Radical Radio Enclosure

Introduction to Fabrication

28 Nov 2018

This week I took a break from making polygons and made an enclosure for a radio. I’ve studied media for a while and I am disturbed by the polarization in the media. Both sides of the political spectrum accuse the other of propaganda and misinformation. The highest level of politics often weighs on major news outlets, championing Fox News while accusing CNN of spreading Fake News.

via GIPHY

In light of opposing sides and accusations of radical fake news I decided to make a radio to reflect it. I went for a utilitarian enclosure for a raspberry pi radio that streams either Fox News or CNN.

Materials:

Tools:

Software:

Throughout the semester I collected old computer speakers for new projects. I had a few ones not used yet and have been talking about pirate radios with the Pi lately so I wanted to try to make a radio. I used mostly materials that I had previously or could scrounge around me.

I opted to use Pi Zero W’s wifi capabilities to streamtunein.com.

To switch stations I wanted to use a toggle switch for the tactile feeling. It is pretty satisfying to flip the switch. I used a red LED to indicate Fox News and a blue LED to indicate CNN.

I soldered the electrical components for security but used a breadboard for the wiring. Using a testing circuit would prove to be shortsighted. However everything was working great at this point.

image of finished components

For the enclosure I was inspired by Ben Light’s electrical box example so I went to Home depot and opted for the deepest and biggest electrical box they had on hand (4”x4”x2 1/4”) since I had a lot of electronics going in there. I used black spray paint to try to hide the origins of the enclosure, leaving a nice black metal box for my enclosure.

image of painted box

I wanted to have a speaker enclosed with a nice speaker grill.

image of positioning speaker grill To cut a hole for the speaker I drilled holes first into the cover panel. I made sure to drill small holes first and incrementally go up to the largest drill bit I had. However the thick steel took out 2 of my smaller bit sizes. RIP 3/16” and 1/4” bits.

Afterwards the holes were large enough to thread a metal hacksaw. I cut out the section and filed down the edges smooth.

image of cutting the section out

Next I drilled holes into the top and front panel to mount the toggle switch and placement of the LEDs. I used a label maker for the radio station names. I enlarge an existing hole in the back of the electrical box to access the battery pack to the PI.

image of mounted switch

And with that I was ready to close it.

image of components layedout for enclosing

When I was closing it,my nest of wires kept getting in the way. I poked and prodded until I could shut the box, but in the process I knocked some of the wires loose.

I was able to fix the wiring, but whenever trying to force the cover on, exposed wires would contact and short, or would fall out. However I was able to close it with most of the wires intact.

Introducing the Radical Radio.

It was getting pretty late and I still had to blog about it so I called it a night. Cleaning up the wiring seemed like an unnecessary task since I will solder the circuit to a perfboard for a more secure and compact solution. However that will have to wait for now.

Until next time.

Acknowledgments: