Introduction: Beats by Rokhaya Tariq and Khalin Chand (DIY Headphones)

Picture of Beats by Rokhaya Tariq and Khalin Chand (DIY Headphones)

This is a step-by-step guide to make affordable headphones.


In our prototype we learned about the variables that affect the quality and loudness of the sound. There are three main components to a basic headphone: the magnet(s), the voice coil, and the diaphragm. The medium sound travels through affects directly loudness of the sound. If the medium has densely packed particles, the loudness of the sound increases.

The first thing a headphone needs to actually work is a strong magnetic field. How that magnetic field is produced is from a magnet and a voice coil. The magnet is our source of magnetic field. In order for vibrations and to occur, we need repulsion and attraction to occur. That is when our voice coil comes in. The attraction and repulsion happening between our magnets and voice coil produce a strong magnetic field. The direction of the magnetic field rapidly changes through the magnet and voice coil. This is what causes the magnet and voice coil to vibrate.

When this vibration occurs, we have our cone/diaphragm/cup attached to this electromagnet producing sound. How sound is produced is because of our medium. The cup is the medium that the vibrations are traveling through. The cup is made up of densely packed particles. The denser the particles are on the medium, the louder the sound will be. As the vibrations from the electromagnet makes the medium (our cup) vibrate. That is how sound is produced. The stronger the magnetic field is, the better the quality of the sound is. If the medium is made up of densely-packed particles, the loudness of the sound is affected.

Step 1: Materials You'll Need

Picture of Materials You'll Need
  • 2 Styrofoam cups or plastic cups (any size)
  • Phone plug (3.5 mm)
  • Electrical tape Wire (28 awg) (American Wire Gauge) (about 50 inches)
  • P-220 Sandpaper(about 3 inches)
  • 2 neodymium magnets (1.5 cm in diameter each)
  • Elmer's small glue stick
  • regular-sized post-its
  • Kitchen Lighter

Step 2: Buy Plastic Cups and a Glue Stick If You Do Not Have Any in Your Home From the 99 Cent Store.

Picture of  Buy Plastic Cups and a Glue Stick If You Do Not Have Any in Your Home From the 99 Cent Store.

The purpose of the cup is to amplify the vibrations to the listener's ears as a diaphragm does to a headphone. A diaphragm/cone is very important, because in order for sound to be produced, the medium vibrations travel through needs to vibrate. The magnet and the voice coil produces a magnetic field that makes it vibrate.

Step 3: Grab Your Glue Stick and Wrap a Post-it Around the Glue Stick. Make Sure the Adhesive Is Afcing Outward When Applying the Post It.

Picture of Grab Your Glue Stick and Wrap a Post-it Around the Glue Stick. Make Sure the Adhesive Is Afcing Outward When Applying the Post It.

The purpose of this step is to make sure the coil is a nice round shape.

Step 4: Make Your Coil

Picture of Make Your Coil

Grab your wire, and make the 30-coil wire using your post-it covered glue stick so you are able to take the coil off of the glue stick. Make sure the coils are tight and does not resemble a slinky (loose, curly wire). Tape two sides of the coil so the coil stays tight. Do the same for your second coil.

The whole point of the headphones is so that we can hear music from an audio source. No electric current, no headphone. For our prototype headphone, we choose to test 10, 30, and 50-coil wire. The coil that produced the best quality of sound was the 30-coil wire. That is the reason we chose 30-coil wire for our final design.

Step 5: Repeat Step 3 for Second Coil

Picture of Repeat Step 3 for Second Coil

Step 6: Produce 2/3 of Your Basic Headphone

Picture of Produce 2/3 of Your Basic Headphone

Place at least one magnet in the bottom of each cup and the other magnet on the outside of the bottom of each cup.
The magnets are one of three main components for a headphone. It provides permanent magnetic field. Without our magnet, there will not be any magnetic field to produce vibrations. No vibrations = no sound.

Step 7: Secure Voice Coil to the Cup With Electrical Tape.

Picture of Secure Voice Coil to the Cup With Electrical Tape.

In order for the headphones to work properly, use electrical tape instead of regular tape.

Step 8: Attaching to Phone Plug

There should be two pieces of wire sticking out from the coil. Take one end of the coil and sand the ends of the coil. Take 6-10 inches of extra wire from the wire you have and attach it to the coil’s end. Melt the wire to make the two wires stay together. Do the same for your other cup. Attach the other end of the attached wire to the aux cord you bought.

The sandpaper is very important. The wire isn't electrically conductible if the coating is still on the wire. Do not sand the entire wire. Just the parts of the wire that are connected to the phone plug and to the end of the voice coil.

Step 9: Plug in Aux Cord to Audio Source (phone, Laptop, Etc.), and Play a Song.

Step 10: If There Is Trouble With Your Sound, Sand the Ends of Your Wire More and Make Sure the Coils Are Tight.

Picture of If There Is Trouble With Your Sound, Sand the Ends of Your Wire More and Make Sure the Coils Are Tight.

It is optional to decorate your headphone when the final product is produced. Howvere, you want to produce something that reflects hard work. ;)

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