Beats by Audrey Kim and Olivia Hebert (DIY HEADPHONES)

Introduction: Beats by Audrey Kim and Olivia Hebert (DIY HEADPHONES)


  • 2 voice coils made of 28 insulated, copper gauge wire
  • 2 neodymium magnets (0.5 in x 12.7 mm)
  • 1 yd. of red feather boa (used to cover the gauge wire and to create the diaphragm)
  • 1 Headband
  • 1 glue stick
  • 1 super glue gun
  • 3-4 hot melt sticks (for the glue gun)
  • 3.5 mm stereo phone plug with 3 solder terminals
  • 3-4 pieces of Scotch tape(always have extras just in case you make a mistake)
  • 3-4 pieces of Electrical tape
  • 1 sheet of Sandpaper
  • 1ft string of puff balls
  • Yellow, Black, and red acrylic paint(optional for cup design)

The Three Main Components of the Speaker:

  • The three main components of a speaker are the diaphragm, voice coil, and magnets. The diaphragm amplifies vibrations to push sound waves in more directions. Essentially, the diaphragm harnesses sound. The voice coil provides a path for an electric current to travel through and strengthens the magnetic field. Speaking of magnetic fields, the magnets are what provide them. All these components are connected: the diaphragm amplifies vibrations, the voice coil supplies the vibrations and strengthens the magnetic field, and the magnets provide the magnetic field.

Step 1: Get It Together

First, gather all your materials.

Step 2: Voice Coil

Wrap a piece of scotch tape around a glue stick (sticky-side up) in order to create the first voice coil. Tightly wrap the gauge wire around the glue stick, and make sure no space is in between each row. Remember to wrap 30 rows of wire. Repeat step twice.

Magnetic Field:

  • The more one wraps the copper gauge wire around the glue stick, the coil's magnetic field increases in strength. The magnetic field's strength generated is proportional to the vibrations the wire will be able to carry.

Why 30 rows:

  • 30 rows of gauge wire versus 15, for example, would produce a far better electrical current for the sound from the electronic device to the headphones.

Why Coils Vibrate:

  • Coils vibrate because the switching of the polarity of the magnetic field causes the coil to move.

Step 3: Sanding

Next, sand the excess ends of the wires to the point that you don't see the previous color.

Step 4: Magnets

Then, place a magnet on the bottom of the inside of the cup and on the bottom of the outside of the cup.

Step 5: It's Electric!

Then, place the voice coil around the outside magnet and tape it in place with electrical tape.

Step 6: It's a Wrap! ... Well Not Quite Yet

Wrap the ends of the voice coil around the terminals of the aux plug.

Step 7: Listen Up!

Plug the aux plug into the phone, and listen by bringing the cup to your ear to test the cups ability to create sound.

How Vibrations Turn Into Sound:

  • When vibrations reach the ears, they first pass through the eardrum which translates vibrations into sounds comprehensible to the brain. Upon entrance, the sound wave causes the eardrum itself to vibrate, and those vibrations have to pass through three connected bones. All of this movement causes the fluids in the ear to begin to move, and the fluids in motion bend hair-like cells that convert the vibrations into nerve impulses. This allows the brain to be able to translate the nerve impulses into what we perceive as sound.

Step 8: It's All Connected!

Next, super glue the headband to the original cup, and then wrap the headband with the gauge wire from the voice coil to connect to the additional cup.

Step 9: Repetition

Repeat steps 1-7 once more to replicate the cup.

(+ You can paint these cups to your heart's desire! We painted it flash style.)

Step 10: Super Glue Strikes Again!

Super glue the headband to the additional cup and bring the gauge wire full circle back to the terminals of the aux plug to repeat step 6.

Step 11: It's Time to Wrap It Up!

Wrap the gauge wire with a feather boa and line the portion of your headphones that touches your ears with puff balls. In this situation, I would advise using super glue so that everything stays put and together.

  • In our prototype, we initially had trouble the first time around with the clarity of the sound. Sure, you could hear the tune but you couldn't hear the words. Accordingly, we found a solution. We discovered that the reason was that the vibrations were escaping, and needed some sort of barrier to keep them from doing so. In order to keep this from happening, we super glued puffballs all along the rims of the cups. We tested it and this worked like a miracle! Now, the sound was clearer and louder because of the puffball trim. It allowed for fewer sound waves to escape and more to go to the eardrum.

Step 12: No Materials Left Behind

Super glue the excess feather boa(or tissue paper if you have some) to the part of the headband that cuts straight down the diameter of the top of the cup on both sides to create a diaphragm.

Step 13: Last, But Not Least

Finally, plug the aux plug into a device, and listen once more to see if your headphone set can produce sound.

Step 14: (Not a Step) If You're Having Trouble...

- Make sure the wires are sanded well

- Make sure that the coils are really compact and tight

- Make sure that the wires are tightly wrapped together

- Make sure that the sanded ends of the wire that connect to the terminals are not touching

- Make sure the magnets are directly at the center of the voice coil

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