My earphone cords are constantly getting tangled when I try to wrap it up in my case, so I decided to take advantage of my Techshop membership and create a custom retracter to fit my case. The concept would be fairly simple: create a circular plastic insert that would spin to retract the cable in an nice coil.
Step 1: Materials
I start with the original round case that came with my Meelec earphones. Any round case should do. I also use a sheet of 1/8" Acrylic from Lowes to form the retractor.
Step 2: Laser Cutting
Next, I went to Inkscape to create the shapes for the retractor. This includes the outlines for the pieces, as well as the gradated indentation for your finger to apply and some personalization. From Inkscape, I used the Trotec laser cutter at Techshop to actually cut and engrave the pieces from the acrylic. You can download my Inkscape file here: http://www.qfpost.com/file/d?g=RRXTr9xxk.
Visit techshop at http://www.techshop.ws/ to get access to the laser cutter.
Step 3: Glueing
For the glue, I used Loctite epoxy plastic bonder from Lowes, but any plastic epoxy should do. You might consider a clear epoxy to improve the look. Apply the glue into the slotted holes in the circular plates and put the flat pieces into the holes. The pieces should generally be self aligning. After a couple of hours to cure the glue and the retractor is ready!
Step 4: Assemble
To use the retractor, place it in the circular case, with the earphone cable in between the two flat extensions, with equal lengths of cable on each side of the retractor. Now, placing your finger in the indentation, spin the retractor, so that it takes up the earphone cable and coils it up. Once the whole cable is wrapped up, just put the ear buds on top and take your tidy earphones to go!