Perfect Grills using the GUM Method - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Overview

I've gotten into DIY pretty hardcore over the past few years and have built roughly half a dozen sub boxes over that time frame. Seems like every box I build, I get better and better. By no means am I at the Ievel I want to be at, but I feel I'm slowly getting there! One aspect of box building I've always found compelling and challenging was fabricating professional looking grills for my boxes.

With that said, the purpose of this thread is to document my recent grill exploits utilizing my "self-titled" Grill Underlay Magnet method.

Now, to be completely honest, I do not doubt if something similar to this method has been well document elsewhere. However, I've yet to find an elaborate step-by-step grill method anywhere, much less one that can give me the results that I can be really proud of. Hopefully, this write up will provide clear instruction on how to make epic grills from here out. You be the judge if this works for your specific circumstance. I'll be the first to say that this method is somewhat involved, but it really does work well. In fact:
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Finished Product:
Here is what to expect as an end result.
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**Special Note**
This method may not be the best for you if your speaker cutout is less than 1/2" from the edge of your box. You need a bit of space from the edge of the box to the edge of the actual speaker cutout. Preferably at least 1-1/2" or more. For instance:

Good:
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Bad:
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post #2 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Material and Tool List

Before we get started, let's go over the materials and tools you will need to execute this method as efficiently as possible. I've hot linked all of the products that l have used specifically for this demonstration. I had spare 3/4" MDF left over from a previous project, but if your box is small enough you can go pick up a small 2'x4' Project Panel for super cheap. With that said, feel free to substitute materials and/or tools as you see fit based on your experience level.

Consumable Materials List:
3/4" Wood: Needed for box and grill construction.
1/4" Wood: Needed for grill underlay.
Grill Magnets: Needed for attaching grill to box (I used these 3/4" x 1/4" and 1/4" x 1/2" Magnets).
Any Flat Black Paint: Needed to ensure there is no reflection or see through grill fabric.
Masking Tape: Needed to reduce glue overrun when attaching grill underlay to grill.
1/4" Staples: Needed for grill cloth attachment.
Grill Cloth: Self Explanatory.
Wood Glue: Needed to attach grill underlay to grill.
Wood Filler: Needed to fill in the magnet holes before paint.

Tools List:
Plunge Router (Or regular router if that's what you already have)
Flush Trim Bit
1/8" Straight Router Bit
1/2" Radius Rounding Over Bit
3/4" Forstner Bit
Drill
Staple Gun
Hammer
Circular Saw
Lots of Clamps
Router Edge Guide
Speed Square or T-Square
Paint Brush x 2
Utility Knife
Pen/Pencil

Getting all of these tools/materials in place before starting will make the process go much quicker!
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post #3 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Step 1 - Cutting your Basic Grill Shape

Required Items/Tools:
Circular Saw

Considerations Before Starting:
Try to keep the dimension your grills with not much more than 2" overhang over the box itself. It makes the next step a bit easier. It's really not a huge deal, but will reduce waste.

Instruction:
Take 3/4" grill wood and 1/4" grill underlay wood and cut to the general dimension of your speaker box. No need to be precise during this step, just ensure that you cut the wood larger than your box so we can flush trim the excess.

End Result:
4a_zps4861715f.jpg

We will be working with three different pieces to construct this grill.
1.The Grill
2. Grill Underlay
3. Box
4aa_zps3f70e31b.jpg
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post #4 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Step 2 - Grill Flush Trimming

Required Items/Tools:
Clamps
Drill
3/4" Forstner Bit Router
Flush Trim Bit

Considerations Before Starting:
Make sure that the edges of your box and the speaker cut out are sanded smooth before you start flush trimming. Any imperfection from your box will translate to your grill once you start flush trimming.
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Instruction:
Take the grill that you cut in the previous step, place on the box and clamp down tightly. I recommend at least three clamps, but however many you feel is needed to make sure the grill is secured is fine. Give it a tug to ensure that that the grill isn't going anywhere. Try to position the clamps so you don't have to move them once it's time to start flush trimming with the box speaker cut out.
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Next, take your drill and 3/4" forstner bit and drill through grill. If you want to be safe, just drill through the center, but if you are comfortable with drilling elsewhere, just make sure that you don't drill through the grill and the box itself!
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The reason I recommend a 3/4" forstner bit is because the flush trim bit that I use has a width of 1/2" and a forstner bit of this size will give room for the flush trim bit to clear the hole. Consequently, the 3/4" bit happens to be perfect for our magnet implementation in step 3. A forstner bit isn't really necessary for this step if one has a tool or drill bit large enough to ensure your flush trim bit clears the hole.
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Once done flush trimming the speaker cut out, remove one clamp at a time from the outer edge of the box into the cutout. Now start to flush trim the outer edges of the grill to the box itself. Once the above steps are finished your grill should look something like this.
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Repeat these above steps for the grill insert so both your grill and grill underlay align perfectly with your
box.
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End Result:
10_zps863246db.jpg
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post #5 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Step 3 - Magnet Implementation

Required Items/Tools:
Clamps Drill
3/4" Forstner Bit Router
T-Square

Considerations Before Starting:
The size of the magnets that you need will depend on the size/weight of your grill. For this demonstration, the 3/4" x 1/4" N42 Neodymium Magnets that I've used (19lb pull force each!) are COMPLETE overkill and rather expensive for a grill of this size.

If you really want to be precise about magnet placement, I recommend you use your T-Square and mark exactly where you want to drop your magnets. Keep in mind precise magnet placement really isn't terribly important using this method, but it's a good idea to mark where both your magnet placement will be and how thick you want your external border to be. I'll elaborate why here in a bit, but here is a quick preview.
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Instruction:
Take the grill underlay that you flush trimmed in step 2 and place onto the speaker box. Align perfectly and clamp down.
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Now take your drill with 3/4" forstner bit, and drill through your grill underlay. You need to ensure that you go deep enough to start to penetrate your box, but not too deep because we will be refining the depth of sinking your magnet into your box here soon. If you previously marked your spots then drill accordingly. If not, you can just eyeball where you want to drill. Repeat until you have at least four (4) locations (preferably one in each corner of the grill). If you have a larger grill, it might behoove you to sink a few more magnets.
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Once you've done this, go ahead and remove the grill underlay, so you can refine the magnet sink depth in your speaker box. Since our magnets are 1/4" deep on this demonstration, I recommend drilling slightly deeper than 1/4" so you can sink the magnet completely and fill in with a thin layer of wood filler at a later time. Somewhere between 1/16" and 1/8" deeper should suffice.
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End Result:
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post #6 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Step 4 - Attach/Glue Grill Underlay Edge to Grill

Required Items/Tools:
Clamps Glue
Blue Masking Tape T-Square Pen/Pencil
Paint Brush or damp Rag

Considerations Before Starting:
Figure out how much of the underlay you want wrapped before starting this step. For this demonstration, I have chosen a 1" edge to wrap as you will see later in the process (also refer to finished product in post #1).
I recommend marking both the grill and the grill underlay before proceeding with this step. It will make it easier to apply masking tape and route out the interior underlay piece.

Instruction:
First, clamp the grill and grill underlay together. By this point, these pieces should be a perfect fit with no adjustment needed.
16_zps64e3b72a.jpg

Since you have already drilled through the grill underlay piece, it's a simple as placing your magnet into the 3/4" pre-drilled hole. Just dab a small bead of wood glue on the magnet and drop it in. Make sure the bead of glue is small and repeat for magnets. In my opinion, it doesn't matter what pole the magnet is at this point, positive or negative. **Make sure you account for the magnet poles when you sink the magnets in your actual box as you don't want them opposing. See Step [link]9[/link]**

Now take your clamps and move them one at a time over each magnet. This will ensure the magnets
stay in place. Let dry for 15-20 minutes to an hour (depending on humidity).
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After you let the glue dry for a bit, go ahead and remove the clamps. You should be able to remove the grill underlay, but the magnets will stay in place. This is great because you now can use the magnets themselves to ensure the underlay is in perfect alignment with the grill.
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With the underlay removed it's time to apply the masking tape to the grill. Good thing you went ahead and marked your lines on both the grill and grill underlay before this step. Apply your masking tape along the edge of your markings.
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You can use your cloth trimmer or utility knife to clean up the excess tape.
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After the masking tape is applied, it's time to apply your wood glue. I did a small bead around the edge of the grill.
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Then I used a damp rag to evenly spread the glue. Make sure that you spread the glue out to the edges.
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Immediately after you've spread the glue, it's time to clamp the grill and the grill underlay back together. This is where lots of clamps come into play! I'd recommend at least 8, if not more. It's really dependent on the size of the grill that you are making. Bottom-line is that you want to ensure there are no gaps!
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Once you've clamped everything down, take your damp rag and go over the edges to address any overruns. It's best to address this now because if you let the glue dry you're going to have to waste time sanding it down later. Let dry for 30-60min.
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End Result:
23e_zps4599beeb.jpg

23f_zps0900cd76.jpg
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post #7 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Step 5 - Round Over Grill

Required Items/Tools:
Router
1/2" Round Over Router Bit
Clamps

Considerations Before Starting:
If you don't want to round your grill edges, you can skip this step. However, I recommend rounding the edges to make wrapping the grill cloth easier and by removing all hard edges of the grill, it will minimize the chance of cloth creases in the future.

If you want a different size round over, feel free to substitute the 1/2" round over bit with a size of your choice.

Instruction:
Clamp the grill to box and round the corners first. Try to place your clamps so that you won't have to move them when rounding over the exterior edges.
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Now round all edges.
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Don't forget to round over the grill speaker cutout.
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End Result:
27_zps3486c5b3.jpg
27a_zps119b54a1.jpg
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post #8 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Step 6 - Route Grill Underlay

Required Items/Tools:
Router
1/8" Router Bit Router Edge Guide

Considerations Before Starting:
Ensure your grill is secured firmly to a solid surface. This will allow you to apply forward pressure using the straight edge router guide, thus ensuring a perfect straight edge. I clamped the grill to the box in this demonstration.

Instruction:
From the last step, turn your grill over, so the grill underlay is facing the sky. Clamp to solid surface.
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Since you have already outlined your routing lines, just route accordingly using your 1/8" router bit. Make sure your bit goes deeper than the 1/4" depth of the grill under lay.
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By going deeper than the grill underlay itself, it will assist you in removing the inner part of the grill in case there was any glue seepage from when you glued the outer edge in step 4.
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Once finished routing, detach the inner part of the grill underlay. Due to glue seepage, it may take a bit of effort getting the grill off. However, since you applied masking tape in step 4, you should be able to pry it off no problem! Just to be safe, put your thumb on the magnet and press down while prying the grill underlay off.
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Now remove all of the masking tape.
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Since the next step is paint, now would also be the best time to give the grill and grill underlay a quick sanding.
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End Result:
33_zps92cfca0c.jpg
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post #9 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Step 7 - Paint

Required Items/Tools:
Paint
Paint Brush or Roller if you have one

Considerations Before Starting:
I decided it would be a good idea to paint the grills because I noticed that one could visibly see the speaker cutouts from previous grills that I did not paint. I just didn't think it made for a professional look, so I chose flat black to ensure there are no reflections from light, etc...

Instruction:
Once any splinters or rough edges are addressed, just paint away. DON'T spend too much time on this step. It's important to remember that the primary purpose of painting your grill is to ensure you can't see bare wood under your grill cloth after it's wrapped. Since I was in a time crunch, I just grabbed some spray paint to throw on a quick coat.
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Some people may want to paint the grill underlay attachment. It's your prerogative. Since I was running low on time, I decided to skip that step.
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End Result:
36_zpsff02c2f8.jpg
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Step 8 - Attach Grill Cloth

Required Items/Tools:
Staple Gun Staples Cloth Cutter
Hammer (if necessary/your stapler sucks!)

Considerations Before Starting:
My electric staple gun STINKS! I have to use a hammer to get the staples flush. If you have to hammer your staples, be sure to angle the staples inwards toward the speaker cutout. This will ensure that when you hammer the staples in, it will pull the grill cloth more taught vs. the opposite. If you have a pneumatic stapler, then this will be a non-issue for you.

Instruction:
Cut your speaker grill cloth 2-3" larger than your grill all the way around. Having the cloth cutting tool is extremely convenient for this step.
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Next, start stapling your cloth from the middle of the grill outward. I actually recommend stapling over an inch from the edge of the grill in case you have to do any hammering.
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Fold your corners down and secure them. I plan on doing a better tutorial of how to better fold/execute your corners, but for now this is just a rush job.
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Once you've finished stapling, make sure that all of your staples are flush or below the surface. Given my cheap stapler, this involved me having to hammer down most of the staples after the fact. After all of the staples are flush with the wood, trim off the excess fabric. Again, SUPER convenient with the cloth cutter.

End Result:
43_zpsc9ce7d4f.jpg
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post #11 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Step 9 - Glue Grill Underlay for the Finish!!!

Required Items/Tools:
Glue
Clamps

Considerations Before Starting:
If your staples aren't flush after you attach your grill cloth, it's going to cause problems with this step.

Instruction:
You determine how much glue you would like to use. I try to use enough to firmly secure the grill, but not so much that it seeps out of the sides anywhere.
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Now clamp clamp clamp clamp! First, make sure your clamps are clean because you are going to be clamping over the grill cloth itself.
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End Result:
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The grill itself is DONE!!!!
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Step 10 - Drop Magnets in Box

Required Items/Tools:
Glue
Wood Filler
Putty Knife or other straight edge
Sanding Block or Sander

Considerations Before Starting:
Remember Step 4! When you sink your magnets into your box, you will need to make sure they are the proper pole to ensure the magnets actually attract to each other!

Instruction:
After verifying the correct magnet poles, go ahead and apply your wood filler over the magnets. Let dry for a few hours.
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Almost dry.
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Sand and paint as you see fit.
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End Result:
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Now you are REALLY DONE!!!

Video of pull strength.
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Freestyle! - Different approach to step 6

Remember when I said it's not a huge deal if you route the grill straight using this method? If you were to freehand route your grill using this method you could get pretty creative and still make it look very professional. Here is a quick sample.

To be completed later...
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Lessons Learned

In step 6 I had some issues with routing out the grill underlay due to the magnets slightly protruding higher than the 1/4" grill underlay. The router guide requires a flat surface and edge, any bumps will cause irregularities or flaws in the end result.
48 Insert Pic

To combat this, I would have slightly sunk the grill magnet lower than the surface of the grill underlay. Would have taken 15 seconds to accomplish back in step 3.
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post #17 of 35 Old 12-25-2013, 02:19 PM
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post #18 of 35 Old 12-26-2013, 04:00 AM
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Outstanding, Austin!!
One of the most detailed tutorials around regarding an all-important finishing aspect of diy speakers.
Well worth the wait.
Thanks so much for your time in putting this together for us.biggrin.gif
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post #19 of 35 Old 12-26-2013, 05:47 AM
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Very nice finished appearance! Since the cutout for the baffle and the grill appear to be the same diameter, does your baffle still require recessing prior to mounting the speaker? Also, even with a pneumatic stapler do the staples hold well in MDF? I was wondering how well spray adhesive would work instead.

Good work!
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post #20 of 35 Old 12-26-2013, 06:56 AM
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Great job Austin! I know you were talking about writing this up a few months back, glad to see you found the time to make it happen. I'll be adding this to the FAQ immediately. biggrin.gif
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post #21 of 35 Old 12-26-2013, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Wahoo_envy View Post

Very nice finished appearance! Since the cutout for the baffle and the grill appear to be the same diameter, does your baffle still require recessing prior to mounting the speaker? Also, even with a pneumatic stapler do the staples hold well in MDF? I was wondering how well spray adhesive would work instead.

Good work!

Thanks man.

Since different speakers have different surround heights and require different recess depths, the focus of this build was to sink the box magnets on the outer most baffle.

I just did a single baffle for demonstration purposes.

Here is a pic of an old box I built for one of my LMS-U's. Quad baffle.

IMG_6148_zps99f60b54.jpg

If I was making the grill for this quad baffle box, I would have made the speaker cutout of the grill the same diameter as the outer most baffle. Make sense?

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Originally Posted by Wahoo_envy View Post

Also, even with a pneumatic stapler do the staples hold well in MDF? I was wondering how well spray adhesive would work instead.

Good work!

Well, I wish I had a pneumatic stapler. I just had an electric stapler in this case. Regardless, once you glue the grill underlay to the actual grill, the staples will not back out, so you would have nothing to worry about in that regard.

I would assume that spray adhesive would work fine, but my experience with spray adhesive thus far kinda made me steer clear. It's just messy.
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post #22 of 35 Old 12-26-2013, 08:48 AM
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OUTSTANDING JOB. POP.


THIS NEEDS TO BE A STICKY. cool.gif
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post #23 of 35 Old 12-26-2013, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by blah450 View Post

Outstanding, Austin!!
One of the most detailed tutorials around regarding an all-important finishing aspect of diy speakers.
Well worth the wait.
Thanks so much for your time in putting this together for us.biggrin.gif

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Originally Posted by Gorilla83 View Post

Great job Austin! I know you were talking about writing this up a few months back, glad to see you found the time to make it happen. I'll be adding this to the FAQ immediately. biggrin.gif

Thanks gents!

People with a small amount of construction experience should be able to complete this in a few hours over a weekend.

Yes it took me 2 months off and on to complete this write up...lol
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post #24 of 35 Old 12-26-2013, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dank1209 View Post

OUTSTANDING JOB. POP.


THIS NEEDS TO BE A STICKY. cool.gif

Haha, thanks man. But, between MrKazador's Master Index of DIY Speaker Project's and Gorilla83's New to DIY thread? FAQ's in here threads, no sticky status necessary.

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post #25 of 35 Old 12-26-2013, 02:20 PM
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Wow, fantastic write-up Austin!
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post #26 of 35 Old 12-26-2013, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, fantastic write-up Austin!

Thanks Matt. Just a drop in the bucket to the contributions you and many others have made to the community.

Thanks for all you do sir!
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post #27 of 35 Old 12-27-2013, 05:36 PM
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One of the best, most detailed set of instructions I've ever seen. Great job Austin!
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post #28 of 35 Old 12-27-2013, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by carp View Post

One of the best, most detailed set of instructions I've ever seen. Great job Austin!

Thank you sir!

I'm looking forward to showing you guys a few examples of the method here in a couple of weeks.

Does anyone know how to attach a word document? I'd like to be able to post up the work doc for anyone to download to print off as a reference.
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post #29 of 35 Old 12-27-2013, 10:04 PM
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I would recommend that you attach your document in PDF format. It is easy to attach files although the forum only accepts certain types of files. The paperclip icon in the post editor is how you attach files.
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post #30 of 35 Old 01-01-2014, 08:17 PM
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Good looking build, you and I are going to have to have some words about the neighbor rattler v 2.0 smile.gif
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