Lessons in DIY


Lesson#1. Never jump start any project instantly after reading about it anywhere on web. Enthusiasm is good, but over enthusiasm is (impatient and) discouraging at later stage when you realize that you cannot complete the project due to time/skill/resource constraint. Before starting any project check all your available resources, do a quick math on project cost, do a small realistic calculation to find out success rate of this project if you may choose to start.


Lesson#2. Aim for realistic projects. If you have an idea which is unique then this lesson doesn’t apply. BUT if you are trying to replicate someone else’s project, be very careful. What seems realistic to “someone else” may not be very realistic in your case. I was once requested by a visitor to make an enclosure with Black Granite, which, in my opinion and as per my best available resources, not very realistic for “Me” to make. Maybe someone else can do it, but not “Me”. Hence, I did not put my hands into this. Again, once I was requested by a customer to make a “Bookshelf Speaker” which should not be heavy, should be wall mountable and should be sized relatively smaller and MUST sound good! Now the combinations mentioned are not exactly easily achievable, but since I had the resources available and a wide variety of drivers, I made it.


Lesson#3. Never hurry in DIY. Yes, its important to complete a project but not so important that you forget about your social responsibilities, Quality of the project, people around you and most important your own health. Take all necessary precautions when working with Wood/Electronics. Customers are and will always be in “Hurry”, this doesn’t mean that you forget about any before mentioned aspects just to deliver the project. See the Lesson#1, that is the primary reason why everyone is in hurry and if you are working on some else’s project, eventually you would be pushed too. I once package and sent a DIY Kit to a customer in such a hurry (which was pushed on me by him), that eventually I forgot to put one of the important component in it and eventually the customer suffered because of all this. I had to re-ship the missing item. Had he given me some peach of mind for packaging, I would have done an excellent job. In spite of loads of freebies that I included into his package and constant follow-ups, the final experience of the very customer was just “OK”  and not “great” because he had to further wait 3 more days for the missing part to arrive in next shipment. Who was to blame in this situation? Answer is me! I should not have accepted such an order for a ultra fast shipment and should have said, “No, this would take at-least a day for me to arrange all parts in a carton, pack them well and then COURIER it to you”


Lesson#4. Finish it! Never leave a project in between. It is very important to finish what you start, I know lot of projects for which I have scavenged/bought lots (and I mean lots) of components and spares, but could not finish them. And then there are some, which I could not even start (see lesson#1). Finishing a project will give you great satisfaction and will further energize you for next project, if any.


Lesson#5. You will not save any money in DIY. Except few handful jobs (which I do not even think qualifies to be called a DIY Project) you will not save any money, instead you would rather spend more money. Be ready with this in your mind and only then put your hands in DIY. Every tool/equipment/component that you buy for DIY is going to cost more money than that if you get a ready made solution (or a finished product) from “Market”. Your ROI on such tool/equipment/component will take long time to come. I do DIY for fun and for my own satisfaction and can proudly say that the performance of solution/product that I offer will be far better and more compatible when compared to ready products.


Lesson#6. Your DIY project can look acceptably good, if only you had right tools/experience to give a better finish to final product. In the department of looks a ready made product may look good (off-course almost everything is made up from plastics these days and as a DIY-yer we can’t work easily with plastic) You have to accept this fact. Manufacturing companies have plastic injection molding and proper setup to produce those “glossy and superb” looking plastic panels and parts that are required to make a speaker box, faceplate, porting tube or an Amp. We don’t have these, therefore never compare the two. In my opinion one can work with Wood and get really close to these glossy looking systems. Have a look at the project page of Medium Size bookshelf speakers on my homepage and you will get idea how close you can get in creating a perfectly looking speaker that compares well in the department of looks when compared with ready speakers/products.


Lesson#7. Never compare DIY projects with ready products (electronic stores) or with street products. Example, For a stereo speakers for computers, there are three choices available out of which you are aware of only two.

1. Buy a ready system from electronic store or online retailer,

2. Buy a stereo speaker from street audio shops,

3.Build a DIY stereo speaker or catch up with a local DIY partner who can do it for you. According to my experience, out of 100, 98% folks go for #1, 1.9% for #2 and remaining 0.1% for #3.

If you chose#1, you are either 90% satisfied/got-used to with mediocre sound that your speaker produces OR 10% bearing with speakers current performance and not confronting with yourself that you bought a POS (Piece Of Shit). Why I call that speaker a POS is because I know from my experience that there are no speakers in Market which ARE really good and under a price range below 3000. The bare minimum cost for a simplest Gigaworks-T10 is around Rs.3000+. I am not implying that Gigaworks-T10 is best, but what I mean is the entry for good Audio starts from there, minimum Rs.3000! Now majority of folks would compare and buy a Gigantic POS which gives 2.1/4.1/5.1 speaker from other companies that offer at same or lesser price than Rs.3000. A DIY solution for this (If I were to make) would cost around Rs.4000 approx. (I am an expensive carpenter/electrician/DIY-yer to hire). But as per my best knowledge if you would make the same system OR get it made with some help locally, it would cost approx. lesser than Rs.2500.

If you choose#2, you have bought a speaker system which is slightly better than #1 or in some case far more worst than #1. These locally made products are either 100% traded goods from “other Asian countries” with low or No quality control. (Unlike some MNC’s who’s manufacturing hubs are Asian countries where products are made under strict regulation and quality control). You may also get some Indian Made unbranded (portrayed as branded) goods here in this #2, but these are also subject to mediocre quality. StreetAmp/StreetSpeakers are subject to poor quality. Period. I am from Mumbai and there is this local market at Lamington Road, which sells all such street Amps/speakers, which are heavily compromised on quality. There are good majority of folks who buy from there and out of them, there are few whose products have lasted longer than I expected. This is because they may not have utilized its full capacity or gotten used to with crappy sound. In either case, you don’t want to be an owner of such products unless you have a very low budget.

What if you choose#3? You would rarely choose this option because you are not even aware of this. If you claim that you would chose this option or aware about it, I would happily put you in that basket of 0.1% folks that I know who make sensible choices :-)

Thanks and Happy DIY-ing 😉


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