I customised some earphones with plywood and they look awesome. This a quite fast and easy project for beginners but it requires some tools that you can't find in every household. I will give some alternative options how to make certain things as I explain how I made these cool looking earphones. Remember, all earphones are a bit different and you can't see whats inside there until you open them up. Let's begin!
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
Step 2: Shaping the Shell for the Earpods
I started by disasembling my earphones so that I could see what's inside there. I used a utility knife to saparate the two parts of the shell of the earphones from each other. I tried to be as careful as possible not to damage the chrome part on the earphones too badly with the knife. After I opened the headphones up I measured the diameter of the chrome part so that my wooden half of the shell would fit as well as possible. I also noticed that I propably wouldn't be able to shape the wood so that it would stay attached to the other half of the shell just by friction. This was because the hollow in the chrome part was too shallow with the speaker inside it. I decided to use hot glue instead.
To make the actual domes for the earphones I took a piece of plywood and I cut a square dowel out of it with a saw. I had to be as square as possible because I put it in a lathe. Make sure you use thick enough piece of wood because my piece was barely thick enough. I think it was 1.2cm but I'm not sure.
I slowly started turning the shape and size of dome I wanted use on a lathe. I have not used a lathe more than just a few times so I'm not explaining how do use it. Here's some tutorials on the subject:
First I shaped the dome with a chisel and then I used 400 grit sand paper to finish the shape and the surface. I made a small shoulder in the wood rod to mark the place where I want to saw the dome off.
TIP: If you do not have access to a lathe you could try attaching a thick wooden dowel to a drill.
PS. I just made a educated guess what kind of shape and size might fit well to my ear and I think it came out pretty good. There is still a little room for improvement but I have had a lot worse fitting earhones also. It might even be a slight improvement to the orginal earphones I used.
Step 3: Carving the Dome
I sawed the turned dome off from the dowel and put it in a vise flat surface up. I drilled a small hole in the center to help me carve a round hole in the middle with a oval shaped bit for small rotary tool. I think you could have just drilled a bigger hole but I was affraid the drill might rip the thin wall that I would leave on the dome. Make sure to make big enough hole to fit the back of your speaker, but leave thick enough wall or the dome so it doesn't brake so easily. Also remember to center the hole as well as possible othervise the end product might end up looking crooked.
After carving the dome I drilled a hole for the cable of the earphones. I used propebly something like 1.2mm drill bit. Choose the size of your bit according to your cable. You want to make big enough hole fore the cable to easily go trough but you don't want the hole to be too loose either. I decided to drill my holes in a slight angle because I tought it might look better that way.
After carving the dome and drilling the hole for the cable I sanded the flat side of the dome with a disk sander so that I got the height for the dome I wanted. I finished my domes with some oil but you can choose whatever finish you want.
Step 4: Soldering the Speakers
At this point I took pictures of the wiring of my earphones so that I would be able to resolder the cables back where they belonged. I used the soldering iron to disconnect the wires from the speakers. I put the halves of the shell together with the speaker inside just to make sure for the last time that it would fit perfectly because after glueing the whole thing together there is no taking it apart.
I then pulled the wires through the hole on the dome and soldered the wires to their right places. At this point REMEMBER to try that your soldering is fine and the speakers work. After the glue you cant fix it anymore. I also did one last check that the wiring did not prevent the perfect fit of the havles of the dome together.
Step 5: Glueing It All Together
The last and easiest step was to glue the whole thing together. I holded the halves of the dome so that there wasn't too wide gap between them. this was because I did not want to first put the glue in there and then start pulling the cable back from the whole with glue on it. The furher apart yout´r halves of the dome are the more wire you will have to fit inside the dome. I then almost completely filled the wooden dome with the glue. Don't put too much glue in there because you don't want it to exude from the hole in the dome or between the wooden part and the chrome part when you press them together. After the glue is in there press the halves together until the glue starts to cool down and harden This doesn't take too long. Make sure you are keeping the halves in the position you want them to be. in my case I actually had to press the halves together quite hard in order to close the gap between the halves.
Now you can enjoy your new cool earphones and listen to your favourite music with style.