Instructables
Picture of Coffee Cup iPhone Speaker
This speaker set is made from a regular pair of earbuds and a paper coffee cup. This is inspired by these cup speakers that made some noise in late 2008. I always thought that they were a cool design and playful and wanted to try it out to see if it was effective.

To be fair, the original creator admitted it wouldn't be when he said, "The increase in volume, of coarse, is radiculous, but hey, you get stylish iPod accessory out of nothing!"

Still, I figured why not try it out and just see hear what happens. I have an old pair of earbuds that I can try it out with and a couple coffee cups that were just hanging out on my desk waiting to get recycled anyway.

 
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Step 1: Cut a hole

Picture of Cut a hole
speaker2.jpg
speaker3.jpg
This step is easy enough.
  1. Draw a dot in the center of the bottom of the cup
  2. Use that as a guide for placing your earbud against it
  3. Trace the shape of the earbud
  4. Cut out a slightly smaller shape

Step 2: Stick the earbud in

Picture of Stick the earbud in
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Shove the earbud in from the back and keep it in place with a couple pieces of duct tape or, as pictured, gorilla tape.

Step 3: Add a couple toothpicks for legs

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The speakers needed to be pointed up so I attached two halves of a toothpick to the bottom with more tape. Not too sturdy, but enough to try it out.

Step 4: Test!

Picture of Test!
Thanks to randofo, I was able to use a decibel meter to check the improvements in volume.

The first test I did was to put the meter right at the mouth of the cup. I compared this reading with a measurement of the volume coming from the other earbud at the same distance. The height of the cup was about 5" so I measured the earbud from 5" away as well.

The difference? Huge! The cup speaker was about 15 decibels louder than the naked earbud. Pretty impressive, right?

Well, no, not really. That would be assuming that your ear is right up in the cup and if you're doing that you might as well just be wearing them.

So time for more testing...

spark master9 months ago
Oh lest I fergit, this a nice and simple project, and it sounds reasonable. I may make a pair out of old headphones.

By putting the phones at back of cup (not dropping in), you get more sound and some amplification. A Bose Wave Radio and tuba have bent gradually enlarged sound tubes (pipe organs have long unbent ones), this allows for louder and directed sound.

There is a very nice explanation for it and I can't remember it, (too far back to High School)

ciao
spark master9 months ago
Hi All,

I ask this question here as there may be sound centered people who remember this guy,(me thinks it was a guy).

There was a web site a number of years ago where a gent recorded vibrating telephone poles/wires. He gave instructions on How to build the listening pick up, he was trying to get the sounds of "singing" telephone poles from across the world.

Does anyone remember him/her, and have the url to his old site?

Then we may be able to use WayBack Machine to find it!

Please cross post this request across the web so it can be found, send an email or post it here.

I think it was a hoot, and would like to try it

thanks

Have a great day,
( don't get caught)

sparkie
Ninja4Life3 years ago
Nice! Look's promising, gonna try ASAP.
jrg3ni0us3 years ago
This was an easy to follow tutorial. Kudos to anyone who actually came up with the idea
techturtle24 years ago
you cuold just put the earbuds INSIDE the cup no holesjust drop it in
coffee cup speaker.png
It allows some more room in the cup for the sound waves to bounce off of before it leaves the cup, I believe.
Why not use a cheap pair of old school headphones?
jedi_knight4 years ago
just out of curiosity how loud is it?
THECHINABOY4 years ago
Very easy to follow steps thanks.
Aztof4 years ago
ummm, i did the exact same thing in slideshow format a while ago, I love your work, and subscribe, but a little credit would be nice
fungus amungus (author)  Aztof4 years ago
I hadn't seen yours before. Besides, I did give credit to the original place I saw this idea in the intro. That one was posted online several months before yours.
I originally got my idea from a short article in one of the (fairly) recent issues of Make magazine, which (and i don't mean to troll here, but) i believe precedes the website where you got your inspiration for these speakers.
i've been doing this for at least 7 years with Styrofoam, paper, and plastic disposable cups.  when ever friends came over and we wanted to listen to music, we did this.  i only had a CD player so this made it possible for more than 2 people to use it at once (not very well mind you but better than nothing.
in fact one of my friends did this with his "hit clips" (www.warpbreach.com/8/hitclips.gif for those that dont know what they are)  

the idea is not very original and its more of a "poor mans" solution if any thing else.  saying this is your idea is like saying you invented how to shoot a rubber band off your finger.

hopefully this does not come off as rude or mean.  i'm just trying to clarify that credit for this is imposable to give and MAKE did not come up with the idea.
fungus amungus (author)  Aztof4 years ago
And the idea was probably done before that MAKE article. Regardless, I cite my inspiration and have no concern with any other prior art since none of it directly affected this.

Not sure why it matters since the whole point of this Instructable is that there's no point to doing it. Who cares who came up with the bad idea first?
 Honestly, I bet people have come up with this idea long before the Make magazine did. It's not that complicated to think of. In fact, I almost made this from a completely original idea a couple months back.

And as long as you cited the place you got it from, you're fine.
roland9854 years ago
Good idea, stupid implementation, this is a mono speaker, stick both ear plugs in so that you don't miss half the song. Or, make 2, and have a stereo setup.
fungus amungus (author)  roland9854 years ago
Um, thanks? It's an OK idea, but the point of the whole Instructable was to test it out and see if it was worth doing. The results are that it isn't. Why waste time making two bad speakers?
Mount it near your bed so you can go to sleep without waking up with a pair of mangled earbugs in the morning. Or you could just buy a dock!
M.C. Langer4 years ago
I love it!!!!
dkfa4 years ago
2 very similar instructables were posted wayyyy back. One by me and a other by some other guy.

Wouldn't this be copying?
fungus amungus (author)  dkfa4 years ago
You might want to reread the intro. It is copying, but not of your idea.
very nice and easy-to-follow tutorial. good job!!!
qwertyty4 years ago
What do you use this for?

Goodhart4 years ago
Hmmm,   am I allowed to "fiddle" with this, and try something, pretty much different, but end up with the same device? 
fungus amungus (author)  Goodhart4 years ago
Why are you even asking for permission? :)
I mean, for the contest......as for permission,  well I was having a bit of a bad day yesterday.....very anxious, a bit paranoid;  tis a bit better today....but I just didn't want to "step on any toes" with what might be viewed as a "stolen idea"  :-) 
fungus amungus (author)  Goodhart4 years ago
"Stolen idea"!?! Pffft. This one is itself a stolen idea with the addition of some further testing as to its effectiveness. As kelseymh pointed out, attaching drivers to cones is hardly new.

Go nuts. Unless you copied each picture and bit of text without adding anything at all I really don't care. I care more that you'd hold back from doing something because of this.
Ok,  let me see if I can get my old piezo element to make some noise again ;-) 
XOIIO4 years ago
Where did you get the decibel meter? How much? I've always wanted one!
fungus amungus (author)  XOIIO4 years ago
I borrowed it from Randofo. It's from RadioShack and costs $50 new.
Sweet, I'l have to get one online sometime.  
Do you have an Iphone or Ipod touch? Theres a few decibel meter apps. One comes with Appzilla, a 50 in 1 app, which i def recommend. I don't know how accurate it is though!
iPod touch, and i would rather spend money on something made to do the job. Apple makes cruddy microphones
noahw4 years ago
Maybe this is how you do it...
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fungus amungus (author)  noahw4 years ago
Yes! The answer is always buying more stuff.
noahw noahw4 years ago
Javin0074 years ago
Argh!  This is what I was going to do (though doing it a bit differently).
noahh4 years ago
Dang, this is what I thought I would submit. This is well done, though.
I did something like this in high school physics class, except we wound our own coils and placed a permanent magnet in the center.  Can't say much for sound quality.

This is a wonderful experiment for kids to learn about sound and magnetism simultaneously.  Very cool. 
 the main pic looks brilliant. I might have to do this with my pair of broken earphones. It'd look nice 
kelseymh4 years ago
What goes around comes around...

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