As 3D Printing has become more affordable and widespread, we have seen some fantastic examples of small businesses utilizing the advantages of desktop 3D printing in unique ways. Streamlining production with printed fixtures, in-house rapid prototyping and now with the Print+ Headphones, fully 3D Printed consumer products, printed by the consumer.
One of the most frustrating issues for headphone owners, is when a nice pair of headphones stop working. The most common issue in my experience is when the right speaker begins to cut out due to a faulty wire. This is one of the benefits of a 3D Printed consumer product like the Print+ Headphones. All plastic parts of the headphones are 3D Printed and modular so replacing that faulty wire or broken headband is incredibly easy. By taking advantage of the wide spread availability of desktop 3D Printing, Print+ have also been able to provide a highly customizable product for consumers while minimizing on SKU’s and shipping cost / weight.
On the Print+ website there are currently 7 designs freely available to download along with the STEP files which allow for makers to design their own unique headphones. The Print+ Headphones have been optimized to print with minimal support material and all parts and electronics snap together (no soldering required) for easy assembly. This once again makes replacing components incredibly simple. Print+ provide some fantastic printing setting recommendations to achieve what they consider to be the optimal sound quality. By changing the infil, material and various print settings it is possible to change the tone and inherent sound of the headphones, adding a second variable of customization.
While some people may like the charm of headphones which look 3D Printed, I was interested in making my headphones look like a consumer product which came straight from an injection moulding machine. We printed our Print+ Headphones in Polymakers PolySmooth on the FlashForge Guider II and Creator Pro. The printed components were then effortlessly post processed with Polymakers Polysher to achieve a that desirable smooth and glossy surface. For a smooth Matte finish our friends at Polymaker have achieved some great success printing with Polymakers PolyWood, which hides the layer lines due to its foam structure.
We have seen 3D Printed Guitars capable of some great tones and sustain, so the most important question on my mind was how would a pair of 3D Printed headphones sound? I was pleasantly surprised with the sound quality of the 3D Printed Print+ headphones, they may not please hard-core audiophiles, but with the decent sound quality and high potential for expression and customization, I think the age of 3D Printed consumer products and projects is an interesting concept being explored.
If you are interested in printing your own Print+ headphones you can download the files from their website and order the electronics kit.
Of course with a pair of customized 3D Printed headphones you are going to want to have an awesome headphone stand as well. To find the right design for you, look no further than our curated thingiverse collection, highlighting some of our favorite headphone stand designs. Please note, we haven't printed all files in the collection so some resizing may be required.