Last we checked in on this project, I was pretty happy with the prototype. What’s been done since?

Not much, to be honest.

Winter is a great time for projects like this. I’m stuck in the house most days with time on my hands. Conversely, spring, summer, fall are all bad for projects like this. I tend to focus on outdoor projects, hiking, biking, camping—things that get me OUT of the house.

It’s winter again. Time to dust off this project and start thinking hard about next steps.

Back to the start

So, we now know what’s inside, how it’s going to work, and we’ve built the guts into a prototype.

That means we know the size of the components and how much space they’ll need in a final configuration.

What style did we want again for this whole thing?

As you can see from the image above, I’m playing with a few different configurations.

My constraints are that it can’t be more than 5 feet wide, shouldn’t be more than 33 inches tall, and I should be able to fit everything I want into it: the electronics, the speakers, and a slot for a few LPs.

I’d like it to be walnut. Pricing fully dimensional walnut for this project, though, got me to about $350. For just the wood. I can do it for less using walnut veneer, though I’ve never done veneer work. I can do it for even less using poplar or another fine grained hardwood and dressing it to look like walnut.

The super widescreen aspect ratio of some models appeals to me over the boxy rectangular ones that come across more utilitarian. However, I only have five feet to work with and if I lay the speakers on their sides (as they’re designed to be used) I’m already at three feet. Not much space left for a turntable and controls.

I could layer the speakers under parts of the electronics and the turntable, but that creates a weird aesthetic from the front and lowers the aspect ratio of the overall dimensions—it’s taller.

Innovation is always born from necessity. Perhaps I’ll come up with an elegant option nobody’s come up with yet. But I doubt it. There are people who spend a lot more time with this problem than I do.

Next steps? Final drawings. Then order some wood.