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Building the Ultimate Jukebox

Last month we looked at what we wanted in the Ultimate Jukebox. Now let's start building it...

Part 2 by Ross Tester

As we explained, the Ultimate Jukebox is actually a powered speaker with a built-in computer running the Ultimate Jukebox software. So all we need to do is come up with a speaker box that will fit an amplifier/power supply and the computer?

That’s true – but as the proverb says, there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip. For example, we want to make sure our jukebox makes the most economic use of timber. It also needs to be both stable and sturdy enough to take the punishment of its likely environment (let’s party!) and it needs to be light enough to move around.

Those last two requirements are actually rather contradictory. To make it stable and sturdy, it needs to be quite heavy duty. Heavy duty also translates as heavy! The final design had over 32kg of timber in it – before anything was added.

We decided on 18mm craftwood (or MDF) for most of the construction. Part of the reason for this is our local timber merchant had a special on 18mm craftwood but we had already decided anything thinner would be too thin while anything thicker would be too heavy.

Having said that, we also used a couple of pieces of 32mm craftwood – one for the jukebox base and one for the computer spacer. More on this anon.

We used two sheets of 1200 x 2500mm 18mm craftwood (as I said, they were cheap!) but one sheet of 2400 x 1200mm will work quite nicely with the sizes we’ve shown – and leave some change. It’s also possible to buy 1200 x 1200mm sheets which are easier to work with (and transport).

Also, ask your timber supplier if they offer a cutting service. If they do, take advantage of it: their cuts are likely to be smoother and squarer than yours (certainly squarer than mine!) and you’ll end up with pieces that fit together beautifully.

Even if they charge for the cuts (and most do, with the average charge about $2.00 per cut plus GST), you’re going to pay not much more than about $15 for cuts – pretty good value in my humble opinion.

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