Earbud holder

by sneakypoo, published

Earbud holder by sneakypoo Dec 1, 2012

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Yet another earbud holder. Not like we have enough of those here on Thingiverse, right? Well, I wanted something a bit different from the designs already available. Specifically I wanted the whole thing to be somewhat enclosed and able to take a beating. I think I've reached those goals.
As a bonus it has a very satisfying clack sound when you close it up ;)


UPDATE 2012-12-18: Just a random tip. I've seen that those of you who have been nice enough to post pictures of your prints (Please keep doing that, it makes me happy :) ) are wrapping your cables all the way from bud to plug. What I do is fold the cord in half so that the plug and buds are next to each other. Stuff the buds and plug into the cavity and then wrap up the cord. That will save you time.
UPDATE 2012-12-05: A few people reported issues with the STLs that prevented them from being properly sliced in slic3r. I have uploaded repaired STLs that should work better. Please use the STLs that end with "_repaired". I'll keep the old files around for a while just in case these new ones present other issues. Sorry about the troubles this may have caused.
The core can be printed without support without issues. If you have trouble getting it to stick to the bed try printing it upside down, the overhang will be a bit worse but will probably print ok with good cooling.
The shells however needs a bit of support for the nubs, rough/medium support in KISSlicer worked well for me, took under a minute to clean up. Either print individually or use the plate to print both at once.
To assemble simply force the shells over the core until they snap into place. Print the shells fairly solid so that they don't break on assembly. To minimize the risk of breaking do not pull at the protruding tabs, instead grab it like shown in the picture with the green arrow.
This copy was printed on an Ultimaker for those curious.

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So I was excited to see this uploaded as up until now I havnt really used my 3D printer to make something fun, ive been making upgrades for my printer a couple practical things and I thought "well look, its fun and I can see myself using it all the time". Imagine how sad I was then, when not one, but 2 print attempts with your repaired files failed in the same place, my printer stopped working, and then dropped the print head about 1/8 of an inch before trying to start again while printing the main body. I resetup the print file in Cura before I attempted the second print and still the same thing happened. I know im not an expert, but I know that shouldnt happen unless theres something off in the file, any help or advise would be appreciated

With almost 300 posted "makes" and tens of thousands of downloads I think it's fairly safe to assume that the files work fine. This sounds more like a hardware problem to me if the bed is suddenly dropping.

no the bed doenst move.. the print head does, it has never done this in any other print I have done or attempted

I noticed in the comments you were taking a lot of grief for this item (didn't print, breaks, doesn't fit every earbud ever made, etc). Just wanted to let you know mine printed perfectly, assembled with no issues and fits my earbuds just fine (with a volume control!). So, thanks!

Thank you, it's appreciated. And I'm glad it fit your buds as well :)

Just as shown in the photos, you're only going to be able to fit earbuds that have flexible connections going into the buds. Apple earbuds won't fit as their rigid connections come out too far. It's possible to fit a pair with an inline mic, but you're in for some serious cram-foo. Fortunately I have a lot of earbuds laying around the house and I was able to find a few that fit this perfectly. The design in itself is cool enough to warrant a change of earbuds.

I'd love to see a one piece print design, maybe folded open?
Mainly to prevent the breaking off the ends during assembly.
But it's already a great design, standard in my backpack!

Is there a max layer height i need to use or are the tolerances good enough to handle a large layer height?

Comments deleted.

why it does not print on my prusa i3 MK2 sucessfully?

Well, it is a bit small... Maybe you could mention that in the description so people can check and resize as necessary.

I can only fit an old (broken) pair of Sennheiser CX300 earphones, and admittedly it takes a bit (too much) fiddling to get the jack to fit in there.

Tried another 4 pairs and either the jack was too big, the earpiece body didn't fit, or the cables coming off of the earpiece wouldn't fit through the bottom part of the cable cutout.

I think an update to the design that includes a secondary hollow for the headphone jack (on the bottom?) would help alleviate some of the problems. Also maybe specifying the intended dimensions of the headphones in your design would help people work out the percentage scaling they would need to use for their own needs.

Saying all that, for a set of headphones that DOES actually fit, this is a really nice design. Great job and thanks for sharing!

Tried with two different types of earbuds, it's too small to fit both of them. Also it doesn't have room for any types of earbuds with a volume control piece. You must have used really tiny earbuds with a very short thin wire and spent a lot of time of time trying to fit them in there, which kind of defeats the purpose of this when it's supposed to be making things more convenient.

Yes, I spent a couple of weeks finding the smallest earbuds I could find. Then I spent a few nights designing a case for them that was just barely big enough. And then I spent five minutes trying to get them into the case before taking the pic. All of that, just to piss you off. I'd say I succeeded.

This would've been good to know BEFORE I printed one. Could you maybe put this somewhere more noticeable? And yes, you've definitely succeeded in pissing me off!! :-)

It is written with the tears of all those that blindly hit print on anything without first verifying it is what they want or need. If only those people could have a way to look at the object they're trying to print first. Maybe some sort of three dimensional file or something. One day, one day we'll have the technology.

Hahaha.. What a terrible drama happened here. ... My original iPhone 5 buds don't fit either... So I gave it to my daughter. She only uses buds without volume control and it works flawless. Thanks for the nice design.

that's what I did except i gave them to my sister

Tried with two different types of earbuds, it's too small to fit both of them. Also it doesn't have room for any types of earbuds with a volume control piece. You must have used really tiny earbuds with a very short thin wire and spent a lot of time of time trying to fit them in there, which kind of defeats the purpose of this when it's supposed to be making things more convenient.

maybe increase the size bud

what about extreme angles

which stls am I using? the top three?

which stls am I using? the top three?

Could you share the file you worked with? I have plans for a belt loop attachment thing...

i printed the covers in hollow thick walls and they snapped when i put them on, what a waste of 364 inches of filament and 5 hours

Also happened to me. Very disappointing. Next time I'll cut down the knobs to be less high before attaching the shells.

Just glue them when snapped on.

Comments deleted.

:V it's to small . What are the sizes?

What orientation am I supposed to print this in?

Genius! :) Thank you for sharing!

Comments deleted.

Anyone else having trouble with the print orientation of the core? I'm having trouble printing it out vertically and broke it when removing support structures after printing horizontally. Please let me know what worked best for you! Using at Lulzbot Taz 5 btw.

Comments deleted.

Currently making my own!

I wish this didn't have those lock studs so it was more like a butterfly knife. also i wish there was a grip holde like a butterfly knife. That would be chill, and that is the main reason why i checked it out.

Use editing software and make those changes. Use something like TinkerCAD that is free. Nothing is stopping you from making things happen.

So for people with lower end printers, that have the tabs snapping off, get yourself a heat gun or hair dryer, I used one to soften up the tabs to get the cover pieces on, and it worked like a charm.

If it is PLA I stick it in scalding water for about 5-10 seconds and it will soften up to fit it.

FYI, someone is using your design for a Kickstarter and I do not see any attribution and they have taken images from the Made gallery.


Thank you for notifying me. I've messaged him asking him somewhat nicely to remove it. Hopefully that's all that's needed.

Just as an update it was taken down.

Yeah, he ignored my message so I took it up with Kickstarter and they shut it down real quick like.

What are the dimensions of the earbud holder body?

Hej, vi är ett UF-företag och skulle vilja använda din design. Vi kan även skriva på dom att det är du som designat dem, om du vill. Är det ok att vi använder den?
Tacksam för svar!

Ni får allt ta och vara lite mer specifika i era önskemål. Vad ska den användas till, i vilket syfte? Kommer ni att ta betalt och därmed tjäna pengar på min design? I så fall kräver jag ju så klart lite mer än att ni sätter ett namn på produkten.

the outer parts keep snapping when i try to fix em onto the middle part... help?

Try increasing your infill percentage for a more solid product. Or, make sure it's not too high otherwise, it may be too brittle.

40k downloads and only a handful of people having that issue. Maaybe, just maybe, your print quality isn't up to snuff? Also, read the comments/look at the derivatives, I'm pretty sure a remix was posted a year or two ago that changed the geometry.

Comments deleted.

Same problem, Want to print in wood, but the layer adhesion wont allow that kinda flex. Going to recad the sides to holes instead of pegs and fit everything for metal hardware :) Should fix the problem!

I printed this with no support in a Fabrikator Mini using PLA, .1mm layers, 210 deg, 100/100 feedrate and flowrate, 2mm shell thickness, and 20% infill. And it came out great! (6 hours... but what the hell. :D ) I used the "unfixed files" for kicks to see if they'd have problems like others reported, none whatsoever. I think part of it is the really sticky paper-tape base layer the Fabrikator uses. Not bad for a $180 bargain basement printer...

I also think I had such good luck because I'm using Cura slicer.

do we use the repaired stl(s) files or does it not matter?


I have the foam/larger earbuds that do not really fit this without the print being a little larger.
A long time ago someone suggested a size increase that worked perfectly though I cannot seem to find it.

Anyone know how big this should be increased for the bigger earbuds? If you need to know specifics I use Koss Plug Isolation earbuds.

Thanks! What a fantastic print this is!

**Side note, the main structure can be tricky to print at the curved part. I'm not super advanced with my printer though so it could be user error (Flashforge---230 C----70 C heated plate---no raft/support)

how do you recommend printing the parts ie orientation/what side is on the hotbed?

print the repaired one!

Amazing, can u try to make it in a butterfly opening kind of style like with butterfly combs

Great design, thanks for making and sharing this!

Any updates for the new apple earphones?

Hello, my school is raising money and I was wondering if I could use your design and print it out so I could sell it?

P.S. Some of the money goes to me since I'm buying the filament and fixed the 3D printer.

Apr 27, 2015 - Modified Apr 27, 2015

The design keeps snapping going on the center headphone piece, you need to tweak it to make it thicker or something because it snaps too much and I have printed these three times now!!

Comments deleted.

Several thousand downloads and 99 successful "Made" posts tells me that maybe it's more to do with your print than my design. Yes, it can snap, if you're not careful when you mount it, but it's not THAT fragile. I was quite rough with mine and it never snapped.

That said, there have been a couple of people mentioning that it has snapped for them as well IIRC. And I believe there's a derivative design or two that supposedly takes care of that.

Also, you're welcome, I hope the price of "free" wasn't too steep for you...

Please continue to reply to comments like that, because people expect the world to be handed, for free. One downside of the internet is that stupidity (and stupid ppl) can spread as far as great and free things.

The sad thing is that people like that don't even respond to a reply like mine. They're a lost cause I think.

Can you please provide the original files, or step? I would like to make the top part, where the earphones go, a little bigger.

Comments deleted.
Feb 26, 2015 - Modified Feb 26, 2015

Any suggestions for cracking would be:

  1. Turn your print temp up because it isn't melting enough to stick together.
  2. Try using PLA because it sticks A LOT better to its layers than ABS.
  3. Try printing slower if your printer cant print at a higher temp.
  4. If there is a draft again print slower because if the layer (normally on ABS) will cool too quickly and cause a crack.
  5. Heres a tip for ABS users it you get cracking try dipping your print in acetone for 10 seconds and wait a couple of hours and then mess with it because the layers will "melt" together creating a much stronger bond and making it feel smother. Do not leave it in too long though.

These are tips because i just got my first roll of PLA and let me tell you its much easier to use than ABS. Good luck

For some reason my print came out really fragile. I cracked it about 6 times just putting it together. I super-glued it back together and coated the outside in glue as well. It seems to be holding together alright now. Still though I think my print temp was off. Too bad it's a Da Vinci and I can't fix it.

Repetier firmware for the Da Vinci 1.0* and temp-adjustment problem (and every other one) resolved. ;)

I've tried to print this twice, but every time I go to put it together the two outer peices snap. Any suggestions?

Comments deleted.
Jan 23, 2015 - Modified Jan 23, 2015
BryanMasters - in reply to tyle

Rotate the outer pieces and print them on their side so that the grain runs along the outer parts instead of across, this should stop it from breaking when assembling.

Outstanding build file. One of the best builds that I have made. Excellent fit and finish.

The supports were easy to get out and it looks awesome.

How do you get the middle bit out? :)

What middle bit?

I'm new to this, so please bear with me. In my print - of the core - the hollow area has a kind of honeycomb print in it. Is that not right? It could be somethnig I've messed up in the print settings. Sounds like it might be, from your response :)

Sounds like you have support enabled. That shouldn't be needed for this print so disable that and you should be good to go. If you're having trouble with bed adhesion you can also try flipping the part upside down.

I have support type set to 'Touching buildplate', but that's only supposed offer support where it touches the build platform. I also have fill density set to 20%.

Yup, that's support. Just disable that option and you'll be alright :)

Thank you so much for your help :) It's much appreciated.

I'm using these with the newer earbuds and they are working well. Its a tight fit, but works great.

This doesn't quite fit the newer Apple EarPods. A little upscaling should solve the issue.

How much did you upscale it?

Is this compatible with the old apple ear buds? Thanks.

Do you mind sharing your source (solidworks) files? That would make it easier to make derivatives!

Great design. I printed it at 0.1mm layer without any supports but I modified slightly the hinge pins to do that.
Also I added 4 anchors of my own design to each part to secure to the build plate and prevent them being knocked over by the extruder.
Unfortunately my earbuds turned out to be too big to fit, so I'll be printing a slightly modified one with bigger space for the buds but a shorter stem to keep the same overall size.

After about 3 tries I got the core to work... Just flipped it in Makerware and I was all set... It was a bugger getting it off the build platform.

I've made them, but shell broke on the assembly... I'm thinking, maybe it would be better for shells to print horizontally, so minimizing chance of breaking?

Beautiful design. I love mine. It's a bit tricky to get the iphone earbuds into it, though

What program did you use to create this?

I used SolidWorks.

It's the top of the shells. My bet is the hinge elements need support. Ah well... sure looks like a cool thing.

You don't have to guess... it's right there in the instructions that you need support for those. This is a very basic print job, you shouldn't be having problems with it unless your printer is performing poorly. You might also want to have a look at the derivatives.

Comments deleted.

I cannot get the covers to print. The top parts are just too thin. Any suggestions on settings???

They are 2mm thick, that's not that thin, I've printed plenty of stuff thinner than that. Sorry, can't help you.

please post infill, layer height and # of slices. I've tried 3 times and each time FAIL! layers too thin!

What exactly is failing? I printed at 0.16 layers, infill... no idea, can't remember. And number of slices varies depending on what height you print at...

A LOT of people have printed this without issues so I'd say it's a problem on your end.

love it... printed it and works super well. it would be neat to hide a 3.5mm jack somehow. maybe a different winding technique?

Beautiful design. Would be nice to have the design files in addition to the STL files. I see we have a couple of derivatives already.
I printed mine in ABS on an UP! printer. Printed well, but the neck of the core is fragile on mine. Seems like adding a bit more material at the bottom of the bud holder would make it stronger without any negative effects. At least for me, the bud holder is plenty big.


Printed out great. But I forgot to re-read the assembly instructions and I broke the tabs off! Oh well, Krazy-Glue works good.

Once again, best earbud holder on the 'verse!! I have a small suggestion, add some texture on the shells to help grip it. Mine printed of perfectly!!

Thanks :) I was actually going to put texture on the shells but I forgot about it. Once I had printed it I found that I naturally grabbed it with my thumbs pressed against the bottom and my pointies on top and then ripped it open. That worked so well for me that I just skipped any texture.

I made a derivative for the shell , not easely broken when snapped on here : http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:38292http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

I borrow the idea from the other derivative http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:38039http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... for the in built support

the original one whas a bit fragile event in the pocket the ear with the nubs wasn't strong enough so there was 2 choice : increase the size of the wall or make it with the U shape. I dit the second option with enough room for the shell to open

Hope you like it

not easy broken earholder shell
by jfpion
Earbud shell with support

Works nicely, thanks! I printed this using support for the nubs, and it feels very sturdy with PLA. No problems snapping on to and removing from the core model from sneakypoo!

Would it be possible to print one with a key chain loop?

Works incredibly well.  Only issue is when people at work saw it, I wound up with an entire weekend worth of printing making other people copies!  

I have failed to print the shells in ABS... keep snapping off the build plate once they start making the pins, but I'm sure that's my own lack of experience more than anything else.

Awesome Thing!

I really like this design a lot. I tried to print one but when the core was nearly done, my extruder knocked the part off the build platform and created a stringy mess. There just isn't a whole lot of surface area there for it to hang on with. I'm going to try again though, this time maybe with a slower speed or some other method to keep it stuck to the platform more solidly.

If you have issues printing the core you can try like I did to flip it upside down, gives more surface to stick and the overhang angle is the same on both side so it wont change much. Also, if printing on blue tape try airspray, its the PLA equivalent to acetone/abs mix for abs printing.

FYI: FOR EVERYONE PRINTING THIS do not try to bend the shells by the tabs to fit it in the core, you will break it. (happened to me) Instead grab the sides on their entire lenght and bend very very slowly and not a half mm more than you need.

Very good points, I'll add that to the instructions.

I guess I'm spoiled by my Ultimaker hehe. If you're using regular "blue tape" on your platform you can try wiping it down with alcohol, that gets rid of any oils from your hands or waxy residues, this helps the model stick.

Also make sure your platform is perfectly level and that your z-endstop is adjusted correctly so that the platform sits at exactly the right height on startup. You can also try manually raising the platform slightly as the print begins to really smash the plastic into the platform, dirty but it could help.

Lastly, maybe try adding a brim to the print if your slicer gives you that option?

Looks like the files are not 'manifold' or a bit broke.  I ran it through NetFabb free and cleaned it up and had no problem.  Im using Slic3r in Repetier, which once sliced, had no holes and elongated nubs. :)  Just a heads up for others that may have some strange behavior from their slicers.

Sorry to hear that. I just tried to slice the parts again in the slicers I have installed: KISSlicer, Netfabb Studio Basic and cura (modified skeinforge). cura flashed a few errors for the core but sliced it without issue. All slicers showed no problems in the gcode visualisation at all. Netfabb usually screams at you as soon as you load the model if there's an issue, it didn't for these.

You're also the first to report a problem of the 200+ people that have downloaded the files so maybe something got corrupted in the download? Or maybe it's slic3r that is having some issues? I do remember hearing some people have a few issues with that slicer on some models.

NetFabb doesn't spit out any warnings when you load the models, but Slic3r does.  I ran through the paces in NetFabb (Open, Default Repair, and Save STL...) and then sliced without issue.  Ill post a resulting GCode visual for reference.  Awesome model regardless! :) Just thought i would mention the struggles.

Well that sucks. I'll go through the same procedure on all models and post them alongside the old ones. If you or someone else could then test them to make sure they're alright I'll dump the old files.

 fyi Slic3r 0.9.7 also gave me manifold error, on the core only

That is an awesome ear bud holder. Good job. You could sell those.

If I knew how to make money off it I would love to. Especially considering how I just lost my job...

I tried something similar to that at first but it didn't work out, the shells slipped off too easily. You don't really have to bend them too extremely to get them on there, I think you'll be allright :)

Comments deleted.

Redesign it a little to be able to injection mold all three pieces from a single straight-pull mold and quote it from http://protomold.comprotomold.com.  I would guesstimate around $3k for tooling + $1-2 per piece for resin.  Set up a Kickstarter or Indiegogo project for $10k and offer it as a $10 reward, get 1000 people to donate and BOOM, you're in business.  Get the word out and you should be able to hit that target easily.  Even if you don't, you'll only be out your time.

 Thanks guys (sola_technical and thecrazy), really appreciate the advice here. Both Shapeways and Kickstarter sound like interesting ideas.

Not sure how I would create a "single pull mold"-compliant model but I guess I could always learn :) I'd have to take a look at the math on the money though, $10 sounds awful cheap with a guestimated 9k in tooling and parts alone. Not much left when all is said and done.

I was probably a bit unclear - you should be able to combine all 3 parts into a single mold  for $3k, so 1000 units would run about 5k total.  Even if you wanted to do separate molds (for contrasting colors or just to not have to clip apart the pieces), you still only need 2 molds since the outer shells could be identical if they aren't already.  So maybe $5k for tooling if you go that route. 
Certainly, get some solid quotes and run the numbers, but IMO there is a lot of potential upside here, and this is the kind of project that the maker community really gets behind.
What software did you design in?  Most 3D CAD packages have mold design tools.

Ah, gotcha. Yes that sounds a bit more reasonable. Dual colour wouldn't be a requirement for a first run I guess but I do like the contrast of it.

The shells aren't identical here for no other reason than me being stupid, they can become identical very easily though, I'll just have to add an indent to both sides instead of just one...

I used Solidworks for this one and I'm just now looking into the theory of mold making. Started reading a PDF about it which was 250+ pages long. Looks like I have a lot to learn.

You could also submit it to Quirky. They could help you get a patent, and you'd have the benefit of their branding selling.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll think about it for sure. I also have another thing that I recently created but haven't put up here because I think it actually might sell. That might be a good candidate to put on quirky first, to test the waters so to speak.

You should start and Etsy account
And im not sure about this one but check shapeways, I think if you submit an item on their site you get some royalties everytime they sell one... can someone confirm this?

BTW I had issues printing the core. I have a well calibrated Mendel Prism (similar to a mendel max in performance) the bottom part prints perfectly but when it starts printing the overhang (were it gets larger to fit the earbuds) it gets realy ugly, and I have a fan... not sure what to do about this.

Best ear bud holder on the 'verse!!

Incredibly nice print! what size hot end?

It was printed with a 0.4mm nozzle at 0.16mm layer height on an Ultimaker.

Wow you're kidding! Did you do any post processing, like sanding, or acetone?

No, that's straight out of the printer except for snapping off the interior support on the shells.

Now that's an earbud holder I would like to make! Thanks for sharing m8!

 Make sure to post pics if you do ;) Seeing pics of other peoples copies is very rewarding.

very cool, reminds me of the "Butterfly Knife".

Good stuff, I love seeing movement in a design or interactivity.

Thanks. And yeah that thought struck me as well hehe. I'm afraid it's a bit too lightweight and a wee bit too limited in motion to be able to do any trick with it though ;)