Designing a Speaker in SketchUp

I’m going to build a bluetooth speaker for my garage gym using an old set of computer speakers. I thought it would be good to plan it out in a 3D model first, so I learned how to use SketchUp by following their great video tutorials. As I’ve learned new tricks and thought of different ideas there have been several design iterations.

Version 1

This first attempt was a very rough idea using paper-thin walls or basically one solid piece, depending on how you want to think of it.

Version 2

I was thinking I could build the box out of 1/4″ material. I set the thickness of the walls, properly created each side of the box as a separate piece, and separated the lids.

Version 3

I realized using 1/4″ material wouldn’t give me much room to drive screws into, so I increased to 1/2″. I added speaker mounting holes and the lids were given holes where screws will hold the pieces together. The holes in the middle front section will be where LEDs and buttons go. The square hole in the back wall (which will probably be changed to a small circle and maybe moved to a side) is for the power cord.


Version 4

I realized if the lids were sitting on the top and bottom of the sides, you’d be able to see the ugly edges if I use something like plywood. So I increased the height of the walls and shrunk the lids to fit inside. There is a row of screw holes all the way around the top and bottom of the side walls, which will attach everything to the lids. I forgot about the on/off switch, so I added another hole on the front.

This is the first time I’ve attempted any 3D modeling and it’s been a lot of fun. Before I start working with wood, I’ll probably create a cardboard model to make sure the components fit inside. The dimensions are roughly 4.25″ deep, 9.5″ wide, and 5″ high.

All of the SketchUp files are in a bluetooth-speaker-design repo on GitHub if you want to use any of them.

How To Cut A Picture Frame To Size Easily

Under the box lid of a Sears Craftsman 45° miter cut-n-clamp set, which was produced in the 1960s.

X + 2Y - 0.5 = L

  1. Measure the width of the picture. (X in inches)
  2. Measure the width of the molding. (Y in inches)
  3. 3 Add twice the molding width (2Y) to the picture size (X) then subtract 0.5.
  4. This will give you the length to cut your molding. (L in inches)

Then you can do the same thing for the opposite dimension if your picture isn’t a square.

Don’t Take My Phone

I spent all of last week with about 540 Automatticians. For an introvert like me it’s a challenging and exhausting week. When meeting new people each day we often repeat the same conversations.

How is your week going?

What team are you on?

How long have you been working here?

It’s all a bit awkward (but good) for me, being someone who doesn’t enjoy small talk.

These conversations and interactions may not have been the hardest part of the week though. We tried something new at this year’s Grand Meetup, called Homeroom. Each person in the company was split off into a group of about 25 people we met with for an hour on 4 of the days. At the beginning of each hour, the leads in the room had us place our phones in a drawer or box so we could focus on the group and getting to know people.

Andy said, “It feels like someone cut off my arm.”

I think I’m pretty good at not constantly pulling out my phone in social situations, but not having the option gave me an uneasy feeling.

Used Tools

I’ve been wanting to get more tools so I can do different projects with wood. It’s a lot cheaper to start out with used tools, especially as I learn. If I use certain tools a lot and find I need an upgrade, then I’ll fork over cash for new.

On a Saturday I hopped in the car and drove all over Saginaw looking for garage sales. There was no plan, other than to follow every sign I saw. I bought and bargained for a few things and then when I went home to eat lunch I found a big community garage sale about 25 minutes away. Off I went!

I probably hadn’t been to a garage sale in over 20 years. It was a lot of fun searching and it was interesting to see how different the items were from one house to the next. I was really hoping to find a table saw, band saw, and drill press, but no luck on any of the 3. I did make a good haul though.

The saw and miter box combo was brand new in the box, but most of the items needed some love. I sanded, stained, and waxed the wooden mallet and hammer handle. You can’t really see from this picture, but they both turned out great. The biggest tasks were taking apart the two sanders for a thorough cleaning because they were full of sawdust. I also disassembled the router but it wasn’t nearly as bad.

What gems have you found at garage sales?



Getting back over 50% after I missed the 2016 Automattic Grand Meetup was a tall task. Wouldn’t have been able to do it without assigned meal seatings, the new homeroom groups, and activities.

If we hire 140 people before next year’s GM, I’d only need to meet about 50 new people to get over 50% again.