Want to 3D print yourself something useful and awesome? Here is all the info you need to build yourself a pair of great sounding headphones for around $35.
Have fun! And don’t forget to share pictures of your builds with us – we’d love to see what you come up with, especially if you modify our design.
- Drivers: we’ve used Dayton Audio CE38MB-32 drivers with great results. They are available from Parts Express
- Ear Cushions: Bose QuietComfort QC15 QC2 replacements, available from Amazon or Ebay
- Cable: Sol Republic Master Tracks HD V8 V10 V12 X3 replacements work well. Get them from Amazon or Ebay
- Audio Jacks: 2 x 2.5mm audio jacks, such as these ones on Ebay
- Wire: 4 piecies of approx 10cm (2″) long hookup wire with ends stripped. These from Ebay work well if you don’t have any already.
- Glue: you need a gel consistency glue suitable for plastic, such as Loctite Gel Super Glue
- Plasticine, Bluetac or similar. This stuff off ebay will do the trick.
- 3D printer (if you don’t have one, you can get the files printed at Shapeways or 3D Hubs)
- Soldering iron and solder
- Misc hand tools, eg pliers, knife, scraper etc
Files to be printed:
Here are the files and quantities you need to print (click to download):
I recommend printing them in ABS. Use 5% infill for the headband to give it flexibility, and about 10-20% for the others. The baffles and covers require support, the headband does not.
Print the parts in the following orientation then clean off all the raft/support:
1. Solder the hookup wire to the 2.5mm jacks
Cut the hookup wire into four approx 2″ or 5cm lengths and strip the insulation from about 1/8″ or 3mm from the ends.
Remove the jacks from their plastic cover.
If you are using the jacks we recommend, solder the negative (black) wire onto the large tab and the positive onto the small round one:
If you are using a different jack, figuring out which are the correct tabs is pretty easy. Solder strands of hookup wire to the positive and negative terminals of the driver. Connect the jack to your phone via the Sol Republic replacement cable. The negative terminal will be the large one, so hold the negative wire on to it, then tap the positive hookup wire on the remaining tabs until you hear sound.
2. Attach the jacks and drivers to the baffles
Screw the jacks into the hole in the baffles.
Insert the drivers into the baffles. Be extremely careful to not damage the fragile mylar film in the drivers.
Important – the terminals on the driver should be 90° from the jack, oriented towards the hook-up wire retainers (yellow circle in the picture).
Glue the drivers into the baffles with four 1/4″ (6mm) length spots of glue, placed evenly around the perimeter of the driver (blue arrows). DO NOT glue around the full perimeter of the driver, as this will adversely affect the sound.
Wait until the glue is dry…
2. Solder the hookup wire to drivers
You won’t need any solder for this – melt the solder tab on the driver with your soldering iron, then insert the wire into the puddle and remove the iron while still holding the wire until the solder solidifies. Be careful not to apply too much heat, as this may damage the driver.
Route the hookup wires behind the retainers so that they don’t get snagged by the headband.
3. Tune the sound!
Now for the secret sauce! In this enclosure, the Dayton Audio CE38MB-32 drivers are way too bass-heavy and lack high end detail, so we need to reduce the mids/bass to make it more equal to the treble. You may think more-is-more when it comes to bass, but there will still be plenty after completing this step. If you don’t believe me, do a back-to-back comparison.
If you’re not using the Dayton CE38MB-32 drivers, you’ll have to tune them to your taste – some will have a denser fabric on the back and will not require this step.
Using plasticine or similar, roll a small amount into a sausage then block all but one of the holes under the black fabric on the back of the driver. The black arrow below shows the non-blocked hole.
6. Put it all together
Attach the fabric that comes with the cushions to the baffles using the adhesive that comes on them:
Fit the baffles to the covers, making sure the headband end of the baffle corresponds to the headband end of the cover (ie the two square holes line up). They may take a bit of force to get together – they are deliberately a tight fit so that they don’t require glue and can be disassembled.
Fit the cushions to the baffle. These are quite a tight fit, but go on easiest if you fit the long sides last (blue arrow).
Insert and adjust the headband, plug the cables in and you’re done! Put on some awesome tunes and enjoy your new headphones!
Note – there is a left and right side, so if they don’t feel right, swap the sides.
Don’t forget to share your builds on Instagram with #makeheadphones
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can design your own cover to completely customize the look, while still using our headband and baffle. The recommended interface dimensions will be available soon.