painted MDF speaker cabinets

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Project by bkillen posted 11-22-2013 02:19 AM 9716 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A while back I built my own mixing monitors for my home recording studio. I used some 8” mid-woofers I already had and found some 1” tweeters on closeout from a discontinued commercial studio monitor. Cabinets are 3/4” MDF. For the tweeter waveguide I started with a piece of MDF drilled a 1 1/4” hole and then used chamfer bit leaving 1/8” for the bearing to ride on. after measuring the widest point I used a hole saw to drill the next layer and then chamfered it too and glued them up. This gave me the 1 1/2” deep conical horn. Lots of sanding and dust masks on this one. I got it prepped and smooth with filler primer first then about 10 coats of rattle can red. after paint cured I wet sanded and used automotive polish.

-- Jack of many, master of none.

6 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2528 days

#1 posted 11-22-2013 02:49 AM

Great looking speaker! It’s amazing what you can do with MDF, rattle can red and wax—very nicely done.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View MrNorwood's profile


180 posts in 1948 days

#2 posted 11-22-2013 02:51 AM

That paint job is RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!

I’d be interested to hear the step by step of how you arrived at that level of finish

-- Remember, Jesus was a carpenter.

View bkillen's profile


15 posts in 1927 days

#3 posted 11-22-2013 03:56 AM

Thanks for the compliments. I used heavy fill primer like you see at automotive stores. I used about 4 coats of primer with progressively finer sandpaper after each coat. I used a flat sanding block on all flat surfaces and hand sanded the curves. I started wet sanding between primer coats, but found if the finish got too thin in a spot it would swell the MDF. I switched to mineral spirits for wet sanding and that solved that issue. Soon I had a nice smooth primer grey finish and let it cure.

I shot all the red in one day using acrylic enamel from a can. I didn’t have a compressor yet. I found some useful tips for getting better results from a rattle can on a motorcycle message board. After shaking the cans for at least 2 minutes put the paint in a bucket of warm water for a bit. Warming it increases the pressure in the can slightly and thins the paint so it flows better. I put on light coats every 20 minutes. I think I did about 10.
Then I let it sit for a couple weeks to cure. Next I wet sanded with 2000 then automotive polish using a sponge pad on an electric random orbit sander. A buffer would work but the size of my 6” RA sander was a better fit for this project.

-- Jack of many, master of none.

View ohwoodeye's profile


2129 posts in 3389 days

#4 posted 11-22-2013 01:42 PM

Wow do these pop. Fantastic finish.
I can imagine the cone was a lot of work but sure worth the effort with these results.
Well done.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's "opinion" on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View oldnovice's profile


7379 posts in 3603 days

#5 posted 11-22-2013 08:22 PM

Can’t go wrong using MDF for speaker cabinets and you certainly made them look good with that paint job!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3609 days

#6 posted 11-23-2013 02:24 PM

Solid work. These will inspire many others to use your finishing tecnique.


-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

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