This idea is not new (try an image search for “Suitcase Speakers“) but making your own amplifier is an affordable way to create portable, battery powered, personalized speakers to compose with. You can find a broad range of tutorials online discussing how to make suitcase speakers, from simple to advanced projects. We’ll start with a simple design and you can expand on it as you see fit. In making your speaker you will learn about soldering and electronics, basic signal processing, and woodworking.

First, buy, find, or salvage a suitcase or another portable case! Instrument cases also work well. Garage sales, estate sales, second hand stores, dumpsters, and ebay are all good places to start. The easiest type of suitcase to work with has a sturdy wood frame and flat sides–like this or this. The common old samsonite suitcases will work too, but we might have to reinforce the plastic sides and deal with the slightly curved surface.

Total project cost: $0-40

The basic parts we will be using:

  • TDA7297 Amplifier (included with class)
  • Talentcell 12V Lithium Ion Battery (included with class)
  • You have a choice of speakers–you also can choose mono, double mono, stereo, mono/stereo, or stereo extended (I’ll explain in class)
  • Hardware and Components (free within limits)
    • Includes a 1/4 inch mono jack, an 1/8 stereo jack, power/charge jack, mounting hardware, wood, wire, a fuse, etc.
    • switching mono jack to get mono/stereo (note: need two speakers)