Beats by Mahaley Mahe and Valeria Castellanos

Introduction: Beats by Mahaley Mahe and Valeria Castellanos

Hello! These are my partners and my headphones and want to share how we built ours. Let us know if you were able to make them!

Step 1: Gather Materials

  • Three arm's length of 28 AWG wire-Home Depot
  • Electrical tape - available at Home Depot
  • Washi Tape - available at Michaels or local craft store
  • Sand Paper -available at Home Depot
  • Wire Cutter- available at Home Depot
  • Aux Plug - Amazon Elmer’s
  • Glue stick (wrap wire around)
  • Scissors - Found at any craft store
  • Soldering Iron (optional)- Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Amazon
  • Appx. 10 black (or any color of your choosing)
  • Coffee straws- Craft store or grocery store
  • Two paper and plastic cups - Any grocery store
  • 3.5 mm stereo jack
  • 4 Neodymium magnets, two magnets for each side
  • 2 blue socks (Or color of your choosing) - Department store
  • Two nude-colored trouser socks- Department store
  • Ruler- Craft store
  • Hot glue gun- Michaels
  • Two white (or color of your choosing) pom-poms
  • Soldering wire (Optional)
  • Shoelace (any color) - off a shoe
  • Elastic headband - Target
  • Nail polish (Preferably clear) - Target
  • Super glue - Local crafting store


  • Gather all materials from step one.

  • You first want to start off by cutting three arm's length of 28 AWG wire. To do this extend your left hand horizontally, parallel to the ground. Hold the roll of wire with your left hand. With your right hand pull the wire that is coiled around the roll until both of your arms are parallel to the ground. Continue this process two more times.

  • Next, you will want to fold the wire in half so that both wires are the same length. There will be a bend on one end. Cut that bend with a pair of scissors.

  • Next, take one piece of wire. Place the wire vertically on a flat surface. Using a ruler measure 12 inches, vertically. With your pointing finger and thumb and pinch that length.

  • Take the gluestick and begin coiling the wire. Wrapping each coil on top of each other until there is 20 coils or wire. (For additional help and information look at step 2 in assembly, sanding, and coiling ) This coil will make your voice coil.

  • With one end of wire, loop inside and out of the voice coil, to ensure that your voice coil will stay wrapped. (For visual help, look at pictures regarding armatures/voice coil)

  • Repeat step 6 to create a second voice coil.

  • Take one voice coil and lay it flat on a flat surface.

  • Sand 1.5 centimeters on both ends with sandpaper.( For additional help see “Step 2: assembly, sanding and coiling”) This step is tedious but important that no red is left on that 1.5 cm of wire.

  • Repeat this step with the other voice coil.

  • Take one paper cup and one plastic cup. Place one plastic cup inside a paper cup.

  • Place one neodymium magnet in the cup.

  • Place a second magnet on the outer part of the paper cup. The two magnets should attract to each other.

  • Center the magnet on the paper cup, by dragging the magnet.

  • Repeat with other cups and magnets.

  • Now place the voice coil on the inside of the cup with the center of the voice coil on the magnet.

  • After this use about an inch and a half of electrical tape to tape the voice coil down.

  • Repeat.

  • Bend the wires outward.

  • Using one trouser sock, fold it in half and place in over the top side of the hollow cup.

  • After, plug in the hot glue gun into an outlet and hot glue the loses fabric on the cup.

  • Slide one black sock on top of the paper cup. There will be excess fabric so fold the sock, towards the closed of the cup.

  • At this point, there will be excess sock fabric toward the end of the cup, opposite of the hollow end of the cup. Cut about two centimeters of fabric off using scissors.

  • Cut a small piece vertically then start to cut it horizontally.

  • Throw the excess fabric away

  • Plug in the hot glue gun, if it isn’t already.

  • Hot glue the sock that surrounds the rim of the sock.

  • On the other end of the cup, glue the loose sock fabric towards the center of the cup. (Click on “Link to Videos and Raw Photos” link for visual help)

  • When the fabric is hot glued towards the center add a penny size of hot glue and add the pompom on top.

  • Repeat

  • There should be a longer and shorter side. For the longer side, slide three coffee straws through the wire.

  • To connect both sides of the shorter wire, sand appx. 1.5 cm. of both ends of the wire.

  • Grab your headband, and hot glue the ends, with the wire on the inner part of the headband

  • Pinch the ends of the headband to the wire, enclosing the wire.

  • Using the shoelace, wrap it (around the headband) in a vertical direction away from you, and then around back towards you, repeating this step until all bare wire is covered.

  • For the second voice coil repeat step 31. Except for the longer side of the voice coil only use two straws. Once the wire is in the two straws place the wire on last straw on the other voice coil. It should resemble a V shape.

  • After the straws are placed use electrical tape where the straws meet.

  • Use hot glue gun to glue the straw that is closest to the cup. Repeat for another cup.

  • Where there is a V add one or two straws, depending on how much wire is exposed, and use electrical tape. Adjust how many straws you need according to how much wire is exposed, and use electrical tape.

  • (Optional): Cover electrical tape with washi tape

  • For the short wire, twist the sanded parts together.

  • (Optional) The part that is twisted on top, place the tin wire and slowly melt it on top using soldering iron.

  • Cut one straw in half.

  • After this keep adjusting the size of the straw to be the size of the wire exposed.

  • Cut the straw in half vertically and cover the wire.

  • After this use electrical tape to enclose the straw.

  • Slide the cover of the aux cord in between the two wires.

  • The two wires at the bottom will connect to the aux cord.

  • Loop one end of the wire through the small hole, which is the terminal, and bends it a little. Repeat for the other part of the wire.

  • After both wires are in both terminals, use super glue attach to terminals. Wait until entirely dry

  • (Optional) Place the tin wire close to the terminals, use the soldering iron and place it on the tin wire. Repeat on both wires.

  • Screw in the aux cord with the cover.

  • If there is still wire exposed above the aux, use the same method from steps 37-39.

  • (Optional) Plug in the soldering iron, and set it to 500 degrees.

  • (Optional) Use tin wire to carefully melt it with a soldering iron.

Step 2: Assembly, Sanding & Coiling

In order to make your voice coil, you will need a glue stick, 28 AWG wire, and a cylindrical object to wrap your copper around. Firstly, grab your wire and you’ll need approximately 3 arm lengths of wire. Leave about 12 inches of your coil available before you start your coiling. Using the post-it note and cylindrical object, wrap your coil around appx. 20 times, leaving about five inches left. It is important to use 20 coils because we found that this many of coils are most effective when we were testing our prototype. After this, carefully pull off your coil, using the post-it note by sliding the post-it note off the cylindrical object. At the same time, making sure the armature (wrapped coil) does not come undone. When you successfully pull the armature off, use the five-inch ends and wrap around the armature to keep the armature secured, but leave a couple inches available on each side. The reason for coiling the wire is because it makes the magnetic field stronger, which helps with the quality of the sound. After this process, you will need sandpaper, a paper cup, a plastic cup, four magnets, electrical tape, armatures from the previous step, and an AUX plug. Make a second armature using the same dimensions as your previous armature. Using the shorter part of your wires and sandpaper, use the sandpaper to take off the red paint off. The reason for sanding is to expose the bare wire. You should take approximately 1.5 cm off of each part. Twist the sanded parts of the wire together, this part will go over your head. Now, moving on to the longer parts of the wires, you want to attach those wires to the AUX plug. On the end parts of the longer wire, appx. 1.5 cm is to be sanded all around and until there is no red left on the wire. Then, attach the sanded parts of the wire to the AUX plug, in the small holes located on the left and right sides of the AUX plug. While doing this, make sure the wires are secured tightly and are not touching each other, or red parts of the wire.

For creating headphones or speakers, many materials are needed. The most important parts of headphones include the magnets, voice coil, and a diaphragm.Our voice coil has a diameter of 1.5 centimeters wide. The magnets and the voice coil work together to vibrate and transfer sound throughout the headphone. This is because the voice coil is constantly changing polarity, forcing the magnet to be attracted and repel against it. The diaphragm is connected to the voice coil which is vibrating, and then creating sound from a magnetic gap.

Step 3: Magnet Positioning & Diaphragm Assembly

A permanent magnet is needed because a temporary magnet needs something to attract and repel to, which causes vibrations. The wire needs to be coiled, to create a stronger magnetic field. The stronger the magnetic field, the better the sound quality. The reason it needs to be in the center of the coil is so the voice coil can vibrate and make sound waves. A temporary magnet is the voice coil. A voice coil is needed because of its alternating current, which means that the voice coil changes its polarity, making the permanent magnet attract and repel the voice coil.

The reason we chose two magnets on each diaphragm is because it increased the sound quality. Using two magnets the sound was low but still good. The lyrics were difficult to understand. When we used four magnets, the sound quality increased tremendously. Then we tried using five, but it caused too much vibration, which made hearing the song difficult. Our diaphragms are made of two different materials, plastic and paper. When we were prototyping we saw that the plastic cup was best for higher pitched sounds, but there was a lot of vibration. This meant the lyrics were muffled. When we used a paper cup the lyrics were clear. We decided to try overlapping the two materials and noticed a perfect balance, so we decided to use both materials overlapped. With the plastic cup in the paper cup.

Step 4: Plug and Play

To sand the wire place it on a flat surface and slide sanding paper back and forth on the wire. The reason for the wire is to expose the bare wire. The red enamel allows current to flow through the aux plug. When both sides sections of wires are sanded loop the wire into the terminal on the aux cord, then bend the wire inward. After this, you will solder the wire to have a firm connection. It is important to connect the wire to the aux cord because without the connection, sound won't be produced.

Sound waves are produced through the diaphragm. The voice coil and the magnets work together to produce vibrations, which move the diaphragm. When voice coil changes its polarity, which causes the magnet to either attract or repel the voice coil. After this, the vibrations cause the diaphragm to move, in a thrusting motion. This motion causes the sound waves to move, and travel throughout.

Step 5: TroubleShooting

  • Grab a partner/friend - Helps with organization
  • If you have a hard time with the voice coil, make sure you have a clear workspace so your wire doesn’t get caught up.
  • If there is no sound, there most likely a problem with the voice coil, so be sure to sand the edges thoroughly, also make sure the wire that was wrapped is tight
  • Try adjusting the wires that connect to the aux cord
  • Add more magnets to both sides
  • If the sound does not come out, look at wires and make sure both wires aren’t connected to both ground terminals.
  • Connect one wire to the ground terminal.
  • Add more pressure to the voice coil.
  • Using small scissors, such as eyebrow scissors work well for making small cuts
  • Having extra wire around is handy, especially with fragile wire
  • Try different methods of connecting to terminals, such as tape, solder, hot glue gun
    Nail polish is a great non-conductor, as well as non-visible.
  • This helps with wire that accidently touches other wires or ground terminals.
  • If your V shape does not stay in place, then try using a small piece of straw in the center of the three straws.

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