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Enclosure Building Tips
1 • Enclosure Materials:
A box must be very rigid. Most common building materials are 5/8" or thicker particle board or medium density fiberboard (mdf). If building a box with Plexiglas, do not use anything less that 1/2 inch thick. A common material used to mold complex shaped boxes is fiberglass, but it is a more difficult to work with, various layers need to be applied for a strength, and a lot of finish work is required for professional results.
2 • Gluing, Sealing The Enclusure:
Use glue at all joints (one of the most used products is Liquid Nails). Make sure there are no holes or gaps in the construction. Any leaks in the enclosure will degrade the performance of your sub enclosure. After constructing the enclosure, seal the interior joints with a caulk type sealant to insure there are no leaks. Let the glue and sealants cure for at least 24 hours before mounting the subwoofers. Fumes from the sealants could damamge the rubber surround, or other materials of the sub.
3 • Affixing Joints Together:
Screw joints (use 2" - 2-1/2" screws) approximately every four inches. Pre-drill the face panel and the ajoining panel about 3/4" deep, to insure the screws do not split the wood at the edges, especially when working with particleboard or mdf.
4 • Should I Seperate Each Sub?
It is not necessary to have separate chambers for each sub, however it is best to take this approach for two reasons: First, if one of the subs dies, then the volume of the box will not change for the remaining "good" sub. The volume change could allow the "good" sub to opperate out side of its range and damage it. The second reason is bracing. Building a box with a divider in the middle will be much stonger and reduce flex. If you choose to use both (or more) subs in one area, bracing is crtical, so be sure to use pleanty of cross bracing.
5 • Internal Bracing:
Boxes that are more than 1 foot in width, length, or height, should be braced to eliminate flex (use a piece of wood 3 or 4 inches wide for cross bracing, so that box does not flex). It is a good idea to put wood blocks (gusset) in the corners for reinforcement. Always consider that blocks, cross braces, lighting, etc.inside a box take up space and should be accounted for when calculating internal volume.
6 • Creating Ports:
There are several way to build ports. If a pre-made port is not available, the most common material is PVC tubing. PVC tubing is very rigid, comes in different diameters, and is easily found at any hardware store. Cut the tubing to the desired length (recommended by the speaker mfg, or enclosure building software). Consider the volume the port when calculating the box volume. Cut a hole in the box for the diameter tubing. Be sure the hole is as perfect as possible to minimize gaps between the box and the tube. A couple wood braces can be added for screwing the port top the box. Seal the gaps using a sealant product as descussed above or a similar product. Slot style ports are another option and require more calculations, it is recommended that you use an enclosure building software to create this design, or refer to the speaker mfg.
7 • Damping/Filling:
It is advisable to include damping material inside a box. Pillow polyfill and fiberglass insulation are common, though polyfill is a lot easier on your skin. This increases subwoofer efficiency by dissipating some energy that affects the sub, particularly the voice coil. Polyfill can also "fool" a sub into thinking it is in a bigger box. The common recommedation is 1lb of polyfill per cubic foot of air space inside the enclosure, but you are welcome to play around with different amounts of polyfill until you get the desired results.
8 • Finishing the Box:
Many finishes can be applied to subwoofer enclosures, and it is ultimately up to you how far you would like to go. For carpet finishes, no real finishing is required and carpet can be added to the exterior, assuming the surfaces are flat, clean and smooth. Cut a piece of carpet (or vinyl) big enough to cover the whole box. Apply adhesive to both box and carpet (spray 3M adhesive 77 or 90 works great). Wait about a minute and place the fabric over the wood. For a good fit, stretch the fabric when applying it. The fabric should wrap around and end in a place of the box that will not be seen. Do one side at a time, cutting excess carpet. If possible, add staples to hold the fabric at the ends. If you decide to paint or veneer the enclosure the surface must be very smooth. Fill all holes and imperfections with wood filler or body filler, then sand the box to make a smooth surface. Once smooth, you can apply the veneer sheets to the face of the enclosure. If painting the enclosure, apply several heavy coats of primer (do not use water based primer), and sand again to a smooth finish using finer paper (320 / 400 grit). After you have the surface smooth, you can apply the paint of choice.
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