Introduction: Steampunk Headphones

Picture of Steampunk Headphones

Cost: Nada. Difficulty: only finding the parts and figuring out how to attach them.

This owes much to the Jackhammer headphones entry. I made a pair of those, complete with acorn nuts bolted to the plastic of the earmuffs to make them look more industrial. Did not do the trick.

I then thought of making headphones from scratch, or at least making earmuffs from scratch and putting in the cheap speakers later. Here is the result of that venture...

Step 1: The Stuff I Used.

Picture of The Stuff I Used.

I'm not going to take them apart and document every piece, but I'll go into the stuff I made them out of.

For the headband, I used, of all things, a steel water hose that would normally be attached to a toilet (it was new, not used), and snaked a steel rod through the braided hose, to be bent to fit my head later.

Step 2: More on the Stuff I Used.

Picture of More on the Stuff I Used.

Then I took a pair of matching cable-retention brackets I found in my garage, and bent them a bit to fit around the hose.

Then came the part I congradulate myself on. I was thinking of using maybe large steel funnels for this part, but... Altoids tins proved useful once again, specifically the round "sour" kind. Punched some holes for the bolts, put some washera and nuts on, and I had the exterior done, for functional purposes. Might (did) put some other wierd doohicky on their afterward for aesthetics.

Step 3: The Guts.

Picture of The Guts.

Since I had already made a pair of plastic jackhammer headphones, I had a pair of working drivers to use. Cut out circles of 2mm thin packing foam, put them in the tins, then the drivers, then some 1cm thick larger circles of black foam. There we go!

Here I am wearing them. If you have nothing nice to say about my hair, I don't want to read it!

Step 4: The Matching Piece...

Picture of The Matching Piece...

Here is what I was trying to accomplish with the whole jackhammer phones in the first place: to have listening devices that worked well with my steel-encased Creative Zen, which I will document on a later entry. Here is a breif glance at what I speak of.

UPDATE: finally found out what that threaded piece on the end of the hose is: 1/2 compression fitting, it's called that because of the rubber gasket inside that is compressed with installation. Found some brass stuff that fits it, screwed them together. Think I'll make a hangar for the end of the wire when it's not plugged into anything.

Oh yeah, also encased the 3.5mm jack in some doodad, a wierd chromed data plug housing, looks armored now. Could bash my way out of a car window in an emergancy. No, that's my Zen's job. Much heavier and with corners.

Step 5: Added Accents

Picture of Added Accents

Forever the tinkerer as I am, I found the edges of the tins were less than comfy against my skull. Among the junk in my garage I found some channel-shaped rubber bumpers that were intended for transporting large, heavy, sharpedged steel plates. They have steel ribs moulded into them, and after cutting two to the circumference of the tins, they fit nicely. Cushy, and further funky looking.

I also found that the braided steel hose tended to grab my hair when I took these off... another of the nearly infinite uses for bicycle inner tube!

The jack was moulded plastic and kinda boring, so I rummaged through the box of "useful metal bits" and found the housing for some wierd data cable. The only problem is that it weighs as much as 6 or 8 US quarters, so I will have to find a way to keep track of it...

And I found a way: tucked a neodymium magnet under the innertube on one side, which holds the plug safely out of what I'm doing!

And there is the brass compression elbow and cap, with glass marble periscope lense. TA-DAAAAAA!


Yoloswag975 (author)2013-12-06

I use old earbuds and just deck them out to make headphones, much less complex than most Headphone Steampunk DIY and its less costly too!

Elnxida (author)2011-09-19

"Moooom, it's looking at me!!!" would be better suited if you let the periscope swivel, like attached to a rod-ball-socket contraption. And might I suggest sneaking a mic in there? One of the big, overly puffy ones that make you want to eat it like cotton candy? This way, you can use it with phones, while retaining the steampunky look. I'm going to try making this when I get the materials.

BTW, to save space, I like the hair. It speaks out to people, like "I'm different, in a good way, so get over it." If anyone berates you on your hair, compliment their individuality.

mechaninja (author)2011-03-12

I have neon blue hair. Unatural colors aren't bad.

tuckerton296 (author)2010-03-27

 im makeing that this, but i am going to put a mic on the otherend, or prehaps instead of the eye

LkArio (author)2009-08-19

I think you should replace the cables, those thin ones will surely break after a while.

The Ideanator (author)LkArio2009-09-12

You should tell that to some companies that charge you buckets for something that breaks within months. Stupid SkCd FMJ's.

 I agree with that skullcandy comment.

You had a pair that did that?

yup. the original full metal jackets, as well as my $150 skullcrushers.
ridiculous, however they still work, just the exposed wire is annoying.

Well, after my $80 pair of FMJs started going bad(one ear somehow gotclogged, so I cracked it open and blew compressed air through theeartube piece and glued it back together) it was terribly annoying.after my fix, the wire right at the ear started breaking so I putsuperglue on it to temporarily stop the breaking, but that made itworse. with all the fixing I did, i bet they would not give me the freewarrenty, so I was going to run some really high power through them toblow the bud, but I dont know anyone that has an amp.

In the end, I just cut them up for the slider and the plated plug.

that guy chaz (author)2008-10-31

i have a pair of really old headphones like these! but mine are bout 60 years old.....

Oh my, I have a pair that are probably half as old now that I think about it. They have superb sound, about 10-18kHz with no wavering and probably on up above 20k as well, and I use them every day.

corey_caffeine (author)2009-09-19

do they still make sours?

illumin (author)2009-08-21

is the metal band uncomfortable? seems like it would be.

WurlitzerGirl (author)2009-06-18

Hey, I think pink hair is awesome! Mine hasn't been an unnatural color in a while... I should do that again soon...

SureShot (author)2009-03-30

Cool headphones! I love this steampunk stuff.

urban1413 (author)2009-02-10

what sort of machine did you use to make the earmuff part of the headset?

frogmeetcog (author)urban14132009-03-01

the can parts are indeed altoids tins, with holes punched through with a nail and hammer, and for the foamy things I cut two octagons out of a sheet of 1cm thick black foam with scissors, and stuffed them inside.

um, one of the photo notes said he used Altoids tins.

frogmeetcog (author)2009-01-22

Also since I posted this I found some rubber channel-shaped bumpers that I cut to the cirumferance of the tins and padded the edges that contacted my noggin. Much comfier now. Okay I shall have to postify more pics because the black plastic 3.5mm jack is now encased in something metallic too. The modding never ceases!

frogmeetcog (author)2009-01-22

Jeepers, I looked different with hair on my head and none on my face. The braided steel hose does grab hair with gusto. I have a strip of bicycle innertube wrapped around the topmost section right now until I can get my hands on some leather. I recently found out that the threaded thingy at the end of that hose is a standard compression fitting, thus I was able to find a brass (yay!) elbow that screwed right in there. I am thinking about putting something funky/punky/insane in the other end of said elbow... I wonder if that keychain laserpointer will fit? "resistance is futile, and furthermore quite uncooth, lad!" (steamborg)

Guy.Fawkes (author)2008-11-24

You're going to want to put a Tygon or other clear plastic tube over the steel braid, unless your head is both hairless and abrasion-proof.

benhudson (author)2008-10-23

Very nice Instructable, and I assure you that it will soon form part of my latest project. Steampunk + Jackhammer = Steamhammer :)
For those of us who live in the UK, where Altoids are seldom seen (saw them one ages ago - would buy their entire stock if I saw them again), what tins make adequate substitutes? I'm thinking shoe polish, ring-pull tuna cans... any ideas?

Rev. Redmond Farrier (author)2008-09-30

Seldom do you see such simplicity turn out such wonderful results! I have been trying to figure out how to make a pair of these for myself. After seeing your instructable I realized that I was overcomplicating the process. (which I have a tendency to do) I will have to build mine using your plans (with a little modification so as to not be a total rip off of your design).

For those reading this who want an older brassier look, you can burn the tins in a fire, clean the soot off with fine sandpaper and steel wool. Then cover it in gold spraypaint and distress it with steel wool. You get something like this,
You could also use brass braided hose.

My good sir, it is already 8:30PM, but you have still made my day. I was trying to think of how to put more brass items on these (quite the nifty looking alloy it is) but of course with China presently clamoring for copper and brass to make into things, prices of said commodities are through the roof. But now I can make steel resemble brass WHILE burning something, you say? Joyous news!

Gerjan (author)2008-09-21

This looks really cool, I'm new to steampunk but somehow I feel inspired now! :D

srilyk (author)2008-09-09

I love the use of altoids tins. Great job!

Doctor What (author)2008-09-06

I'm wanting to get into steampunk, so I'll start off with these!

Doctor What (author)Doctor What2008-09-06

BTW, the hair looks great.

lupinesoul (author)2008-08-03

Awesome. I have two questions: 1. For the Altoids, did you use 2 bottoms, 2 tops, or mixed? 2. Did you paint over them or anything?

Doctor What (author)lupinesoul2008-09-06

It looks like two bottoms of the sours altoids.

abadfart (author)2008-07-03

very nice i got to make some of thees

NetReaper (author)2008-06-01

This is nice for steampunk, though i prefer to make my headphones out of a crystal radio

shooby (author)2008-03-26

Yeah, I'd like to see more brass, less aluminum-altoids tin's while great more this, have direct modern day connotations. Good job though

frogmeetcog (author)shooby2008-03-27

Put a magnet on one of those tins-they are steel, though very thin. I sanded off the expiration dates and Altoids logos, for a much less 21st century effect. Copper and brass prices are through the roof, dude. I will have to scavenge some construction sites for brass and/or copper if I want to use some!

TheMadTinker (author)frogmeetcog2008-05-13

You could just electroplate the things; heck, just toss the tins in a bath of white vinegar with a couple dollars worth of pennies and in a few days you'll have some nice copper cans.

shooby (author)frogmeetcog2008-03-27

Not sure where you are located so I won't recommend particular stores, but in larger art/craft stores you can buy really thin copper sheet, 4"x6" approx., for less than US$5. Might be an option. Otherwise, look for spray paint with a 'hammered metal' finish, comes out really well when sprayed on metal.

prototype2213 (author)2008-04-21

u could add a padded headband by taking a peice of padding and attaching it to the metal headband

AceFace (author)2008-04-19

A bit more to the actual inner design would be nice, but I think I could do it in some time anyway. I like the use of available parts. I got a bright idea to run the wire through the bendable hose and run it out one headphone instead of both. I can even think of putting a microphone out one side. I can play games like halo and still look like a punk... a STEAMPUNK! I mean, you can't hel but look like a bad-ass in these. Really!

jaysbob (author)2008-03-28

those look extremely uncomfortable. still neat idea.

neogeek (author)2008-03-27

After lurking for close to a year. This is the first one I have commented on. Nice mod! Looking forward to seeing how you covered your Zen.

hack124x768 (author)2008-03-27

"Here I am wearing them. If you have nothing nice to say about my hair, I don't want to read it!" I know how that goes. :p

GorillazMiko (author)2008-03-26

Pretty cool! I would like to see more brass, agreeing with shooby, those stuff looks really cool. Nice job1

hammerhead (author)2008-03-26

I'd like to do this with my Koss Porta Pro:s. The speaker elements are easily detached/attached to the original headband making it easy to change back to the original configuration. Then again, why would I? They're not exactly a fashion accessory, ugly as they are.

cry_wolf (author)2008-03-26

Dude i like your hair, its like a raver style. You happen to shuffle or rave? And i love the headphones, i might make these for some friends that hooked me up majorly on some spraypaint :D Now did you say you used earbuds? Because my friends got these headphones that are busted up but the sound is great, so you think i could use those? And where did you get the foam for the altoids tins? Thanks :D

frogmeetcog (author)cry_wolf2008-03-26

I used a pair of largish headphones that I think came with my Phillips portable CD player, back in the day. I popped off the plastic housing and headband, and was left with a pair of fairly flat, disc-shaped speakers that fit right into the tins. Earbuds would probably not work as well, at least not as easily. They have to be the kind with a wire going down from each ear to the music. The foam is stuff that is left over from packaging my father's Zeiss microscope parts, but I think even a few layers of thick felt might be porous yet soft enough to do the job.

Tool Using Animal (author)2008-03-26

Really nice, more "low tech" than steampunk, but that's a matter of definition.

About This Instructable




Bio: I enjoy making things of all sorts, with an emphasis on bicycles, tiny/useful/just plain nifty devices, cartoonish arch-villany, and not destroying the planet ... More »
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