Designing a headphone - From prototype to product

By Deepak Tiwari Jan 31, 2022

A headphone maker starts with the basics: do I want wireless or corded earphones, and do I want them to be cheap or last a long time? These questions will determine which components will be included in the earphones, as well as the materials that will be utilised to build them. The majority of earphones are constructed of pre-molded plastic, carbon elements, polymers, and metal components, with optional features such as gel cups for your ears and rubber for protection and comfort.

All of these materials must be available to the producer, and some of them, such as the gel cups and the wire for the earphone connection, may be purchased already manufactured by another source. These pre-fabricated components will be incorporated into the earphones' master design.

Many of these elements will have an impact on how the sound is produced on its own. If a company makes thicker cables, not only will they last longer, but the audio quality will improve as well. The headphones will cost more if the jack is gold-plated, but they will transfer music more clearly. The materials and designs utilised will be affected if the creator decides to incorporate noise cancelling or dampening effects.
Many of these elements will have an impact on how the sound is produced on its own. If a company makes thicker cables, not only will they last longer, but the audio quality will improve as well. The headphones will cost more if the jack is gold-plated, but they will transfer music more clearly.

From the idea and prototype stage to the manufacturing of a final product, the wireless product design process necessitates teams' understanding of and attention to a variety of issues that ordinary product design does not necessitate. Wireless devices, for example, must meet highly strict testing and certification criteria, and it's important to keep that in mind from the start of your project.


Ideation

A headphone product design is a process with challenges or issues that are best and sometimes only solved by wireless technology and its associated related capabilities.

Continue to polish your concept until you can describe how it would be used, where it would be utilised. Creating "use case scenarios" is what this is referred to as.

Remember that you want the product to give value, but that simplicity in design is also important as you work on the use case scenarios. The marketplace has repeatedly demonstrated that simple designs are more successful. So, while you're still in the brainstorming stage, try to eliminate any unnecessarily complicated ideas.


Designing the concept

After confirming the manufacturing method and feasibility, the team moves on to conceptual design. This step is critical because the design's aesthetic appearance, component arrangement, and feasibility are taken into consideration.

The design team experiments with a variety of design concepts in order to improve the product's aesthetic appeal. Several product designs are sketched with these factors in mind. The design team then creates a rough CAD model (which takes about 2 hours)

Depending on the complexity of the design, this phase can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours (or more).


Design of the First Prototype

Following the above considerations, the designers begin creating the product's main CAD file. The design team uses CAD modelling to make modifications and corrections, as well as obtain exact dimensional values for various mechanisms. It's critical to get the measurements perfect if you want the product to move or fold easily. Various fittings and component thicknesses are chosen from a set of options. For example, a range of 1 to 2 mm. The measurements may differ after considering strength and feasibility.


Manufacturing and testing

They begin 3d printing utilizing SLA 3d printing when the initial prototype has been approved. After the parts have been printed, they are tested for any design flaws. Mechanisms such as the snap fit and slide are examined for strength and durability. Depending on the product's complexity, this phase might take anywhere from minutes to days.

During this process, the designers will add peripheral components to conduct various jobs once the sound system has been established. It could also feature a control system that connects to the media player and sends signals to it, allowing users to control volume and change music tracks using buttons on their earbuds.

To send and receive wireless signals to capable devices, Bluetooth earphones require additional components. Active noise cancelling earphones are connected with complicated systems that detect outside noise and produce impulses to balance it out.


Final Feedback and production

The CAD files are sent out for further feedback if required. The production process begins after the product has been approved. The headphones, together with the CAD files, are given to the client after the process is completed.

As you can see from what we've said thus far, different types of headphones use different materials and production methods. From the start of the 20th century to today, we've come a long way, and we can finally conclude that implementing new technology is a wonderful approach to minimize the difficulty of the production process.

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