Design Con 2015

3D print your next headphones

-April 24, 2013

In an interesting technology demonstration, someone has created a set of headphones using no manufactured parts - just a 3D printer and a few raw materials. While the result isn't going to cause the likes of a Sennheiser or AKG Acoustics to lose any sleep anytime soon, it does hint at the amazing potential that affordable 3D printing promises to bring to end consumers.

In this case, the "Low Fi Hi Tech" headphones were created using only wire, tape, solder, magnets and of course 3D printed parts. The headphone drivers themselves were 3D printed - as thin printed parts with spiral slots in which copper wire thread was inserted - as was the headphone driver casing and headband. The latter was made using a flexible spring structured material.

These fully functional headphones were created using no manufactured parts - only 3D-printed parts and a few raw materials.

In case you're thinking that the headphone's cable and connector must have been made using standard manufactured parts, think again. The cable is a fabric conductive ribbon from fabrickit. And the plug itself - designed to fit a standard 3.5mm headphone jack - is 3D printed, with wire coiled around the appropriate areas to enable a stereo connection.

The following video (2:26) demonstrates how the 3D-printed headphones were constructed and shows them in actual use with an iPhone:

Of course when it comes to audio it's all about the sound. The sound quality of these headphones is described as "very nice against all expectations," although it is noted that for portable devices a headphone amplifier may be needed.

The designer of these headphones has made the files and instructions available on MakerBot Thingiverse (see Low Fi High Tech Headphones). For more, also see the designer's own 3D-printed headphone page.

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