A Luxurious Make

A frustration about having maker’s soul is that you cannot conduct everyday tasks as efficiently as you could otherwise. This project is a very clear example of such issue, and it started with a very simple task I had in mind: Taking a shower. However, as of the task was not sophisticated enough, I wanted to listen to music while I was on it. Also I didn’t want to risk soaking my laptop, I didn’t have a smartphone or a tablet computer (I resisted to having them for quite a long time until I gave in approximately 2 years ago), and wearing a headset was not an option. Eventually I ended up making this instead of taking a shower:

An audio amplifier made of cardboard!

img_0922The casing was made out of cardboard pieces cut out from the remainders of another larger box (thank you Ciftci for the inspiration). The pieces were connected together using M3 bolts and nuts, and washers. In order to strengthen the box at certain areas that are prone to wear (such as the area around the switch), it was soaked with super glue from the inside and let dry before mounting any component. Super glue was also used to fix the speaker to the box. Note that the second prototype (the first went to my girlfriend as a gift) was made out of a small power adapter box which saves a lot of effort on making of the casing.

The circuitry was constructed on a homemade custom PCB incorporating an off‑the‑shelf audio amplifier (LM386) with some passives. Apart from the circuit board, the amplifieramfi-6 box incorporates an 8‑ohm 2‑watt speaker, a 9V battery, battery housing made out of cardboard (yet again), a pot, and a fancy switch.

Even though a ‘paper’ casing does not sound like it fits damp environments very well, I thought it was OK if the casing was ruined during use and I could simply find another power adapter box. But the cardboard proved me wrong and I can easily tell you that it still works and holds perfectly well after 2 years of use as my favorite bath‑time companion along with an MP3 player.

I was also not sure about the acoustic properties of the cardboard but upon making I noticed that it actually adds up a very nice warm tune on the sound output.

Long story short: I couldn’t take a shower that day maybe but now I possess a very low‑cost, perfectly useful yet still decorative household item. Having these three aspects all together in a single household item is pretty rare nowadays, and I believe this highlight summarizes why I am, without question, proud of it no matter how simple it is.

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