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Melamine Betsy baffles (Read 3564 times)
Randy in Caintuck
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Melamine Betsy baffles
08/03/18 at 00:30:48
 

A customer (who has become a friend) in Germany recently made a request for some custom baffles.

He already owns several other pairs of Caintuck Audio speakers (in various materials and configurations) and decided that he wanted some baffles in white Melamine with black Melamine edge banding.

In addition to a pair of standard Betsy baffles, he also wanted a pair of Betsy Deuce baffles and a pair of baffles for his Hawthorne Audio Augie 15" bass drivers .....

He had the materials shipped to me and I headed for the workshop .....

Since the white Melamine was only 3/4" thick, I had to cut out pieces and bond them together to make the 1 1/2" thick bases.  He had provided 1 1/2" wide black Melamine edging for the bases.

I finished the Augie baffles first and shipped them to him.
Here are a couple of photos he emailed me of the baffles in his listening room .....





Larger photos here and here.

For some reason, the larger photos are showing upside down in my Pale Moon and Chrome browsers .....

They show up properly in the Microsoft Edge browser ... go figure.

I'm currently working on the standard Betsy baffles and the Betsy Deuce baffles.

I have given some thought to offering these baffles as part of my lineup, but need to give it some more thought.

After cutting out the six baffles and the eight driver holes, my router bit was about as sharp as a butter knife .....

When the other baffles are finished, I will post some photos.

Happy listening,
Randy
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #1 - 08/03/18 at 01:53:06
 

If the larger photos are "wopperjaw" in your browser, try these .....

Photo 1 is here.

Photo 2 is here.

Computers .....

I'm so happy to be retired from the IT industry .....  

Happy listening,
Randy
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Donnie
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #2 - 08/03/18 at 02:26:10
 
Randy,
Have you experimented with coated router bits?
In my world we would never think of using uncoated tools.
Anything from simple Tin up to TiAln or some of the new Aluminum Chrome coatings.
Plastic is like wood in a lot of ways, you need upsharp tools, but you also need great chip evacuation to keep the heat moving with the chip and to prevent recutting of the chips which also creates heat. Heat is your enemy when cutting plastics.
Oops, I'm kind of talking about my work life, I might loose my title of the village idiot if I keep this up.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #3 - 08/03/18 at 14:40:25
 

Good morning Donnie,

Village idiot ?  I hardly think so .....

I had forgotten that your line of work was in tools .....  very cool.

My little "retirement hobby / business" (Caintuck Audio) is something that I just kind of backed into.  The tools I started out with were pretty much what you might find in the garage of a weekend handyman "duffer".

I was playing with some open baffle speaker projects and cutting out the baffles and driver holes with a cheap Black and Decker jigsaw and rough cut blades.  The results looked like they were chewed out by the teeth of a wild animal .....

I commonly referred to myself on the (now defunct) Hawthorne Audio forum as the "hillbilly wood butcher".

When I decided to offer a few of my projects to the public, I spent a few dollars on some slightly nicer tools ..... but didn't spend a lot of money since I had no idea how much they would be used.
Since then, I have come to appreciate that money spent for good tools is seldom wasted.  None of my tools are "world class", but I did end up buying a SuperMax drum sander that has made life a lot easier ..... especially when making the "two-tone" baffles.

I certainly appreciate your input and will check into coated router bits.
If you have any specific recommendations, please let me know what they are.  I primarily use top bearing router bits that work very nicely with the templates I made for the baffle and driver cutouts.

Since 75% to 90% of the baffles I sell are made from 3/4" rotary sawn plywood, the router bits I have been using have done a good job ..... but whatever the core material is on the Melamine panels that were used for this project was not very "kind" to the router bit .....  

Thanks again and best wishes,
Randy
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Donnie
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #4 - 08/03/18 at 18:12:57
 
Randy,
Look at these guys. They make all kinds of different carbide cutters for routers, but I'm not 100% sure that they have the type with bearings but I know that they make some real good stuff, especially custom stuff.

https://ekstromcarlson.com/router-bits-endmills/
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #5 - 08/03/18 at 21:50:58
 

Donnie,

Will do ..... thanks for the heads up .....

Happy listening,
Randy
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #6 - 08/30/18 at 01:45:27
 


I recently finished the build of the other two pairs of Melamine baffles that my German customer / friend ordered .....

One pair is for the standard Betsy drivers ..... the other pair is for the Betsy "Deuces" which use a second Betsy driver without the whizzer cone.

The only thing remaining is to mount the drivers which will hopefully arrive in the next few days.

Here are some photos of the baffles .....









Larger photos here, here, here and here.

They turned out pretty well .....a nice, "clean" look for sure.

Building them was an "adventure" ..... but I think that I will stick to plywood and hardwood in the future .....

Happy listening,
Randy

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Ace-Tone
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #7 - 08/30/18 at 16:20:54
 
Betsy's are on my wish list....one day! Do you have any idea what the Melamines sound like? Just curious.
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deucekazoo
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #8 - 08/30/18 at 20:32:44
 
Randy, they look good. I was wondering the same thing about the sound. I wonder if the hard surface of the melamine has a bounce to the sound. Did you have a chance to listen to them compared to your other Betsys?
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #9 - 08/30/18 at 21:17:42
 


Hi guys,

Interesting question .....  

Since I don't have the drivers mounted yet, I haven't been able to listen to the speakers ..... I hope to have the drivers within a few days.

A couple of thoughts .....

Because the baffles I am building are not very large and the Betsy drivers are not producing the amount of vibration that a larger driver would, I don't believe that there is a huge difference sonically between the various materials I have used ..... with a couple of exceptions.

Betsy baffles made from Bubinga and Purpleheart hardwoods are noticeably more detailed and "focused" than any of the other baffles I have made.
The only thing I can think of that would account for this is that these hardwoods are very hard and dense.
Depending on the front end equipment, recording and amplifier being used ..... this could be a blessing or a curse. With a custom pentode amplifier that a friend in California built for me (which has a VERY extended high frequency response), the results could be a bit over the top at times .....  

The same effect might very well apply to the Melamine baffles.
There is a certain amount of "porosity" to the plywood baffles and to varying degrees to most hardwoods.

The Melamine surface is certainly more reflective than plywood and most (if not all) hardwoods ..... and since the Melamine surface is used on both the front and the back of the baffle, it might end up having a large impact on the sound.

When the drivers arrive and I get them installed, a few days will be spent listening to them before shipping and I can A / B them with a couple of other baffles made from different materials.

I will report back with the results .....  

Mad scientist Randy in Caintuck

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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #10 - 09/20/18 at 07:07:13
 


Well ..... the drivers arrived a couple of days ago and I was able to finish assembling the standard Betsy baffles and the Betsy Deuces.

They will ship to Germany in the next few days to join their Augie baffle brothers .....

I took a quick photo of the four baffles.
The photo doesn't really capture the effect of "all of that white".
If I had these sitting in my room for a long listening session, a pair of sunglasses would without a doubt be standard equipment .....



Larger photo here.

My camera does something "wonky" to the perspective.
The baffles really are all the same size .....

Looking forward to seeing everyone in East Peoria in a few days,

Snowblind Randy

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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Melamine Betsy baffles
Reply #11 - 09/23/18 at 17:48:11
 


When I started this thread, Acetone and deucekazoo asked if there was a difference in the sound of the Melamine baffles compared to the standard plywood and hardwood baffles.

A few days ago, I completed the Betsy and Betsy Deuce baffles and installed the drivers.  Last night, I finally had a chance to check them out in my home listening room and was able to A / B them with a pair of red oak plywood baffles.  Since I didn't have a pair of Betsy Deuces on hand, the comparison was only made with the single driver Betsy version.

As Acetone and deucekazoo suspected, the hard surface of the Melamine definitely does have an impact on the sound ..... and since both the front and back of the baffle is made from the same material it is fairly easy to hear with a revealing front end and amplifier.

Deucekazoo offered the word "bounce" ..... and that is a pretty good description of what I heard from the Melamine baffles.
The Melamine surface adds a bit of "sparkle" to the sound in comparison with the red oak plywood.
The effect was interesting and enjoyable with most recordings that I played ..... but on recordings that were a bit "thin" tonally or a bit "hot" in the upper frequencies, it could be too much of a good thing .....

I hear pretty much the same thing from baffles made from Bubinga and Purpleheart hardwoods.  They have excellent control and detail, but if the source (recording) is not well balanced they can be a little "over the top".

There's that system matching thing again .....

If anyone should decide to make a pair of baffles from this material for themselves, you might want to have a couple of spare jigsaw blades and a spare router bit on hand ..... since whatever was used for the "core" on the particular Melamine panels I used laid waste to my blade and bit .....

Twelve days and counting to Decware Fest 2018 .....  

Everyone have a safe trip,
Randy

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CEC TL5N belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus turntable
AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB DAC / tablet
Schiit Audio Eitr USB to RCA converter
Decware SE84UFO amplifier
Caintuck Audio Betsy Open Baffles and Alpha bass baffles
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