Strafi Translam FaitalPro Tower Build - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 154 Old 03-09-2017, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Strafi Translam FaitalPro Tower Build

I wanted to start a build thread for my MWAF project this year, calling them Strafi, wanted to do something special and really push my building skills, there is a restaurant that has a light fixture that inspired me along with a build method I've been wanting to try for a while.

Traditional translam builds create tons of waste, I've had the idea of simply using thinner strips of wood, glued or attached at the corners to create the work envelope from which the final shape is created. This eliminates all the wasted material in the middle and keeps it to whatever is around the edges, very minimal. I'm sure this has been done though haven't seen it, regardless it looked fun and I wanted to give it a try =)

For MWAF I wanted to do something with Pro Audio drivers and a horn since I didn't see any of that last year, I've also been thrilled with the results I've been getting from those projects using PA drivers. I've been eyeing the FaitalPro 8PR200 for a while, after modeling about 50 pro audio 8" woofers, nothing came even close to it with regard to bass performance and clean FR higher up. They are also light neo drivers and I'm going to have to ship these suckers to Ohio this summer.

I decided to do a tower speaker with two 8" in a 2.5 way configuration, as, well, I really like bass. I will be pairing these to a Faital HF10AK 1" compression driver and LTH102 horn which is very well built and cast aluminum. I plan on doing a high order (3rd or 4th electrical) around 1khz, will be experimenting with that later on.

So now, on to the construction. After mulling around a bunch of ideas, I settled on doing a solid hardwood enclosure using Poplar (no shoot you say) and Mahogany. Each enclosure will be made up of about 43 layers each (may vary 1 layer here or there once I get closer to finalizing things).

Each layer is made from 4 pieces of precisely cut lumber, layers stagger every other between a long center Mahogany plank and a short one. When the Mahogany is short, the poplar end grain shows on the sides of it, and this creates a stitched interlacing pattern up the sides. I chose to do this to create a striking visual contrast and I really love the variability in color and grain of the Poplar wood I chose. I have no real idea how this will look when it's done, but I'm excited to see it come together.

Over the past week I sourced the lumber, cut sections to precise lengths and ripped pieces to precise widths and have been gluing them up in batches of 4 using 4 fixtures I built to precisely control the inside and outside dimensions. I'm still using A LOT of lumber, over 55 linear feet of 7.25" wide Mahogany and 11.25" wide poplar.

The dust collection system I put in has been working overtime and working very well might I add =) Once I glue up a layer I can let it set up for about 45 minutes, pull it out of the fixture and slap in new pieces for another round. Over the past week I've been doing one batch at 6:45am when I wake up and right before I make the kid's lunches, then I drop the kids off at school, do another batch at 7:30 right before I leave for work. Then another batch when I get home around 7pm, one at 8:30 and a couple more until midnight or so. Each batch takes about 15 minutes to pull out of fixtures and glue up new pieces, the quick clamps really make things much easier and very accurate.







My cut lists, a pretty extensive spreadsheet with formulas, was very helpful in calculating exactly how much material I'd need.







Individual layer pieces organized and ready to glue up




Two layers glued up and drying






Seams are clamped to align pieces as well as possible, the Mahagany and Poplar are slightly different thicknesses, which will be corrected by the drum sander



Layers stacking up! You can see the alternate layers each in their own stack.



Chop saw fixtures makes quick and accurate work, I have the chop saw adjusted perfectly square for accurate cuts. The ID dimensioned pieces are the most critical, the outside overlapping pieces aren't as critical as that material will be trimmed off.






I should have all layers done by tomorrow, more to come!

Thanks!
Javad Shadzi
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post #2 of 154 Old 03-09-2017, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Another major part of the project will be the router template which allows me to create the final shape of the enclosure, since I have so many layers and I want them to be very accurate, I will be CNC machining an aluminum router template to make things easier. Also full disclosure, I employ 3 amazing ME's and 2 master machinists so I may or may not be using resources at hand =)

Yes I should probably pay someone like Kevin to just rip these out in a CNC router, but I enjoy this stuff and I'm a glutton for punishment!

The template/s will have the following features:

1 - Will set the outside and inside profiles

2 - There will be two templates to create alternating inside layers to crate uneven surfaces inside the enclosure

3 - A drill guide to allow Q4 1/4" holes to allow dowels to align the layers to each other. I'm currently machining the templates and should be routering by early next week.

I also have a JET 16" drum sander on the way, though the layer pieces are well aligned to each other, I need each layer to be very flat as I want to minimize any gaps or unevenness between layers.







More to come!

Javad
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post #3 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 03:32 AM
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Very nice work so far. Excited to see this unfold.
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post #4 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 05:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jshadzi View Post
Another major part of the project will be the router template which allows me to create the final shape of the enclosure, since I have so many layers and I want them to be very accurate, I will be CNC machining an aluminum router template to make things easier. Also full disclosure, I employ 3 amazing ME's and 2 master machinists so I may or may not be using resources at hand =)

Yes I should probably pay someone like Kevin to just rip these out in a CNC router, but I enjoy this stuff and I'm a glutton for punishment!

The template/s will have the following features:

1 - Will set the outside and inside profiles

2 - There will be two templates to create alternating inside layers to crate uneven surfaces inside the enclosure

3 - A drill guide to allow Q4 1/4" holes to allow dowels to align the layers to each other. I'm currently machining the templates and should be routering by early next week.

I also have a JET 16" drum sander on the way, though the layer pieces are well aligned to each other, I need each layer to be very flat as I want to minimize any gaps or unevenness between layers.







More to come!

Javad
Nice drivers, I have eight of them in my rears.

Is it just me though, or is your internal 'odd shaping' thing completely unnecessary and will do absolutely zero for the sound? What are you trying to achieve with this ribbed design inside?

And what are you planning to do about bracing?

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post #5 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Javs I'm familiar with your project, very nice!

The internal profiles aren't necessary, but either are these speakers =)

Uneven shapes and surfaces work to break up internal reflections, much like a lamp shade does for light, by dispersing and breaking up sound waves inside the enclosure they have less of a chance of being heard back through the cone.

The alternating layers also create a much more rigid, less resonant structure than larger panels with even thickness. Lastly, it's interesting and looks cool, I didn't invent the technique but with this type of construction it's no more work to do.

Bracing I will add as I go along by flying in additional struts, this will be a very rigid and nonresonant structure as is, but see some of my other projects to see my bracing techniques, they are quite extensive.

Thanks Javs!
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post #6 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 01:17 PM
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Strafi Translam FaitalPro Tower Build

At what frequencies are you expecting this to disperse your sound?

I don't think its going to do a thing. Bass will fly right over it. And frequencies high enough to be affected by the shapes would be better to be treated with some internal lining in the box... while you may change the direction of some of the sound-waves internally they are still going to bounce around and exit the cone regardless.

Am I correct in that you are only going to affect sound frequencies with which the internal depth of your shapes match the wavelengths? What are they 1cm or 2cm? Isnt that kind of wavelength not even going to be in your box at all, since by the time the wavelength is short enough your tweeter will be handling it anyway?

Im all for the looking good thing, just trying to understand what this is actually going to do if anything at all

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post #7 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 04:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jshadzi View Post
Uneven shapes and surfaces work to break up internal reflections, much like a lamp shade does for light, by dispersing and breaking up sound waves inside the enclosure they have less of a chance of being heard back through the cone.
Not very much they won't as the small dimensional differences will only work over a narrow frequency band and the flat face sections will still reflect strongly back to the cone. I'd suggest studying diffusors.

A much better way to remove rear reflections is to use tapered tubes behind the midbasses a la B&W Nautilus. They don't nee to be straight and can be made in an inverted L shape to taper them up or down as fits in the enclosure. Minimal damping in the first section and much more as the tube tapers.
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post #8 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Javs View Post
At what frequencies are you expecting this to disperse your sound?
Im all for the looking good thing, just trying to understand what this is actually going to do if anything at all
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
A much better way to remove rear reflections is to use tapered tubes behind the midbasses a la B&W Nautilus. They don't nee to be straight and can be made in an inverted L shape to taper them up or down as fits in the enclosure. Minimal damping in the first section and much more as the tube tapers.
I didn't start this thread to have a debate about a very small feature inside the enclosure, as a private speaker builder in my garage I won't be spending much time studying and proving the effects of a trivial design feature with no ill effects of this speaker, I'm sure you understand

I will be routing two different shaped layers, it is trivial to make them different shapes, and this is a common speaker construction technique along the lines of not having parallel internal surfaces, and it has absolutely NO negative effect not to mention not being any more work. I will also be using internal bracing and dampening.

Cheers,
Javad
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post #9 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 07:41 PM
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This is very interesting speaker build and i for one will be following along. I dont know why people riding a keyboard feel the need to criticize but it takes all kinds . I for one appreciate your attention to detail , anyone can put together a square box but this is a work of art. I see people slap together a box and slather it in duratex and think they really did something ,there's more to speaker building than how fast you can finish it. I do plenty of things when i build an engine that no one see's but that doesnt stop me from doing it. Your reply was much more tactful than would be capable of.
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post #10 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 10:01 PM - Thread Starter
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This is very interesting speaker build and i for one will be following along. I dont know why people riding a keyboard feel the need to criticize but it takes all kinds . I for one appreciate your attention to detail , anyone can put...

Really appreciate your reply and support =)

Javad
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post #11 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 10:01 PM
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Well, these days I’m content with looking once a day at some projects on forum sites and if I may say so I always liked a fresh approach were a person is game enough to try something new & away from rectangular coffins regardless of what name the construction technique is graced with.

I’m intrigued by your idea, and I can second most of what ‘SocketMan’ has mentioned in his reply! Yet in general and believe me without criticizing I can see some problems coming your way & that simple only because I build with nothing else for quiet some time now 2006 - 24/7 with a type of slice construction technique.

OK, I can see from your Images & drawings what you seem wanting to do so these are my own concerns noted:

  • I would have sized the thicker pieces before gluing as sizing will put stress on the whole frame(s) especially the butt joints.
  • Four butt joins are hold together with wood glue (anything else ???) my concern is here the inner & outer routing part of it – first the section of the butt joint holding the frame together decreases as well as I personally would not like to do the routing if nothing else then wood glue is holding the joints.
  • Next maybe think about using two, three of the same layer(s) & not each and everyone different!
In any case I will follow this project for sure with interest!!!

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post #12 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 10:23 PM
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Great looking project Javad! From your initial steps I expect the final speakers to look and sound phenomenal. I need to read up on those drivers you mentioned. Very interested - I'm almost done with my sub build and I'm already thinking about an LCR DIY build :-).

I'm curious - what's your adhesive of choice?
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post #13 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 10:44 PM
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I'm curious - what's your adhesive of choice?
Interesting question! I Like it.
My own question now would be - should you not use an adhesive by the type of wood and / or by the construction technique you are using???



As I myself use a glue type building in a (Vertical & Horizontal slice sandwich type technique(s)) which is severely bonding yet staying quiet elastic between the slices so never hardening as a solid. What most people forget is that it not always have to be a type of glue which is only recommended for wood!!!


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post #14 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Great looking project Javad! From your initial steps I expect the final speakers to look and sound phenomenal. I need to read up on those drivers you mentioned. Very interested - I'm almost done with my sub build and I'm already thinking about an LCR DIY build :-).



I'm curious - what's your adhesive of choice?

Thanks @Brazle ! My glue of choice is Titebond Premium, never had any issues with it once set up and clamped properly.

Javad
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post #15 of 154 Old 03-10-2017, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
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@UpperCut thanks for the comments, yes just buttclamp with generous Titebond Premium and high pressure clamping, I share your concern but after some initial testing I'm confident these will hold the routering process, then as alternating layers are glued the assembly will be incredibly strong. Thanks for following along!

Javad
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I didn't start this thread to have a debate about a very small feature inside the enclosure, as a private speaker builder in my garage I won't be spending much time studying and proving the effects of a trivial design feature with no ill effects of this speaker, I'm sure you understand
Just pointing out it has no positive effects either. Heck, I even gave you an alternative that does work.

Go ahead and build whatever you want, but when you post (or say) something in a public area don't expect everyone to just fawn, especially when we experienced builders can see a design error.
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Just pointing out it has no positive effects either. Heck, I even gave you an alternative that does work.

Go ahead and build whatever you want, but when you post (or say) something in a public area don't expect everyone to just fawn, especially when we experienced builders can see a design error.


Clearly you're most interested in arguing and nit picking, if you actually read what I said I never made any unequivocal or sweeping claims about anything. I am an experienced speaker builder, I'd suggest you don't follow my thread.

Best,
Javad
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Done cutting and gluing for now, have 43 layers of each, whew!





I'll be mocking up and gluing the top panels, found this gorgeous Mahogany that I'll likely use.



I'll be machining the template this week and should have a lot of router info in my near future. Drivers showed up!

FaitalPro stuff always impresses with their attention to detail, gorgeous drivers. I plan on dampening the horn as well.









Javad
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Once all the layers are glued together, will you just router the holes for the drivers?
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post #20 of 154 Old 03-11-2017, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Once all the layers are glued together, will you just router the holes for the drivers?


That's right, I'm actually CNCing another template for the flush mounting and driver cutouts, there will also be two 3" ports and a recessed terminal cup.

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if you actually read what I said I never made any unequivocal or sweeping claims about anything.
Really? That's not how this reads.

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Uneven shapes and surfaces work to break up internal reflections, much like a lamp shade does for light, by dispersing and breaking up sound waves inside the enclosure they have less of a chance of being heard back through the cone.
Pity physics doesn't agree with you.

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I'd suggest you don't follow my thread.
Done.
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What is MWAF?

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What is MWAF?


Midwest Audio Fest put on by Parts Express, great event, check it out

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Ok template drawings finished and I'll be cutting aluminum this weekend, for a quick confirmation I did a paper print of the template and put it on one of the layers (as you know there are two different style layers that interlace), it's a great fit.

Sander shows up Monday morning and I suspect I know what I'll be doing the rest of that day =)







Thanks!
Javad
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Ok template drawings finished and I'll be cutting aluminum this weekend, for a quick confirmation I did a paper print of the template and put it on one of the layers (as you know there are two different style layers that interlace), it's a great fit.

Sander shows up Monday morning and I suspect I know what I'll be doing the rest of that day =)







Thanks!
Javad
Did you measure the moisture of the boards prior to glue up? I'd hate for you to go through all of this work to have problems when the wood moves as it acclimates to your environment.

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The wood is very dry, for good measure it has sat in my garage after gluing to further stabilize, I don't anticipate any issues.

Thanks!
Javad
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post #27 of 154 Old 03-20-2017, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Got the sander today and I got right to work!





Really nice unit, essentially acts like a planer and accurately takes off whatever thickness you'd like, does well with 1/64" passes when using 120 grit which is what I used. As a bonus it is 16" wide and you can run up to 32" wide in 2 passes.

My goal was to take off as little as needed to make a very flat layer, I ended up needing to take off less than 1/32" per layer though some needed more.

The proof was initially, the stack of 43 layers didn't sit flat and was wobbly, after sanding the layers sat flat and the tower was rock solid stable leaning on it and rocking.

Took about 4 hours to run them all through. I was able to get both stacks w/in 1/32" in overall thickness too.



Currently CNC machining the router templates, will post more about those soon.

Thanks!
Javad
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post #28 of 154 Old 03-21-2017, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Templates are coming along, should have them all done tomorrow, there are several router templates:

1 - layer templates, there are two, one for each type of layer, they feature the same outside profile, the main difference being the alternating inside pattern.

2 - flush mount template, this is a template that orients the drivers on the baffle, since all 3 drivers aren't round and odd shapes, this template will make things much easier.

3 - driver cutout templates, these fit inside the flush mount template and accurately orient the cutouts as well as the mounting screws. They also act as a support surface for the router base in the adjacent driver position.

Raw material securely clamped in the Haas CNC, all material is 1/4" thick 6061 aluminum.



Probing the workpiece during the CAM programming process, this let's the machine know where 0 is.



Outside cut



Inside cut

and down, these are very simple pieces.

More to come!

Javad
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post #29 of 154 Old 03-24-2017, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Strafi Translam FaitalPro Tower Build

Back at it, some good progress.

Got one of the layer templates finished today.

Chips and coolant flying!





The 1/4" drill guides, I was going to use a shelf pin drill jig but during some testing determined it wouldn't drill all the way through 3/4" stock, so I used these press fit guides





The small holes are to screw the template to the layer using a #6 screw



Template screwed to a layer





This is the bad boy I'll be using to remove wood



Stacks ready to go



Tomorrow I'll be making some dust

Thanks,
Javad
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post #30 of 154 Old 03-25-2017, 02:04 AM
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Awesome project. You are definitely not a novice when it comes to woodwork. I would however like to touch on a few points.

I'm well versed in machining Mahogany and it can be tricky at times. Very hard and can tear out easily, in big splinters, destroying the piece.

First thing is that you're going to have to cut everything within 1/8" to your template with a band saw and jig saw. No way you're going to hog out all of that material with a bit. After that I would suggest using an oversize bearing and bring everything closer to 1/16" of the template.

The biggest problem is going to be when you "climb cut" across the end grain. If the material is not damn close to the pattern, you'll blow out the last bit down the grain. Could be easily a 3-5" tear out. I alleviate this problem by sanding the corners at a 60/30 angle just shy of the template so there is nothing to grab at the exit of the pass.

I always run the grain first, then hit the ends.

That bit you have is great for roughing out. I would strongly suggest a compression bit for the final pass. Much smoother with very little chatter. It will cut slower, but much cleaner. It's a finishing bit. Chops up and down without just forcing everything forward.

This is what I use.> https://www.amazon.com/Whiteside-Flu.../dp/B000M35UWI

Woodcraft should have it in stock.

Hopefully you have made some "prototype" frames to practice on. You're going to need a cut schedule and the first few might not work out how you planned. It all sounds good on paper, but when you're running that many edges, you definitely want some practice.

I'm sure you know most of this stuff. It just happens to be one thing I'm good at.

I'm in Los Gatos. If you're in the South Bay and would like an extra hand, give me a shout.

Here's some tricky mahogany machining.
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Last edited by Carbon66; 03-25-2017 at 02:13 AM.
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