Intro: Microphone Windscreen (Zeppelin)
A microphone zeppelin is a windscreen that is mounted on the end of the boom pole. It protects the mic from shocks and wind, drastically improving your overall sound quality. When purchased from a retailer, the pole and zeppelin can cost anywhere from $700 to $1500.
In this instructable, I will show you how to build one for a fraction of the cost. (about $60)
One extendable painter's pole
about 2 foot section of 4 inch pvc sewage pipe
small section of 3/4 inch PVC
1 3/4 inch pvc to threaded coupler
1 3/4 inch threaded plug
PVC cleaner and glue
1 roll of "Wire cloth"
a hand full of small zip ties
a bolt long enough to reach from the bottom of the plug with about 1/4 inch to spare
a cut washer of the same diameter
a fender washer of the same diameter
a nut of the same diameter
JB quick plastic epoxy putty
a handful of small (I used #6) nuts and bolts
needle and thread
Step 1: Making the Mount
When you get the painter's pole it will have a plug in the end that sticks out past the end. The part that sticks out is threaded. This needs to be removed. After struggling with this for about an hour, I realized that it was easier to just cut the end of the pole off with my dremel.
The next step is to cut a slit in the pole. I did this with a dremel, but snips and wire cutters will work just as well.
Tuck one side of this under the other. I am sorry that the photo doesn't show it very well.
Take the small piece of 3/4 pvc and slide it down over the end of the pole. I tapped mine down with a hammer to ensure it was on tight.
Drill pilot holes and sink a pair of screws to make sure this doesn't come lose. There is no need to risk your microphone when an extra moment will ensure a secure mount.
I did neglect to take a photo of the next step, but I put the 3/4 inch to threaded coupler on the end of the PVC, gluing it in place.
Now you are done with the pole, and it's time to move on to the cage.
Step 2: Build the Zeppelin Frame
The first thing I did at this point was to cut the PVC pipe as shown in the first photo. At this point, it will seem pretty flimsy, but it will get a lot sturdier as we progress.
The next thing I did was to mount the threaded plug. I drilled a hole in it, fed the bolt through it. Be sure to use the cut washer here to distribute the pressure more evenly. I used a nut to secure it to make it easier to handle.
Drill a hole in one of the two long bands on the pvc, right about the middle. Feed the screw through, put the fender washer over it and tighten it down. Make sure it is tight. You may see some deformation at this point, that is okay. Just don't OVER tighten it.
Next, take some of your epoxy putty... follow the instructions for the putty. Apply it to the plastic. The point of this is to strengthen the connection. I pressed it into the gaps, and used it to build up everything around the nut, bolt and washers. These puttys normally take about 4 hours to cure. So take a break.
The forward end of the zeppelin is traditionally rounded off. To do this, I took a narrow band of PVC and cut it into two pieces. This is where i used the #6 machine screws. Drill a hole in the middle of the two of them and bolt them together. then bolt them to the front end of the frame.
The last photo in this step should resemble what you have at this point
Step 3: Skin the Frame
Cut a section of the Wire Cloth to the proper size. Be careful... this stuff can be VERY sharp.
Once you have it cut, take zip ties and fasten it securely to the frame. I started along the bottom support and slowly wrapped the frame, zip tying it along the round sections at one inch intervals.
As you do this, make sure that it's tight on the frame. If it's not, this will cause noise in the finished product as it shifts.
Continue all the way around and then zip the end to the lower support with some overlap.
HINT: Make sure you notch the wire cloth around the threaded plug.
The second pic shows what it will look like at this point. Clip the ends of zip ties off.
Step 4: Shape the Fur
For this project I used a cheaper fur than I should have, so we double sided it. two pieces back to back. The shape of the cloth there shows a rough idea of what you need to cover the frame.
Stitch it together, starting at the plug. Leave the back open.
The second photo shows the fur pulled over the frame. The edges that are open have velcro on them. When you mount the mic inside, pull the fur shut.
I did not go into how to make the mic mount as it will differ from mic to mic. We're using the R0de VideoMich so it was just a matter of using a 1/4 inch 20 thread screw and screwing it down to the lower support.
The last pic is the finished product.