Making Drive-In Speaker Baskets

A while back I picked up some jigs at a business liquidation auction that were used to reproduce aluminum wire baskets as used by some drive-in movie theaters. A few parts were missing and one jig was really beat up and had to be recreated. Also, I think there were some clamps involved that I did not get but I had a large selection of clamps in my woodworking tools.

This page documents the steps required to make a couple of different baskets.

Most of the jigs looked like they were meant to be held in a bench vise but JIG 1 looked like it was meant to be bolted down so I bolted it to a spare tool stand.

This is JIG 1 and used to make the round bends. It has a pulley shaped disk that the wire is pulled around and the lever has a roller bearing on it to prevent scratching the wire. This is the first step in making either version of the baskets.
This is making the second and third curved bends again using JIG 1 .
This is JIG 2 used for several operations. The first one is bending the arms out for the front side of the baskets. The bending lever in this operation has a steel pin on it covered with some sort of nylon material to keep from scratching the wire.
This is JIG 3 used to bend the arms back to make the sides of the baskets. Up to this step, making baskets for the Circlite box and the RCA box are identical. Only the length of the raw wire is different. The RCA basket wire is 36 inches long and the Circlite wire is 38 inches long.

This is the jig that had to be recreated as it was pretty beat up. The clamping bar in the back is from the original and you can see how beat up it is.

This is JIG 4 specific to the Circlite baskets. It is used to form the first reverse bend to allow the basket to fit into the side of the Circlite junction box.

This is back to JIG 3 to form the last bends in the Circlite basket. After both arms are bent to shape, they are cut to final length.
This is back to JIG 2 to form the last bends in the RCA style basket. This is actually two steps. The first bend down is made, then the pin with the slot on top is inserted and the second bend up is made.

After the baskets are made, some hand finishing is required. Cut the ends to length and check for scratches and any bends that are not exactly right.