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DIY - Custom Fit Adaptors for In/On Ear Phones - Updated!


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#1 Sean

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 10:11 PM

Missing my Shure phones (sent for reshelling) I decided to improve on my Bose On Ear headphones. This DIY is inspired by the link below:
http://cre.ations.net/creation/creat...ear-headphones

I've always liked the unique (albeit slightly crappy) sound from my Bose earphone but totally hated how they kept falling off.
The epoxy putty I used can be bought at any hardware store (ie Self Fix) in Singapore. Its called Selleys Knead It. I get about 4 to 5 tries with one tube. Each costs only SGD5.50 so it leaves a lot of room for trial and error.

If you are going to try this yourself please do note that I won't be held responsible for anything that may go wrong. Some things to look out for:
1) Allergy. Do test with a small piece of the putty first.
2) Heat. As it sets, there will be some of it but not unbearably hot. It is tolerable. Just expect it.
3) Hair in your ear canal. I don't have this problem but if you do, line your ear canal with some vaseline first.
Always clean your ear canal to ensure it is free of dirt and excessive wax.

Preparation
The Bose On Ear Phones come with multiple adaptors. I used the smallest one (ie the one that I don't need since it doesn't fit).

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Stuffed the hole with some bluetack to ensure that the openning doesn't cave in.
Prepare a biting block of about 3/4 to 1 inch tick. Have tissues ready in case you slobber.

I use a pen knife to cut 2cm section, remove the wrapper and wet my hands a bit and start to knead. It will change into a light grey colour. At this point, you have about 3 to 4 minutes before it sets so you need to be

quick. But don't worry. If it doesn't work out, just do another. Its relatively cheap to cock up.
While biting on the biting block, I shaped the putty into a thin rod and started inserting the tip of the rod into my ear canal. Pushed it in until I couldn't hear well with that ear. Then I stuffed the rest into the cup of my ear ensuring that I got a good seal. Before it sets, I quickly took one of the plugs and buried that into the putty in the correct position. The putty will become warm for 2 to 3 minutes and that is when you know the setting has begun. After 6 minutes, I gently removed the hardened putty from my ears ensuring that I didn't apply too much force to remove it. It helps to twist it slightly to the front to remove it.

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You can see the adaptor buried in the putty/plug.

I then did the other side (if you are doing this yourself, it is important to do one ear at a time) and let the pieces dry overnight.

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The pieces look and felt like dried bones the next day. I used a grinder attached to a rotary tool to smoothen the surface. At this point, I took a pair of tweezers to remove the silicone adaptor and started drilling with a 3mm diameter drill bit from the other side (the side where the sound is supposed to be coming out). This was a pretty tricky part as I had to ensure that I get a good straight line along the canal straight through to the opening on the other side. You can see from the previous image that my ear canal slightly bends. I used the rotary tool to grind a channel from the hole so that sound can still flow all the way through the bend.

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I then cut the tip of the silicone adaptor and put it back into the hole. I had to cut it because the hole created from drilling will not align so nicely with the tip of the adaptor. Without doing this, the silicone will impede the sound from going through the channel I drilled. So I snipped off a fair bit and stuffed it back into the plugs. Afterall, I'm only using the adaptor to ensure I get a good seal with the headphones.

I then added more putty and while having the earphone protected by clingfilm, I stuck it into the plug.

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This allowed the headphone to sit nicely into the plug. Some grinding with the rotary tool was required to smoothen the surface. At this point, I did a sound test and was more than satisfied with the comfort level and the sound quality. Obviously I'm not expecting the same kind of performance that a triple driver brings but these plugs improved the comfort level and isolation and basically allowed the product to shine. I was
registering punchier bass (but a bit muddled - expected from before). Mids and highs were pretty well defined.

Painting

I used Nippon spray paint - Glossy Black and Clear (about SGD5 each can). Applied 2 coats of black and 2 coats of clear allowing each layer to dry properly.

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Used a stick to hold each plug.

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A closer look.

Isolation improved a lot more after this because the clear paint stuck on to skin a lot better I guess. Some people online used wax.

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Sits in my ear so perfectly!!

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It does look a bit large but most of it goes into my ear.

Overall I'm very happy with the results especailly with the sound. Also I don't feel as if the headphones will fall off. I kept getting that before. Best of all, it was so damn cheap!!
But you do need tools to help you along like a drill and a rotary tool.

Edited by Sean, 30 October 2010 - 04:22 PM.


#2 heady

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 11:05 PM

Wow, fantastic DIY. Was thinking of doing this but couldn't figure out what material to use. Great idea to use the epoxy. With the glossy paint, it looks just like the professional customs.

Gotta try this when I have the time.
"He sip no sup and he crave no crumb,
as he sigh for the love of a lady"

Yeoman of the Guard - Gilbert and Sullivan

#3 Epicality

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 11:08 PM

very very nice work. interesting stuff. seems damn professional man! what if instead of those putty u use, use some silicon? and if u do succeed, may i request for you to do it for me? for my westone 3s. tongue.gif i'm only a sec 4 kddo with no time nor tools nor cash to spare. so this is gonna be the most economic solution for me. laugh.gif

#4 Sean

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 12:01 AM

QUOTE(heady @ 25 Aug 2010, 11:05 PM) View Post

Wow, fantastic DIY. Was thinking of doing this but couldn't figure out what material to use. Great idea to use the epoxy. With the glossy paint, it looks just like the professional customs.

Gotta try this when I have the time.

Thanks. Do try but be cautious. Remember that there are risks involved like bits faliing into your ear drums. Can cause infections etc.
There is. No need to stick it too far in as well since isolation is achieved by having the material cover the outer ear as well.

QUOTE(Epicality @ 25 Aug 2010, 11:08 PM) View Post

very very nice work. interesting stuff. seems damn professional man! what if instead of those putty u use, use some silicon? and if u do succeed, may i request for you to do it for me? for my westone 3s. tongue.gif i'm only a sec 4 kddo with no time nor tools nor cash to spare. so this is gonna be the most economic solution for me. laugh.gif

I'm interested in silicone but have yet to find the right material to use. Must head to the art supplies store to check what's available.

I'm not a qualified audiologist and won't dare take the risk of doing it for you. It's better that you make the decision to do it yourself. I will post my findings here once I check the silicone option. The seal is better.

I am not too happy about painting it as the smell is quite strong. But it does improve isolation so no choice.

#5 Sean

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 12:40 AM

I HAVE FOUND IT!! THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION

Was at Art Friend today at Bras Basah and found this. Paid about 28 bucks for this. They had a larger one but you only need this. It enough to make about 20 I think!

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Its safe
Its odourless ( I tried very hard to smell it but just can't pick up anything)
Its (relatively) cheap
Its non toxic, even food friendly
It is perfect for what I'm looking for and it provides an amazing seal

Now I can take all my epoxy putty plugs and throw away! The silicone plugs are far superior and a lot less hassle to make.

I was experimenting with bendy straws to make the channels in the plug and was successful in making plugs for my Sennheisers (no pic of my Senns)

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It is not easy to drill through rubbery material like this. You won't get a clean channel. That's why I used the straw. You can try it with other objects like a thick wire or something.

It takes a bit of fiddling around but got it just right in the end. After kneading the material, I roll it around the straw and insert that into my ear, pushing the material into my ears and then into the cup and around my ear.
When the silicone is cured (3-5 minutes) you can use a pair of pliers and pull out the straw. It will come out cleanly. The hole left by the straw is just big enough for my Senns! Its a wonderful fit.

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Picture above is right now the highlight of the day for me. Shure E2C encased in silicone putty. The kind of sound I'm registering is simply amazing. You know how when you listen to earphones and if you pressed it to your ear in a certain angle it sounds great? Well, I'm getting that with this solution. It just makes the earphone a lot better.

One thing bad about this - It doesn't LOOK good. You can see folds here and there and imperfections unlike the epoxy putty plugs where I can just gloss those imperfections over with paint.
It really looks like I stuffed bubblegum into my ears. In this case grape flavoured.. yummy.

OK I'm off to enjoy my headphones. Later!

Edited by Sean, 28 August 2010 - 12:40 AM.


#6 heady

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 03:13 PM

Man, you are hard core! Great stuff. Who cares if they don't look great, sounding great is what matters. :-D

"He sip no sup and he crave no crumb,
as he sigh for the love of a lady"

Yeoman of the Guard - Gilbert and Sullivan

#7 jacj6049

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 06:34 PM

2 thumbs up!!!salute!!

#8 Sean

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 09:13 PM

Thanks guys. I think what's important is that it is possible to do these things with the materials made avialable to us here in Singapore. We just need to find it. A visit at Art Friend Bras Basah opened up so many possibilities for me and I was just totally inspired.

I'm missing my Shure SE530. Its gone to China to get reshelled and I don't know when I will see it again :-(
At least these project will keep me happy till it comes home..

#9 alamakazam

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 11:16 PM

great!

I have an idea

use a existing professional custom sleeve, to create a mould

with this mould I can safely create more custom fit adapters


Apple : iPhone 4S 64GB , iPad 1 64GB
IEM : ACS Custom Sleeve Sennheiser IE8
Transport : Battery Mac Mini 2011 & Wavelength Wavelink (USB) & Oppo BDP-95
DAC with HeadAmp : RWA Isabellina HPA LFP-V
Headphone : Audez' LCD-2
Stereo Amp : RWA Signature 30.2 LFP-V
Speaker : Harbeth P3ESR SE

#10 neutralzz

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 01:43 AM

QUOTE(Sean @ 28 Aug 2010, 09:13 PM) View Post

Thanks guys. I think what's important is that it is possible to do these things with the materials made avialable to us here in Singapore. We just need to find it. A visit at Art Friend Bras Basah opened up so many possibilities for me and I was just totally inspired.

I'm missing my Shure SE530. Its gone to China to get reshelled and I don't know when I will see it again :-(
At least these project will keep me happy till it comes home..


do you have a link to where i can send mien for reshelling too? the cable insulation of one side just gave way as usual and since its out of warranty plus a not very "nice' local agent so i'm thinking of options other than going customs

#11 heady

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 02:17 PM

QUOTE(alamakazam @ 30 Aug 2010, 11:16 PM) View Post

great!

I have an idea

use a existing professional custom sleeve, to create a mould

with this mould I can safely create more custom fit adapters


Do it man, document it and then we can copy idea! lol.gif
"He sip no sup and he crave no crumb,
as he sigh for the love of a lady"

Yeoman of the Guard - Gilbert and Sullivan

#12 Sean

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 10:38 AM

QUOTE(neutralzz @ 5 Sep 2010, 01:43 AM) View Post

do you have a link to where i can send mien for reshelling too? the cable insulation of one side just gave way as usual and since its out of warranty plus a not very "nice' local agent so i'm thinking of options other than going customs


Sorry have not been logging in. Too busy enjoying my 'new' headphones hahaha.
I got mine done at Stereo at Plaza Sing. They will settle everything for you. I'm still waiting for my reshelled phones to come. That's why I embarked on this DIY project.


QUOTE(heady @ 7 Sep 2010, 02:17 PM) View Post

Do it man, document it and then we can copy idea! lol.gif


The art supply shop in Bras basah does sell material to cast the mold. So this is indeed possible. You can use the silicone putty to create the the mold over the customer shell, and then pour the casting material into the mold. You can choose from either rubbery material or resin.

But I'm still waiting for my shells to come :-( Anyway, I will try it when I have time. I still feel that just sticking silicone putty in your ears is a great solution already. An I found a way way of drilling through the putty too. So no need to wrap it around straws. Just stuff it and drill when its hardened. You need an engraving bit attached to a rotary tool to create the channel for the sound to flow.

I also had some success with the ipod earphones (the white ones). Use the silicone to create a better seal and WOW!! Seriously, I didn't know how much joy a half pound of silicone putty could bring. Hahahaha.

If you are still unsure, just try putting bluetack in your ear. It feels like the same thing. But always take precautions!! Foreign objects in your ear must be taken with great care! Please don't hold me responsible for any accidents. You have to do this responsibly and carefully.

#13 heady

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 05:03 PM

QUOTE(Sean @ 9 Sep 2010, 10:38 AM) View Post
But always take precautions!! Foreign objects in your ear must be taken with great care! Please don't hold me responsible for any accidents. You have to do this responsibly and carefully.


Good post. Don't worry, we have a ear doctor in the house! Right?

grin.gif
"He sip no sup and he crave no crumb,
as he sigh for the love of a lady"

Yeoman of the Guard - Gilbert and Sullivan

#14 sonorous

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 12:22 AM

Great work and cool results.
Am thinking now of trying it over this long weekend

thumbup.gif

#15 Sean

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 01:44 PM

QUOTE(sonorous @ 10 Sep 2010, 12:22 AM) View Post

Great work and cool results.
Am thinking now of trying it over this long weekend

thumbup.gif

Go for it and best of luck. Do share your experience here as well.