Below, you will find my collection of notes regarding how to build the electrostatic headphones themselves. This is largely based on stuff found at head-fi, in Wachara C.'s numerous posts and accomplishments on the subject.
Embedded below is my current document highlighting the schematics, BOM, and cost of building a diy electrostatic amp.
These are my notes on the current project, build a set of fabulous planar headphones from scratch. This window into my Google doc will auto-update here as I add content.
"First, we build the fusion reactor. then, upon creating the mini sun, we shine the light onto the prehistoric spores. We now evolve the subsequent grass to be healthy for the custom-wound sheep animal we designed. Soon we will harvest the sheep to make the leather, which will of course be used for making the most comfortable ear pads in the... ...WHAT??!! You wanted them in black velor and suede?!?!!"
In order to make the design and manufacturing processes faster and the most flexible a dorm environment (in addition to making the fabrication of bizarre custom objects that may or may not function possible), all outsourcing and use of specialized equipment must be cast aside. Instead, we must build very, very small versions of rapid prototyping tools. These tools are:
- 3 axis CNC mill. It only needs to be ~150mm cubed on the x,y,z axis, but it must have enough kick to not break or overheat when cutting hard wood cups. This tool can be used to drill PCB (ES stators), make internal chassis pieces, and slice various materials to fabricate parts that can’t be 3d printed. There is much to learn about how to use this tool, such that assembling one one is only the beginning.
- 3d printer. This is my go-to for housings, internal spacers and interior connectors. It is easy to use with some research, and a few hundred hours behind sketchup. CADs include Sketchup and many additional extensions, Meshlab, 123d products, Blender, Inkscape, and more. Often people will use multiple softwares to get the best results. These printers can be built cheaply, requiring only an extruder, a small brain, and stepper motors (which can be avoided if extra work goes into recycling old parts from the floppy disk era). The rest is up to the builder’s expertise in figuring out how to make the x,y,z axis function.
- Membrane stretching jig and etching tank. These are about as cheap as an inner tube, a few buckets, and a battery… ...However, care must be exercised in figuring out how to get repeatable stretch percentages and solid etches without destroying other materials in the chemical process.
- Transformer and voice coil winder. This will be a very custom and relatively unusual tool, but will be helpful in getting the optimum step up voltages in amps. Additionally, custom voice coils can be made for new dynamic driver designs. The electrical parts are all very similar to those of a 3d printer or CNC- think a single axis moving back and forth to position wire very carefully over a spinning transformer or coil.
“I understand ultra high-end headphones and audio pieces are the epitome of superfluous consumerism, only for the .1% of the world’s population, and do not get positive remarks from spouses as good places to spend money. Luckily, none of these are what this venture is about. My goal is to meld hand-crafted art and design with an open source philosophy, culminating in unique audio pieces and headphones, as well as a completely open source build log and design resource for others.”
To be frank:
I am a dorm-dwelling college student, studying experiential education. Everything I make is made from scratch, in my dorm, when I’m not doing other things more pertinent to my BS in adventure experiential education.
As we know now, the only tools anyone needs to make anything these days is access to the internet, time, and a deep desire to learn…