How Headphones Work:
Headphones are powered by three main components: the magnet(s), the diaphragm and the voice coil. In this case, the voice coil is created from a 28 gauge wire, the diaphragm is made from a plastic cup and we used neodymium magnets.
In a broader sense, the purpose of the diaphragm is to amplify and project sound. The purpose of the magnet is to generate the magnetic field and the purpose of the voice coil is to provide a path for the electrical current to travel through.
The diaphragm is the amplifier of the sound and controls the direction of the sound and the vibrations. Usually, a larger diaphragm projects better and produces higher quality sound. The neodymium magnets provide a permanent magnetic field. The voice coil provides a temporary magnetic field that attracts and repels the permeant magnetic field produced by the neodymium magnets. As the two magnetic fields interact, they cause the diaphragm to be pushed inwards and outwards. In other words, the two magnetic fields are polaris to each other. The alternating currents cause the North and South poles to flip so quickly that vibrations are produced.
The vibrations generated by the voice coil and projected by the diaphragm turn into sound waves and travel through the molecules in the air. These sound waves reach our ears and are perceived as sound!
What can change sound quality?
Generally, the more one coils the wire, the higher quality the sound will be. We proved this when we noticed a much better sound with 40 coils versus when we used 30 or 20. This is because the magnetic field is strengthened with more coils causing the voice coil to vibrate more. Using more (or larger) magnets also improves the headphone performance.
If you have questions or feedback, please comment below.
Make sure to favorite, and if you thought this was helpful, share with a friend!
We had a lot of fun doing this project, and we hope you do too!
All the best, Gagandeep and Jaya.
Step 1: Materials
Materials-(Roughly in order of importance):
- About 4 feet of 28 gauge copper wire
- Can be found on Amazon, Ebay, or Home Depot. (Also any other Home Improvement/Construction Retailers around you.)
- If you're making connections with wire instead of alligator clips, then get about 4 extra feet of wire.
- Can be found on Amazon, and Radio Shack. (Some Target stores may also carry this product.)
- 2 additional magnets will also greatly improve sound quality
- Can be found at Radio Shack, Ebay, Amazon, etc.
- Can be found at Walmart, Rite Aid etc.
- Can be found at Home Depot, Amazon, and any other Home Improvement/Construction Retailers.
- Can be found at Home Depot, Amazon, and other Home Improvement/Construction Retailers.
- Can be found at Home Depot, and other Home Improvement/Construction Retailers.
- Can be found at Home Depot, Michael's, and other Home Improvement/Construction Retailers.
- Can be found at CVS, Amazon, Target, etc.
Any decorating materials!!! (Everyone loves stylish, and fashionable headphones!)
Step 2: Coiling
Cut 3 feet of 28 gauge wire using wire cutter.
- Wrap a strip of tape around the outside of a glue stick.
- Then, wrap the wire over the tape, and around the glue stick 40 times. Make sure the coils are close together, but not overlapping. (The tape should help aid with keeping your coils close together, and easier to slide off the glue stick once finished.) 40 coils are an appropriate number because it projects a good sound quality without being wasteful and too time-consuming, as well as easy to decipher words and sounds in a song that is playing from your headphones.
- Sand the voice coil one inch from both ends of the wire.
- Twist the sanded wires together.
- Cut away the excess tape.
You're all set for the next step, which is securing the magnet and voice coil.
Step 3: Securing Magnet and Voice Coil
- Carefully slide your voice coil off the glue stick.
- Tape one side of the voice coil with scotch tape, so that it will not lose its shape.
- Place your voice coil on the bottom of the cup.
- Tape both sides of the voice coil down with electrical tape, and make sure to keep the ends of your voice coil from being taped down.
- Add one magnet to the bottom of the cup, and one magnet in the inside, the two should attract each other and stick through the plastic.
- The voice coil should go around the magnet on the bottom.
(Neodymium magnets are very strong, so when you are prying them apart make sure to slowly attach them to either side of the cup, because you may end up with your skin stuck in between two magnets and it hurts VERY much. Also, they're strong, but break very easily, so make sure to deal with them very carefully, because if you let them snap onto each other very quickly, parts of the magnets will break off.)
Step 4: Connections (Alligator Clips)
- Attach both Alligator Clips to the sanded ends of the voice coil.
- Cut/burn away the outside covering of the aux cord to reveal the wire.
- Attach the other end of the Alligator Clips to the exposed wires of the aux plug.
You should now have Alligator Clips connecting the sanded wires of your voice coil to the exposed wires of your aux plug. Make sure your Alligator Clips are connected to both of the terminals.
YAY, you are now ready to move on to the next step!
Step 5: Connections (Wire)
- Cut about a foot of wire.
- Twist wire together with sanded edges of voice coil.
- Strip away Aux cord covering by cutting/burning away outside covering of aux plug to reveal wire.
- Twist end of wire around newly exposed aux plug wires, make sure wire wraps around both terminals.
WOO next step!
Step 6: Second Headphone
- Repeat steps 1-4 with remaining materials.
- Make sure to stay consistent with wire or alligator clip use
Aren't you excited? Your very own DIY Headphones are half done!
Step 7: Connecting the Speakers (Alligator Clips)
- Both Headphones should be connected to the aux plug at this point.
- Clip one alligator clip to each sanded end of the voice coil.
- Position aligator clip so it runs along the top of the headband.
- Strengthen connection by twisting sanded edges around voice coil.
Step 8: Connecting the Speakers (Wire)
- Both headphones should be connected to the aux plug at this point.
- Cut a little over a foot of wire
- Twist both ends of wire to sanded ends of voice coil.
- Make sure this middle wire runs along top of headband.
This part is really fun, now it's time to move onto the next step!
Step 9: Secure Headphones
- Use electrical tape or a hot glue gun to make sure the headphones are connected to the headband.
- This would also be a good time to double check connection between the wires.
- Also make sure none of your wires are showing, find a good way to cover them up, like wrapping a material over your headphones.
Now move on to the next step!
Step 10: Testing and Troubleshooting!
Plug some music into your Aux plug and press play. If you have trouble hearing anything, look below.
- If voice coil is loose, press coils closer to cup or re-tape with new electrical tape.
- If connection still seems weak, use scissors or a lighter to expose more wire on aux plug, so that the Alligator Clips have more wire to grip.
- If there seems to be no sound or vibration, re-sand voice coils so there is no red on the first inch.
- Make sure that wires are wrapped around both terminals, but the sanded parts of both wires aren't touching.
- If all else fails, take headphones apart and re-assess connections, maybe make a new voice coil.
Step 11: Cover Wires
- Use cloth or whatever material you want to cover the wires.
- i.e Tape the cloth around the wires or cover wires in electrical tape.
Step 12: Decorate
Spray paint basket! Glue beads on headband!! Whatever you want to do!
You do you, throw glitter on them, or even throw some confetti on them, just make them look gorgeous because we all know you are AWESOME. :)
Well, we hope you had fun learning how to make DIY Headphones with us! Feel free to ask any questions that you may have.
Jays and Gagandeep
Step 13: Press Play
Here's a video of Jaya listening to music with the DIY headphones we made, seems like they're working great! You go Jaya!