3D Printed Headphones – Wired

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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.

For the Bluetooth version, go to this page.

Parts Needed:

Parts required picture

Tools needed:

  • 3D printer (if you don’t have one, you can get the files printed at Shapeways or 3D Hubs)
  • Soldering iron
  • 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:

Parts on printer

Assembly instructions:

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:

terminalsTerminal soldering

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

Gluing driver in

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

Solder the hookup wires onto the driver terminals as shown below. The red terminal and one next to it are positive and the other two negative.Socket in situ

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.

Plasticine being applied to driverPlasticine on driver

6. Put it all together

Attach the fabric that comes with the cushions to the baffles using the adhesive that comes on them:

Fabric on headphone

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.

Cover being attached

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).

Cushion on headphone

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.

Completed 3D Printed Headphones

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.

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