Beats by Devin and Adrian (DIY Headphones)
Step 1: Gather Materials
The materials for this project include:
250ft Copper Wire Roll (28 AWG Gauge)
Plastic Cups (2)
Wire Cutter or Scissors
Neodymium Magnets (7/16" dia.)
Cylinder Object (Glue-Stick or Marker)
(You can also use old headphones as materials, as you can see we did)
Step 2: The Voice Coil
One important feature of a speaker is the voice coil. This is a coil of copper wire wrapped into a circle several times and it vibrates up and down. When wrapping your coil, make sure you have enough wire to reach the amount of coils you have and secure it by weaving your wire around the voice coil. We chose 35 coils because after many trials, we found that this amount worked the best. These results may vary. Also leave at least three inches of wire sticking out of the coil, these will be used later in the headphones.
(The voice coil becomes magnetic when electricity is passed through the wire, thus making a magnetic field around the wire. As the current passes straight through the wire, another field is created and this causes a chnage n polarity. As the polarity changes, the magnet attract and repels the voice coil causing the voice coil to vibrate up and down, giving us our viibrations.This action makes it one of the most important features in a speaker.)
Step 3: Creating the Voice Coil
You’re going to want to find a cylinder-like object to wrap your wire around. A marker,or glue-stick works. Wrap your wire around the cylinder object the number you’ve decided then pull it off of your cylinder object and secure it so it can't move around too much. Then sand the ends of the wires 2 inches into it.
Step 4: Choosing Your Cone
Plastic cups do work well but any cone/cup like object will do the trick. Keep in mind the material as the thinner you go, the less it may work. Steer clear of thin fabrics and easily breakable material. The cone will be amplifying the vibrations from the voice coil, like a megaphone.
(The cone is also one of the most important features in a speaker because it takes those vibrations from the voice coil, amplifies them and we are able to hear what we perceive as sound. This is why the music is loud and very audible and also why it is mandatory in a speaker.)
Step 5: Applying the Magnets
This step you should be careful, as these neodymium magnets are VERY strong. One of the two magnets should be on the inside bottom of the cup and the other should be on the outside bottom. Center these magnets so that your vibrations can be amplified correctly.
(These magnets are very important in a speaker because as I've explained, the magnet pulls the alternating current, pulsing through the voice coil, up and down causing the vibrations which then become sound through the cone. That is why the voice coil, cone and magnets are the most important features in a speaker.)
Step 6: Attaching Voice Coil to Cone
For this step you’ll need your tape. Electrical and regular both work the same, this is personal preference. Your coil should be circular with a hole in the middle. Put this hole over the magnet on the outside of the cup, evenly so that the magnet is centered. Now tape the voice coil down so that it can't fall off of your cone.
Step 7: Attaching the Aux Cord
Grab the sanded ends of the wire and place them in the aux plug connectors, where they wouldn't be easily removed. Do whatever is necessary to have a strong connection, but try not to get the two different wires to touch or intersect. Electrical tape can be helpful in this situation.
Step 8: Plugging in the Aux Plug
Grab the aux plug gently and plug it into a phone or anything that has a headphone jack. Next thing to do is to play your music.
Step 9: Troubleshooting
If after all these steps. your speakers are still not producing audio or the quality is weak here's some things to check:
1. Change the amount of coils on the voice coil, usually by raising this number. This will give you better vibrations.
2.Check that your wires are completely sanded and no red is showing. This could ruin the connection to the aux cord, into the voice coil thus causing your audio to not travel into the voice coil.
3.Check your wire connections to the aux, if it is too loose, it can ruin the quality or completely make the audio inaudible.
4. If you went for too thin of a material for your cone, try changing that as it may have affected the speaker. This is rare, but possible.
So many small things can affect the speakers quality. As we prototyped, we learned that the amount of wire, how many coils, how sanded the wires were and much more truly affected the results we earned from the speaker. If the cone would have been smaller, the sound our speaker produced might not have been as loud. So many small things affect your end result, so don't be afraid to go back and change things. It may just improve the speaker.