The story of the Battle Wagon began with a question…Can you build it? I get asked this question all the time. I always answer the same, yes, but we are going to build it my way.
I checked it out and really liked what they were shooting for. It’s a huge dose of portable sound and I approve of that in every form, but for me it needed a little more pizzaz.
The Blastmaster was a Car stereo built onto a wagon, fine yes but that’s really not what I envision when dreaming up something this big. The next thing I noticed was it was meant to be heard from one side. This just wouldn’t do for the needs of the inquiring party. The Party we are talking about was the Neon Army and Con Bro Chill and that is not a group that takes partying lightly. It is their essence, their ethos…Let’s just say it’s important.
They were putting together the new Neon branded version of Tom and Gary’s DDP. This is where we take global party people to the next level. The event was apply named the Party March, and it was going to be amazing.
They had their work cut out for them to live up to the path that DDP had cut through Portland in 3013 and they were eager to impress. This is where Case of Bass comes into the equation. We were approached to be the official Boombox sponsor. This means that when the Party march sets off the amount of sound that the core team will produce would be enough to power the booty shaking good time.
To illuminate the concept of this event and what a DDP is in short there is a radio transmitter and the sea of tunes is transmitted to all the individual devices (boomboxes etc) and they all play the same cut in unison making for a ton of fun. For more detailed info Tom and Gary have broken it down in detail in their Manifesto. A good read for the Party enthusiast.
The Backpack Transmitter was fitted into a Sharp VHS Camcorder hard case for 1986, add straps and you have the Pirate signal generator.
So I digress… Case of Bass Boombox Sponsor/ Unorthodox Audio Specialist is tasked with the challenge. We have 6 weeks and i has to be enough to make me excited or it’s just not worth doing.
Step one- The Concept
Like everything cool the ideas start with sketches. The correction I immediately implemented were multi directional sound. If it’s the center of the party then you have to be able to get a taste from all sides. The second and most important was it had to be aesthetically interesting. A box has been done, and the turtle shell concept while complicated was the one I liked.
The wagon base was the foundation was the scale determination and with 6 weeks to work from concept to delivery we wanted to put some bounds on design. In the design discussions we were all over the place, boombox tanks, RC devises, but we were going to work out proof of concept and jump off from there.
Step two- Design System Based on Sketch and order parts.
The Case of Bass model is about power to weight ratio. If your Case weighs 50 lb. you probably wouldn’t take it anywhere, but this joint was on wheels so we have a few more liberties. The wagon is rated at 900 lb. so our ceiling was high. The wagon had to be pulled, but with the addition of a two person yoke to pull it was shaping up to be very doable.
The heart of the beast had to have bumps, and be felt, even outside. So we started with the subs. With Parts Express as the official CoB parts provider for the stuff we love I went with their Dayton 12″ HighOutput Subwoofer X2. This means the entire unit has to be solid. This type of boom with exploit any weakness and rattle. Aim high and maybe we will break some brains. The Subs would be hidden and since their output isn’t directional we put them in the core and since they were 4ohms we dedicated a Digital Sub amp to each driver.
The rest of the parts were designed to offer a full range listening experience from all sides. Since Mid-range frequencies travel the furthest I went with the dynamite Faital Pro 4″ Midrange . These were positioned in the sealed corner trusses and tuned to handle that frequency. The rest of the surfaces were to be peppered with 6 1/2″ poly domed woofers and 2 1/2″ tweeters, with the occasional horn for class.
The power system had to be adequate to bump at full output for hours and then some so we went deep cycle 12V Solar storage lead acid battery. With a capacity at 120 ah it was the safe bet, but it was huge, needed to be accessible and heavy as all get out. A challenge, but the right choice for future upgrades and accessories that have power needs. (Lights, fog machine…whatever)
Step three-The vessel is born
-Each corner is a sealed truss and the inner speaker compartments are all separated to prevent the Subs from blowing the other drivers out the side of the box.
-The other trick is to make sure everything is accessible yet separate and sealed. the design was challenging in the way that I had to make it seem like it was very simple, everything is hidden, but it is not that.
-If it wasn’t already challenging the “turtle shell” design made for multiple angles and drawing with chalk is more forgiving than cutting with a table saw.
-The front panel was reserved for the control panel and the user interface. I also had to consider the people pulling the Battle Wagon wouldn’t appreciate their ears being blown out.
Step Four-Prime, Sand, Prime, Sand, Prime, Sand…Repeat
-The base coat was an enamel based primer shot from the HVLP for even coats and conservative use of paint.
-Each layer was primed then sanded then smoothed with Bondo body filler and sanded to a buttery smooth finish. All together there was 4 coats of primer allowed to dry overnight and cure properly.
Step Five- Cut Holes and Add that Sweet Final Candy Coat
-I knew that moving this bad boy would be a task so i integrated a handle cutout at every low corner. This breaks up the shapes and makes it more interesting as well as adding necessary function.
I can’t help but anthropomorphize my creations. They come alive as they develop and I use that in the design process. Happy little accidents to quote the Genius that is Bob Ross
-The lower section was open to allow the Subs to bump out the bottom, but I wanted to add some Faux features and the lower rectangular cutouts are for some classic Fisher speaker Vent trims
-The final coats make it so lovely, getting excited
-Peel off the masking and get the two toned results.
The Black was a 2 in one rattle can paint and primer in a flat finish.
-Four coats of a clean Semi-Gloss white enamel gives a durable candy coating and is ready for the wiring and components to start going into place. White is safe, but it’s really about making this first go at this concept able to be anything with a little accessorizing.
Step Six-Wiring and Tuning
Step Seven- Sub woofer tuning and final touches.
-This is a stock image, but it’s a good visual aid to show what’s happening in the center of our BW. Each Sub box has a channel that connects near the top the exits out the back through very cleverly hidden ports.
Step Eight- Hand her over to Con Bro Chill for final touches
The BW is alive and is a real show stopper. Con Bro Chill had found a sponsor to absorb the costs of such a noble undertaking and Bud Light raised their hand to promote their new fruity beverage the call the Rita. A Summer treat that needed to be shared. I integrated a sleeved umbrella stand for lack of a better term to hold accessories that the BW would use like a swiss army knife. The setting for the Party March was a LimeRita tree. It towered above everyone and acted as the flag for Party Central.
-Brightly colored and laced with LED Lights, the Lime Rita tree was the first symbol that BW would raise to get the party started. I imagine a flagpole to come, or an extra large umbrella to shade you as you make your way wherever the party takes you. The White clean BW was treated to a dash of color and the Neon Army did their thing. Each corner was wrapped in a Neon Vinyl and took my Munko and turned him into a party Simon
Step Nine-Assemble the Troops and get Ready to PARTY
-Designed digitally to represent the Neon Army 10 blasters were laser cut and powder coated out of high grade Aluminum. Light and strong they clad a Russian Birch sub box that is also wrapped in a black laminate to accentuate and protect the contents while making the colors pop.
-Each box has a coordinating colored acrylic window illuminated with LEDs from within. They are a team, but each one is unique and special.