Trading windows for speakers.

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Apr 17, 2011
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When I chopped off all the extra metal that came on my 1/2 doors I found a problem. Someone had installed a window crank (I bet it was Toyota:)), unfortunately most 1/2 doors (mine included) don't even have windows, so that just seemed silly.

What to do with those now useless window cranks? Sell them and install sheet metal covers? The cranks were broken inside, so I wouldn't feel good about selling them, and new replacement window regs are available, and aren't THAT expensive anyway. Then I thought, I'll just remove the crank, patch the hole, paint the panels and bolt them back up, retaining some of the factory details. But THEN I thought: "What a great location (very near the driver and passenger) to have music come out.

The parameters I set were to find speakers that fit the space without visibly enlarging the factory hole. (I did already chop the doors up, I know it shouldn't matter if I adjusted the holes in the doors.) My second goal was to find something with marine application for that "hardtop-is-off but what if it rains?" piece of mind.
These are the units I landed on. Keep in mind, I'm no audiophile (I would never touch an amp or speaker or head unit inappropriately and without first getting consent ;):rofl:) from my admittedly limited research these seemed to "check all the boxes".

First plan was to cut holes in the window crank panel itself and bolt the speakers to the back of the panels, then re-install right back to the factory capture nuts in the doors. However, that would have left the speakers exposed (no grilles) right next to knees, and I'll be taking doors on and off and storing them semi-regularly etc... It seems like a recipe for a punctured speaker. The easiest solution-> Buy some speaker grilles. Well, it SHOULD have been easy. I did not find an appropriately sized speaker grille that also visually matches the vintage looks of the truck. I'm an Art Director so things like that matter to me more than they should. I DO NOT want to install some futuristic looking grille or settle for a boring black mesh oval after all my efforts in the rest of the truck to retain some semblance of original appearance (I'm no purist, but I do think the FJ 40 vintage styling is the damn sexiest thing on four wheels). The only OEM original speaker grille for a 40 that I know of, is basically a piece of sheet metal with some holes drilled through it. It was not designed to be seen. So where does that leave me?

Sometimes you just gotta do stuff yourself. I downloaded a 30-day-trial of a CAD program last weekend, sat down with the window crank panel, the speakers and some calipers and taught myself the software. I've worked in a few 3D modeling programs (more CG animation focused) over the years so it wasn't totally foreign, but I found myself crawling into bed around 2:00 a.m this whole week.

I think I have a CNC guy lined up to mill these out (billet aluminum), however, I still have to follow up with him. I don't think he believed me when I told him I would learn the software and provide him the file.

I present for your consideration, my 1st ever CAD CNC project:

Some wireframe model views:
This view shows the back where speakers nest inside the grille. The outer dimensions of the speaker housings are a little bigger than the door hole but only the magnets end up below the surface of the doors. When these are made I will post pics to explain this more clearly.

The added overall thickness (they are about twice as thick as the OEM panels) is to give them a little bit more space inside the door panels. The backs of the magnets were too close to rubbing inside the door for my tastes (I was worried about them buzzing).

Here is the Final 3D render of what they hopefully should look like when they are milled, I might drizzle some of the nebula green acrylic paint inside the circle around the TEQ for a small added detail (as rendered), but I haven't decided:

They won't be the only speakers in the truck (I want to be able to remove the doors altogether and still have tunes), but they will probably be the prettiest.
 
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BeerM3

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Impressive! I've been using CAD for over 20 years and that still would have been a challenge to draw in 3d! If the grill proves to be too fragile bumped out next to someone's knee you could certainly keep it flush and it would still be quite sexy. :beer:
 
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Those are awesome, you should make some for the rear corners near the rear door and sell them. I gave up on having a stereo on my 40 a while ago. It had to be turned up so loud for me to hear it going down the road I could only stand 2 or 3 songs.
 
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Impressive! I've been using CAD for over 20 years and that still would have been a challenge to draw in 3d! If the grill proves to be too fragile bumped out next to someone's knee you could certainly keep it flush and it would still be quite sexy. :beer:
Thanks for the encouragement. Some of my original sketches had the grilles flush. I would have to make them a little thicker overall to allow for a little space between the bars of the grille and the speaker when it vibrates to my sweet jams. I bet they'd be a lot cheaper to mill. hmmmm now you got me thinking.
 
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Apr 17, 2011
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N. Utah
Those are awesome, you should make some for the rear corners near the rear door and sell them. I gave up on having a stereo on my 40 a while ago. It had to be turned up so loud for me to hear it going down the road I could only stand 2 or 3 songs.
I'm one step ahead of you LOL. Next project will be the biggest loudest thing I can bolt in to the rear corners. Jeremiah Proffit's new rear speaker solutions were a big inspiration for this project.

After that I'm considering a mount that fit up maybe under the dash-ish. Secured using the top hinge bolts under the cowl. Sort of like the kick vent speakers, but I'm going to try and tuck them up and more out of the way.

Now that I can design whatever I want without having to pay someone to draw it, my mind is going everywhere.
 
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I think roll bar mounted speakers I had right above the driver and passenger worked pretty well, but not as clean. I don't care for kick panel speakers because the block the kick vent.
It would be cool if u made aluminum pedals that went over the steel pedals that said teq on the clutch, FJ on the brake, and 40 on the gas pedal.
I'm one step ahead of you LOL. Next project will be the biggest loudest thing I can bolt in to the rear corners. Jeremiah Proffit's new rear speaker solutions were a big inspiration for this project.

After that I'm considering a mount that fit up maybe under the dash-ish. Secured using the top hinge bolts under the cowl. Sort of like the kick vent speakers, but I'm going to try and tuck them up and more out of the way.

Now that I can design whatever I want without having to pay someone to draw it, my mind is going everywhere.
 

S.CarolinaFZJ80

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If you make those and provide for sale, I’m sure they would sell.

I wasn’t going to add speakers to my 40 but after seeing your speaker grills, I want to add four of them.
 
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If I figured out power windows, they'd be perfect. Not that power windows have even made the list... just thinking of an excuse to get those... but the speaker probably wouldn't fit with windows.

Dang it. Guess I'll need 1/2 doors. :D
 
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Apr 17, 2011
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N. Utah
If you make those and provide for sale, I’m sure they would sell.

I wasn’t going to add speakers to my 40 but after seeing your speaker grills, I want to add four of them.
If I figured out power windows, they'd be perfect. Not that power windows have even made the list... just thinking of an excuse to get those... but the speaker probably wouldn't fit with windows.

Dang it. Guess I'll need 1/2 doors. :D
First things first, I need to make sure these go according to plan :). If things go smoothly enough I'm thinking I might be able to do semi-custom stuff. Like if you wanted to put a 4" round or an oval 2-way in that same access hole. Or if someone wanted to put speakers in both access panels on the doors and tweeters in the little round hole at the top.

I still haven't finalized pricing yet with the machine shop, but it could end up being off-putting for the "frugal" cruiser-head. Truthfully, I've only had one experience with milling when I got a custom adapter made for my "shift knob".
I am mounting a flight control stick that was retired from an A-10 warthog. Side note: All the triggers and buttons have been bench tested to function and I will probably wire them to backup lights or the trigger could flash all my aux lights so when people cut me off I will literally light them up, etc...
Of course with the adapter for the flight control stick, I had the machine shop do the model too, so I paid for computer work and CNC time and materials.

We'll see where this project ends up I guess. And as mentioned above, there are less expensive ways to go about it and still get a good look. The model I came up with is a bit more involved considering the domed grille.
 
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May 13, 2012
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You may want to go with 3D printed prototypes. Then just sand and paint. Some of the 3D printed materials are fairly strong. I've seen ads for outfits that will print stuff quickly, but I've never used them. We have a shop with four printers where I work so no need to go outside.
 
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A 3D printer would be the way to go for a lot of similar things. They’re dirt cheap compared to other options... if nothing else they can’t be beat for tangible prototypes.

I’ve got the same doors, but only the one opening that’s not covered by inner door panels. FYI, pre 75 doors came with door panels outside of the USA. They’d be difficult to modify to fit 1/2 doors.
 

SMG

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I had that same joystick in my 85 mini pickup back in the mid 90’s. This brings back memories when I was in the Navy. Awesome Job!
 
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You may want to go with 3D printed prototypes. Then just sand and paint. Some of the 3D printed materials are fairly strong. I've seen ads for outfits that will print stuff quickly, but I've never used them. We have a shop with four printers where I work so no need to go outside.
Thanks for the suggestion. I briefly considered the 3d printer route. I haven't looked into pricing in a long time, nor print quality and printable materials. I think I wrote it off as not a good option before now realizing that I'm not even up to date on that tech. My company has a few 3D printers in our Vegas office. I'll be down there all day tomorrow, I'll look more into the viability of printing.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
144
Location
N. Utah
A 3D printer would be the way to go for a lot of similar things. They’re dirt cheap compared to other options... if nothing else they can’t be beat for tangible prototypes.

I’ve got the same doors, but only the one opening that’s not covered by inner door panels. FYI, pre 75 doors came with door panels outside of the USA. They’d be difficult to modify to fit 1/2 doors.
The door panel would complicate mounting speakers and cutting halfsies. I would assume custom brackets to hold the speakers and custom panels. By the time you do all that, it seems like you could get away with a lot more (shallow mount) speaker sizes/configurations.
 
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