Student creates a do-it-yourself boombox for smart phones

UO senior Marcus Triest got tired of “over-designed and gimmicky plastic iPod transport systems,” so he set out to build a simplified, stripped-down device of his own design.

“I wanted something portable, strong and minimalist in its design,” he said.

The result is the iPhone Boombox, a simple and inexpensive system for blasting mobile tunes for do-it-yourselfers.

“It’s a revisit to the 1980s boombox,” he said.

Triest, 21, is a senior studying product design in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts. He designed and built the boombox for a class, Advanced Design Tools, and posted step-by-step instructions earlier this month on the web site Instructables.

Now it’s popping up all over the Web, on sites like Lifehacker, Ubergizmo, Makezine, Technabob, Redferret, Holykaw, Tuaw and Jamesbom.

Triest said he was willing to post his instructions online, letting others use his design for free, to get publicity and get his name out there, because he’s a senior preparing to graduate. The move appears to be paying off: An industrial design firm in San Francisco just contacted him about an internship opportunity.

Triest said he had the idea for an iPhone boombox for a while, but didn’t have access to the proper tools until he enrolled in the Advanced Design Tools class. There, he had access to a laser cutter and a CNC router, a computer-controlled machine that cuts three-dimensional designs.

Marcus Triest designed this system for a class in Advanced Design Tools.He used two pieces of MDF, a type of fiberboard, sandwiched around a piece of acrylic in the middle. An Altec Lansing speaker, provides the sound. Power comes from three AAA batteries. Cost of materials? About $35.

He’d like to to manufacture his design, but he’s not sure when. The crowd-sourcing Web site Kickstarter has agreed to host his project when he’s ready.

Triest said there’s a lot of room for play in his design, such as using other materials. He’s looking into adding a second speaker.

“I’d like to continue exploring the design,” he said.

Tim Christie