Picking the right material for your enclosure - Realm of Excursion



Enclosures Woodworking & fiberglassing

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Old 08-16-2006   #1 (permalink)
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Default Picking the right material for your enclosure

The most common materials used for an enclosure are as follows:
1. MDF
2. particle board
3. marine grade, void free plywood

MDF in 1/2", 3/4", and 1" sizes is perhaps the most common choice as it is a great price/performance material. Particle board is not a quality material to use for buildling enclosures, as it will swell and flake if it gets wet and will buckle even at modest pressure levels. Of the three I have mentioned, it is the one I recommend the least. Lastly, we have the plywood category: please note that I am not referring to your average plywood. The usual, inexpensive plywood you will find in large quantities at a hardware or renovation center will be only minimally better than particle board. Plywood is typically anywhere from 3-7 ply (3-7 layers), and can perform rather poorly at high pressure levels, requiring you to double or even triple the thickness of your material. On the other hand, a typical 13 ply baltic birch or apple ply wood will give very favourable results. Of the three materials I listed above, I would only recommend options 1 or 3.

The goal of any enclosure is to keep "enclosure talk" from occurring. Enclosure Talk refers to the flexing of the enclosure's panels to introduce unwanted distortion or frequencies at an audible level. There are two approaches to preventing this:
1. Making the enclosure stiff enough that any resonance will be higher than the frequencies played by the speaker/enclosure
2. Making the enclosure heavy enough that any resonance will be lower than the frequencies played by the speaker/enclosure

MDF is typically better at adding mass, which will lower resonance. Void free plywood is typically stiffer and will raise the point of resonance. It is also very easy to add stiffness by using simple braces inside the enclosure. Speaking in generalities, it is easier to stiffen the enclosure to raise resonance than it is to add mass to lower resonance. Marine-grade Plywood will be lighter and will not be damaged by contact with water, whereas MDF will be heavier and can be damaged by water. So it certainly seems that certain types of Plywood will create a more favourable result than MDF; but this is without considering price. Void free, marine grade plywoods can cost upwards of $50 a sheet, whereas MDF is usually $15-$25 a sheet. As you can see, the difference in price is very noticeable.

So the question you need to ask yourself is: am I on a tight budget? If not, it will likely be worthwhile to purchase some quality plywood. If so, than MDF will work well for you. Keep in mind that any Speaker with large levels of output will require thicker sized sheets, but 3/4" is the most commonly used size.
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Old 08-17-2006   #2 (permalink)
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13-ply baltic birch is expensive, but super strong. and when stained, it looks great



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Old 08-22-2006   #3 (permalink)
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i like birch with some fiberglass resin on it... looks nice seals it up good too.
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Old 08-22-2006   #4 (permalink)
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Default Ply

The way I look at plywood is look at a skateboard, super strong and can take beatings, and that is only 7 ply! I am going to experiment with plywood in the future.
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Old 08-22-2006   #5 (permalink)
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umm. thanks!
good info.
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Old 08-22-2006   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munkyhead2_16
The way I look at plywood is look at a skateboard, super strong and can take beatings, and that is only 7 ply! I am going to experiment with plywood in the future.
thats because decks have concave and are smashed together with 10 ton presses
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Old 08-22-2006   #7 (permalink)
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True, I know that the concave does make a significant difference, im sure the ply for boxes is pressed pretty good as well though. Alot of people think of the ply that you see a house being built with, but the good stuff is not at all like that stuff, it is actually nice for what it is, which is the reject wood put together
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Old 08-23-2006   #9 (permalink)
 
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I like 2x4s,Steel,Concrete and 6 layers of 13ply oak plywood
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Old 08-23-2006   #10 (permalink)
 
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hahahahaha I bet you do Mike.

I Love 2x4's they are great, not quite as strong as the steel , but much easier to work with.

For next season I am thinking about using a stell Frame for my Extreme bassRacer.
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Old 08-23-2006   #11 (permalink)
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Birch rocks.. way expensive though... every major Speaker company uses birch for their pro sound cabinetts because its so darn strong.

.......since i'm poor.....3/4" MDF.
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Old 08-23-2006   #12 (permalink)
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http://homedepot.bighammersoftware.c...4-3ec6cd3a3afd

these smaller precut ones are only $10 each.
2ft x 4ft 3/4 thick.

ahh the link is crap.
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Old 08-23-2006   #13 (permalink)
 
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what yall think of me doing an internal frame out of angle iron maybe 1 1/2 or even 2 inch and then wraping it with 3/4 mdf or maybe two layers of 3/4? i have tons of angle iron layin round and im real good with metal work..... would it be worth the trouble?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad Bowtie 08
what yall think of me doing an internal frame out of angle iron maybe 1 1/2 or even 2 inch and then wraping it with 3/4 mdf or maybe two layers of 3/4? i have tons of angle iron layin round and im real good with metal work..... would it be worth the trouble?
yes, alot of Major DbDrag SS/ extreme competitors do this,it would be heavy, very strong but extremly heavy
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Old 08-24-2006   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Picking the right material for your enclosure

haha weight aint an issue really....... imma good ole cornfed redneck lol and so are alot of my buddies..... weel get it in there haha..... if i did that do u think i could drop down to just 1 sheet of 3/4 or should i stick to 2
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Old 08-25-2006   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Picking the right material for your enclosure

I went to homedepot and lowes today to get some stuff, and now that mdf is getting kinda expensive (24.95 4x8) while pressed hq particle board is not (17.95 4x8) I dont know what to get. I think i heard typer saying that he usues the particle board and there is no difference at all. What do you guys think? I really dont want to pay those few extra bucks if its the same chit in the long run. what do you guys use and what have you learned from using it?
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Old 08-25-2006   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Picking the right material for your enclosure

well i dont Build a box without bracing it and if your using the brace to stiffin the box then what difference does the stiffness of the wood make?..honestly ive always used 3/4" MDF and either threaded rod or good 'ol two-by-fours. ive always braced the crap out of my boxes so ive never had the need for strong wood since i have strong braces...i guess if i didnt brace anything i'd use birch because its stronger than MDF
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Old 09-01-2006   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Picking the right material for your enclosure

mdf and gorilla glue all day long
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Old 09-01-2006   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Picking the right material for your enclosure

mdf and gorilla glue all day long
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Old 10-25-2006   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Picking the right material for your enclosure

Im usin 3/4 mdf and some fiberglass resin for the mojo Im gluin it together with titebond 3 and I used a kreg jig to screw it together the box also has 12 2x2 gussets its probably over kill but the box wsa designed with the gussets and I want it to be verry strong
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Old 10-29-2006   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: Picking the right material for your enclosure

what is the best way to brace a box?
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Old 10-29-2006   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: Picking the right material for your enclosure

probably all thread
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Old 02-01-2007   #23 (permalink)
 
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I priced a single piece of plexi, pre-cut at like 36"x12", and it was going to run around $100 for 1" quality plexi.
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Old 12-13-2007   #24 (permalink)
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3/4 MDF or 1" 3/4 MDF are good wood to use for car audio subs.
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Old 12-13-2007   #25 (permalink)
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Why are you posting in a dead thread...and duh its already been established that 3/4" MDF is good...



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