Introduction: Fighter Pilot Headphones!
I prefer playing guitar late at night, which is when the rest of the family sleeps... Problem. I therefore needed a set of headphones but not just any old headphones would do. When I was in the Czech Republic 5 years ago I bought myself this leather headset that the salesman assured me was Russian airforce surplus. Now what could be better than listening to your guitar jams while feeling like a fighter pilot?
Excuse the mannequin, she's a nudist.
This simple instructable will show you how I made this headset compatible with my guitar amplifier. I did this because soviet millitary technology tends to use it's own non-standardised connectors which just don't go into any socket on my amp :(
Also: 'scuse any possible grammar and spelling errors, It's 2am. The eccentricity is all genuine me though.
Step 1: Gather Your Soviet Resources
The following lists assume that you are going to make your own housing for the 1/4" jack (like I did) instead of buying one. This allowed me to keep it looking old-school with a touch of steampunk.
Materials that you will need:
1x fighter pilot headset
1x 1/4" TRS jack (the kind you will find in electric instruments and amplifiers)
1x audio cable with 1/4" TRS connectors on each end
Materials required for the jack housing:
1x copper lightbulb socket (forgot to take a pic before assembly, sorry)
1" x 1" plywood (mine is about 1/4" thick)
1x brass electrical connector block to keep the cable from pulling out (no idea what these things are officially known as but I've always referred to them as connector blocks)
Tools you will need:
soldering iron and solder
drill or drill press
assorted files and drill bits
scroll saw or some kind of small hand saw
some other things that I can't remember now but that may become obvious later
Step 2: Make a Housing for That Jack
1. Cut a plywood disk large enough to fit snugly in the opening of the lightbulb socket. I did this in the following manner: cut an oversize disk with holesaw, put a bolt through the hole that the hole saw made and tighten this bolt in a drill press chuck, start the drill press and use files to file the disk down until it fits tightly in the bulb socket
If you don't have a drill press you can use a scroll saw, failing that you can saw and file the disk by hand, it's more work though.
2. Enlarge the hole in the centre of the disk until the jack will fit through it, now insert and tighten the jack.
3. Put the headset's cable through the brass connector block and then through the copper lightbulb socket.
4. Wire the headset's cable to the 1/4" jack and push all this into the lightbulb socket.
5. My lightbulb socket had a tube at the end through which I drilled a hole just larger than one of the screws of the brass connector block. I then put one of the connector block's screws through this hole to keep it in place. This screw, when tightened, also clamps the cable down thus preventing it from being pulled out.
6. you should now have a cute little copper nodule that's housing your 1/4" jack, the only problem is that with time the snug fitting plywood disk will become loose and everytime you try to plug an audio cable into it it will pop into this housing. I Solved this problem by drilling a tiny hole on either side of the disk (right through the copper socket) and inserting tiny screws. These screws will hold the plywood disk in place and make it easy to open up if there are any wiring problems later. If you can't find screws that are small enough you can just glue or epoxy the disk in place.
Step 3: JAM TIME!
Couldn't get my girlfriend to model it for me after it was done, she said that the copper jack housing irritated her fibreglass skin.
I am happy to report that the sound is GRATE! (sic) It has that low-fidelity, weirdly distorted sound that utilitarian military sound systems have! I love it. It's also just the right volume: doesn't hurt my ears yet perfectly loud enough for a late night session. I also tested how soundproof the headset was because obviously it's designed for silent jamming. I did this by taking the headset off and and playing the guitar and amp at full volume for a minute, I couldn't hear any sound escaping!
If you can find such a headset but would rather use it with your mp3 player that's fine, just use the smaller TRS connector that almost ALL mp3 players use! I guarantee you'll be the only fighter pilot in the bus! IF you can find the headset. Maybe my next instructable should be on how to make the headset itself....
In conclusion: I am seriously pleased with myself! It sounds really really cool and looks even better.
Thanks to all for checking this out, peace brethren!