Where should a clumsy useless fool like myself get started with DIY? 😂
Sep 22, 2023 at 9:00 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

MakeshiftApe

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I have basically zero DIY experience since back when I was maybe 9-10 years old (I'm 31 now for context) and did a tiny bit at school. Know nothing about electric circuits, and am clumsy and imprecise as hell so even simple soldering is a challenge.

But I'd like to change that, and build my own DIY headphones and speakers, since the one thing I do have is patience with tons of trial and error until I get something right.

The question I have is where do I even get started? What if anything do I need to read up/learn about circuitry before I get started? Or should I just buy some parts and start with following someone's guide and then experiment from there?

I was thinking maybe a cheap but half-way decent 3D printer might be something to invest in since I have no woodworking/metalworking skills and I imagine printing a chassis from someone else's template would be a lot easier than trying to build one myself.
 
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Sep 22, 2023 at 9:50 PM Post #2 of 10
If it were me, I'd start with making cables. Then attaching drivers to connectors. After that, the rest is mechanical... you can buy cups or cannibalize another headphone. After you've made a basic one, you'll see what you want to improve on.
 
Sep 23, 2023 at 12:46 AM Post #3 of 10
You are going to have to learn about electronics to some degree in order to properly design a set of speakers. Most speakers require a crossover which means you will be doing a little bit of circuit design.

Start with learning how to build power supplies. Everything you will build will need a power supply, so you might as well get started now. You will learn about transformers, capacitors, resistors, inductors, regulators, ohms law, how to choose and rerate parts for power and heat dissipation, and so on.

The concepts you learn in designing a power supply will become necessary when you design a crossover or any other circuit. Not to mention it is just a good life skill to have.
 
Sep 23, 2023 at 7:42 AM Post #4 of 10
I have basically zero DIY experience since back when I was maybe 9-10 years old (I'm 31 now for context) and did a tiny bit at school. Know nothing about electric circuits, and am clumsy and imprecise as hell so even simple soldering is a challenge.

But I'd like to change that, and build my own DIY headphones and speakers, since the one thing I do have is patience with tons of trial and error until I get something right.

The question I have is where do I even get started? What if anything do I need to read up/learn about circuitry before I get started? Or should I just buy some parts and start with following someone's guide and then experiment from there?

I was thinking maybe a cheap but half-way decent 3D printer might be something to invest in since I have no woodworking/metalworking skills and I imagine printing a chassis from someone else's template would be a lot easier than trying to build one myself.
You've chosen one of the most difficult, if not impossible, things to DIY: headphones. The nature of plastics and other materials, injection molding, tooling, and even modeling the human head/ear for testing, etc., make it very difficult (and expensive) to accomplish on a DIY level.

Speakers? Not so much - if you are handy with wood-working, you've got 90% of DIY-ing speakers licked. The rest is calculating enclosures and/or porting, a bit of electronics with the crossovers, and enough knowledge to select good drivers. As with headphones, though, the devil is in the testing. Most of this is largely empirical work.

A better path for learning electronics and soldering is to build some headphone amplifiers. Tangent's tutorial on the CMoy is still unbeatable, even two decades later:
https://tangentsoft.com/audio/cmoy/

More good hints from the predecessor of that link here:
https://tangentsoft.com/audio/
 
Sep 23, 2023 at 11:25 AM Post #5 of 10
I think you are approaching this from the wrong direction, by asking everyone for 'solutions' to what project you should choose.

In my opinion you should start by compiling a list of your 'needs' for this project, for example:
  • the project should be cheap/medium cost/expensive
  • the project should be easy/challenging for a beginner
  • the project should take days/weeks/months to complete
  • the project should be building an existing kit/designing a new 'thing' from scratch and then building it
  • the project should be 'all in one' or 'modular which can then be easily later modded element by element'
  • the project should be small/medium/large in size
  • etc
Your answers to these types of questions should greatly help you (and other posters) to narrow down what sort of project you should start with.
 
Sep 30, 2023 at 7:01 PM Post #6 of 10
You are going to have to learn about electronics to some degree in order to properly design a set of speakers. Most speakers require a crossover which means you will be doing a little bit of circuit design.

Start with learning how to build power supplies. Everything you will build will need a power supply, so you might as well get started now. You will learn about transformers, capacitors, resistors, inductors, regulators, ohms law, how to choose and rerate parts for power and heat dissipation, and so on.

The concepts you learn in designing a power supply will become necessary when you design a crossover or any other circuit. Not to mention it is just a good life skill to have.
Speaker design/building is very difficult and multi-factorial. DIY Audio had tons of plans to follow. You don't have to design anything. There are a number of no crossover 1 driver projects (but you'll need the "flatpack" for the cabinet, or skills at woodworking. There are no or limited baffle speakers too. To design you'd need to do lots of reading and have ro buy equipment for building and testing.

There are DIY kits for amps, pre-amps, integrated amps - some very easy, some awfully difficult. Can't imagine designing one from scratch.

Good luck Makeshift Ape, my advice is start small.
 
Oct 10, 2023 at 12:24 AM Post #8 of 10
To be able to design will require you to invest into quite a bit of education, On the DIY Audio site most of the good designs come from engineers related to the electronics industry there are some really talented people there. I take a shortcut and go with other peoples designs that I know will work and build it to understand it. Each project is an educational experience and I end with I nice functional peace of equipment. If that is the route you want to take there are many projects to be built on diyaudio.com .
 
Oct 10, 2023 at 1:12 AM Post #9 of 10
Yep, diyaudio.com is where you need to go. Tons of projects from super simple to super complex. And tons of engineers and very helpful people that will hold your hand if needed - just let them know you're green.

If you buy anything from the diyaudiostore.com there is usually an extensive build guide available.
 
Oct 10, 2023 at 10:39 AM Post #10 of 10
am clumsy and imprecise as hell so even simple soldering is a challenge.
I think I'd start here, if I were you. Practice, practice, practice! When you get decently good at soldering, then you can move on from there.
I started by looking at tangentsoft. I think I watched this video about 20 times before I even bought a soldering iron:


Building simple cables is a good way to practice soldering. Belden, Mogami, Canare all make high quality, bulk cable that's very inexpensive. Rean, Neutrik, Amphenol make high quality connectors that are very inexpensive.

JDS Labs makes some inexpensive DIY kits. I think my first kit was the CMOYBB. I still have it kicking around somewhere. It sounds great!
If you've got high impedance headphones, the Bottlehead Crack is also supposed to be a very good beginner's kit. I've always been kinda curious, but I've never actually built one. I did build the Quickie and Quicksand, which was a lot of fun (and a lot of batteries), but unfortunately those are no longer being made.
There are also soldering practice kits you can buy from electronics hobby shops, but then you end up with a bunch of junk that'll probably just end in the garbage. I prefer having something I can use.
 

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