Instructables

Make an old timey sounding microphone for free to $5

Picture of Make an old timey sounding microphone for free to $5
In this instructable I'm going to show you how to make an old timey sounding microphone that will plug into a guitar amp or something with a similar plug (1/4" phono plug).

 
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Step 1: What you need

Picture of What you need
-1/4" Female phono connector (guitar jack, whatever you want to call it)
-Soda can
-Piezoelectric buzzer, mine is quite large and came from a telephone ringer
-Some wire, both stranded type (if your leads from the piezo element aren't long enough) and safety wire (if you want a super ghetto attachment system like me)

Step 2: Connect the leads

Picture of Connect the leads
I was lucky, the leads from my piezoelectric thingy were long enough to reach from one end of the soda can to the other. It yours do not, solder on some more wire to extend them.

Now, connect the black lead to the part of the 1/4" phono jack that is like a ring; the ground. Next connect the red one on to the part that connects to the J looking thing; the positive.

You should end up with something looking like this \/

Step 3: Removing the "lid" off the can.

Picture of Removing the
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Now we need to take the top out of the can, you can do this by cutting but I'll be highlighting the cool kid way.

The way I did it was to sand lip on the drinking side on a belt sander until the "lid" relased. If you don't have a belt sander, well, figure something out, it's not to hard.

Step 4: Cut a hole in the "lid"

Picture of Cut a hole in the
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Now we need to cut a hole in the lid for the piezo element to stick through.

I traced out my buzzer first, then started a cut with a dremel, but then I got lazy and just ripped it from there (beast, I know). I of course cleaned up the jagged rip marks with a sanding bit.

Then test fit! Cool, it fits!

Step 5: Put a hole in it.

Picture of Put a hole in it.
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You could probably just smash a hole through, but either way, I drilled a hole in the bottom for my jack to screw into.

Then just put the jack through, and screw on the nut, good and tight!

nkashyap3 years ago
is it for vocals....?????
LeviMan_2001 (author)  nkashyap3 years ago
If you sing into it. It's not designed for anything in particular, it's really just a buzzer in a can.
Yeah, awesome project !!! I've just tried to make it this afternoon, and it's amazing ! I only replaced safety wire by gaffa or duct tape... with an awful french beer can (excuse my poor english... ).
Using a plastic membrane (as plastic bag, why not?) in place of the can top with the piezo glued on (without plastic shield) could be another experience to make... with large and thin piezos.
Thanks a lot, you give me many ideas...
Jt7hm73 years ago
pop can tops also come off with a standard can opener around the outer most silver lip on the top of the can only.
PS1183 years ago
Would you mind posting an mp3 or youtube so we can hear what it sounds like?
LeviMan_2001 (author)  PS1183 years ago
Added a link in the last step.
Thanks. Great old sound. Alos, loved the song! :)