One of the most interesting side effects of creating 3D-printed items is that, in the pursuit of producing one’s own goods, one finds unique and, often, simple methods for constructing these items. In the case of J.C. Karich, the constraints of 3D printing led him to fabricate a very elegant and basic pair of headphones.
Karich’s headphones are made up of just a handful of components: a few 3D-printed parts, some wiring, two magnets, and a conductive fabric – all assembled so easily as if to dare you to make your own pair for yourself. The headband of the piece, the largest of the 3D-printed parts, has an accordion-fold shape built into it, designed as a plastic spring to make the headphones flexible as they stretch across your scalp. Then, attached at either end of the headband are the speakers: two simple discs engraved with spirals in which copper wiring is embedded. The copper wires, responsible for carrying the electric current of sound to the listener’s ears, are hooked up to two small magnets, which are then connected to conductive fabric – purchased from fabrickit, makers of wearable electronic components. And, in order to connect the fabric to the music’s source, Karich printed a tiny, plastic headphone jack and wrapped it in wire. Karich assures potential makers of his headphone design that this ramshackle jack will fit into any standard 1/8 inch headphone outlet without getting caught while it’s inserted into a musical device. He also assures that the headphones work perfectly, though they may need an amplifier to increase the volume transmitted by the headphones.
And, as is necessary with all industrial design these days, the headphones look really cool. This is because JC Karich is an industrial designer by trade. After studying at the University of Chile, he went on to found the architecture firm 57 Studio and later moved back to France to create a plethora of sleek objects, such as his light and fleixble Rombo chair and his Soundsitive speaker, a neat looking speaker that allows you to adjust its volume through the use of motion sensors. His focus, often, as a student at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is on objects in the domestic sphere. Hopefully, we can look forward to more items you can make at home with your 3D printer.