This is another in my Get Smart series, which also includes another working wearable shoe phone ( instructable ), a cone of silence and a phone booth.
I've made a couple of working and wearable shoe phones now. This was the first, and it uses a blue tooth headset as its basis.
So, I guess it is really a shoe headset rather than a shoe phone, but I reckon that's just a technicality. My extensive testing at work confirmed that people can't tell that it is a phone in your pocket ringing instead of the shoe ringing.
But if you want to see a shoe phone that is undeniably a shoe phone, then you can have a look at my second shoe phone.
But, enough philosophy, lets get started!
Step 1: Collect the Bits You Need
I had a blue tooth headset that came with my Sony Ericsson Z310i, but it resisted my attempts at disassembly, and didn't look like the microphone and speaker could be changed orientation, which I have decided is an important criteria. So I went to our local pawn broker and for the princely sum of AU$19 obtained a pre-loved Motorola H500 blue tooth head set. (They were very patient with this odd man who said he wanted a tiny head set or phone to put in a shoe).
The H500 head set had two advantages over the Ericsson one: (1) it looked like the speaker and microphone were on wires and could be moved; and (2) there were instructions on the internet to help me disassemble it without breaking it.
Okay, so now I had a nice little head set, and all I needed was a shoe to put it in. Fortunately our church op shop was open, so for the bargain price of AU$3 I got a nice pair of very swanky shoes.
Step 2: Make Sure the Shoes Are Suitable
The important thing about these shoes is that they have a proper wooden heel (well, this one was masonite, but that's close enough) that could be hollowed out to fit the head set. A quick check confirmed that the head set would be able to fit in the shoe, both in terms of area and also thickness.
Of course, if you got the wrong shoes and then read this step, its a bit late, but oh well.
Step 3: Disassemble the Bluetooth Headset
Take the bluetooth headset to bits. If you are using a Motorola H500 like I did, you could follow these instructions.
With a little effort I had the H500 in bits all over the table.
Step 4: Disassemble the Heel of the Shoe
With some gentle coaxing with a screwdriver, remove the rubber sole from the heel.
Then sit the relevant bits of the H500 on the sole while you think about the best way to layout the headset components in the heel.
For me, there were some big staples that were going to be the main thing to dodge. It turned out later that there were some smaller nails that come through from the shoe side, but fortunately they didn't quite get in the way, but you might want to be aware of that kind of thing.
Step 5: Hollow Out the Heel to Fit the Electronics.
Some digging away with a chisel and a precision screwdriver, and the help of a steel shoe last to hold the shoe still, you should have a shoe with a H500 shaped hole in the heel.
Make holes for the speaker and microphone. I organised for the microphone to peek out the side a bit, since it seemed like a good way to work it.
The big hole in the photo is for the H500 board and front cover (which I decided to retain so that the answer/hang up button would work without too much effort). There are two little holes nearer the top of the image to take the speaker and microphone.
Step 6: Fit the Electronics Into the Heel.
I decided to retain the cover of the headset so that I wouldn't have to find new buttons for the headset. But to make it easier to fit, I sawed the end bit off.
Now, before you go any further, pair the headset with a phone and adjust the volume to maximum, since you won't be able to get to those volume buttons ever again.
Step 7: Prepare the Rubber Sole for Reattachment
Make three holes for: (1) the answer/hangup button; (2) the speaker; and (3) the blue led on the headset (this is nice to so you can see when it is charging, and also just for looking cool).
You don't need to make a hole for the microphone, because it comes out the side. Also, the microphone in the H500 is so sensitive, it would probably work through the solid rubber.
Step 8: Reassemble the Heel
Now, reassemble the heel.
To make it slightly water resistant, I put a piece of 0.5mm thick PETG plastic between the heel and rubber sole.
Contact cement should work well for the attaching, optionally in combination with some little tacks. To tell the truth, I did a fairly dodgy job with tacks, and then got a family friend who is a cobbler to do a nicer job. My job worked, but was a bit ugly.
Then plug it in and charge it up, and try it out!
As I mentioned before, the microphone on the H500 is so sensitive, you can hold the shoe any old way, up to 2 metres away and it will pick up the conversation with ease.
However, the speaker volume is a bit quiet, and you will need to position the shoe fairly well to hear the conversation. This will be even worse if you didn't adjust the volume to maximum before assembling the shoe.