3D printing has long held the promise of letting us create the things we need at home, but until now most projects have been prototypes or personal pet projects. Now finally there's a truly useful item that you can print for yourself, using just a 3D printer and a few additional parts.
The 13.30 headphones got their strange name from the amount of time designer John Mabry needed to make the parts on his Dimension 1200ES 3D printer. As it stands, two of the ten printed parts rely on something called soluble support printing, which is only available on pro-level machines. To make the design more accessible, Mabry is working on a 2.0 version, that can be printed on the more common MakerBot Replicator.
Once you have your plastic parts, you need to assemble them along with the electrical components. In the design, Mabry provides suggested sources for the drivers, wire and other assorted parts, which add up to about $15-18. The design has been carefully refined so that no tools whatsoever are needed, everything just snaps together. It even avoids potentially tricky things like soldering the wires, so the only tool you'll need is a 3D printer.
Best of all, because you make them yourself, the 13.30s are easy to fix. I have found that most headphones get tossed out after someone sits on them and carelessly breaks one of the plastic parts. When that happens with the 13.30s, you can simply print a replacement part and snap them back together. Brilliant.
Did I mention that the design can be downloaded for free?