Have you ever wanted to make a pair of headphones out of recycled materials that may or may not work? Well, we have the guide for you.
Step 1: Gather Materials
2x Plastic cups (11cm tall)
2x Neodymium magnets (1.5cm diameter)
1x coil of Electrical tape
1x coil of Duct tape
1x VEX Metal Strip
1x coil of 28 gauge wire
Step 2: Wrap Coils
Wrap the coil of wire 30 times around a gluestick. In our testing we found 30 to be the most optimal amount of coils to produce a nice sound. We tested 30, 40, and 50 coils, but there was no audible difference. When you're done wrapping, remove the coil from the gluestick and tape the ends together. There should be about a foot of wire coming off each end of the coil. We need a "voice coil" in our speaker because it will vibrate when electrical signals pass through it to create sound.
Step 3: Cut Your Cups and Attach the Magnets
Cut through your plastic cups using an X-acto knife or scissors. These half cups will serve as the diaphragm in our headphones and amplify the sound from the voice coil. Then, attach the voice coil in the outside center of the cup and tape a magnet into the center of the coil. We need magnets in our speakers to provide attracting and repulsing forces for our voice coil. As electricity flows through the voice coil, it will expand and contract around the magnet to produce sound.
Step 4: Soldering and Sanding
Solder your wires onto the Aux plug. Before soldering, ensure your wires are properly sanded. Attached is a video of my partner, Shawn, demonstrating proper sanding technique. After soldering, tape the aux plug securely shut. There should be a solid circuit between the aux plug, the two voice coils, and the other side of the aux plug. If your wires are too short to go across the headpiece, consider soldering on shorter pieces of wire to bridge the gap between the ears.
Step 5: Bend Your VEX Band
Bend your VEX band and make it look like an upside down U, with little bits sticking out at each end. Attached is a diagram of what it should look like. This band was designed for smaller heads, and might not fit large skulls. This piece will serve as the connector between your earpieces.
Step 6: Assemble the Headphones
Hot glue the tips of the bent VEX band into the top of the cups. Then, wrap the VEX band in duct tape to make it easier to wear. Cover up any remaining wire with duct tape or electrical tape depending on how you want it to look.
Step 7: Plug and Play!
Plug the aux cable into your phone and play a song! If it doesn't work, you screwed up. Check out the troubleshooting step for more info.
Step 8: Troubleshooting
If you don't hear any music coming of the headphones, the wires are probably touching. Ensure that the wires aren't touching and there's a firm connection between the wires, the aux plug, and your music source. Alternatively, the circuit may not be complete. Make sure that there's a solid connection all the way through the coils. Also turn your phone all the way up to maximize the volume of your headphones.