Step 1: Car Preparation
Protect upholstery, carpet and panels by lining up with
plastic and masking tape. If any resin gets to a seat or carpet, there
is no way to get it out. Take the extra time to make sure any potential
spill won't cause damages to your car. Make sure you will not interfere
with clutch, hood release or other mechanical parts.
Step 2: Making a Mold (Back
If you are mounting the pod to a flat surface, such as a
door panel, then all you have to do is to make a template out of
cardboard. Use the template to transfer the contour of the area to a
piece of particleboard or MDF. This is the back of your pod.
If you are not lucky enough to have a flat surface to work
with, you need to make a fiberglass back piece. For example, let's say
you are building the pods to go in the corners of the floor, between the
firewall and kick panels:
- Line the area to be molded with aluminum foil.
This way, the mat won't stick to your car or liner.
- Cut a piece of fiberglass mat/cloth. It should be
at least a couple inches bigger than the final pod size.
- You can either apply the resin to the mat with a paint
brush, or dip the mat in the resin.
- Place the wet mat on the surface, let dry to hold
- If the mat won't stay, or sticks to your gloves, use a
paint brush. Sometimes masking or duct tape will help keeping the mat
in position for curing. Fine metal mesh or chicken wire could help
hold the fiberglass in place for curing when building complicated
- Let the piece cure. If once the piece has cured
it is not hard enough, you might need to add one or two more layers of
fiberglass. You can do this on a workbench. Remember, you are
only trying to get the shape here, the back piece does not have to be
rock-solid at this point.
You now have the back piece of your pod. Other
options is to cover a factory panel with cloth, add resin to the cloth for
hardening, and use the factory panel as part of your kick
Step 3: Baffle (Front Piece)
The best material to work with is MDF. If the
enclosure is for low energy applications (such as mids and tweeters), a couple
layers of 1/4" plywood would work.
With a jig saw, drill and router, you can build the baffle
and mold it to accommodate your speakers. Carefully plan the layout,
speaker mounting configuration and grilles.
Step 4: Speaker
Once you have the baffle, connect wires to the
speakers. Mount the speaker(s) on the baffle. Using metal braces,
pieces of wood, etc, connect baffle and back part together to make a
"skeleton". Metal braces are sometimes better because it is easier to
re-aim. At this point, you don't care what it looks like. If you want,
add some cloth to create some kind of a box effect. Don't worry about
the back part of the speakers being semi-exposed.
Start by aiming each pod to the opposite side, at ear
height. From this starting point, play around with different aiming
angles for best results. If you are competing, make sure good results
are achieved from both front seats. If you don't care about passenger's
side much, optimize aiming at driver's side. This is the most important
part of the whole process, and may take weeks of critical listening to get
ideal angling. Keep in mind that at this stage you want to optimize
staging and imaging, not sound quality. The speakers will sound a lot
better once the pods are closed off.
Step 5: Joining the Baffle with the
Once speakers are aimed for best sound, remove speakers
from baffle. Trim bottom part to desired size. There are
different techniques to shape and wrap baffle and mold. A lot of people
wrap the front and back "skeleton" with fleece cloth. Resin is applied
to the cloth and left to harden. This is good for concave pods, but for
rounded pods you might need to try a different approach: Fill in areas
with a material you can remove later such as paper towels or foil.
Apply first layer of fiberglass. It doesn't have to be perfect, just
cover the intended volume with no major protrusions. Let it
Several layers will need to be added afterwards. How
many depends on how hard you want the enclosure to be, and whether you are
using fiberglass mat or cloth (cloth is thinner).
Step 6: Smoothing the Pods
Once you have a nice strong surface, add auto body filler
(i.e. Bondo®) to round surface off. Let dry and sand. This process
will have to be repeated at least twice, depending on finish desired and what
you are using to cover up the pod. At the beginning, power tools can be
used for sanding, but last steps might require hand sanding.
Step 7: Finishing
After you have a smooth finish, cover up the pod with
vinyl, carpet, etc. Build grilles out out wood and metal mesh, run wires
in and seal with silicone or Liquid Nails (glue), fill enclosure with polyfill
if desired and mount speakers.
Make sure you safely secure the pods to your car.
Best option here is to use hidden metal braces, or run screws from the inside
of the pod to the car. Enjoy!