May 25 2018

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Digital Fabrication Final

I am part of a Burning Man Mutant Vehicle camp (Unaverz) that has brought sound to the playa since 2013. We have been using our own custom designed speakers. This year, I decided to upgrade all of our speaker cabinets with digitally fabricated ones.

Our system uses a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) “the brains” to split sound frequencies into 4 outputs. This is called a “4-way” system and is typical for most large venues. The bands are labeled sub, low, mid and high. The physics of sound is all about moving air and the hardest frequency to move (takes the most power) are the lowest sub bands – below 100Hz. While I have designed all 4 cabinets we require and have built 3 of them, the focus of my final is on the new “Ported Bass 18” that our crew will be using for most indoor events.

Every driver (speaker) has its own unique frequency response and we have chosen the BEYMA 18PWB1000/FE specifically because we are interested in playing music down to 30Hz. Our pro-speaker person, Mike Hatt of Ivan Sound, gave me the required specs for a 7.5 cubic foot box (the driver likes between 6.35 and 8.8 f3 ported cabinets) and I modeled it up in Fusion 360. After tons of revisions and half a dozen actual builds, the current design looks like this:

Building it is relatively straight forward as it uses the same process as all of our other cabinets and does not have any tricky angles. While the assembly order matters, the design is forgiving and all pieces lock into place with at most a firm mallet nudge.

I could talk for hours about CAD/CAM modifications that I have learned by going through this process.

Terrible Tear-Out

Flying Parts

Smooth as Silk Onion Skinning

Inspect All Hardware

Do Not Assemble During Parties

Suffice to say that hundreds of edits have been made and now, after finally showing it to our professional cabinet maker, Tristan Peiper of Oakology, I feel like I am 1/2 to 3/4s of the way to figuring out how to correctly cut and assemble these boxes. I am confident of the tool choices and the tool paths. The locking mechanism, best pocket use and even where to show end grains all need improvements. While I am happy with where I am today, this project is definitely a work in progress.

All of my cabinet designs will eventually be released into the Open Source community along with an Instructable entry so that everyone can freely use the knowledge I have gained. Everyone is free to modify the designs and, if they wish, submit any modifications/improvements back to the Open Source community. My ultimate goal is to give the world the best possible speaker design so that everyone can enjoy the best possible sound. The PB18 is the first step along this long road.

The Listening Room

Our Crew

Below are some cool “Sound Systems” that we hope to one day play alongside with our very own digitally fabricated cabinets.

Channel 1 – Village Underground

OBF – Dubquake 2013


Lima Sound System

Dubapest Sound System

OBF & Charlie P – 16 Tons Of Pressure

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