Sets of now Mylar-fitted driver assemblies await the next manufacturing step. Note that at point each driver is market with a sticker for tracking manufacturing steps.
Perhaps one of the most delicate assembly steps involves preparation of driver conductor arrays, which will subsequently be “married” to the driver diaphragms, as shown in this image. A very high-skilled technician first winds the conductors on a special frame (as shown), and then the frame is flipped over to lower the conductors on to a waiting diaphragm panel. The amount dexterity required is considerable (I know this because I tried my hand—working as steadily and carefully as possible—and found I could not master the task, at least not in a short period of time).
Some Magnepan models feature wire-type conductors (as shown here), while other models use the firm’s famous “quasi-ribbon-type” conductors. Trust us on this one: those quasi-ribbon-type conductors are extremely thin and easy to break (during the assembly process, that is). Once installed on their diaphragms, however, the conductors and the resulting driver assemblies are extremely rugged and durable. Once the conductors are bonded to the diaphragms with a thin, flexible adhesive, the drivers are essentially complete.
One of the most exciting steps in the assembly process, and the one where the “Maggie” essentially becomes a Magnepan, involves “marrying” the completed planar magnetic drivers to the speaker frames. Here, a technician prepares for this step by installing frame spacers/braces (held it the technician’s right hand) and also by installing crossover network components in the lower end of the speaker frame.
Next, the planar magnetic driver is gently lowered into the speaker frame.
Using a pneumatic tool, the technician installs fasteners around the entire perimeter of the drive to hold it securely in the panel frame and then one of Magnepan’s “special sauce” assemble steps takes place. Specifically, the driver panel is fitted with precisely placed panel dampers, which are shown during installation here. (Part of Magnepan’s proprietary technology involves the use and exact placement of these essential dampers).
To enable installation of the dampers, conductors are gently re-routed around the damper clearance holes.
The driver panels showing dampers in place.
Magnepan’s top models (the 20.7, 3.7, and Mini Maggie desktop systems) all use pure ribbon tweeters where the conductor and diaphragm are one and the same. The diaphragm’s use these vanishingly thing, corrugated metal ribbon conductors.
Ribbon diaphragms are pre-trimmed to the correct length.
Using carefully constructed assembly tooling, the ribbon drivers are fitted to their frames and secured with dabs of adhesive. The ribbon diaphragms are so thin (much thinner than, say, typical plastic wrap as used in food preparation and storage) that it takes near surgical skill to handle them properly.
Tooling stands as used in building the ribbon tweeters for the Magnepan 20.7 and 3.7.
Magnepan has its own well equipped machine shop and thus can build customized assembly tooling as may be required for various of the firm’s models.
Stacks of nearly completed Magnepan models awaiting testing, trim-out, and final assembly.