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George's Project Blog

Welcome to my project blog; covering hardware & software projects, hacks & prototype products. Please feel welcome to e-mail me if you'd like to ask about or comment upon anything featured on the site.

Latest Project

Copper Colour Headphone Stand

  • Introduction

    Phillips Fidelio X2As part of a new interest in audio hardware - specifically entry level 'audiophile' gear including DACs, headphones and amplifiers - I've just picked up a set of Phillips Fidelio X2s.

    They're fantastic headphones, but the felt-like memory-foam pads don't react well to being left flat on the desk (picking up fluff and becoming misshapen). As such, I set out to find a headphone stand that would store (and display) them neatly.

    Unfortunately quality headphone stands are one of those things that seem to have artificially inflated prices. Perhaps there isn't much demand, and as low volume items they just cost more to make. For this reason it seems a lot of enthusiasts make their own.

    I thought about making one from scratch, but ideally wanted something that would match the computer it would sit next to (anodised black aluminium), and couldn't form or finish aluminium (or other metals) like that myself.

    Copper Colour Heapdhone StandThe best option seemed to be the Copper Colour range, my pick of which is available for around £30 online in the UK. It's a simple design; formed aluminium with an anodised black finish. At that price they should be well finished and robust. I ordered one from an eBay seller and it arrived quickly.

    First impressions were unfortunately not great. On the larger surfaces the finish is fine, but the edges look like they've simple been stamped out of a sheet and not cleaned up in any way. The shape of the stand is also irregular; the left side isn't symetrical to the right. It stands up fine, but you have to wonder what kind of form they're using and why it isn't symetrical in the first place. Could they be doind these by eye?

  • Making Improvements

    Shaping The Worktop Off-CutHowever the biggest problem was weight. The aluminium used is pretty thick, but still light enough that the stand weighs significantly less than the headphones. As such, stabilty isn't great and picking up the headphones results in the stand coming along for the ride, unless lifted in a fiddly and specific way.

    Unlike the finish (which would take a sand & re-anodisation to resolve), the weight issue could be easily addressed. I had to hand an off-cut from a gorgeous solid oak worktop, with which I could quicly and easily increase the stand's weight and solidity, while also adding a quality feel and attractive wood grain.

    Sanding & Test-FittingUnfortunately I don't have a fret/bandsaw capable of cutting a hardwood of this thickness, so shaping it was a case of handsawing and strategic use of Forstner bits. The worktop thickness and non-symetrical shape of the stand meant I'd need two similar but uniquely-shaped pieces. I traced the shapes onto the off-cut, taking care to ensure the grain for each exposed face would be attractive and remained undamaged (because I wouldn't be able to flip the non-symetrical pieces afterwards).

    Glued, Oiled & FittedWith the two pieces shaped, I popped the stand over the top and checked the fit, further sanding until a snug fit was achieved. After wood-gluing together (clamped in place with the stand, which would later conceal the join) and a coating of Danish Oil, the solid oak insert was complete.

    The end result has a finer appearance and far more weight and stability. It also is no longer in danger of scratching the table below, with the metal edges raised by the insert. It's a simple modification, but one that makes a huge difference with relatively little effort.

Tea