Intro: Wooden Headphones
I have a pair of Beats headphones, but it seems like everyone has similar headphones, so I wanted to differentiate them.
I made this by applying a maple veneer to the surface of the headphones.
A pair of headphones, I used beats headphones, but any headphones with flat or gently curving surfaces will work.
An 8X18" sheet of Birdseye maple veneer (You could get away with smaller than this, I did not use it all)
Two part epoxy
Wood finish of choice ( I used wipe on Polyurethane)
Wood stain (Optional)
Sand paper ( I recommend a variety of grits, from including ~120, ~220, and ~400)
A T6 torx screwdriver
A #0 Philips head screwdriver
A small flathead screwdriver (to pry apart headphone parts)
Clamps (lots of them!)
I made this project at the Georgia Tech Invention Studio
Step 1: Dissassemble the Headphones
Before applying the veneer disassemble the headphones as much as possible. I did not do this and started applying veneers with some of the parts connected, and it made the gluing process more complicated, then eventually I had to disassemble them, so you should just start by disassembling it.
I used this video for guidance while disassembling the headphones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brwD3pc8ZB8
Be careful while taking the headphones apart, they are snapped together, and the tabs that hold parts on can break if excessive force is used.
I chose to de-solder the wires from the speakers to prevent the wires from getting damaged.
Step 2: Prepare to Glue
Put tape over parts that you do not want glue on, I taped the metal parts attached to the head band. Painter's tape will help make clean up easier later.
Using ~120 grit sandpaper rough up the surface of the plastic that you will be gluing the veneer to. This sanding gives the glue a good surface to adhere to.
Also gather all of your gluing supplies. I had the epoxy, some gluing brushes, several paper towels and a disposable paper surface to glue on to of. Also gather your clamps. When gluing I always try to have everything that I might need ahead of time, because it is not fun to use a fast setting glue and have to run to the other room because you forgot something.
Step 3: Gluing the Veneers
Now it is time to glue the veneers, right? Almost.
First cut the veneer pieces, I measured the parts of the headphones with a pipe cleaner then transferred the measurements to the veneer sheet. I also made the pieces of veneer larger than the plastic underneath so that it could be trimmed to size later.
So now that you are all set up to glue it is time to mix the epoxy. I used 5 minute epoxy, though I would recommend 30 minute epoxy but I didn't have any (5 minutes was a bit of a rush). Then apply the mixed epoxy to the sanded surface of the plastic and start to apply the veneer to the surface. I did this by starting on one side with a clamp, then adding more clamps until the entire surface was covered. I have never heard of someone using too many clamps, so use as many as you can fit. After it is clamped look over the surface to make sure there is no place where the veneer is coming off of the plastic.
Let the glue dry. Really let it dry completely. (I let the 5 minute epoxy sit for more than an hour) If the glue is not fully dry you could accidentally take off pieces of the veneer in the next step.
Step 4: Sanding the Veneer
Is the glue dry? If it is then it is time to sand the veneers. When gluing the veneer on I made it over sized, and now it is time to sand off the extra. Be careful with this step because you do not want to sand into the plastic.
First I used a box cutter to remove the large pieces, then I used a disc sander, spindle sander, and dremel to trim it the rest of the way down. (You could do it with just a dremel if you do not have the other tools)
After I trimmed the veneer down to size I used sand paper to smooth out all of the surfaces. I sanded any epoxy that got onto the wood off with 120 grit sand paper, smoothed it all out with 220 grit, and cleaned some scratches off of the plastic with 400 grit.
After the sanding was done it was time for finishing. I used a dark stain over the speakers, and left the rest of the wood unstained. Then I finished the rest of the wood with wipe on polyurethane. I put down several coats of polyurethane sanding with 220 grit sandpaper in between coats, and 400 grit after the final coat.
Step 5: Re-Assemble Them
Now its time to put them all back together. The white wire connecting the two sides can make them complicated to reassemble. When I first opened them I saw that there are a few spots where the wire was held down by a small piece of masking tape. I found that adding a piece of tape in places where the wire does not want to cooperate makes the reassembly easier.
After they are back together go listen to some good music with your custom headphones.