old hacksaw blade headphone repair
Monday, May 20 2013
This morning I took the dogs for a walk up the Chamomile Headwaters Trail, ultimately to Funky Pond Summit. Surprisingly, given recent rains, the pond itself was completely dry. It was day four of my caffeine abstinence, and perhaps because of this I had a mildly euphoric feeling as I strolled through the forest. In the past I've experienced a clarity of moods after giving up caffeine; perhaps I'd begun to approach that phase of zero-caffeine psychochemical equilibrium.
At some point during my stroll, my MP3 headphones broke. A small-but-essential piece of polystyrene securing the springy overhead arches to one of the ear pieces had snapped in two and now there was no way to wear the headphones. Electronically, though, they were fine.
The headphones were cheap (costing less than $30) and they had a tendency to uncomfortably overcompress my ears, but they've become one of my more important possessions. They play MP3s or FM radio, there are no wires to get caught in things, the internal batteries are rechargeable, and the sound quality is pretty good. So it was important for me to get them fixed and to do so quickly.
At first I tried something I often try with broken polystyrene: modeling glue. It's supposed to chemically weld connections together by slightly melting the plastic on either side of the junction, but I almost never get it to work, especially in cases like this where the plastic has to endure strong flexing forces. I tried adding some additional polystyrene to bulk up the material around the crack, and though it initially held, it immediately broke once I tried to use the headphones. Clearly a custom fix was in order.
I figured that I could find some new material for the overhead arch, I wouldn't need the polystyrene bits at all; I could just bolt the earpieces to the new arch and be on my way. But what material might I use?
After some searching around, I found the perfect thing: an old hacksaw blade. I could have used a new one, but a used one was better for this purposes because I wanted the blade to be dull. (One of the things I did to it was grind it on a grinding wheel in a way that took the tips off the serrations.) Since I am the only person who wears the headphones and my head is unlikely to change size, all I had to do was cut the overhead arch to the right size and then bolt it to the earpieces. The results were a little looser than I wanted, meaning I will have to be more careful not to shake the headphones from my head. But the discomfort of having my ears overly compressed (especially for long periods of time) is no longer a problem.
At some point today I saw a large (18 inch) Ringneck Snake out on the bluestone walkway to the driveway. I almost never see this species except when I picking up rocks; the only other time was a very unusual February sighting in the driveway.
The way the headphones looked before they broke.
The way they look after my fix.
A closeup view of the new hacksaw blade overhead arch.
Today's Ringneck Snake.
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