B3 Mini Array Computer Speakers DIY
This set of homemade computer speakers is simply a marvel to look at and based on the work involved, cutting precision and care invested, they are supposed to sound superior to many line array speakers of the same cost. Instead of attempting to explain the process of how these B3 Mini Array speakers were developed, I thought it would be better to let the original maker Sniper415 explain in his own words what he has done. The amazing images definitely tell their side of the story for such a project, but the creator can explain further.
The project was designed just for the fun of making something unique, and out of the realization that nearly all name-brand computer speaker setups are sonically inferior. I had access to a laser cutter at my place of work, and had experience constructing things from Masonite and Acryclic Plexiglas, so I asked myself how I could apply that experience to building speakers.
My process is simple for most of my projects, starting with choosing of the correct speaker drivers to use, how many, and in what configuration. I settled on the HiVi B3N speaker, sold through parts-express.com, due to it’s wide frequency response, good looks, and reasonable price. Given that keeping costs super low was not a factor for me as I was building them only for the pleasure of making them, I decided to use four of them per speaker which allows them to play a lot louder than if I had just used a single speaker. There is an internal crossover that limits the bass to prevent them from bottoming out and distorting, as well as some response-shaping electronics to create a balanced sound across the range of frequencies. Both of these things are absent from most mainstream PC speaker setups, and it is primarily for this reason that this design sounds as good as it does.
For the subwoofer I chose the tang band W6-1139 and paired it with the Dayton SA70 subwoofer plate amplifier, both items also purchased from parts-express.com. It is a vented bass-reflex design, which is just a fancy way of saying that it has a port which increases the output of certain frequencies. This subwoofer plays very deep for its size.
After choosing the speakers I wanted to use, I started doing some 3D mockups in software to try out various configurations and finishes. After a few iterations of this I settled on the final design. Next I ordered wood veneer pieces from veneersupplies.com, making sure they were large enough to cover all faces. While those were shipping out to me, I began laying out the individual panel pieces in CAD software which is what generates the CNC paths for the laser cutter. Then I cut the panels out of 1/4″ Masonite, using two panels per side glued together with wood glue, yielding 1/2″ thick walls overall that are quite sonically inert, especially in this small of a box. I also cut the faces out of clear 1/4″ acrylic Plexiglas, using two pieces per speaker that sandwich the drivers, adding strength.
After the pieces were cut, I assembled the Masonite areas of the boxes using wood glue and clamps, then sanded everything smooth with an orbital sander. To apply the veneer, I paint a thin coat of wood glue all over the box, and on one side of the veneer, then let it dry. Once dry, I place the veneer where I want it to be and use a hot iron to re-melt the glue so it bonds with the box. It dries instantly. Then the overhanging edges of the veneer are trimmed with a razor to make them flush flush. After all sides are veneered, I applied A few coats of clear poly finish, letting dry and sanding between coats, until there is no more visible relief in the grain of then veneer.
Then I bolted the Plexiglas front pieces and the speaker drivers through the front of the boxes and secured them from the rear using some locknuts. Once assembled I wired the drivers to the internal crossovers, wired the crossovers to the binding posts on the removable rear panel, and that was that.
The whole process took about three weeks of lazy afternoons and a lot of waiting for things to dry, and cost about $250 in electronic parts, and about $100 on top of that for the enclosures.
The beauty of such speakers resting next to your desktop or notebook computer is worth the time for those without two left hands, and we could only assume what it sounds like based on the B3 Mini Array photographs provided. I for would make an assumption that would sound better than many equally priced competitors, and the original design and personal sweat make it much more worthwhile.
My hat’s off to you Sniper415 for all the effort, creativity, and due diligence for such a speakers project.