Building A Boombox Where Tools Are Meant To Go

[Danman1453] is ready to face the rest of his summer thanks to this toolbox boombox he built for outside use. It’s always nice to have some tunes when laboring at those not-so-fun jobs (we’ve got some windows that need re-glazing and you can bet we’re not doing that in silence). But if you can’t really hear it what’s the point? The highest volume [Danman1453] could get out of the consumer options he tried just wasn’t cutting it, and that led him to this project.

The only thing he bought to complete the boombox was some black spray paint. He already had an old toolbox for the enclosure, a head unit and the larger speakers from an old car, and the small speakers came from a set of computer speakers. Those are cleverly mounted in the compartments on the lid of the toolbox, pointed down so that they’re oriented correctly when the lid is propped open. The faceplate was even recycled by using wood an old shipping pallet.

He would like a little bit of advice though. When he’s playing a CD and the bass really gets bumping the head unit tends to skip. Does anyone have an easy method of isolating it from the speakers while still keeping it safe and sound in the portable enclosure?

28 thoughts on “Building A Boombox Where Tools Are Meant To Go

  1. You could shock mount it with rubber bands or bungie cords. Basically suspend it instead of rigidly attaching it. The more elastic the mounts are, the less vibration you’re going to get transmitted to the CD player. This would have the same effect as rubber washers, but a more dramatic result.

    1. Came here to say that. Before I even read the article copy, I was wondering if he had skipping issues based on the picture. I agree with the other posts above too, a unit with MP3 input would be best given the need for vertical mounting. The only other option I see without spending money on another head unit would be to relocate this one to the lid.

  2. everet is right, you cannot mount an alpine cd player with that orientation. I think it only support 40°-45° maximum. Also, try to activate buffering, there will be read errors but they will be compensated. If that cd player supports it, mp3 on cd will be buffered more than native CD.

  3. even if he did change the orientation, it will still skip. a hole int he back will let alot of the forced air made from the negative pressure of the thump out thus reducing some of the vibration. If indeed the angle of the player is the culprit then why not make it front loading and maybe some foam to act as a buffer.

  4. If he kept the current head unit, make sure to isolate the head unit from the rest of the enclosure. Isolating the speakers wont be as effective as the entire box will resonate from the waves produced from the speakers themselves.

    First idea: drill 4 holes at the corner of the face board. Use 4 large bolts facing into the box. Cut up an old bike tire and warp around the bolts, enclosing the head unit. The dampening of the bike tires should absorb some of that input.

  5. To the people who say “get a unit with USB or SD”, that stereo has it. I have that exact model in my car and the previous model in my storeroom from the boombox i built a few years ago for work. I mounted the stereo in the space where the handle folded down and put the speakers on both sides. I never had a problem playing cds but that is probably because i layed it on its side while it was playing.

  6. how is this a hack? he hooked up a car stereo to a ATX power supply and threw it in a toolbox. If I connect a LED to a battery and throw it in a cardboard tube, will hackaday do a article on my new flashlight design?

    1. its not reeeally a hack, its more of a build.
      BUT A NICE ONE AT THAT! well done and clean looking.

      i can only assume HaD publishes the best of what is submitted in a day. HaD is like a newspaper, its not the paper’s fault if its a slow news day.
      if you dont like it, submit something better.

      if it was a slow news day im sure they’d feature a cardboard flashlight, espicailly if it uses recycled parts andor does soemthing clever or uncommon for a flashlight

      the only people here that care about the casing (cardboard? its free) are all the 3D printer guys. and even then they probably built their first printer with a little help from cardboard.

      end of rant

  7. As much as I hate your attidude about this I have come to agree with this, this doesn’t seem level enough with what HaD’s posts “difficulty” is. I feel that if a person with littleto no knowledge can pull it off it shouldn’t go on HaD. For future refrence you should post your opinion with more respect, no one likes a prick nor will they tend to care what he says

  8. I built one of these for use on the ranch. I used a cigarette lighter plug for power when we plug it into the farm vehicles and the head unit is mounted outside the unit so it is oriented the proper way. I just cut it into the front of the tool box. We experience no skipping even over rough terrain.

  9. This design is used a lot in those cooler-stereo things. I have to say though that the sound is rather inferior to a decent set of PA speakers. If you want an all in one solution I know Passport makes some battery powered units. The thing about car speakers is that they use the car door and whatever cavity was designed for them as a resonating enclosure. It’s all more or less tuned. I’ve run into some knuckleheads on base that think these things are amazing, and break out their creations even when AC power is available. One even scoffed at my vintage ROTEL amp and speakers we were using at a get together. Sure he could crank a bit more volume, but that was unnecessary for us, and it had NO bass response at all. Coolers and toolboxes make poor speaker cabinets. Car speakers are for cars. Anyhoo its late and I’m rambling. If these are the parts you have on hand, sure, go for it. Just realize you’ll be sacrificing a lot in terms of sound quality.

    1. firstly, nuts, hid report instead of reply. (there’s now’t wrong with that comment.)

      I don’t think that the problem is cooler/tool box enclosures are bad, or that car speakers are bad.

      The problem is that the tuning of the box v.s speaker is bad, poor base response is a clear indication that the cabinet is not tuned correctly. (small sealed enclosures are never going to produce decent bass response), small tuned/ported enclosures could produce more than adequate bass…

      the real difference between your ROTEL speakers and the cooler/tool box speakers is the design, not necessarily that PA speakers are just better, it’d be easier to make a toolbox speaker that could sound better than your PA speakers, conversely just as easy to create a PA speaker that sounded worse than those speakers.

    2. How would I be sacrificing sound quality? It makes it sound as if I purposely chose inferior equipment for this build. If I had better speakers laying around, I would have used them. All in all, I am not complaining for the price, and the fact I can understand the words from 75-100ft away. There is some bass to it. I’m not into the kind you can break windows with anyways.

    1. There is a difference between a tuned port that increases bass response and a hole. -which may not.

      my earlier response to dukeofmuffins was just to point out that badly made boxes make bad noise, regardless of what it’s made of/from.

  10. This headunit will read the file structure up to about 2gb. But will only play the first 512mb when connected either through USB or SD. I dont have any ‘normal’ cd’s. They are all mp3 cds. I intend on finding out why I can’t properly access larger external storage devices. The file system makes no difference. I have tried FAT and FAT32.

  11. “nearest classic rock radio station” Dude, im so sick of it, lots of commercials and crap music.

    If there was a classic metal radio station with playlists several weeks long so it wouldnt get repetitive id go for it but i almost exclusively listen to podcasts or audiobooks at work nowdays.

  12. After reading the post, I tried a new boom box from the old speaker of my own car And I am successful to make it. It is very good to have sound with the high-quality base.There is a problem but there is not a single charge option It goes on in power not battery included

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