Pringles Can Speaker Mod

Posted: 28th August 2011 by YardGnome
Categories: 2 Stars, Mod/hack, Project
Tags: , , , , , ,

2 Star Difficulty RatingFinished Pringles Can Speaker Mod

 

 

 

Pringles is giv­ing away free speak­ers that fit a Pringle can for pur­chas­ing 4 cans before 10/31/11. This mod improves the sound by reduc­ing the can’s vol­ume and tilts the speak­er to aim at the lis­tener instead of straight up or lay­ing down; great for set­ting on the bath­room counter while shav­ing or show­er­ing, or for set­ting on a desk while study­ing. A video overview is here.

Tools: Table Saw, Ruler, Pen

Mate­ri­als: Pringles Can, Pringles Can Speak­er, Latex Sealant (I used DAP Dynaflex 230 — look for “paintable”, and “water clean-up”), Primer, Paint (I used Flex­S­tone tex­tured paint to hide sur­face imper­fec­tions), sock or wash­cloth or scrap of fab­ric.

I gave this a dif­fi­cul­ty rat­ing of 2 stars only because of the use of a table saw. It could be cut by hand with a hack saw or util­i­ty knife and then sand­ed to a “flat oval” with a belt sander, or even by rub­bing the cut edges on a sheet of sand­pa­per, but more care must be tak­en to insure that the angle of both cuts is the same.

Mea­sure and mark 1/2″ from the top and 6–1/2″ from the bot­tom.Measure and mark one half inch from topMeasure and mark 6-1/2" from bottom

 

 

 

 

Set the angle to 25 degrees from per­pen­dic­u­lar and cut on the marks — keep in mind that the 1/2″ is the short­er edge of the top part and the 6–1/2″ is the taller edge of the bot­tom.

Cutting the topYou can change the angle if you like, but keep the angles of both cuts the same so the ovals will line up. Also, if you change the angle, keep each cut sig­nif­i­cant­ly under 45 degrees so the speak­er’s weight is kept over the base. As the angle approach­es 45 degrees the speak­er will be hang­ing over the edge and the can will not stand up by itself with­out weights or being mount­ed to a base. I learned this from expe­ri­ence.

 

Add a bead of sealantNext, put a bead of sealant around one of the edges and assem­ble the two pieces. Take care that they are lined up with the short­est part of one against the longest side of the oth­er.

Assemble and fill in the joint

 

 

 

 

Fill the joint, both inside and out­side, with a fil­let of sealant and let set, undis­turbed overnight.

Once the joint is dry it is ready to use. I paint­ed mine with a coat of primer I had set­ting around, a coat of flex­s­tone tex­tured paint I had left over from anoth­er project, and 2 coats of clear enam­el to seal the paint in case it were to get splashed on in the bath­room. I would­n’t rec­om­mend buy­ing flex­s­tone just for this, as it costs like $10 a can, but use what­ev­er you have set­ting around to make it look bet­ter than just a Pringles can. If you use a tex­tured paint, after it drys, sand or scrape it off of the rim to make it eas­i­er to snap the speak­er off and on to change bat­ter­ies.

Improving the Sound

Before snap­ping the speak­er in place, “stuff a sock in it”. If you are like me (and I know I am) you have an unmatched sock or one with a hole in it lying around. This will damp­en the bass and clean up the sound con­sid­er­ably.

Next, set the EQ on your audio device to reduce both the tre­ble and the bass. This speak­er nat­u­ral­ly empha­sizes the highs, so they need to be rolled off to reduce the harsh, tin­ny­ness. Since you don’t hear any bass from this thing, the nat­ur­al incli­na­tion would be to pump up the bass. But, since this thing can not repro­duce any bass, ask­ing it to do so will only make the fre­quen­cies it can pro­duce mud­dy.

Now, to get true stereo sound you will need to get a speak­er from a friend and con­nect them using a “Y” adapter that splits the stereo sig­nal into dis­crete “left” and “right” chan­nels. I had trou­ble find­ing one of these local­ly, as most “stereo to mono” adapters will com­bine the left and right chan­nels to give a “mixed” mono sig­nal. Here is the bar code prod­uct num­ber of one that I did find at a local, inde­pen­dent, elec­tron­ics sup­ply house:  0 38975 30403 8. And here is a place on the Inter­net that sells it:  http://www.altex.com/35mm-Stereo-Plug-to-Two-35mm-Mono-Jacks-4025-P141959.aspx. (I have no affil­i­a­tion with this com­pa­ny, nor have I pur­chased from them.)

After lis­ten­ing to a pair of these for a cou­ple of weeks, now, with the sug­gest­ed adjust­ments and in stereo, I have to admit these speak­ers do not sound as bad as I feared they would. I use this set up to lis­ten to pod­casts while get­ting ready for work in the morn­ings, and they are great for “talk” type pro­grams. And when lis­ten­ing to music, they com­pare favor­ably to com­mon, low to mid-range ear buds that most peo­ple are used to. And, due to the “free” part of the equa­tion, the per­for­mance to cost ratio is real­ly quite high.

Comments
  1. YardGnome says:

    After­thought: If I were to do it again, I’d try join­ing the two pieces togeth­er with white or car­pen­ters glue, span­ning the joint on the inside with paper strips that extend 1/4″ to each side of the joint. I think this would make a stiffer joint that may stand up bet­ter to being tugged on when tak­ing the speak­er off to change the bat­ter­ies, since the caulk is rather flex­i­ble. Then, after it is set up I’d fill any gaps in the seam with the caulk­ing.

  2. Harvey says:

    This looks great. I can’t wait for my speak­er to come in the mail.

  3. Oliver says:

    If I had a sec­ond speak­er I would put one speak­er per end of the can and con­nent both. In the mid­dle I would build a kind of dock­ing sta­tion for an IPod.

  4. dylan says:

    I wish I could­have done this .

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