Browse files

Adding information on Paper Speakers, sans images for now.

  • Loading branch information...
Sam Jacoby
Sam Jacoby committed Apr 3, 2013
1 parent fb2a5f2 commit 30fac66deb8a560039888ea2b4e47d64722daab4
Showing with 58 additions and 0 deletions.
  1. +58 −0 site/content/posts/posts/speaker-paperish.html
@@ -0,0 +1,58 @@
title: The Speaker Paperish
summary: In which audiophiles blanche
date: 2013-04-01 22:08:02
keywords: DIY, paper speakers, conductive ink
thumbnail: speaker-1.jpg
After puttering along with carefully-crafted, if under-powered conductive silver speakers for a few weeks, an inquiring mind pointed me towards the small, cottage-industry of DIY paper speakers using enameled magnet-wire ([SparkFun](http:// They've led a fairly well-documented life online, courtesy of [Jose Pino](, who has put up a number excellent projects.
I've modeled these speakers, more-or-less, on his designs. See his [Plastic Cup Speaker]( and [Styrofoam Plate Speaker]( for some great HOW-TOs. I haven't given the latter a try, yet, but it looks pretty good.
## Paper Speaker
### Bill of Materials
- 30AWG or 32AWG Magnet Wire ([SparkFun](
This is the stuff that gets wound into speaker coils and motors and such. You can grab it on eBay or naturally enough, Amazon, but SparkFun has a nice kit of it. You'll need more than you think. Sending an audio signal through these coils is what actually generates the magnetic field that moves the diaphragm, and ultimately, generates the sound.
- Magnet ([McMaster](, [Amazon](
Any kind of magnet works. The stronger the better. Keep in mind that whatever the shape of your magnet, for the best sound, that's going to be the shape of wire coil you'll be wrapping. So larger and rounder is better. You want a magnet (or) stack, taller than it is wide. I've been using little rare-earth neodymium magnets, about ¼" in diameter, which are admittedly a little small for a tube diameter. For those for whom mandatory overnight shipping is a way of life (be friends with me), McMaster has some nice [ones](
- Stiff cardstock (A business card is pretty good)
Pretty much anything works in pinch, but the sound will vary considerably with different materials. Apparently, a [foam plate]( is ideal. It's ugly, though.
- Glue
Elmer's is fine. Hot glue is faster.
- Audio Cable ([DigiKey](
This isn't strictly necessary, but if you want to plug your speaker(s) into a proper computer or stereo or some such, you'll need something. The easiest thing to do, probably, is just cut-off a pair of old headphones or something.
- Alligator Clips, pair ([SparkFun](
For attaching to things: audio outputs, paper speaker wires, and so forth.
### Design
A speaker, essentially, is a coil of conductive material (wire, say, or conductive thread, or paint), and a permanent magnet. When a current flows through the coil, it generates a magnetic field. This field pushes or pulls itself against the *permanent* magnet. If the flowing current describes sound, then the coil moves in ways that represent that sound. That's well and good, but so what?
What makes a speaker a *speaker*, and not just a bit of moving wire, is the diaphragm (read: business card), that is attached to the coil. As the card vibrates, it vibrates the air along with it. That air, my friend, that air is connected to other air, and that air vibrates too, until it vibrates right into your and your ear drum, from whence it does such mysterious things that probably, only [Wikipedia]( knows.
### Examples
Once you've got it going, you can start expanding:
{{ macros.render_figure('<a href="" title="Paper Speakers by s_jacoby, on Flickr"><img src="" width="375" height="500" alt="Paper Speakers"></a>', "Bumping tunes through many superfluous cones.") }}
{{ macros.render_figure('<a href="" title="Paper Speakers by s_jacoby, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="Paper Speakers"></a>', "Plain & clean.") }}
{{ macros.render_figure('<a href="" title="Paper Speakers by s_jacoby, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="Paper Speakers"></a>', "And the reverse.") }}

0 comments on commit 30fac66

Please sign in to comment.