Hi! I'm new here.
I "finished" this craft in 2004, but I did not find out about this amazing site until a friend recently recommended it to me (Thanks Aliza!).
I was looking for something interesting/original to do with eighties boomboxes (how I love them so), and I ended up with this:
Basically I hollowed out the boombox, added hinges and clasps, created a foam interior, created a strap attachment, and... well, attached a strap. Now it holds my ibook and one or two other books.
With rudimentary electronics skills, I wired the boombox to play music from the laptop or from any ipod/walkman/etc that you place inside. I added a small amplifier that I found on some toy speakers to increase the sound volume and quality. Don't worry, I respect others when I play music. It's my school backpack first and foremost.
Everything shown is from a thrift store except for the eyelets/hinges/clasps, which came from a local hardware store. The strap is a modified women's belt, and the boombox had a damaged speaker cover that I replaced with that rabbit.
I was picking up food from a fast food restaurant one day, and an old man told me that he is happy that I'm "taking the music to the streets." That practically brought a tear to my eye.
Ready for action!
I will gladly go into details on the construction or answer questions if anyone wants. The project was not very hard, just very time consuming for me. Slightly larger pics here: http://www.wam.umd.edu/~anthony/crafts/
Hi! I'm back. Here's a tutorial!
*Boombox: Old and boxy = Hip and trendy
*Strap: Women's belt? Metal Chain (ouch)? Luggage Strap? It's up to you.
*2 Ringlets: From a hardware store, they need to be pretty thick for support.
*Hinges: Any size
*Clasps: To keep the box closed. You might have to be creative with this; I used window locks.
*Amplifier: Explained later
*Cassettes: one for each deck. You won't be able to use them again, so don't pick your favorites.
*1 Pair of Old headphones: you just need the headphone jack
*Screwdrivers: The long thin ones from dollars stores are perfect.
*Glue: I started with hot glue and eventually went to Liquid Nails "Perfect Glue 2".
*Dremel Tool: Any type of grinding tool.
1. Take a picture with a digital camera, or write down how the front of the boombox looks. You will need this for later.
2. Remove batteries and unplug the power cord. (I don't want you to die. You're my craft friend and I need you.)
3. Unscrew all of the screws on the back of the box.
4. Separate the case and remove all of the electronics except for the speakers. There will be wires connecting everything. You can snip most of them, just make sure that the wires that extend from the speakers are as long as possible when you snip them.
full size pic here: http://web.archive.org/web/20060629070649/http://www.wam.umd.edu/~anthony/crafts/tut/34.JPG
5. The back of the boombox should have a bunch of huge plastic pieces that supported the electronic guts. Use the dremel tool to grind/cut them out of the box.
6. When you removed all of the electronics in step 4, a lot of the buttons and things on the front of the box were probably removed as well. Separate these buttons/switches from the electronic guts, and using the picture you made in step 1 as a guide, glue these buttons/switches back into their places from the inside of the case.
7. Take apart the cassette decks from the electronics, and glue the little wheels into your cassettes (so it will look like the cassette is playing). Place these cassettes behind the cassette doors on the front half. Glue the doors shut from the inside.
9. Place the front and back half together, and tape them shut. Flip the boombox so the bottom faces up. Attach your hinges to the bottom. Make sure the boombox opens and closes properly.
10. Tape the box shut again, attach your clasps/locks to the box where ever you can find space. I found space on the left and right sides of the box.
11. Drill holes in the side of the box for the ringlets. Secure them to the box with a nut and add a washer on the inside for support.
12. Take the old pair of headphones, and snip the wire. You will the need the headphone jack portion of the wire, so leave a lot of slack. The headphone wire is actually 4 separate wires (two groups of two wires). You will need to separate them all, and strip the insulation off of them so there is an inch or so of copper wire showing.
full size pic here: http://web.archive.org/web/20060629070707/http://www.wam.umd.edu/~anthony/crafts/tut/56.JPG
13. There should also be 4 wires that extend from the speakers on the inside of the boombox (also in two groups of two). Strip the insulation off of them in the same fashion as the headphone wires.
14. Connect the headphone wires to the speaker wires by twisting the corresponding copper wires and securing them with electrical tape (one group of two wires from the headphones to one group of two wires from the speakers, and then the second group from the headphones with the second group from the speakers)
15. Find an amplifier. The amplifier will take the sound from the laptop, mp3 player, etc. and make it louder so you can actually hear the music through the speakers. The amplifier that I found was in the "boom boom multibox," and I paid less than three dollars it. After I pried it out of the multibox and spray painted it black, it looks like this:
You can purchase it from this site (http://www.boomboombox.com/product_detail.htm) for $20, but that is waaaaaay too much. You can also find it on ebay for about half that price, but I still think it's too much. I'm sure you can find it for cheaper if you do a little searching. Note: You do not need to buy this brand for the headphone amplifier, it's just the one that I used because it was readily available. If you do use this multibox thing, you do not need an extra pair of headphones, you can take the extra jack from the multibox itself.
16. Test the sound. Plug the headphone jack that you attached into the speakers into the amplifier, and plug the amplifier into your laptop/mp3 player/ etc. Turn them all on and the speakers should be functional. If not, check the wire connections and make sure they are secure.
17. Attach the strap to ringlets. Pretty self-explanatory. I used dollar store keychain carabiners to make it easier.
18. Lining the interior: I lined the interior with some spray painted vinyl tiles from the dollar store. Lining the interior is optional, but it really cleans up the look... and people always want to see the inside.
19. Divider: If you decide to use the bag for a laptop case, you will need to put some sort of divider/spacer to keep your laptop from getting too close to the speakers. The speakers have strong magnets, and magnets can really screw up computers. I used a piece of pillow-stuffing foam from Joann fabrics', and then lined the visible side of the foam with more spray painted dollar store vinyl tile.
20. Put everything together, and hopefully you've got a boombox backpack.
I'm sorry this tutorial turned out to be so complicated. I don't really have pictures of the construction, since I made it about a year ago. If you want me to clarify anything, just ask and I will try my best to elaborate further.
Also, I'm sure there are better ways to do most of the things in this project. If you come up with any, please let me know!
NOTE: You don't have to make the backpack just for a laptop. You can find smaller boomboxes and turn them into purses or smaller notebags. You can follow the same steps as above, but due to their smaller size, they can be powered by cd and mp3 players .
In fact, I picked up this smaller one (http://web.archive.org/web/20060629070636/http://www.wam.umd.edu/~anthony/crafts/tut/08.jpg) two weeks ago from a thrift store for 5 bucks... I will turn it into a purse/bag (with all of your help and recommendations, of course!) and I will document the construction a lot better. Stay tuned!