For some time now the Maduro cigar box speakers have used black plastic terminal cup as the connection point for power, audio input and speaker connection (from one cigar box to the other). This solution works well but has a few drawbacks both from an ease-of-assembly standpoint and from a use-ability standpoint.
So, before making the most recent batch of ten pairs of Maduro cigar box speakers, a small redesign was made to improve the means of connecting power and audio to the Maduros, while at the same time improving the aesthetic appeal of the design. Here's a quick tour of this process:
Every designed thing needs to start somewhere. Often times, a simple hand sketch is a great way to quickly get a design down on paper, so that you can refine it later. In the case of the Maduro Sonos rear input panel, the design was drawn up as a concept which would then be mirrored in a computer so that the part could later be manufactured.
Once the design is set, the raw material (in this case solid brass that is 0.050" thick with a brushed finish) is loaded onto a piece of computer controlled milling equipment. Mill (also known as machining) is a process where material is cut or sheared away with the sharp edge of a rotating cutting tool. With the material loaded on the milling machine, we first do some tests to make sure the character size and cut quality is good for the lettering of the panel.
Once the settings are dialed in for the milling process, we're ready to cut the panels. This process happens pretty quickly, with each panel taking only a few minutes to complete.
Now we have something that's starting to look like it belongs on the Maduro. Once the panels come off the milling machine, the letters are filled in with black paint to provide some contrast.
With the letters filled in and the audio input and power input jacks assembled, the parts are ready to be wired to the speaker and installed!