I have an interest in music and recording. I want to develop my voice and also record the instrumental music I make. In order to record the scat singing I do sometimes, I wanted a portable microphone, so that I can do other things while I sing.
At first I thought of wearing the recorder around my neck, like a necklace. Movement of the dangling microphone would bring it into contact with my chest and clothing; thus creating unwanted noise. About the only place to wear it that wouldn't have that problem was on top of my head.
Step 1: Safety
Vinyl Chloride, one of the components of PVC, is carcinogenic. When it is locked up in the polymer, however, it is much safer to be around. In my years of experience working with PVC, I have not noticed any adverse effects on my health from being around it.
Always work in areas with good ventilation. If you do get caught in a cloud of smoke, hold your breath and move to clean air.
When heating PVC with a gas stove or propane torch, try not to let it burn. Smoke from burning PVC is bad. With experience one burns it less and less. Don't panic the first time you do burn some. It scorches, but doesn't immediately burst into flame. Move the material away from the flame and try again. Don't breathe the smoke. Smoke avoidance comes naturally for most people.
While heating PVC over a gas flame, keep the plastic an appropriate distance from the flame to avoid scorching the surface before the inside can warm up. It takes time for heat to travel to the center of the material being heated.
Keep the plastic moving, and keep an eye on the state of the plastic. When heated, the PVC material is flexible, like leather. Beyond this stage, you risk scorching it.
A word from James, the plastic engineer -- "Just a word of warning, PVC can handle some high heats but if it catches fire, you wont be able to put it out, it does not need oxygen to burn so don't do this inside".
I do work inside, but my house is made of cement and has good ventilation. MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE GOOD VENTILATION. PLAY WITH FIRE -- CAREFULLY.
Step 2: Layout
I decided to fold up tabs at either end, which would prevent the recorder from moving lengthwise. The tabs could be used to hold it all down with a rubber band.
I had already modified some of the molded clear plastic packaging material that the recorder came in. I made it so that I could hang it around my neck. I kept the record button pushed by means of a sliding nut on a stick held down by a rubber band.
At this point, I was still trying to keep all of my options open, so the necklace string is still attached. Later, I cut it off and replaced it with a short loop of string, for hanging the microphone overhead.
Step 3: First Cuts
Step 4: Heat Forming
You want the head piece to fit comfortably on your head. The contact surface is spread out by heat forming the plastic to take the contours of the head.
In this step, I heated the sides of the piece that made contact with my head and pressed them down over my hat. The hat protected my scalp from the hot plastic. When the plastic cooled, it hardened up again.
When the plastic was formed, I drilled four holes for passing the nylon string through that serves as a chin strap.
Step 5: The Chin Strap
To keep nylon string from fraying after you cut it, use a match flame. The fused ends of the string don't fray. They can even be shaped a little while the plastic is still soft, but be careful not to burn your fingers.
Step 6: Don't Block the Microphone Hole
One of the tabs that was bend up to hold the recorder was blocking the microphone hole, so I drilled a hole in the tab.
Step 7: Put It Together and What Have You Got?
The double chin straps hold the unit securely in place. It is light weight and not uncomfortable to wear.
Step 8: Sample Recordings
At least the Microphone Hat was a success!