Instructables

Easy Custom Fit Earphones. Perfected

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This project enables you to make your own custom earphones the easy way. No drilling or delicate work required. 

This is based on MDHGuys "Custom Fit Earbuds" , iLovegm's "Making a custom in-ear monitor"  and mikey77's "How to make your own Sugru alternative"

Having tried the other tutorials on making a custom fit earphone, the main stumbling block is the actual ear fitting and installation of the earphone driver body to deliver perfect sound and fit. If you are an amateur like myself and only own a basic set of tools, perfecting the ear-fitting and sound quality is certainly a challenge. 

If your current headphones are a good fit, but you want more sound isolation without using tools then this method is for you.

Materials:
1. Clear Silicon 100% Acetic cure $5.70- AUD (do not use "Neutral Cure" silicon. It does not produce the elasticity needed for this project)
2. Corn Flour / Corn Starch  $1.50AUD (available in the supermarket)
3. Small plastic cup $FREE
4. Mixing stick $2 for a pack of 50
5. Gloves $3 for a pack of 30
6. Art Oil paint , Colour of ur choice $6.60 AUD for a choice of 12 colours  
7. Vasaline / Lip balm

Preparation:
Step 1. Clean your ears then grease with Vaseline inside and all around your ears.
Step 2. Fit your earphones in. Connect earphones to favourite music.

What is Oogoo.  Oogoo is a moldable Silicon. Made of silicon and cornstarch. For this project we will using 40:60 Silicon to Cornflour ratio. I found this ratio produces an Oogoo that is easy to handle and will not stick to your ear canal and will solidify faster in your ear. This means the sensitive skin in your ear will not be exposed to the acetic acid for too long.

Here is a detailed explanation of making Oogoo (note they use a 1:2 or a 1:1 ratio which I found not to be useful for this application)

1. Make Oogoo. I used silicon in a caulking gun. 1 squirt is enough to make 2 pairs of earbuds. Add 1 squirt of silicon into the plastic mixing cup.

2. Colour the silicon. Add a pinch of oil paint. I wanted to achieve a solid vibrant red, so a pinch of about 10% of the volume of silicon is needed. Use less paint to get a lighter colour.

3. Colour  adjusting . Mix the silicon and paint together. wile mixing you can see the colours mix in. Keep in mind that once you add in the cornflour the colours will lighten by a further 5 - 10 % so you might want to add in a a bit more paint in now if the colour is looking too light or add in more silicon of its too dark.

4. Add in Cornflour.  What ever amount of coloured silicon you have in the plastic cup right now. Add in an equal amount of cornflour plus a further 10% to produce a roughly 40:60 silicon to cornflour ratio. Mix until the it becomes a paste. Keep on mixing the paste further and further until the paste gathers on the mixing stick and turns into a soft sticky doughy ball. Then dust the dough and your gloves and start kneading the mixture in your hands. If it's still sticky, dust further with cornflour. Knead the mixture until it firms up like play-dough.  

5. Prepare 2 portions for your ears. Separate the mixture into small balls a bit bigger than your thumb. Knead the balls individually a bit and then dust with corn flour

6. Apply Oogoo to ears  Because you already have your earphones in playing your favourite music, simply stuff the dusted portions in your ear covering up your earphones and filling in any air pockets around your ear. You want to achieve a total ear seal that cannot be achieved by your earphones alone. You will be able to hear this happen as you make the final seal. Keep on adjusting the seal and fit of the Oogoo around your ears until you are happy with the sound quality and comfort of the your new Oogoo earphones. 

Wait for about 15 - 20 mins. You may feel a slight burning or sore feeling around your ears but it is temporary. 

7. Remove from ear and separate  By this time the earphones should have solidified into a soft rubber. Slowly and carefully remove your new custom modified earphones from your ear. By This point you can see most or part of the earphone is incased inside the Oogoo and could be detached from the Custom mould.

8. Forming the custom Tip.  
8a. Remove the rubber tips. Cut the flang of the tips leaving only the sound tube. Install the sound tubes on. 

8b. Mix another batch of Oogoo. as exactly shown above but all halved as you will not need as much. Once again regrease your ears in preperation for a second molding. Once you have another batch of Oogoo ready, simply fill in gaps of where the Earphone body is still exposed from the first moulding. most importantly surround the Rubber sound tube you have just cut from step 8a with Oogoo. Surround the tubes with a bit more volume that what the original rubber tips would have occupied. This will ensure a total seal.

Carefully reinsert into your ears trying to get a good seal. Since your music will be playing you will be able to hear if you have achieved a good seal or if the sound tube has become blocked. if so DO NOT remove, this will not be a problem as you will be able to clear the blockage with scissors later.

Wait for another 20 mins to set.

9. Remove carfully and inspect the tip. If there is a blockage of the sound tube or Oogoo has moved beyond the sound tube simply cut it back or cut out a hole to clear the sound tube.

Finishing up: Wash your ears and apply moisturising cream/ Aloe or Sun burn lotion to calm and sooth your ears after exposure to acetic acid. You will need to repeat this for a few days after. Allow your headphones to fully cure for at least 24 hours before use.  

Enjoy your new custom fit earphones.


Final remarks:
Neater look:
Looking back, I think i should have made the second moulding the same colour so the resulting custom would look neater. However since the materials are so cheap, there is nothing stopping me from doing another cast. 
Non Irritating Oogoo formula: Is there a Home DIY Alternative to the formula used in Radians Ear Plugs or is there a version of Oogoo out there that does not produce Acectic Acid when it cures?
bstullis1 year ago
I tried this but found that the pieces I made didn't have as much shape to them. I greased the ears after the oogoo was mixed (problem #1) then I placed the balls in my ears with the Vaseline in place but no corn starch.
I was wondering if you did the process more than 1 time to get the shape on the outside and inside (steps 5-7) (then steps 8-9) to get the clean shape you wanted??

Just looking for suggestions (also using v-moda earbuds similar to the pair in the large pic of the dusted ear), did you cover the ear piece first then press it into the ear?? would that give you a better impression prior to the canal portion. . . just thinking/wondering if it would work..

thanks for any suggestions

BenT
40:60 ratio = 2:3 ratio. Just saying. =)
Exitao2 years ago
I was just wondering if you experienced any shrinkage?
ilovegm2 years ago
Oh wow, I like your 2 step approach. Simple and effective!
Does the new oogoo stick well to the cured oogoo?
It does stick to the fully cured oogoo. It actually somewhat fuses and becomes a single piece of oogoo. If you want the two pieces to not stick just put some vaseline on the first layer and clean it off once both pieces are cured.
vreme2 years ago
Non irritating formula:
Use dental alginate to make ear impressions, then make a mold using oogoo. Cast plugs using any material.
cool ........ but make it with different way....like inseting ear plugs.