Bite-sized Boombox

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About: I made a book with some new projects in it! It's called Marvelous Makeable Monsters. Check it out here: https://amzn.to/2xN1uWj The Oakland Toy Lab is a community-based wonder lab for students to build, ti...

Have you ever been sitting on the bus, and thought, "Man, I'm looking way too cool"? Well you can turn all that around with the BoomBiteBox, the sound system that goes through your teeth!

This is one of my favorite mini-projects, and explores all sort of concepts in electro-magnetism. The most exciting of which are that motors can work like speakers and vibrating bones can work like ears. Pretty neat, huh? Let's make one!

The details:

  • What: BoomBiteBox!
  • Time: ~ 15 minutes
  • Cost: ~ $2 for supplies
  • Concepts: Sound, Resonance, Electro-Magnetism, AC / DC currents
  • Materials:
    • Two wires
    • Dowel (medium size)
    • Mono 1/8" Audio Jack
    • DC Motor 1.5-3V
  • Tools:
    • Wire Stripper
    • Soldering Iron + Solder
    • Drill w/ 1/16" drill bit
  • Additional: Some jams to play through it!

Step 1: Strip the Wire Ends

Start with two pieces of wire. They can be any length, but I chose somewhere around 18" each. Strip off the plastic coating of each end, leaving about 1" of metal exposed on each of the four ends.

Step 2: Solder One End of Each Wire to Motor Tab

Take one end of each of the two wires and solder it to either motor tab. You should have two wires unconnected, each of which has one end attached to the motor tab. Solder it up!

Step 3: Solder the Other Two Ends to the Audio Jack

Attach the two open ends of the wire and solder them to the two tabs on the audio jack. Make sure they don't touch, or the circuit will cut out.

Step 4: Drill a Hole in Dowel and Push on to Motor

Before this step, your BoomBiteBox is already capable of resonating with music. The dowel makes for a great bite plate.

You'll want to use about a 1/16" drill bit, and drill out a tiny hole in the end of your dowel. Push the motor spindle in to the dowel hole for a tight fit.

Instead of the dowel, you can use all sorts of things! We've used cups, metal rods, paper clips, tables, paper cones, the works! Find out what's best.

Step 5: Bite for Boom and Enjoy!

Look how happy Coby is listening to his BoomBiteBox. Awwww.

There are all sorts of experiments to do from here. You'll find that bass makes for better music, and that the volume depends on the power of the amp that is playing music in to it. Try it on phones, computers, sound systems, and see the difference. You'll also find that plugging your ears makes it work a lot better.

For design, if you're going to have lots of people try it out like in a classroom, choose a dowel which is small enough to fit a straw around. Or have each participant put plastic or a napkin over the dowel before biting.

With a powerful input, you can have someone plug one ear and their other ear will function as a speaker so other people can listen to their ear. Weird, huh? Resonance and hearing are amazing things. Check out this write-up of how hearing works for more.

Happy boombiting!

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    52 Discussions

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    JennyN33

    3 months ago

    It works great,
    I use a mono audio amp(35w TDA8932 based board) and a small dc motor(R300c).
    Thanks for sharing.

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    KamaleshP6

    Question 7 months ago on Step 3

    where i can buy this mono jack

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    spike02

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Will a stereo 1/8th inch plug work or does it have to be mono?

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    spike02

    4 years ago on Introduction

    cant find the


    • Mono 1/8" Audio Jack

    anywhere, can someone send me a link, and will this motor work?

    http://www.radioshack.com/1-5-to-3vdc-hobby-motor/2730223.html#q=motor&start=3

    1 reply
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    alter2000spike02

    Reply 4 years ago

    Just strip open a headphone jack with only 2 "poles" or solder the leads connected to the upper parts of a stereo jack together. I used this method, since I just couldn't find a proper mono jack. Hope I helped. Anyways, *heads to author* great 'ible!

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    Nrgdragon

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Where do you buy the dowel? I can't seem to find it online.

    Could you please send me a link or address for a store?

    Thanks.

    Nrgdragon

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    GordonKirkwood

    4 years ago on Step 5

    this is wonderful! I especially like that, for a second person to share, they might best mash their ear up against your skull or ear.

    When I'm playing cello in an orchestra with big brass behind me, as sometimes occurs, sometimes the only way to hear yourself play (closing the feedback loop is very critical for a fretless instrument like a cello!) is to plug one of the cello tuning pins into your ear, and get your intonation right by bone-conduction.

    Also, a puzzle for your students: if you wear earplugs, do you think it makes you talk louder or softer?

    1 reply
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    One of the best instructables I've ever tried. It was easy to make and extremely fun and rewarding =D

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    michael.suffern

    4 years ago

    Word Confusion:"Jack" is actually a "Plug". A Mono plug in the photos.

    Use a Stereo 1/8th inch mini-plug and add a motor, for two motors total, and wire it up in stereo. I believe you would 'hear' stereo if you listen to a stereo source. There would be crosstalk between channels as sound would travel the whole length of the dowel similar to the way sound from stereo speakers reaches both ears. Play an audio test recording to 'test' crosstalk & phase cancellation and hear for yourself.

    So will everyone but the have-nots enjoy stereo tooth drivers for sound listening?
    BTW, both comments about how it works were correct. The motor doesn't turn because the audio signal sent to it doesn't have enough power nor does it move in one direction long enough to move the rotor more than a fraction before the direction reverses causing vibration at the frequency of the audio. The same thing happens in a speaker except the motor moves in a rotary (twisting) motion rather than a linear motion.

    1 reply
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    kilofeenix

    4 years ago

    Does the cord get tangled up when the motor spins or is there just enough power to make it jiggle?

    1 reply

    Great question, kilofeenix! There is a similar question below that somebody answered, but what's kind of amazing with this is that the motor merely jiggles. The signal that is produced by your sound-playing device comes through in waves, the most basic of which is a sin wave. For every positive electrical signal, there is a equal and opposite negative one that comes through, so it will make the motor only jiggle back and forth, never varying even more than a degree from its starting position. Try it out!