Build Your Own Rubik's Cube Subwoofer in 164 Easy Steps

rubiks_subwoofer.jpgWell, maybe not "easy" steps—after all, it took designer Zachary Paisley 80 days, some serious manual labor, $1586 in total build costs, and a whole lot of math to put together the world's first Rubik's Cube-shaped 15-inch Direct-Servo Subwoofer. I think you will agree that the results were worth the effort. Naturally, when something this cool comes along, we pick the brain of those responsible. You can check out a full interview with Zachary after the break, along with a gallery of the build, and a link to his instructions on how to make one of these for yourself.


Sean Fallon: Why Rubik's? Zachary Paisley: The idea for the Rubik's Cube came about from shopping for subs and looking at what DIY-ers were doing with their builds—in two words, "boring me." The entire thought process behind most DIY-ers, especially when it comes to audio, is to make it look like a major manufacturer built it, to make it blend into the background. I saw one man who turned his end table into a sub and another who built it into his desk. I thought "why not take the opposite approach?" Rather than have people ignore something I made; I want them to REALLY notice it. From there, the specific design for the Rubik's Cube just came to me as I was driving to work; it seemed a perfect fit.

SF: What was the most difficult aspect of the project? ZP: I have been building sculptures and other artworks since high school but this was my first speaker build—two completely different ball games. To be honest though, the design, calculations, building—none of that was out of reach for me. The hardest part was convincing everyone who was watching (family, girlfriend, roommates, a pissed off landlord, even more pissed off neighbors) that I wasn't insane and attempting something like this WAS a good idea—I received a lot of flack for it.

SF: Did you encounter any major problems with the build along the way? ZP:Yes—two. The first I encountered halfway through. I worked out the dimensions of the sub to be a scale representation of the puzzle, but miscalculated the thickness of the wood needed for the outer squares. I had to increase the thickness of the outer shell, which forced me to increase the thickness of the inner shell. It cost me five days' work. The biggest mistake, though small (no pun intended), was the end-weight. I guessed about 75 lbs and bought legs that I thought would work. After attaching them (without the driver/amp) the legs practically ripped out from the 100 lb shell just from blowing on it. I put in some bun feet meant for couches and haven't had any problems since.

SF:You talked about it a bit on your project site, but give us a quick idea of the sound quality one could expect from the Rubik's Subwoofer. ZP: In a word—"Danceable." Just Kidding! Admittedly, I was trying to not get my hopes up but was quite surprised by the quality. I had listened to other subs on my system before for testing purposes and they taught me not to get one for stereo purposes. This sub, however, has turned me the other way. After playing around a bit with the stuffing/phase/crossover, I was able to so seamlessly blend the sub to my other speakers. My goal here all along was to make a sub that I could use with my music and not a god-awful booming box heard two miles away. In all seriousness, it's got some great sound and I'd happily put it next to anything bought for thousands more at an audiophile hangout, maybe I'll even offer a million dollars if they can prove it's better.

[SF: Sounds like a challenge! I'd put my money on Zachary though.]

SF:Would you ever consider selling your creation, or making another for a paying customer? ZP: I've been told to market it by a few people and I even received an offer. I don't know if I could ever sell the prototype though, it's quite special to me. As for making another for a paying customer, I'd love to—I had a blast making this one. It was really the first time I got to blend my art into A/V engineering (what I do professionally). In fact, I had so much fun making this I'm currently working on the equations and drawings for two stereo fronts in the likeness of Coca Cola vending machines, one old fashioned and one newer. In all seriousness, I would definitely make a sculptured speaker for someone who wanted one.

SF: So how about making a subwoofer out of Legos—the tech geek's other favourite toy? ZP: I had SOO many Legos as a boy! Of course the catch to Legos is which one do you model after—they come out with new types of bricks every five minutes! Legos would make a GREAT system—5.1: long bricks for the fronts, the four-prong square for the sub and the angled ones for the rears. Good call! Want me to build you one, Sean?

[SF: Hell, yeah, I would like a Lego subwoofer. Make a few in fact. I'll put them together and make the coolest Lego fort ever.]

SF: Can you even solve a Rubik's Cube? ZP: The closest I ever came to solving a Rubik's Cube as a child was ripping the colours off to match the sides I needed them to. I actually bought a cube for photo purposes last week and before I had the chance to photograph it, my girlfriend jumbled it beyond recognition...two hours later I found a website that allows you to map the sides and then gives you the method for solving it. Thank God.

Hit the following link for a complete list of build instructions. [Project Cube 2007]

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