The decision to integrate a record player into the project was a major turning point in the design vision and scope. The size requirement went up significantly, and it presented a brand new challenge to me: learning how record players operate. I had owned a couple, but had never taken them apart.
I did a bit of research and decided I definitely wanted to use a Yamaha YP-D4, based on the look of the beautiful tone-arm and platter. It’s also a direct drive table, which seem simpler to handle than the belt-driven alternative. I found one on Craigslist for $50, whose case was in rough cosmetic shape but with flawless functionality, so it was the perfect candidate. I knew nothing about the mechanical workings of a turntable, so I at first considered trying to use the existing case as-is and just find a way to squeeze the whole thing in. But I quickly realized that that’s lame, so I went to work taking the thing apart.
Yamaha had apparently not considered that possibility. They used about 30 screws from both the top and bottom, and glue. I hate glue. Nevertheless, I got it pulled apart eventually. Aside from the quantity of screws to finagle with, the guts all came out of the case in one big piece so that was a really great relief.
The new mounting surface is a composite of two Birch veneered 3-ply sheets. Four pegs on the case walls offer a base for the surface to sit on, forming a really nice and tidy fit. All I had to do was transfer the cutouts and mounting position holes from the old case onto this new surface board. That was as easy as just tracing it all on with pencil and cutting it out with a jigsaw and power drill.
Since the record player would be covering up all of the other guts of the case, I knew there would need to be a way to easily lift it out for maintenance (and there was indeed A LOT of maintenance to be done). I attached some simple brushed aluminum tube handles that I think also work aesthetically as an accent piece.
Below is a shot of the brushed aluminum control panel created to match the case’s faceplate.