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Upcycle Glass Spheres into Unique Speaker Enclosures

Craft & Design Music Woodworking
Upcycle Glass Spheres into Unique Speaker Enclosures


If you were to create a speaker enclosure, conventional wisdom would have you starting with medium density fiberboard (MDF), or, possibly, some other wood product. Ryan Sweeney, however, decided instead to use a thick glass cylinder for each speaker, mounting them with cut bamboo.

The idea for this came to him while he was working at Whole Foods (which had heavy fishbowl vases in the floral department at the time). After measuring it and comparing it to drivers he had at home, it seemed like an interesting project. Although visually very appealing, in his own words, Sweeney “was making enclosures that sacrificed performance for aesthetics.” His first try with small vases didn’t sound the best, but after moving to the sphere design, they worked quite well for apartment background music.

Previous design: cylinders with skull appearance.

As with many projects, these driver enclosures didn’t just turn out perfectly on the first try. Sweeney went through three major revisions of this idea, as seen in the gallery below, and more completely in this imgur set (see stages 1 through 4 – lots of information and pictures).

These revisions included: a basic cylinder design as his first attempt, a cylinder design with skulls (as seen in the picture above), and a final design using spheres. Additionally, he built his own custom wooden amplifier, and modified the 3.5mm jacks connecting the speakers to the power source to include a .32 caliber shell casing as its cover.

It’s an incredibly unique project and one that wouldn’t be too hard for a decently-equipped woodworker to take on. I can’t help but think that it would be pretty wild to also add some sort of LED illumination inside the speaker enclosures, especially if it was frosted for a diffused effect.

For another interesting (if possibly more complicated) project by Sweeney, check out his giant papercraft mammoth skull. At 50 sheets of A4 paper, there might not have been any heavy cutting involved, but it definitely looks impressive when finished!

2 thoughts on “Upcycle Glass Spheres into Unique Speaker Enclosures

  1. joec says:

    These look so very awesome! The tough part with a project like this is that the round vessel will have a strong resonance at a frequency that corresponds to a fractional wavelength matching the internal diameter. An active filter such as MiniDSP (or passive line-level components if you can measure and calculate) could kill that resonant frequency with a sharp notch. A better sonic solution (though not as good looking) would be to heavily stuff the enclosure with a fibrous material to absorb the sound. Another great way to go would be to use different sized vessels and operate each in a passband that doesn’t overlap with the jar resonance.

  2. Mollie James says:

    It looks great! I wonder if it this may harm the sound quality, but it is not quality what this is all about. Fitting speakers is not always an easy job but you managed to do it extremely well! I am adding this to my list of upcycling ideas and stuff.
    Yesterday I found another interesting source of trash to treasure ideas, you can give it a read here.

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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

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