Possible material for DIY custom sleeves
May 20, 2010 at 3:54 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

ccfoodog

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 17, 2008
Posts
250
Likes
11
 
I've been reading the DIY IEM and DIY sleeve threads with interest.  One thing that seemed problematic though was finding materials that worked reasonably , and were non-toxic.
 
I happened across this two part silicon which is specifically intended to create DIY custom earplugs.  Better yet it is cheap.  The two part means it doesn't need air or UV light to cure and since it is specifically intended to be hypo-allergenic, it seems fairly safe.
 
Radians Custom Molded Earplugs at Amazon.com - $11.57 per kit
 
Mfg. web site, radians.com
 
Here is a quick and dirty project I did to create a custom sleeve for my Bluetooth headset, which I could never get to stay on properly, much less comfortably:
 
 
[[full size images available in gallery]]
 

 

 

 

 
What's in the pack:
 

 

 

 
In this particular case, to create the headset, I simply followed the instructions to create an earplug.  That is to say, mix up half of each of the material, make a ball, put it in your ear and wait.  Remove, let cure a bit longer.  (These are just Cliff Notes -- read the instructions before stuff something in your ear!)
 
I then drilled a small hole in the ear canal portion part way with a cordless drill.  Then, drilled a hole where the earpiece would go, making sure to keep it smaller than the actual amount so it fit snugly.
 
CAREFUL DRILLING so you don't drill *yourself*. 
 
Then, I cleaned it up with a razor blade.
 
All in all, this took less than an hour, and cost like 15 bucks.  And it actually works.  I ditched the ear loop, and it stays on my head securely and comfortably.
 
It isn't perfect.  The drilling approach is pretty dicey in a number of ways.  One, it is real easy to hurt yourself.  Two, it is easy to destroy what you are making.  Three, the quality of the holes leaves a lot to be desired.
 
In hindsight, I think to make the smaller hole, getting some small diameter tubing and sharpening it might work better.  Maybe for the big hole too.
 
The other thing is the surface isn't super smooth.  However, I think this is more an issue of using your ear directly to mold the material (pores and hair and stuff).  When you work the material by hand, it is possible to get it nice and smooth.
 
So, perhaps if you built a nice cast you could get a nice smooth result.
 
I also built a custom sleeve for my wife in a similar way.  I created the "ear plug" and then drilled the holes to stuff the IEM in.  However in this case the IEM wasn't embedded far enough and was not secure.  To resolve this I simply added another coat of material on the back to hold it in and then trimmed it up.
 
I also managed to get some holes in it, to which I just applied more material.  It seems that this stuff sticks to itself reasonably well if clean.
 
How did it come out?  I don't really know.  My wife didn't really like them, but she isn't an audiophile, and wasn't really very into the whole thing, so I don't know if the problem was fit, or what.
 
On the other hand, it seems the material has promise, if the process was refined.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Just for comparison, here are my custom sleeves for my Shure 530s made by Sensaphonics (with professional impressions, etc.):
 
[[gallery 2]]
 

 

 

 
Random thoughts.
 
The impressions take from the audiologist use a much softer material and it is inserted farther in your ear, resulting in a much better impression.
 
The material used by Sensaphonics is softer and much smoother.  I suspect the latter is due to their process, but they obviously use a softer material. 
 
Have fun, be safe.
 
-john
 
 
[Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with any of these companies, I'm not responsible for you doing something stupid, yada yada.]
 
 
 
EDIT:  Another project with this material:
  Rewiring an ER-6i just aint that hard, folks. Pics enclosed.
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 5:02 AM Post #2 of 16

sleepymaam

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 21, 2009
Posts
8
Likes
0
Thank you for your share
bigsmile_face.gif

I have seen someone who use the mould to take ear impressions and send them off to make their custom-made
 
At this stage, I am a little bit concerned at the cable section.
it seems I will be getting myself more trouble when time comes to replacing cables (be it Shure or Westones)
So it will possibly be even better if a removable cable module can be built into it
 
Still, thank you for sharing!
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 12:09 PM Post #4 of 16

ccfoodog

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 17, 2008
Posts
250
Likes
11


Quote:
Thank you for your share
bigsmile_face.gif

I have seen someone who use the mould to take ear impressions and send them off to make their custom-made
 
At this stage, I am a little bit concerned at the cable section.
it seems I will be getting myself more trouble when time comes to replacing cables (be it Shure or Westones)
So it will possibly be even better if a removable cable module can be built into it
 
Still, thank you for sharing!


A couple of data-points. 
 
- When I did the ER6i, I messed up the cable connection.  I was able to simply cut out a hunk of the material, pull out the driver, re-do the solder connection and then re-insert the driver, and then fill the hole with some more material.  So re-cabling with this material isn't that hard.
 
- I suspect it would be possible to do a setup with detachable plugs.  The way I'd approach it would be to attach a short wire with the plug to the driver, insert the driver into the driver hole, set the plug where you want it, then apply some epoxy putty around the plug, making it larger and stronger.  After hardening, fill in the rest of the opening with more silicon.  I haven't tried this, but I think you could make it work.  Biggest issue is getting/making the plug probably.  I haven't seen much about making/getting these plugs, so I'd be interested in any references you might have.
 
-john
 
Jun 8, 2010 at 3:26 AM Post #6 of 16

ccfoodog

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 17, 2008
Posts
250
Likes
11
 
I'm not sure.  It is basically the consistency of soft putty.  If I had to guess, I'd say it was less soft than the impression material they inject in your ears, but I've only felt that with my *ears*, so it is a bit hard to say. 
 
If I had to guess, I'd say "no".
 
FWIW, I suspect it is harder since they probably DON'T want you getting it too far in there considering it is a DIY material.  Also note they don't provide as much material as they use for impressions.
 
All in all, I think the material they use for impressions is better for making impressions, esp. deep ones.  On the other hand, you can use this stuff all buy yourself and I suspect it is sturdier, so if you are going to use it for something other than impressions it will probably hold up better.
 
-john
 
Jun 8, 2010 at 11:39 AM Post #8 of 16

ccfoodog

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 17, 2008
Posts
250
Likes
11
Note this isn't sold as an impression material and certainly not as a deep impression material. While I was a bit unsure what to expect going in, after using it I'd say it seems pretty safe and simple. And note, I've basically followed the instructions taking the impression and what I've done with this material is not really any different than what they sell it for, I just have customized the resulting "ear plugs". -john
 
Jun 8, 2010 at 12:55 PM Post #9 of 16

8xOverMsOctober

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Posts
292
Likes
12
Quote:
JackKontney said:


Scary.  Would you DIY your dentistry or optometry?


If I could do it knowing that it would be fairly safe, then yes.
 
Quote:
 
I'm not sure.  It is basically the consistency of soft putty.  If I had to guess, I'd say it was less soft than the impression material they inject in your ears, but I've only felt that with my *ears*, so it is a bit hard to say. 
 
If I had to guess, I'd say "no".
 
FWIW, I suspect it is harder since they probably DON'T want you getting it too far in there considering it is a DIY material.  Also note they don't provide as much material as they use for impressions.
 
All in all, I think the material they use for impressions is better for making impressions, esp. deep ones.  On the other hand, you can use this stuff all buy yourself and I suspect it is sturdier, so if you are going to use it for something other than impressions it will probably hold up better.
 
-john

 
Quote:
Note this isn't sold as an impression material and certainly not as a deep impression material. While I was a bit unsure what to expect going in, after using it I'd say it seems pretty safe and simple. And note, I've basically followed the instructions taking the impression and what I've done with this material is not really any different than what they sell it for, I just have customized the resulting "ear plugs". -john

 
Thanks for all of the info. I think I'm going to try this sometime soon to make custom sleeves for my Custom 3. It gets really uncomfortable after use for an hour or two, even with using good sleeves like the Sony Hybrids.
 
Even with using this material with the Custom 3 it could be made so that it goes to just before the first bend starts. So, I don't imagine that I should have any problems making the molds with it. I might even go as far as to make custom molded stems of the Custom 3. That way when I make the sleeves I can use the molded stems in it to eliminate your drilling step. This would also make the sleeves fit on the custom 3 perfectly. That should prevent the sleeve from getting stuck in my ear when I take the Custom 3 out.
 
When/if I manage to go through with this I'll post an update.
 
Edit: and I wasn't planning on using this for impressions anyway, I figured that it would just save me a step or two since I was going to try to DIY some custom sleeves anyway. This way I can eliminate the impression kit and having to make a mold from the impression kit to make the sleeves.
 
Aug 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM Post #10 of 16

b00tang

Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Posts
99
Likes
10
I ordered a radians kit on amazon and am going to give this a shot with an old pair of UE superfi 5s.  I've always wanted pro made custom IEMs but have been nervous that I would spend all the money and then find out I don't like the way customs feel.  Can you say anything about how the fit of these compares to the fit of your pro made customs?  Is the DIY version at least a good representation of what a proper custom would fit and feel like?
 
Aug 28, 2010 at 12:11 PM Post #11 of 16

metroidfox

New Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Posts
7
Likes
0
I've spent the better part of an hour trying to find where I could buy these things in Toronto, but I've had no luck. As far as I can tell, Walmart does not sell them. Any suggestions for places to look would be nice.
 
Aug 28, 2010 at 4:26 PM Post #12 of 16

b00tang

Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Posts
99
Likes
10
I ordered mine on amazon.  There are some here:  http://www.amazon.com/Radians-CEP001-R-Custom-Molded-Earplugs/dp/B002XULPSQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1283026601&sr=8-2  but somehow when i ordered last night they were cheaper and actually shipped by amazon.  weird.  
 
EDIT:  sorry, I just realized that you probably already checked amazon and maybe the problem is that they wont fulfill these to Toronto?  in anycase:  go Toronto FC
 
Aug 28, 2010 at 5:07 PM Post #13 of 16

metroidfox

New Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Posts
7
Likes
0
Only problem with that is I'd need to order them from amazon.ca, which does not list them. I'd prefer to try and buy them in person too, but if online's my only option, I guess I'll go with it.
 
Aug 28, 2010 at 7:28 PM Post #14 of 16

Wsh

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 9, 2009
Posts
105
Likes
10
Will the material take any sort of paint?  It'd be nice to be able to custom paint these or even use a hardener to make it more solid and more presentable.
 
Aug 30, 2010 at 12:51 AM Post #15 of 16

b00tang

Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Posts
99
Likes
10
metroidfox, if you are still looking for them the orange ones here http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003A28OW6/ref=oss_product are sold by amazon (while the blue ones are sold by someone else).  Maybe they just ran out of stock on the blue ones?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top