Make your own headphones!
Step 1: Gather Materials
28 ga. Wire, 5 feet
Neodymium Magnets (4x 1.5 cm magnets and 2x 0.5 cm magnets) Black electric insulating tape (¾ in Shaxon, any ¾ in tape is fine) Media Device (phone or audio source) 3.5 mm Auxiliary Adapter Audio Jack (amazon) 100 Grit Sandpaper (3M sandpaper, but any brand is fine) Glue stick wrapped in paper (diameter is ideal for coil)
Purpose: When prototyping our design and materials, we had found that the more coils and magnets you have, the louder and clearer the music was. Also, an ideal diaphragm we used was a small paper cup since it is best at redirecting the sound.
Step 2: Manipulate the Paper Cup by Cutting It in Half and Poking a Small Hole Into the Center of the Bottom of the Cups.
Purpose: If you cut the cup in half, it makes it more compact and puts your ear closer to the sound source. The hole will be used to run the wire through when you put the voice coil inside.
Step 3: Sand Wire Ends Until Red Enamel Is Removed.
Purpose: The wire is covered in a red, non-conductive covering. Sanding the ends will strip away this coating and expose the conductive copper ends. When the ends touch, the current will flow through and the headphones will work. When connecting two wires, wrap and twist them together to ensure a good connection.
Step 4: Wrap Copper Wire Around a Glue Stick or Fingers for 45 Coils
Purpose: The reason for this is because a glue stick has the best diameter for the headphones we will be making. Another strategy is to wrap the wire around your index and middle finger. The diameter fits around the magnets and has enough length to accommodate lots of coils. During our prototype, we used 45 coils. This seemed to work best so we suggest this amount.We left a longer end of about one to two feet and a shorter end of about ten inches to accommodate the length needed to connect the two headphones and to attach to the audio jack.
Step 5: Cover Wire With Electrical Tape
Purpose: The coil is covered by an insulating electrical tape so it can retain its shape. The inside does not need to be wrapped, the outside will do. You have now created what is known as the “voice coil.” The voice coil is a temporary magnet. This means that when an electric current is run through it, it becomes magnetic and interacts with a permanent magnetic field.
Step 6: Add Neodymium Magnets to the Bottom of the Cup.
The pattern we recommend is one 0.5 cm magnet on the outside of the cup and three 1.5 cm magnets on the inside. This is because in our tests, we found that the stronger the magnets, the better the sound. The more magnets we have, the stronger the magnetic field. We will further explain the location in the next step.
Purpose: The neodymium magnets act as permanent magnets that create a magnetic field that interacts with the voice coil. When a current is run through the wire in a certain direction, the voice coil is repelled away from the magnets. When the current is reversed, the voice coil is attracted to the magnets. If done extremely quickly, it creates vibrations, and these vibrations create sound waves in the air.
Step 7: Secure Voice Coil to the Inside of the Bottom of the Cup, Surrounding the Magnets.
One way to secure this is by taping it down with more electrical tape
Purpose: We put the voice coil surrounding the three magnets on the inside so that the permanent magnets will have a greater effect on the temporary magnets. If they are both inside at the same place, then they will have the greatest effect on each others’ magnetic fields, resulting in better, clearer vibrations and sound.
Step 8: Run Wire Through Holes in Bottom of Cup.
Tape the coil to the inside of the cup and push the wire ends through the hole so they’ll be coming out the bottom of the cup.The wires need to come out the bottom to be attached to the remainder of the headset and aux cord. The coil needs to be kept stable in the cup or the wires could touch and mess up the sound or the coil could bounce around and lose its shape.
Step 9: Connect the Wires Between the Two Earpieces, Then Solder Them Together.
This is to ensure their connection and that it is strong and less likely to be broken.
Purpose: The wires need to be touching to make sure that the current running through the coils and the headphones is complete. If not, the sound could be dodgy or just not even be heard.
Step 10: Connect Remaining Two Wires to 3.5mm Audio Jack
Much like threading a needle, make sure to loop and secure the wire- one in each hole- so that the two wires do not touch each other. If done correctly, there should be a clear sound coming from the headphones, if there is a muffled sound or no sound at all, make sure the wires are separated and not touching at all.
TIP: Something interesting we found was that if you wrap one of the wires around the metal extrusion on top of the jack, it increases the quality of the sound. Just make sure that the wires still do not touch.
Purpose: The reason the wires should not touch is because it messes up the path of the electricity and creates an incomplete circuit.
Step 11: Cover the Wires and Prepare the Headphones for Use
Purpose: This is to protect the wires and headphones from damage and to make them look super duper cool.