Introduction: Cassette MP3 Player

Picture of Cassette MP3 Player

In this instructable I am going to show you how to house a MP3 player in a cassette tape. I had the idea to build this quite some time ago, but while I was still waiting for the parts to arrive, instructable member lonesoulsurfer posted his version here.

So I decided to concentrate on other stuff and somehow forgot about it. After moving recently, the parts fell into my hands and decided to give this project an other shot, since my approach is quite different from lonesoulsurfers. My idea was to actually use the cassette tape wheels as buttons to select the songs and adjust the volume.

The cassette I used for this was broken and I decided to give it a new, more modern life.

Btw. I know that you can buy cassette MP3 players e.g. here or here, but I wanted to build one that looks completely like a normal cassette.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need


  • Cassette (that is held together with screws)
  • Block USB MP3 Player (e.g. from or a lot cheaper from ebay)
  • Glue (jb weld, faster setting 2 component glue)
  • Enameled copper wire (e.g. from
  • Two M3x20mm screws
  • Micro SD/TF card (max. 8GB)
  • Solder
  • 4 miniature snap action switches (e.g. from digikey)
  • Shipping labels (if you would like to change the label)


  • Soldering iron
  • Rework station (not a 100% necessary, but certainly helpful)
  • Sharp knife
  • Screw driver
  • Diamond file

Step 2: Take the MP3 Player Apart

Picture of Take the MP3 Player Apart

Start by taking the MP3 player apart. The bottom can easily be lifted off with anything sharp. There is a single screw next to the SD card, holding the board in place. Unscrew it and take everything out of the shell.

Remove the sticker from the buttons and unsolder the battery. You will also have to remove the audio plug, the on/off switch and the micro USB jack. A rework station is certainly helpful in fulfilling this task. Make sure to keep all the unsoldered parts, you will need them later on.

Step 3: Preparing the Cassette

Picture of Preparing the Cassette

Take the cassette apart in order for it to house all the components. Afterwards you will have to create the openings for the headphone plug, the USB jack and the switch. I decided to place the opening for the audio plug at the side of the cassette, so that I would be able to carry it around in my trouser pocket and to use the two already existing holes at the top of the cassette for the other two components.

Step 4: Creating the Push Buttons

Picture of Creating the Push Buttons

I decided to keep the magnetic tape, because removing it felt as if something was missing. Since I couldn't fit it in there entirely, I had to cut it to the correct size. To prevent the tape from unreeling, I used quick setting two component glue, as shown in the pictures. Before you do so, cut off an around 10 cm long piece, since you will need it later on.

Cut a small slot into the wheels and glue the screws into them (You don't have to cut the screw heads off, like I did). You can of course use any other type of pin, but I found that a M3 screw has the perfect size.

As you see in last step, the space is very restricted. You will have to cut some of the plastic from the wheels in order for them to fit (as shown in the pictures). Remember that you will have to move them later on, so make sure that you are able to do so. Afterwards glue the miniature snap action switches in place so that they can be operated by the pin. Connect them to the board, as shown in the pictures. If you have not worked with enameled copper wire before, don't worry it is quite easy to use. Simply use solder to burn the protective layer away. If you are still unsure, it is explained in this video.

Step 5: Assemble Everything

Picture of Assemble Everything

Solder everything back in place as shown in the picture. Make sure that the SD card fits and that everything moves fine. Use the JB weld to hold everything in place.

After the JB weld is set, glue the magnetic tape you prepared before back in place, as shown in the second picture. Make sure, that the wheel can sill be moved without any interference. Use the 10 cm piece of tape that you saved before and glue it to the two small wheels at the bottom of the cassette.

Screw the cassette back together and change the label, if you want to. Songs can by added with an USB cable, so you don't have to open the cassette every time.

I added a pdf of the label I made so that you can make your own Guardians of the Galaxy version. Upload the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and you are ready to safe the universe.


Tristepin made it! (author)2017-02-26

Read you instructable and tried it out installing it in an old Cassette Walkman.

However, i have solderd the wires as shown in your picture's. However, i can control "Play/Pause" - Sound "Louder/Softer" but not the "Forward-Reverse" fucntions.

How have you solved this problem?

Kind Regards,


parisusa (author)2016-07-25

I'm a teen of the 1980's so I think this is SO fun!

BarronD1 (author)2016-04-03

How did you cut the Magnetic Tape, I am confused about that, and I wanted to make it this week! Any info will be greatly appreciated!

BrittLiv (author)BarronD12016-04-04

Hi, I used an utility knife. Admittedly it was a bit tricky. Good luck!

BarronD1 (author)BrittLiv2016-04-04

So all it was was good old fashioned elbow grease, thanks!

FelisC (author)2016-01-24


Driverinmyhead made it! (author)2016-01-20

Not exactly a cassette.... but my son is a Guardian's of the Galaxy fan, and wanted a Sony Walkman TPS-l2. The original is heavy and EXPENSIVE. Not practical for a kid.

So I made this:

BrittLiv (author)Driverinmyhead2016-01-22

It looks great! Thanks a lot for posting a picture!

devicemodder (author)2016-01-12

Take it a step further and stick it inside on e of those car cassette adapters. That way, if you have a car with a cassette player, it will play this .

TechKiwiGadgets made it! (author)2016-01-12


Thanks for the great idea. Made as a gift over the holiday break for my daughter - "received awesome dad of the year award" :)

phantomfsoc (author)2015-02-25

Looks cool, does this mp3 player start playing as soon as its powered up or do you need to press play?

BrittLiv (author)phantomfsoc2015-03-25

Sorry for the late reply. It starts playing as soon as it is powered on

AlinaBaba (author)2015-02-21

Hey guys, i was just about to build this really nice mp3 player, i even have almost all componets but, when I started to plan the whole thing I just could not figure out whre the Play/Pause Buttion is. I figured that the action switches that you operate with the wheels are for volume up/down and next/previous song. The on/off switch is on top of the tape, but I cant finde the on/off button/switch. Can someone help me?

EpicMinecrafter870 (author)2015-02-04

I'm afraid i'll break the CPU.

eluvatar (author)2015-01-23

Thanks for sharing. I ordered all the stuff and started making it. However after a few hours I broke one of the pins on the mini USB port, at that point I gave up. props for what you did though. Very small solder points on the usb port.

jpm021990 (author)2015-01-15

Does anyone have a schematic or an explanation of which wires get soldered to where? There are 3 prongs on the headphone jack and I am unsure of which 2 to solder

EpicMinecrafter870 (author)2015-01-14

This is.......umm........wasteful and.............................................

tarn.greenlaw (author)2014-12-21

Quick question, the mp3 has 5 buttons and the cassette appears to only have 4. Where is the other switch?

lnelson13 (author)tarn.greenlaw2015-01-11

There are actually five. Two on each tape real and the power switch on the bottom.

AndrewB14 (author)2014-12-07

You could do this with an iPod shuffle and use the earbuds inline remote as the controller. That way you wouldn't have to solder all those control points. Im going to attempt that today.

kevinjameshunt (author)2014-12-03

This is awesome. Well done!!!

LucifurMacomb (author)2014-12-03

This is a really amazing design/layout!

I was thinking of giving it a go but was looking for an alternative to the micro switches you have listed. I found one of similar size and was wondering if it would do as a stand-in? ([12.8 x 6.5 x 5.8mm] Registered as a "Sub Miniature Lever Micro Switch") Sorry if a bother but: When looking for guidance, look to the masters :)

ninjanody (author)2014-10-31

Really well though of component placement... Nice......

Raitis (author)2014-10-22

The more I look at this the more I appreciate how well thought out it actually is with the visible tape and wheels for control. That's a James Bond level of disguise. :)

mikeasaurus (author)2014-10-17

Oooh - this is good, Britt!

BrittLiv (author)mikeasaurus2014-10-18

Thank you!

katelyn3565 (author)2014-09-14

I would love to make this! But I have no idea how to solder so could someone explain it in basic terms to me. I'll probably just get my electrician friend to help me anyway lol

shinmai (author)katelyn35652014-10-16

In basic terms, you heat a tool, called a soldering iron, to a high temperature, and use it to melt thin tin filament, called solder, to connect two metal connectors (in this instructable, mostly enameled wire to connectors on buttons and to the MP3 player's circuit board).

SparkFun has a great tutorial on soldering, the tools needed and basic technique:

srilyk (author)katelyn35652014-09-16

Soldering is actually really easy (though you want some practice first).

If you don't have your own iron already, just go to Radio Shack, Harbor Freight, or Walmart and you can find a cheap soldering iron that usually comes with some solder ($10 or less). You also want to pick up some flux, and either some desoldering braid or a pump (Radio Shack is the only place I've seen a cheap one). You'll be out $10-40 for these tools if you don't have 'em already (and maybe you can find them at a garage sale).

Then pick up some old electronics - either at a garage sale or something someone is throwing out (Freecycle is a great source) then practice desoldering and soldering stuff (make sure you have good ventilation!) Joule thief projects or circuit bending are both easy projects that you can find here on instructables. After a couple of projects you should have the skill & confidence you need to attempt this one.

Good luck!

BrittLiv (author)katelyn35652014-09-14

Please ask your electrician friend for help, the joints that need to be soldered are very small. Sadly, this is not a beginners project. Also unsoldering the part isn't easy either.

Robson Couto (author)katelyn35652014-09-14

Yeah, is better get help from your friend.

Nobody wants that you hurt yourself. ;)

JouniJ (author)2014-09-20

Just buy this one and save your time:

shinmai (author)JouniJ2014-10-16

Britt's design looks like an actuall casette (because it is) that's a vaguely casette shaped plastic blob with a cheap looking sticker on. You might save time, but if you don't care what the end product looks like, why not just buy a regular mp3-player?

ZippoPT (author)2014-10-11

First things first: BrittLiv, this is AWESOME!

Second part: I would love to give this one a go, but the main issue I'm having are those mini-micro-nano-switches you used. Any insight that you could provide on this would be useful (an ebay link would be perfect, but just the dimensions would also help).

Again: Awesome! ;)

BrittLiv (author)ZippoPT2014-10-12

Hi, I am German. So I bought them over here. The guy I bought them from sadly only sends them to countries in the European Union.

I attached an image. It is about 2.75 mm thick. I would be willing to get them to you should you really not be able to find them. In the mean time I will try to find similar ones in the US.

ZippoPT (author)BrittLiv2014-10-14

Hi BrittLiv,

The guy I bought them from sadly only sends them to countries in the European Union.

Guess who's lucky to live in Portugal...? THIS GUY! xD

Again, thanks a lot for your help! ;)

BrittLiv (author)ZippoPT2014-10-12

I added an link to the part list. I hope that it will fit.

thelostspore (author)2014-10-10

This is so legit...inspired.

mike.nutile (author)2014-10-02

I keep ordering mini switches and they're huge. Do I have to order a micro switch or something?

agis68 (author)2014-09-21

excellent project well executed and presented instructable....thanks and voted!

sanchezavilac (author)2014-09-20

The block mp3 doest ship to Mexico. Do you think any other mp3 will do? I was thinking of buying this one

BrittLiv (author)sanchezavilac2014-09-21

Hi, I have ordered those around 6 weeks ago to test them, but they haven't arrived yet. I honesly doubt that they will fit, though.

This guy seems to ship them everywhere:

sanchezavilac (author)BrittLiv2014-09-21

Awesome! Thanks.

puschii (author)2014-09-20

Hallo BrittLiv,ich denke mal du kannst dies lesen ;) (wegen der guten ORWO Kassette). Wie heißt denn der Mikrotaster genau? Ich finde bei Conrad leider keinen der ähnlich ist. Lieben Gruß d

BrittLiv (author)puschii2014-09-21

Hi, ich habe die Taster bei ebay gekauft:

Viel Spass beim Nachbauen!

Zaqq (author)2014-09-20

This is pretty great. I love the Guardians of the Galaxy theme.

Eh Lie Us! (author)2014-09-19

great detail work. thank you for sharing!

r3r3 (author)2014-09-17

It's amazing, amazon already proposes copper wire with this product Oo

BrittLiv (author)r3r32014-09-18

Lol, thanks for telling me!

audreyobscura (author)2014-09-17

You're the best. Great job!

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, my name is Britt Michelsen, I'm a Chemical Engineer especially interested in Computational Fluid Dynamics. To balance all the theoretical work I like ... More »
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