Over the past few months I have been asked by my fellow classmates and friends,"Mark, why are you making headphones?" My response has consistently been, I love music, I want good quality over ear headphones, but I don't want to drop 300+ on name brand headphones. If you know me I will take almost any opportunity I can get to make something if i need it. So I received mixed reactions in the early stages of the project, some positive some negative, but as these progressed more and more people realized how cool these were going to turn out.
Why do they blink? Well I wanted there to be a unique effect that would make them stand out, and not just be wooden headphones. I've had people stare at me while I'm in the library, with faces saying "Wait a second, is it blinking to the music? Sweet I want a pair!"
I just want to say that I made everything from scrap pieces of wood, leather, acrylic, plastic, and foam with the exception of the electronics of coarse. I had no directions, just countless prototypes out of packing material and some rough measurements of Bose acoustic headphones. Making these headphones has been a wonderful experience for me and is one of my more successful pieces of art I have made and thats why I want to share them with all of you. Special thanks to my mother, father and Garry Cerrone for all contributing knowledge of their trades.
Step 1: Everything You'll Need and More!
Materials- (optional, in parentheses is what I used)
Step 2: Planing and Designing
Make a template with Photoshop
main template: 3" x 4"
Plug diameter 1.75"
Step 3: Trace the templates to the wood
Draw templates on 1" inch thick hardwood, make sure the grain runs with the longer dimension. I drew it the wrong way first, but fixed it afterwards.
Step 4: Carving the ear cups
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The videos will show you how to carve out the first few layers. Pictures show the following layers I carved out
Step 5: Cutting and drilling the cups
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Cut the Pieces out on the scroll saw. Try to keep the blade on the line to minimalize sanding.
Drill the hole
Find the center, mark it with an awl, then drill through with a small bit.
I used a 1.5" hole saw bit to remove about a 1.75" hole with it clamped in the drill press
Step 6: Oak rings
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The oak rings and similar to the cherry rings in that they are the same size.
Step 7: Attach oak rings to cup
You can take a file to the outside of the ovals to true everything up. Move the ovals around until they fit best then dampen, glue and clamp.
Step 8: Rounding and Shaping ear cups
Once these are glued use a belt sander to clean up sides for this is the last time to do heavy sanding on the oak section.
Step 9: Plug design
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The plugs were based off the size of the template
Step 10: Cut heat sink of the transistor
The transistor at the original size doesn't fit well so the heat sink needs to come off. I don't think this effects anything because the circuit still works, and the transistor never gets that hot.
Clamp the transistor tight and saw back and forth with small hacksaw or serrated cutting blade make sure to cut all of the way through or it will snap.
Step 11: Wiring the transistor
Much thanks to motadacruz for posting such a detailed instructable on their blinking light box I was able to create a similar circuit and apply it to my project.
Both ears are slightly different, what I'm calling the left ear, has the jack receiver where the music plugs in. The right channel then goes over the top of the band and down to the right cup powering that circuit.
Step 12: Complete circuit
Bend the wires around the 3v battery so it stays and makes a good connection. You can purchase little slides that hold the batteries that have solder ports. I never thought to use one until recently, and I ordered some off Ebay. i'll show updated pictures when they get in.
Step 13: Wire new leads and extract speakers
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The speakers used in these headphones were from a of $20 pare Sennheiser HD 201. I used these because they are very cheep and have a really nice overall sound. I was honestly surprised with the quality, and listend to them as is for quite some time. When finally I put them in to the cups all wired up the quality and sound range increased substantially.
Step 14: Fit circuit in plug
push the led into place and rotate the speaker until the wire coils and press it lightly down. Cut a notch for the wire to pass through. feel free to cut foam and fabric to diffuse and insulate speaker.
Step 15: Construct headphone cord
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If you want to make a cord like me than read this otherwise they can be bought pretty cheep online if your search for "stereo male to male plug
I wanted to make one because more often than not these cords are flimsy and break easily. I got two stereo audio jacks from radio shack for pretty cheap and soldered them to a thick cord my physics teacher gave me. Its very simple to do, when you solder these make it quick and try to minimize heating of the soldering ports for they could come loose.
Step 16: Sewing the donut
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This was much more difficult than I originally thought it would be and took a couple tries.
Step 17: Finishing and Treating The wood
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There are countless ways of finishing wood, depending on what you want. I thought about going for the the lacquered finish, but I don't like how artificial it feels afterwards. I wanted to preserve the wood, yet leave it somewhat open to feel and build a patina of its own. This is what I've done so far.
First things first is to sand these things till they glow. The trick to getting insanely smooth wood is not just using high grits it all starts with the lower grits. After this things are shaped go over them with some finer files to achieve perfect roundness, i.e. no bumps, or lumps. next get some 100 or 120 grit and a powered sander and go at it working in circular motions around the ovals. Do this until all traceable scratches, divots, and imperfections are removed. In between grits wipe with a rag to remove clinging dust. Keep working up the grits making sure that each one is properly addressed. The more care you give the better your final result will be. Once you reach the 400s and 600s its good to touch up by hand. Try to minimize strokes against grain for they will fog wood. Stop and wipe clean with dry cloth when reached desired smoothness.
I used tung and linseed oil, danish oil works well too, this strengthens and brings out natural color in wood. I think I used 4 to 5 coats. Instructions are different for each.
I have yet to put anything else on mine yet, but I plan on putting several coats of wax on a later date. I will upload pictures when I do.
Step 18: Headband design and bending template
This template shown was originally meant to bend wood for one of my failed attempts at a headband, however it served as a perfect template for bending the top plastic band. (Ignore the interior hole it was originally for clamps).
Step 19: Bending and constructing the top band
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Once again the perks of a mother who owns several tack and horse shops has been the deal breaker. I was lucky enough to have huge sheets of of this Ortho medical grade plastic laying around the house that I normally couldn't afford. She had originally used it to mold horses backs for custom saddles. Anyway I have been trying tirelessly to create a headband that would be sufficient for these headphones. I was stuck on making everything from scratch, or else I would do what everyone else does who makes custom headphones and reuse the headband from the headphones I jack the speakers form. I really wish that there was somewhere on the internet that would tell you how to make some kind of headband, but I found nothing. So I had to experiment, I tried everything from bending aluminum with my forge, using sheet steel and rivets, wetting and gluing veneer, but I'll tell you if you can get your hands on some of this plastic its amazing and will make an incredible headband. Try to get the densest stuff you can find it needs to have a good spring to it.
Plan out your top band and forks all in one mine was 2" wide on the band, 18'' long, forks were 4" wide and tapered to band. the top band cuts down to about 6''.
Step 20: Attaching the headband to the ear cups
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Before you drill its best to attach the forks to the cups and make sure they are the same on both sides. I found some small brass screws with a smooth section towards the top so they can swing and move around. put a mark in the middle of both sides where the plastic meets the wood. Make sure the fork is far enough back so it doesn't stick above the edge. Pre drill the plastic and wood separately and screw in halfway to make sure it fits.
Tape drilled the forks to the band and make sure everything is the way you want it. Once its perfect mark where the holes will be. Select a bit according to the size of your hardware. Rest over a section of wood when drilling to get a clean hole. Remove tape and cups when done to paint.
DON'T PAINT THE UPPER BAND IT WILL BE 100% COVERED WITH LEATHER.
Plastics usually do best when sprayed, I happened to have some gloss black that works with plastic. WARNING this stuff takes at least 5 days for the extreme tackiness to subside. Don't be like me, I was in a rush to finish a portfolio for school. Have patience for it to dry fully or you will have to do lots of touch ups and it could get on the wood.
Step 21: Upholster and finish the headband
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Its the home stretch, wrapping this thing. When leather is this thick and sewed this tight it is near impossible to turn inside out, so I sewed it on the outside. Measure the EXACT width of the band and make sure you have more than enough extra length to cover both forks at the end. You can use your average sewing machine but be sure to increase the stitch distance, and use a thicker needle.
IMPORTANT: Before you slide the leather on remember to pass the speaker wire though the leather sleeve so it will be on the other side to power the right ear cup.
Step 22: Attaching The Donut
Use some double stick tape nothing too permeant. I had these double stick dots that attached to wood pretty well, and pulled the donuts down tight. You could probably glue it with some epoxy and carefully clamp the leather.
Step 23: Finish
Snip, strip, twist, and solder the wires in the right ear. Push the plugs in snug, a strip of electrical tape can help seal.