Jan 17, 2016 | By Benedict

Adafruit’s Ruiz Brothers have released a tutorial for adding app-controlled LED lights to a pair of headphones, with lightweight 3D printed enclosures used to keep everything together.

Everyone at 3Ders loves listening to music—we’ll play anything from Justin 3Dber to Chet Ultibaker to Jamie XXtruder. In fact, we imagine most of the 3D printing community listens to music at least once in a while. But whilst 3D printed headphones are already a thing, relatively few of us have used 3D printing to directly enhance our musical experiences. That could be about to change, because Adafruit’s Ruiz Brother’s have just released a tutorial for jazzing up a pair of headphones with a super-cool 3D printed modification.

The latest Adafruit project involves affixing smart LED rings to each side of a pair of headphones. These LED rings, contained within a lightweight 3D printed enclosure, can be controlled via an iOS or Android device. Thanks to a handy Bluetooth connection, wearers of the funky 3D printed modifications can set the LED lights follow pre-programmed patterns at the touch of a button, choosing the most appropriate color combos for whatever beats gets dropped.

To make the 3D printed headphone mods, four components need to be purchased: an Adafruit Feather 32u4 Bluefruit LE, a 500mAh Lithium Polymer Battery, two 16x NeoPixel Rings and a Slide Switch. In addition to these components, makers will require a 3D printer and various other bits and bobs—not to mention a pair of on-ear/over-ear headphones. The Ruiz Brothers warn that the 3D printed enclosures will not fit every style of headphone, and are best suited to those with flat ear cups not covered by the headband. Each case has a diameter 58mm (2.28 inches), so get your rulers out before making any firm commitments to the project.

The 3D printing project has been labelled as “intermediate” by the Ruiz Brothers, so it may pose problems for DIY beginners. The 3D printed parts are relatively simple and small, and should prove no trouble for even the most basic of 3D printers. PLA is recommended, although ABS and other filaments could be used with a heated printing bed. As with most of their 3D printing projects, the talented siblings used Autodesk Fusion 360 to create the 3D printable parts—makers can download the Autodesk files and amend the design as they see fit. The brothers printed their accessories with a Flashforge Creator Pro dual-extruder 3D printer, and have explained how to print in two materials in a separate video.

The LED rings which take centre stage on the Ruiz Brothers’ latest 3D printed gizmos actually serve the same function as those which adorn their 3D printed Daft Punk helmet, which we reported on two weeks ago. The Arduino sketch is available to download on the project page, and a thorough circuitry explanation will guide makers through the groovy 3D printing project.

Have a go at making your own hip-hopping headphone modifications, crank up the (build) volume and get 3Dancing!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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