Introduction: How to Make Super-neat and Easy Custom-fit Earbuds / In-ear Monitors

Tom had a brainwave recently and devised a very clever way to customise his earbuds using sugru and created a perfect cast of the inside of his ear.

BENEFITS:
Create the perfect fit for your earbuds
Reduce background noise and deliver more bass and treble
As the shape of the buds are custom, they are also much less likely to fall out, great for exercising

His idea is simple, by putting sugru in the silicone sleeves supplied with your earbuds, you can create a perfect fit without putting sugru in your ears. This is a very clean and simple method to modify your audio kit with really impressive results.

Sugru is the perfect material for this because:
- It moulds and forms easily
- It bonds to the silicone sleeve
- It cures with a soft, flexible feel

If you need to stock up, sugru is available from www.sugru.com

Let's get started!






Step 1: What You Need

All you need is about a 1/4 of a mini pack of sugru, and your chosen in-ear headphones.

Maybe line up some other projects to do at the same time, so no sugru goes to waste! If you're stuck for ideas, check out other peoples hacks at www.sugru.com/gallery.

If you want your hack to blend in with your earbuds, you can use black. I've personally gone for yellow, to compliment the other colours.

Step 2: Getting the Bud Ready

The first thing you need to do is roll the jelly heads so the inner rubber tube is exposed.  

You don't actually have to remove them and in fact it's easier to just leave them on. 

Make sure the insides of your buds are clean by giving them a quick wipe. 


Step 3: Getting the Sugru Ready

Take about quarter of the minipack, and split it into two pea sized bits. Roll them out into small sausages, long enough to just overlap when you wrap it around the inner tube of the bud.

They don't need to be the full height of the bud, because we want to avoid the sugru spilling out of the bud when you squeeze it into your ear for the first time. Make sure there's just enough to make an impression with your earholes. 

Don't worry if you don't get it right the first time! Sugru doesn't harden for half an hour, so you have plenty of time. And even after that, if you ever want to pass on your headphones to someone else, sugru is removable - simply ease the buds inside out again and cut the sugru off the inner tube. A dry piece of tissue paper and your fingernail will get the last bits off. 

TOP TIP: A dry piece of tissue paper is the easiest way to get sugru off your buds, or even your fingers. 

Step 4: Attaching the Sugru

Get one of your sugru sausages and one of your earphones. Stick the end of the sausage to the base of the inner tube, and carefully wrap it around until it meets the other end of the sugru. If you have more sausage than stem, simply pinch off the end and then roll the whole thing through your fingers to smooth it out. 

Now all you need to do is invert the bud back to the way it was, but with the sugru inside. The easiest way to do this is to gently push and roll from the centre of the bud.  Stretch the rubber outwards so it covers all the Sugru. 

Don't worry if you feel you've put too much in, you can trim any excess off with a scalpel or even your fingernail while the Sugru is soft.

Repeat with your other bud, and you should have two sugru-filled buds ready for moulding. 

Step 5: Moulding the Buds

Now slowly ease the bud into your ear, whilst applying light pressure. You might want to play music through the headphones at the same time, to hear what positioning works best. 

Give the buds a final press to get the best fit, and then carefully pull them out of your ears.

TOP TIP from ibler Northener: "For a more snug fit, eg for sports earphones, be sure to keep your mouth a bit open while you insert your sugru mold. The outer ear canal expands when your jaws are not clinched tight."

TOP TIP: Don't twist the buds as you insert or remove them, as it might upset the impression of your ear. Be as careful as you can when inserting and removing the buds before the sugru has cured. 


Step 6: Curing Time.

Now hang your headphones up overnight, and by morning you'll have your very own custom-fit headphones.






Comments

author
T0BY (author)2016-12-08

Lovely idea.

author
HamzaA41 (author)2016-01-03

Running with music on the ear is vital for me as are my earphones (Headphones). I require both involving my cerebrum with something and keeping the beat running with my 180 bpm playlist. Great sound is essential, as is the outline quality. Read More... http://www.latestupdate.info/earplugs-headphones-that-wont-fall-out-of-your-ears/

author
jmedcraft (author)2015-07-17

Is there anything wrong with sugru in your ear? I lost the earbud covers and want to replace

author
jorgitojavelin (author)jmedcraft2015-07-30

No, it's not! Unless you're allergic to one of its components, which is liable to... However, you can get more info through their web page man

author
projectsugru (author)2013-03-31

What a great tip ! Thank you, I will pop that into the Instructable now so that more people know about it. Have you tried this project ?

author
Northener (author)2013-03-31

For a more snug fit, eg for sports earphones, be sure to keep your mouth a bit open while you insert your sugru mold. The outer ear canal expands when your jaws are not clinched tight..

author
cap826 (author)2013-01-26

very cool i might try this

author
DoctorWoo (author)2012-08-12

Did these with a pair of ZAGG Audio's headphones...and I gotta say, this is the BEST thing for headphones ever! It has made a huge difference for audio quality!
But, I do have to say...if you happen to have any hair in or near your ear with this...man does that hurt!

author
projectsugru (author)DoctorWoo2012-08-13

awesome, delighted that you found this useful. Can you post an image of yours ?

author
DoctorWoo (author)projectsugru2012-08-30

Bit of a late reply, and a poor picture of showing it off, but here it is! I ended up using a bit of leftover black from another project, and it kind of blends in.

IMAG0538.jpg
author
jarymo (author)2012-08-18

Here's a link to make your own sugru...

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/

author
jarymo (author)2012-08-18

Here's a post on making your own Sugru substitute, OOGOO!! I'm trying it tomorrow!

author
jamie60509 (author)2012-08-16

Tried this a few days ago and I dunno if I put too much sugru in or what but they are very uncomfortable now. I'm think I'm going to have to try again

author
martinex (author)2012-08-06

I purchased an expensive pair of Shure earbuds that sit in my junk drawer because they won't stay in my weird ears. This has been the case of every pair of earbuds that I've ever owned. Maybe Sugru can solve this problem. Anybody know of a retail store int the U.S. that carries it?

author
Kinnishian (author)martinex2012-08-06

I'm pretty sure either adafruit or sparkfun (or both) stock Sugru. They're both online stores, but wonderful places/people/sources for small stock of diy supplies.

author
CupcakeGizmo (author)2012-08-06

Nice idea. I would be worried that the sugru wouldn't be cured and would stick to the ears.

KOSS has an inexpensive ($15 plus warranteed for life) solution. They used a tube from the earbud and used an ear plug as a sleeve for the tube. I squish down the earplug and stick it in my ears until the plugs expand. They work so well as drowning out the external sound that I can use a chainsaw and still listen to music.

author
nriaziat (author)2012-08-04

Would this work or be useful on klipsch oval tips?

author
projectsugru (author)nriaziat2012-08-06

Yes, I just took a look at them and they use the same silicone sleeve as these earbuds :)

author
MTJimL (author)2012-08-05

This technique would apply well to custom fitting silicone noise insulating ear plugs that are similar in style to acoustic earbuds.

author
dragonbtv (author)2012-08-05

instead of sugru which we can not obtained in US, use the custom fit ear plug DIY material from either Rite Aid or CVS

author
AmyLuthien (author)dragonbtv2012-08-05

Here you go!

https://sugru.com/us/buy

author
Christopher B. (author)dragonbtv2012-08-05

We can actually get Sugru just fine in the states... We have some waiting for our projects in the fridge.

author
rocklocker (author)2012-08-04

Whilst?

author
shannonlove (author)rocklocker2012-08-05

Largely archaic form of "while". Don't see it much outside of the UK or Austraila unless someone has been reading a lot of Shakespeare.

author
rocklocker (author)shannonlove2012-08-05

I know what it means unfortunelately I don't hear it used very often. I was just in Scotland and Ireland for a wedding and some vacation time and enjoyed listening to the people talk. The scots appear to be very formal in their speech.

author
Selden (author)2012-08-05

Make your own Sugru substitute from 50/50 mixture of silicone caulk and cornstarch.

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/

author
sarawelder (author)2012-08-05

What a great tip! I wonder how this could be adapted for the earbuds that come with iPhones.... they fall out a lot for me but there is no rubber cover.... any ideas?

author
kjones5 (author)2012-08-05

I bought a kit to make custom ear plugs for shooting. It's an epoxy-style setup that you kneed and then insert into your ear. After the allotted time it is cured and you have custom earplugs. They work pretty good.

I've often thought about doing the same with headphones, but never got around to it.

Of course, that would create sound isolating headphones which aren't the best for all occasions like riding your bicycle on the street, but work really good for things like listening to music while doing noisy yard work.

author
Insonicbloom (author)2012-08-05

and if you want to make a DIY headphone amplifier (on stripboard) go here

author
Spokehedz (author)2012-08-03

Brilliant. This gets around the issue that Sugru can't really be put on skin until it's cured, as well as sticking to the inside of the ear.

author
CrashMGD (author)Spokehedz2012-08-04

would this work with something like play-dough?

author
Spokehedz (author)CrashMGD2012-08-04

I would say no, because sugru dosen't set up hard like PlayDoh. Also, PlayDoh shrinks as it dries, and it smells weird after a while.

If you don't want to get Sugru (there are thousands of other uses for it, BTW.) then you should just invest in better earbuds.

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Bio: The team behind Sugru, the mouldable glue that makes fixing and making easy and fun. Do-ers of the world it's time to get excited ...
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