About: I am a student who likes to build and tinker with things and I use my heritage as a basis for inspiration in my daily life.

When you think of things that seemingly dance to music you probably think of people on a dance floor. However would you believe a simple RC Quad-copter motor would dance too?! Well they are fully capable of rotating, vibrating, and producing a little sound of their own by soldering them to connections you would typically plug most speakers into.

Read this instructable to see how we turned a boring broken pair of earbuds into the first pair of working Propel-a-Buds!

Step 1: Materials/ Tools


- Replacement/ extra mini RC Quadcopter motors (x2)

- Mini Quadcopter propellers (x2)

- Solder

- Super glue/ Hot glue

- Broken or old pair of earbuds you want to upgrade

- Stereo Auxiliary (male) input to RCA (male) input


- Soldering Iron

- Drill w/ bits


- Pliers

- Alligator clips

- Wire Strippers

Step 2: Disassemble Earbud

Begin by disassembling the earbud until you have the speaker and the casing separated, and if your earbud is like this one here you will have an outer sleeve and a squishy ear insert. Remove those as well.

Step 3: Altering Earbud Casing

Most earbuds will not have a hole in the back of the casing, this one did however it was too small to fit the motor inside. This is where you take your drill and create a hole big enough to just barely slide the motor in.

Next you will most likely need to increase the size of the hole the cord will slip through to accommodate for the thicker wire. Try to use the same hole the old cord fit into (just widen it) but if the motor is in the way just drill a new hole

Step 4: Prepare for Solder

Cut the RCA inputs off, strip the wire, and separate positive and negative. Do this for both sides. Slide the motor and newly cut cord into the casing and do a quick twist of the positive and negative wires on the motor to the corresponding positive and negative wires of the cord.

Step 5: Solder

With the wires still protruding out the front of the casing, make sure to identify the correct leads on the speaker and match them up to the twisted leads you made earlier, then solder the connections carefully

Step 6: Gluing It All Together

Apply the super glue or whatever bonding agent you prefer to secure the motor in the back, the cord along the bottom, and the seal around the speaker to the casing. You may want to hold it together with alligator clips.

Step 7: Finalize

Apply the outer sleeve (make adjustments where necessary) and secure with glue. Add the ear insert and propeller to finish it off

Step 8: ​Propel Your Music Listening Experience to the Next Level!

Dawn the signature Propel-a-Buds and impress your friends as they spin back and forth to each unique frequency produced in different songs!

**Note** The quality of sound will be decreased slightly due to the splitting of power to the speaker and the motor. But hey, you'll look great wearing them! :)

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    25 Discussions

    knexguy 11215

    2 years ago

    so do these actually make music, as in will you be able to recognise songs if you wore them?

    What is the impedance of the motor?

    I know these either come from the Hubsan 107L or 107C typically, but I am wondering what the impedance is so someone doesn't end up nuking the audio chip on their Apple device and rage about it here.

    I have an MIE2i that one of the speakers was a casualty of a random attack by cats, and is perfect for the project. (The motor cannot be placed on the side with the Mic and Buttons)(that side is still intact hurray!) So incoming Hybrid Bose Headphones!

    1 reply
    rjuarez salazar

    3 years ago

    wonderful. Rustie is the best xD. what if i use leds instead of propels?


    3 years ago

    do the props spin???i just wanna know because i mite make um for a friend

    1 reply

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I'm weak on my EE; but a diode on one side may allow only pulses in one direction, that way at least it's spinning with one direction/moment, but still responsive to the music.

    Also a little sugru might spruce/color them up a bit.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    That's a really great idea! The only concern I would see is these motors produce sound. If your using a broken pair of headphones, adding a pair of motors can make the headphones sound quite a bit better. Having the propellers spin in one direction would not produce any vibration. And that's one of the most exciting things about the propel-a-bud. But it would definitely be a cool looking asthetic feature! Especially if the headphones aren't broken!


    Reply 3 years ago

    Interesting idea, I'm not too familiar with that but if you give this project a go definitely share it here! I guess spinning direction is all about preference, for me when it spins, stops, changes direction, and just acts wild it kind of emphasizes the fact that it is uniquely moving to the music being played. Thanks for the comment!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    If this has a real motor and does spin how is it powered?

    Is it powered with a battery?

    Or, did I miss the whole point and it is powered by the audio jack in the phone?

    If yes, Can't the inductance of the motor ruin the audio player?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    These headphones do not have a separate power source. The pulsation of sound drives the motor back and fourth to lower and more powerful frequencies sent through the cable. We did this to a broken pair of headphones for a reason. Yes, if your using a working pair it will most likely lower the quality of sound from the speaker temporarily if not permanently. As far as the device playing it, we were using something that didn't have a lot of value to us. From a first hand experience, it's working fine after many hours of playing. Although we would recommend you also test this on a device your not attached to. Good point though!

    That's brilliant! I remember connecting an alarm clock speaker output to a motor and discovering the fact that motors can play sound and being super excited by it. A nice implementation of the seemingly useless(until now) but interesting concept...


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Dude, these are so COOL! Loved the video, too.