Vented Tritrix Curved Build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 48 Old 05-06-2012, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Got my hands on a Tritrix kit a little while back. Finally got motivated to start a build. I've overcomplicated several curved builds in the past few months. I'm trying a more straightforwared approach this time. Learned a lot from reading PI's build threads and seen some others comment on good approaches to curved builds. Hope this works out.
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post #2 of 48 Old 05-06-2012, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I tought it would be a good idea to trace out the shape of the top/bottom of the box to get a feel for what sort of curve would like nice.

I drew two curves with different radii. I picked one i liked, and started to cut out a cardboard template. After cutting it out, i realized it was jaggy and held no benefit over directly using the pencil-and-string approach on the MDF directly, so that's what i ended up doing.
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post #3 of 48 Old 05-06-2012, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I got ahold of a new-to-me jigsaw recently. It's so much better than the cordless POS i had been using. Helped a lot for this project so far

After cutting off the first side, i flipped the negative remnant around to use as a template for the other side. Then it was just duplication via tracing and a lot of jigsaw work
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post #4 of 48 Old 05-06-2012, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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My plan is to use a top, bottom and middle brace for the box to help bend the outer walls. As such, cleanup of the rough jigsaw work was done on sets of 3 cutouts at a time. I screwed them together, then ran them through the router table.

I could have trimmed down to the smallest of the 3 on all edges. That probably would have been wise. Instead, i trimmed the top and bottom by running the router bearing along the center piece. Some small remaining negative inconsistencies i filled with wood putty. The worst wood-putty repaired piece will be used as center bracing so that ridgity and air leaks won't be an issue for the top and bottom panels.
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post #5 of 48 Old 05-06-2012, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I had the misfortune to snap off a few screw heads when putting these panels together. When this happens during construction, i just fill in the divot and sand it smooth. Unfortunately, in this case i had to get the 3 panels apart again. Two of the screws snapped off pretty deep into the wood - maybe 1/4". After several failed approaches, this is how i finally got the screw out:

I used a small hole-saw bit, centered just to the side of the snapped screw. I drilled to where i thought i would be able to expose the screw, then used a chisel to clean out the hole-saw peg. When i dug deep enough, i used some vice-grips to grab the screw and back it out.

What a pain. Obviously this took a big divot out of the panel. Luckily, i can use the piece as the center brace in the speaker. I will be drilling/cutting big holes in it anyway

If i had to salvage that piece, i probably would have used a hole-saw to cut another peg out of another piece of MDF (maybe 1/4" or 1/2") then glued it in the hole, sanded it, bondo'ed it, sanded it, etc... Very thankful i don't have to bother in this instance.
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post #6 of 48 Old 05-06-2012, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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My plan for creating the curved sides is to laminate 2 layers of 1/4" MDF and squeeze them into place with panels having negative curve pattern braces. I salvaged the cutouts from a previous step to use as the braces.

I had to screw those together in sets of 3 and visit the router table again.

The brace pieces will align with the top, bottom and center brace of the box design. I was hoping that would be enough to bend the MDF into shape. Before i quit for the day, i played around with some of the 1/4" panels and i have a feeling that bending those guys is going to be tougher than i thought. might have to reinforce things a bit more. Time will tell.


While i had the glue out, i tried my hand at making some right-angle clamp helpers. I'm really terrible about clamping up my boxes out of square. I've been meaning to make or buy some right-angle clamp braces for a while. No idea how well these will work out, but it was a worthy use of some scrap.
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post #7 of 48 Old 05-06-2012, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Next up i had to cut out the front and back panels. I did my best to bevel the edges such that they would conform well with curve of the top profile of the box. The result lined up fairly well. I probably should have oversized them a bit more to allow for later sanding to a more precise edge. Next time.


Also for next time - be aware of how much space there is on the baffle to the sides of the speakers in the design you're starting with . Adding the bevel means that the front panel is maybe 3/4" narrower than the original design. Aside from the fact that this probably changes the baffle-step to some degree (which i've chosen to ignore), it also becomes a bit of an issue with driver mounting. It looks like i will *just barely* have enough space to cut out the driver holes for the mids. Fingers crossed that it works out.

Lastly, i cut a few panels of 1/4" MDF in preparation for the lamination process. I'm planning to wet them down a bit to aid bending. Any other suggestions to aid the process? Please don't say kerf-cutting I think i've had my fill of that.

Next step will be to glue the top/mid/bottom braces to the front and back panels. Wanted to get that set up so it could dry overnight, but i ran out of time and didn't want to rush it. Patience really is a virtue. I find it very difficult not to rush. Shouldn't have mowed the lawn this afternoon.. what a waste of time.
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post #8 of 48 Old 05-06-2012, 09:59 PM
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Very cool! I just finished building the Tritrix in January and am very happy with it. I look forward to seeing more of your build
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post #9 of 48 Old 05-07-2012, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazerboy2000 View Post

Very cool! I just finished building the Tritrix in January and am very happy with it. I look forward to seeing more of your build

Nice. Did you post a build thread? Which Tritix design did you build? I think there's Sealed, Vented and 2 different Transmission Lines.
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post #10 of 48 Old 05-07-2012, 11:45 AM
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I actually never did make a build thread, but I do have some WIP pics if you want to see them. I made the TL MTM design, using the kit from parts express.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-702
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post #11 of 48 Old 05-07-2012, 04:43 PM
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I know I will enjoy following this build.

As for wetting the MDF to make it more flexible, try dry-clamping it first and if it is too stiff, see if you can get some 1/8" MDF. You might be able to order it if you check around. You might even luck into a 4x8 foot pallet protector sheet at a hardware store or lumber yard. The stores usually discard the pallet protectors. I paid 51 cents for a 4x8 sheet of 1/8" MDF at Home Depot once last summer. But it is a right-place, right-time thing.

I read here at AVS two years ago (I think) that there was some experimenting with wetting MDF with ammonia to make it more bendable. I don't know how well that went. I think Erich H. and Penngray experimented with that approach, but I can't swear to it. If nothing else, the ammonia should at least keep you awake during the clamping.
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post #12 of 48 Old 05-07-2012, 06:14 PM
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Did you ever think of taking the route of using 3/4 mdf and kerf cutting it to make the curves ?
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post #13 of 48 Old 05-08-2012, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazerboy2000 View Post

I actually never did make a build thread, but I do have some WIP pics if you want to see them. I made the TL MTM design, using the kit from parts express.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-702

Yeah, you should post your pics... maybe in the members gallery sticky thread if there's only a few. If you have a bunch, maybe create a quick post-build thread and drop them in there. Always like to see some pics

You can post a few in here if you feel like it. If not, post a link to wherever you put them
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post #14 of 48 Old 05-08-2012, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PassingInterest View Post

I know I will enjoy following this build.

As for wetting the MDF to make it more flexible, try dry-clamping it first and if it is too stiff, see if you can get some 1/8" MDF. You might be able to order it if you check around. You might even luck into a 4x8 foot pallet protector sheet at a hardware store or lumber yard. The stores usually discard the pallet protectors. I paid 51 cents for a 4x8 sheet of 1/8" MDF at Home Depot once last summer. But it is a right-place, right-time thing.

I read here at AVS two years ago (I think) that there was some experimenting with wetting MDF with ammonia to make it more bendable. I don't know how well that went. I think Erich H. and Penngray experimented with that approach, but I can't swear to it. If nothing else, the ammonia should at least keep you awake during the clamping.

I'll be on the lookout for 1/8". Maybe i'll stop by HD and Lowes and ask around. That certainly seems like it would make the bend easier.

Later today i'm going to try to search for the ammonia technique too. Never heard of that.

Thanks
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post #15 of 48 Old 05-08-2012, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jstslamd View Post

Did you ever think of taking the route of using 3/4 mdf and kerf cutting it to make the curves ?

Can't tell if you're being sarcastic

My two previous builds used the kerf-cut technique. It definitely works. But it's a pain as the panels get larger... lots of cuts, lots of dust, lots of glue/pl. I was looking to try a different approach this time out. I'll have to give a report at some point on which approach goes better for me.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1391662

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1396310
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post #16 of 48 Old 05-08-2012, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't know what foolishness led me to believe that i was ready to glue panels together... Last night i realized i have quite a bit of work to do before i glue anything. Glad i realized it before i started assembly. I have a habit of rushing into things and then causing all sorts of problems

I had to cut the pass-through vents for the center brace. I also had to do some measuring to make sure the port was going to fit after my slight modifications to the box dimensions to account for the curved sides. Also think i'm going to have to glue on the port before the glue-up.

But first up, i realized that oversizing the front and rear panels slightly was a no-go because of my assembly order. I had a plan in mind that would have allowed me to put the front baffle on last (over another 1/4" baffle sheet) and then sand the edges flush... however, due to some poor planning - i mean, completely by design - i scrapped that idea.

This morning i trimmed up the front and back panels so they were even. They will serve as bracing for the bent side panels and i don't want them oversized or i'll get spacing between the side panels and the top/middle/bottom braces near where they all meet.
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post #17 of 48 Old 05-08-2012, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Did some measuring to see how the drivers are going to fit. This was mainly to ensure that i would still have room for the port. My guidelines somehow ended up slightly undersized as shown by the overlay of the mid driver and the tweeter protection cover. Still should be fine. The mid driver hangs over the edges a little bit, but the final baffle will be 1" wider after the side panels are in place. Not as originally planned, but i still expect it will work out. I'm practicing my optimism with that comment

The important part is the driver depth, since that is what i thought might interfere with the port. Looks like it will fit fine. That's one disaster averted.
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post #18 of 48 Old 05-08-2012, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Had to deal with the passthrough slots in the center brace. The front side of the brace needs a big notch to account for the tweeter mounting.

Even with my newer jigsaw, i'm really not a fan of jigsaw work. I rushed it a bit and got a little sloppy. No matter, since this will never be seen when assembly is complete.
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post #19 of 48 Old 05-08-2012, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Off to my day job...

Have to say, DIY is the only hobby to ever get me out of bed early enough to get something done before going to work
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post #20 of 48 Old 05-08-2012, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Figured next up i should attach the ports. Wasn't really sure what to use for glue. For some reason Gorilla Glue was in my head. I've never used it but thought i've seen it around. I picked some up this evening.

After i got home i realized there's a warning on the side of the bottle saying not recommended for use on certain plastics. I'm unclear if PVC makes that list... I think maybe not, so i gave it a shot.

Apparently you have to wet one surface and apply glue to the other. Then clamp. Guess tomorrow i'll see how it holds. Then i get to glue up the front, back, top, bottom and middle braces.

My port approach is as follows. I drilled a hole with a forstner bit to help me center the port and give me a pilot hole for later. I'm gluing the port on the inside of the back panel. After i veneer the box, i'll use a top-bearing flush trim router bit (inserted through the pilot hole) to trim the hole to size. Then i'll roundover the outer edge of the MDF. I'm thinking i might then try to paint the roundover section (which will eat through the veneer) to match the PVC. This is a cheap ripooff of the approach PI used in his Anarchy/Dayton MT build. I like the look of the white PVC peeking through, much to my surprise. Still curious to see if PI leaves his white or not.
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post #21 of 48 Old 05-08-2012, 07:48 PM
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looks like a cool build!

Blasting brown notes for 10 years and counting!

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post #22 of 48 Old 05-09-2012, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks N8DOGG... i was on the fence about making this a curved build or not. Hope it works out.

Happy to report the Gorilla glue seems to have held pretty tight for the ports

I did some assembly this morning. The worst thing about a successful dry fit - is taking it appart to apply the glue after everything is nicely aligned and clamped.

The right-angle clamp helpers i made the other day really came in handy. Sadly, when i was taking apart the dry-fit i dropped a panel on one of them and it snapped at the joint. Very surprising. I guess i didn't use enough glue. I glued it back together so i can use it tonight when i put together the other cabinet.

After posting these pics, i'm wondering why i didn't use 2 clamps per brace

There is some asymmetry in the curved braces. It aggrivates me because i made a pretty good effort to get it right. I made a wine-rack a while back and used a technique that might have helped here. I cut the curve profile on one side of a panel by hand (it was not a perfect circle arc so i could not use a router with a jig). Then i used that as a template for my router to cut the profile on one side of a second panel. Then i flipped over the second panel and used it as a template to cut the second side of the first panel to ensure symmetry. For some reason i didn't do that on this project.
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post #23 of 48 Old 05-10-2012, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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After the glue-up of the first cabinet's skeleton dried, i couldn't help but try a dry run on bending the two sheets of 1/4" MDF around it.

The clamping jig fit pretty well, the clamps torqued down really easy. Unfortunately, two problems. First, i forgot to account for the fact that the curved sides extend past the interior braces and over the front baffle and back panel of the box. This means my clamping jigs are 3/4" too short on front and rear. Second, i didn't wet down my MDF or anything when trying the dry run and ended up getting a big crack down the center of one of the 1/4" panels as it split under the pressure when bending in the jig.

This evening i tried to address the short-clamp-jig issue by cutting some MDF boards at the correct angle to fill in the 3/4" gaps. It looks like it'll work.

This weekend i'll probably try to get things clamped up for real after wetting down the MDF a bit. Can't wait.



Added some screws to be sure my new additions stay in place.
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post #24 of 48 Old 05-10-2012, 07:35 PM
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I sure would never think that water and MDF would mix well. All it does is make the MDF swell as it soaks up the water. Better yet use 1/4" luaun plywood to form the sides. Ive used it before and used forms in order to clamp the sides to the enclosure.
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post #25 of 48 Old 05-11-2012, 04:20 AM
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Be careful how much you wet the mdf as water make it expand. You may be able to do a minimal amount of kerf cuts and get it to bend around enough to not crack. Just an idea.
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post #26 of 48 Old 05-11-2012, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the guidance guys. My masonite thread is getting a lot of comments against water and MDF as well. I've done it before with some success so i'll give it a shot again. As you and others have mentioned, MDF will soak up water so you have to be careful how wet you go. I wouldn't dunk the panel in a bucket of water overnight...

I wiped on a good amount of water on both sides of the panels and let them sit for a few minutes before assembly. I'm still worried about the effect on the glue i used. In the past i have not tried to glue MDF on it's wet-side... for my kerf'ed stuff i only wet the smooth side and glued on the kerf'ed side.

Kerfing is effective but even with very closely spaced cuts (1/4" i think i did?) you can still see some indication of the cuts after bending. That was with 3/4" MDF, maybe thinner wood would not show as much. After veneering over the curved panels with raw wood veneer, i couldn't see the kerf effect anymore... painting or using thin paper backed veneer might be another story.
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post #27 of 48 Old 05-11-2012, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Used my glue roller to coat the surface between the inner and outer layers of 1/4" MDF. Applied glue to all the braces.

Then i lined everything up.
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post #28 of 48 Old 05-11-2012, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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It was more difficult to keep everything aligned than i expected.

I'm still not sure if it was such a great idea to cut the side panels to the exact hight of the cabinet. That gives me no room for error if the panels slip in that direction during the glue-up. Hope it doesn't end up too ugly. It looked pretty flush when i was done torquing everything down. Fingers crossed.

I did hear some funny noises when clamping. I'm hoping it was just the slip-stick noise of the panels rubbing against the clamping forms. Could be cracks in the MDF. That would suck. Guess i'll find out tonight.

Between the box, the clamping jig and all those clamps, this thing weighs a ton!
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post #29 of 48 Old 05-12-2012, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Mixed results from the first glue up. Pretty good except for one edge that didn't clamp down enough.

I reglued it and clamped it down extra tight. Think it'll be fine now.
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post #30 of 48 Old 05-12-2012, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Gluing up the second cabinet did not go as well. My jig is giving up. One of the extra panels i glued on to account for the extra 3/4" on each side tried to call it quits on me. I clamped the sucker back into position to try to get this one last use out of it.

Sadly i couldn't tighten the clamps any tighter and the second cabinet didn't sinch down as nicely as the first. Ironically, i think the problem was with the water.... it was really warm this afternoon and the water i spread on the MDF panels dried before it soaked in at all. By the time i spread the glue and lined everything up to be clamped, the water dried out and i was bending practically dry MDF. Such a bummer.


This approach would be great and i will definitely try it again with a couple of modifications

- the clamping jig should extent PAST the end of the braces you're clamping against to make sure you get pressure all the way up to the edge AND past it. Pretty sure this would have helped my edges that didn't lay exactly flat. My after-thought panels didn't cut it

- i think more than 3 braces on my clamping jigs would be helpful. when i tried to apply clamps where there were no braces, the MDF of the jig started to bend and split. need more places to apply pressure with clamps

- the MDF should be good and wet. it really does help the bend. and regardless of what you've heard, it does not instantly destroy the MDF. If you soak it in a tub of water or something - then you will have problems. I might consider another material in the future. i was looking at the HDF 1/8" at Home Depot today. I couldn't get much clarity from my masonite question thread, but i think i might try that stuff some time. I'm still pretty anti-plywood, although the thin Luan (is that what it's called?) that i saw at HD didn't look too bad.
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