Engineer Shannon Ley found the selection of off-the-shelf headphones less than tempting, so set about designing a new set from scratch — and has released a 3D-printable design for all to use and adapt.
"A number of years ago I wondered if it was possible to make an awesome sounding pair of headphones myself," Ley explains. "After plenty of searching online, I couldn’t find anyone else who had done it from scratch, nor could I find any decent info on how to do it. So I set out to figure it all out."
The result, after "a ton of work," is "Homebrew Headphones:" A guide to building "awesome-sounding" and "decent-looking" headphones using 3D printed parts and readily-available components for bill-of-materials cost around $50 — yet, Ley claims, offering audio quality somewhere on a par with commercial headphones costing around $200.
"Building these headphone doesn't require much knowledge of electronics and beyond access to a 3D printer, only basic tools," Ley claims. "The 'look' can easily be customized by only changing the simple-to-redesign covers."
Ley has designed two variants of the headphones. The first offers wired connectivity, and costs around $35 in parts; the $50 variant adds a battery, Bluetooth connectivity, and a microphone for use as a call headset as well as a music device.
Those interested in building their own can find full instructions for both variants, plus Autodesk Fusion 360 files for the 3D-printable parts, on the Homebrew Headphones website.