Wood Headphones using 123D Catch + SolidWorks + ShopBot.

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Picture of Wood Headphones using 123D Catch + SolidWorks + ShopBot.
Wood has been know to have a great warm tonal quality for music. It only makes sense then to craft a pair of headphones from wood.

This tutorial illustrates how to create a pair of functioning headphones from wood.

I used:


-an iPad with Autodesk 123D Catch software to capture my head profile (free 123D Catch download)
     *you may use a digital camera & Autodesk 123D Catch for online instead
-SolidWorks CAD software to model the headphones
-Adobe Illustrator software (free Illustrator trial)

-12" x 7" x 0.85" thick walnut lumber
-1" thick high density gray foam (I purchased at Canal Rubber in NYC)
-speakers: 2X 40mm 0.1W round speaker drivers from, model number GF0401M-ND
-RCA jacks: 2X barrel jacks from, model number CP-1413-ND
-3' long 1/8" stereo to dual phono Y-cable at Radioshack
-4" of 20 gauge insulated wire
-2x brass hinges 3/4" x 11/16" at HomeDepot
-I reference my friend John's great 13:30 Printable Headphone tutorial at Thingiverse for the audio components

-ShopBot CNC router
-portable power drill or drill press
-soldering iron
-wire cutter/stripper

-a buddy to assist you with your 123D Catch
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Step 1: 123D Catch your head

Picture of 123D Catch your head
As a product designer, I've worked on my fair share of headphones. Head profiles come in an infinite number of sizes & shapes. I wanted to create a pair of headphones that fit my dome perfectly. By using 123D Catch, I created an accurate CAD representation of my head.

Using the iPad (or digital camera) open the Autodesk 123D Catch app. Have a buddy take photos of your head. Your photographer should start at a low angle & progressively increase the height of the camera. They should move around your head in about 15-20 degree increments for each photo. Use the maximum of the 30 allotted photos for a more accurate catch. Hold your pose as still as possible for the best results.

My face resulted in looking a bit warped, but my head profile was decent enough to model headphones around.
fedestefa10 months ago

cool nice design well done

Nice! Love the design.
vanwazltoff2 years ago
you should try some open grado like cans for your next project
Vorst932 years ago
Very nice! Any idea where I can get drivers with a range of 20-20000Hz
(not on Digikey)?
damonite (author)  Vorst932 years ago
I'm not sure where you can get drivers with those specs. I hate to be captain obvious, but did you try google?
Very cool design! What kind of drivers did you use and how do they sound?
damonite (author)  cuttlefishobat2 years ago
Hey, thanks!
I listed the drivers I used under the Materials section.
-speakers: 2X 40mm 0.1W round speaker drivers from, model number GF0401M-ND
They are really cheap (under $5 each). They have a lot of treble & not much bass, but worked for a first attempt.
sugarsnout2 years ago
Awesome....i don't think I could make these myself but will ask someone to!! love them.
(removed by author or community request)
damonite (author)  littlebuddha2 years ago
Hey littlebuddha,
thank you for your blunt critique. I do agree the earcup pads could look a bit cleaner, but this was more of an experiment to see if our ShopBot could cut foam. I rather like the DIY rough aesthetic though. If you have another method of cutting foam in a more clean manner, I am open for suggestions.

p.s. You may want to proofread your posts before submitting them.
I like the inperfect DIY style. Anyway cutting sponge as it is in geometric shapes may be almost impossible because it is a soft material. I would try dipping foam in some sort of freezing medium like melt margarine, freeze the whole thing hard solid and then cut with some sharp blade such a scalpel or surgical scissors, then melt and wash in some ultrasonic device or just in warm water and mild soap
That sounds like a great idea! Put the foam in a. Shallow dish of water and freeze, then put it on the CNC! BrilliantAristide! Except the margarine! Margarine? :*)
For cutting the foam pads, have you tried a CNC hot-wire cutter, or a die, like a doughnut cutter? Cutting soft materials is almost always a bear for machine tools. I would think that a high spindle speed, a moderate toolpath speed, and shallow cut depth would be your best bet.

For myself, I LOVE the wooden design aesthetic of your headphones! I've thought of making some myself, but I don't have the obvious skill and training you possess. I don't think I'll let it stop me though. Thank you for your time and work!
The way I see it he didn't misunderstand anything, he understands that his work here is not perfect, but he likes the look the imperfections give the finished piece.
Considering the fact that he wants to show other people, it would seem that he is quite proud of his work, and you seem to be acting a little rude because it doesn't look quite like you'd want it to.

I, for one, think that even if these aren't perfect, they are a great example of the things that can be done using a mixture of CAD and real life handiwork.
im note being rude by commenting on this, if you didnt want to let other people have the opportunity to comment on it then you should have sent this in a PM instead.

i never said that you put down his effort, but you obviously do have a problem with something because you wouldnt be commenting back and defending your argument otherwise.
the fact that you state "I have been a carpenter with a wide interest in instrument making and the lath for over 40 yrs", just reinforces what i just said.

i understand you take a lot of passion in your work, and that you'd like to share your knowledge with other people, but try to do it in a more positive manner, rather than saying how bad something looks, say how they could improve on it instead.
damonite (author)  littlebuddha2 years ago
This site is an open platform for discussion, whether compliments or critiques. Everyone has the right to voice their own opinion, that's the beauty of the internet. As a designer, I am very used to criticism & never take any personally. It's great to hear how others are so passionate about in their work.

Thanks for all of the comments & happy holidays.
In regards to your first comment, most everyone could agree that there was a tone of superiority in your critique. If your first thought, after skimming this instructable, was to point out that the author neglected to sand the wood, then you miss the point of this site. It is apparent the author is skilled and most people can look past the prototype appearance. I doubt the author was happy with how the foam turned out on the ShopBot, but he shared the results anyway. I do not have a solution but others might. You contribute nothing to this community. The five years you have been a member of this site you have only gave pointless comments and no projects of your own. As for the multiple comments you made in defense, you lost too much credibility to be heard any further.
Think what you want mate, but don't think for all others. No tone of superiority from me. But lot of aragance from you i would say.
You have a real nice xmas,
bicbarnes2 years ago
Foam cutting. Problem is when cutting with a blade the foam compresses and you end up with the foam dished/uneven. However I have found cutting on a band saw works a treat, preferably the more teeth per inch the better. But... watch out cutting small pieces as the blade can grab the foam and pull it in. I have cut a couple of seat pads and it has worked really well. P.S really like the head phones
clazman2 years ago
Very, very, nice!

Just a couple of thoughts.

For this item I think 3D data is overkill. A frontal, scalable, picture should give all of the pertinent data required. In that way it would be easier for the customer to produce the needed data. That is assuming that the ear pad diameter is fixed.

Another way for cutting the foam pads, especially for large quantities is to use a, decades old, tried and proven steel rule die.

Oh, grain direction plays heavily in the strength of the head piece. Steam bending or a laminated piece would be much better. But you already know that!.

Again, nice work!!
jmpg2 years ago
I was viewing the Ible and was going to make a comment, but seeing as a similar one was made i'll leave it out.

The work you've done is good , but it looks like the foam ear pads will defeat you . Did you consider using replacement pads from Grado, Sennhe??ser (spelling) etc. they aren't expensive and would be available in a size that would suit your project.
Hey, just plain fu***n AWESOME.
I WANT THEM! Take my money!!!
damonite (author)  becomingthebeast2 years ago
Thanks. I'll let you know if I decide to refine & sell them.
No-No refine!
Just like that!! I love the DIY-look :)
Honestly, how much did you spend?
ukw2 years ago
Great work! Making headphones that fit your head perfectly it's really something.
bertus52x112 years ago
Very nice!
damonite (author)  bertus52x112 years ago
Thanks & cheers.
They turned out so nice! Love the wood you used. :D
damonite (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago
Thanks so much. It's walnut, so I wasn't sure how flexible/brittle it would be. It's actually a lot more durable than I expected.
billgeo2 years ago
This is where you go from on-screen "3D" model to a tangible real 3D object.
And thats the moment when you go "WOW, AWESOME" :-)
damonite (author)  billgeo2 years ago
Designing on the computer is great, but there is a feeling of real gratification with producing something tangible.
I like it. Well done. A very elegant design.
damonite (author)  mutantferret2 years ago
Thanks & cheers.
Mark AJA2 years ago
Very good unless you are into Heavy Metal music. Then you will need to make some metal headphones. If you are into Rock music, then you will need to make them out of rocks.
damonite (author)  Mark AJA2 years ago
Ha, well said.
rippa7002 years ago
Can you run these from a smartphone or similar? Assuming you change the phono plugs of course but are the mini speakers the right power and resistance for iPhone type things? PS It's great and I want to make one (and might indeed polish mine more....)
damonite (author)  rippa7002 years ago
The audio drivers can be used with an iphone/ipod. In retrospect, you could circumvent the chunky RCA cable inputs & cut/solder the ends directly to the drivers. If I make a 2.0 version, I think I may try felt as the earcup pads instead of the foam as well.
Thanks & good luck.