Speakers Mounted to the Wall
The completed Cinema Room
What came first the chicken or the egg? An unsolvable question, just like the one in the header of this story, right? Wrong, on both counts. Without going into irrelevant minutiae about evolution, the egg came first spawned from two chicken-like birds and by using a printer at home I have discovered what consumer 3D printing is good for.
Let me start with the problem; my father and I decided to turn the disused outhouse/garage into a cinema room in preparation for a Halloween premier. Without the money to throw at expensive solutions we decided to do it ourselves, as cheaply as humanly possible.
In order to turn this 10m long x 3m wide utility room into a screen Oscar Deutsch would be proud of we started by buying a projector and screen on the cheap from China as well as upcycling (hipster alert!) items we had lying around the house; a six-foot shelving unit to house the projector and Blu-Ray player an old modem as a repeater with a never used Chromecast to make the projector smart; some second hand posters complete with pound shop LED lighting. But along with the visuals a real cinema needs the audio to swirl around the room and slap you smack bang in the middle of Jurassic Park. To achieve this we needed a helping hand from a little plastic extruding friend.
We had a Sony 5.1 speaker system sitting up in the attic, gathering dust for a good five years, over that time parts had gone missing, wires had broken and remote controls have vanished but it was a good sound system and the satellite speakers were sleek and stylish, th
ere was plenty to be salvaged but they needed brackets, tentatively I turned to Thingiverse.
Previous DIY Thinigverse adventures have included a door wedge - something a f
olded piece of paper could replicate - and a spare leg for a gaming keyboard, which turned out not to fit so 3D printing a good solid bracket seemed futile. However, worries were set to one side when I saw the perfect solution designed by University of Delft aerospace student Maxim Sachs.
Maxim’s 5.1 Speaker Wall-mount designs are a sliding two part mechanism; one that a
ttaches to the wall one to the speaker. It is designed to be as sleek and close the wall as possible and though not designed specifically for Sony speakers simple measurements proved that, in theory, they’d fit.
So time to fire up the first generation Up Plus, a trusty old printer that is nearly three-years-old now yet still, time and time again comes up trumps. A sceptical father looked on impatiently, wanting to just screw the speakers in to the wall without a bracket, the moment of truth took just 22 minutes and voila! speaker bracket number one. Even my father seemed impressed.
The prints themselves look far from perfect and if you purchased these from a store you’d be disappointed in the surface finish but they do the exact job they’re needed for and are completely hidden from view. Materials cost is relative pence and for a good set of speaker mounts you’re talking £30-£50, it was a solution that worked quickly, efficiently and cheaply, it hasn’t finished there either.
The projector was not quite at the correct angle for the screen and it was as high as it can go on the shelf, so it was being propped up by two DVD cases. Not the best looking solution so how about creating two feet that would heighten the printer at the back? Measure, head to Tinkercad, design in under an hour and 3D print in 30 minutes, the first iteration didn’t work because I’d not taken into account ABS shrinkage, after ten more minutes designing and another 30 mins printing the projector now is no longer propped up by untidy looking DVD cases but with feet that look like part of the machine in the first place.
Home printing for home improvement
The Up’s rugged look fits in so well next to the drills and spare nails that it almost seems like the essential tool for DIY projects. DIY is not a market to be sniffed at either; a recent report from Companies and Markets suggests that by 2017 the UK DIY industry would be worth £8.3bn. As consumer printers come down in price, who is to say that DIY will not be one of its primary markets? A decent drill can set you back the best part of £150, you can buy a 3D printer now for £250.
Onno Ponfoort's talk at TCT Show
Watch Onno's talk on new business models with 3D Printing at TCT Show
Onno Ponfoort, a business consultant for Berenschot, recently described to me how a consumer electronics company are now seeing the befits of allowing consumers to print parts such as this that do not have a detrimental impact to the brand’s image, the company don’t have to manufacture, warehouse or ship these less important spare parts they can simply allow a customer to print at home.
“There’s one extra element to 3D printing that some analysts fail to mention,” explains Ponfoort. “People are proud of what they’ve printed. I colleague recently showed me a part he’d printed, if he’d have got that part from a DIY store he would not have paid a dime for the quality of that part but because he did it himself he is happy, it does the trick so who cares? If that part had been in a shop window nobody would have bothered.”
I couldn’t agree more, I am very proud of the prints and very proud of the cinema room.