard way once...

              My buddy on the other hand likes to go all out building actual DIY circuit boards for mounting all his components. They look super cool but I am not sold that they are really necessary or worth the time.

              I don't know about everyone else on this forum but I have never had to pull a crossover board due too a failed component. They seam to be pretty robust as designed so I don't really design mine for intended frequent repairs however I still make sure that I can get them out if/when I have an issue.

              That is my 2 cents worth anyway.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

                Thanks jduster,

                I may have to work on the crossovers for a while! I just tried an experiment to flush mount the terminal cup on the back side of the cabinet, and I'm glad I was cutting on scrap! I'm not quite sure how to flush mount that cup (3 1/8" square with 1/4" corner radius) since I'm stuck trying to use my drywall square as a mobile fence (see the picture).

                I am using a 1/2" straight cutter bit, which should give me that 1/4" radius when I make the 90 degree "turn" with the router. My cuts are not nearly as accurate as I would hope, and I hate the idea of a big sloppy flush mount hole on my speakers, so I'm debating on what to do. Either I will abandon the flush mount idea on this piece and just cut the thru hole since it's on the back and no one will really care except me... or I will have to invest in more tools, maybe the "edge guide" is what I need for my router here?

                I'm open to thoughts and suggestions! Thanks again for all the help so far.
                Attached Files
                Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
                Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
                The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
                SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
                The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

                  Originally posted by KEtheredge87 View Post
                  Thanks jduster,

                  I may have to work on the crossovers for a while! I just tried an experiment to flush mount the terminal cup on the back side of the cabinet, and I'm glad I was cutting on scrap! I'm not quite sure how to flush mount that cup (3 1/8" square with 1/4" corner radius) since I'm stuck trying to use my drywall square as a mobile fence (see the picture).

                  I am using a 1/2" straight cutter bit, which should give me that 1/4" radius when I make the 90 degree "turn" with the router. My cuts are not nearly as accurate as I would hope, and I hate the idea of a big sloppy flush mount hole on my speakers, so I'm debating on what to do. Either I will abandon the flush mount idea on this piece and just cut the thru hole since it's on the back and no one will really care except me... or I will have to invest in more tools, maybe the "edge guide" is what I need for my router here?

                  I'm open to thoughts and suggestions! Thanks again for all the help so far.
                  Hey no problem. There are all kinds of little details and tricks to learn when you pick up this hobby. Don't hesitate to ask questions. Makes life way easier.

                  That is exactly how I do a recess for plate amps. Same thing just bigger. I actually use scraps of wood clamped to whatever I need the recess in. I use the rounded part of the router up against this "makeshift fence". Practice practice practice. You can get pretty close. Your other option is to use a router inlay kit however I find it difficult to get it to work right on something like this.

                  I actually use something similar to these instead of a terminal cups because I find they look a little better when all is said and done and they are 100 times easier to install. My opinion anyway.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  Last edited by jdusterjansen; 01-24-2015, 11:37 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

                    Originally posted by KEtheredge87 View Post
                    Got a little more work done tonight. Did the rough cut on two of the windowpane braces I'll likely use on my towers. I've got two more to rough cut for the other tower, maybe 2 more on top of that if I decide to convert the tweeter/mid section bottom piece into a windowpane brace section coming out the rear. Whatever I decide, as soon as those braces are done, I can start planning the glue and screw construction for the cabinets.

                    The big story of the day is the speaker kit from Meniscus arrived today! I am impressed with the work they put into these kits, and I am very, VERY happy to see some fancy labels that fit over the crossover boards. I'm a mechanical engineer by trade, and most of the electrical stuff falls under the category of "Black Magic and Voodoo" to me! I have no shame in taking a paint-by-numbers approach to building my crossovers ;)

                    We'll see how much more work I can get done this week. Gotta be patient and do things the right way!
                    If you don't mind me asking, how long is the procision port from end to end? I had purchased the bare bones kin with just came with a short piece of pvc. I ended up buying the port recently and I am not sure how long it should be. Also, did Meniscus send you those crossover layouts? I wish they would have sent that out when I purchased mine. Thank you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

                      Looking at the layout for the tweeter, I think they may have it going to the wrong side. The write up layout has the capacitor+ and inductor+ going to the ND28F-, the paper you have, from what I can see, has it going to the ND28F+. Please, somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

                        Originally posted by cajunduck View Post
                        Looking at the layout for the tweeter, I think they may have it going to the wrong side. The write up layout has the capacitor+ and inductor+ going to the ND28F-, the paper you have, from what I can see, has it going to the ND28F+. Please, somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
                        I agree with you cajunduck. The polarity on the tweeter looks backwards compared to the Schematics I have seen. The rest look correct though.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

                          Originally posted by cajunduck View Post
                          If you don't mind me asking, how long is the procision port from end to end? I had purchased the bare bones kin with just came with a short piece of pvc. I ended up buying the port recently and I am not sure how long it should be. Also, did Meniscus send you those crossover layouts? I wish they would have sent that out when I purchased mine. Thank you.
                          Hey cajunduck,

                          The precision port looks like it is right about 6" from flare to flare. I tried to prop the port up in my desk drawer and take a picture for you, although this is the best I could do. The measurement gets a little hard to do with a tape measure because the inner flare has a smaller diameter than the outer flare. Also, the whole "precision port" comes in 3 pieces. We get the inner flare, outer flare, and a thin PVC coupling ring that fits over the non-flared ends of each piece. I didn't see anything listed about gluing them together, but I think that's the obvious intended install method, otherwise you're likely to have a piece of port fall off inside your cabinets!

                          Also... Thanks to you and jdusterjansen for looking keenly at the crossover sticker-matics that Meniscus sent me! I didn't even think to check them for accuracy, and I can't confirm one way or another which is right or wrong, but I will certainly check before I solder stuff together!
                          Attached Files
                          Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
                          Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
                          The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
                          SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
                          The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

                            OK Guys,

                            Update for the evening is a little bit of frustration about my efforts to make a flush mount terminal cup jig. I started off last Saturday making some practice cuts with the plunge router and my drywall square as a fence which proved to be a poor method pretty quickly.

                            Click image for larger version

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                            On Sunday morning I got the idea to make a frame out of scrap pine I had which took some effort for straight cuts with a circular saw (no table saw...would have been MUCH quicker). Ultimately attempt #1 left me with the right style of hole and the ease of cutting I was looking for, but I was still undersized if I wanted to flush mount the square section of the terminal cup.

                            Click image for larger version

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                            I took my calipers to the outside edges of the terminal cup and realized I was a few 16ths off on my measurement... that would explain why it didn't fit! With my last efforts on Sunday I whipped up a slightly larger version of my frame jig and had to wait until today to test it out. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised however to find I'm still not quite the right size. I got ONE side of the edges to sink in, but not the other. That probably says my through hole isn't 100% centered...or my clamped down jig placement was as good as I could eyeball with my pencil mark guidelines (but still not good enough).

                            Click image for larger version

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                            I am tempted to try ONE. MORE. TIME... once my patience returns. I think I am underestimating how difficult it really is to make the right size cutout when I have to deal with my own free-hand amateur jig making skills. I'm just not sure what looks more professional:

                            1) Having everything on your speaker flush mount EXCEPT the terminal cup on the back
                            2) Having everything flush mount, with a potentially big and slightly uneven gap around the perimeter of the terminal cup edge section because I am not a human CNC mill.

                            In your experiences, am I getting wrapped up in a detail that no one will ever care about? Fair warning... if you keep following this thread, you'll soon understand this attention to detail is both my blessing and my curse :D

                            Thanks in advance!
                            Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
                            Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
                            The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
                            SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
                            The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: First Build - Swope HT Towers (TMWW Variant)

                              The reason I caught it was I am about to build my crossovers and I thought those stickers were the coolest thing, so I was comparing them to what I had drawn up and voila.

                              Comment

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