XLS Production Diaries #3: Manufacturing

The prototyping stage in Part 1 helps DITA determine the best steps to take in the next stage of production: Manufacturing. 

The Dream XLS is manufactured in limited quantities due to titanium's challenging nature to mill: You can read more about titanium here.

The measures, checks and balances remain throughout the production process where the focus switches to producing polished chassis in preparation for the final product.  

1. Production and Polishing

The picture below shows XLS shells polished to a near-chrome finish, this helps the black substance coating lay well on the surface of the shells.

2. Ion Plating

The final, refined chassis is enters a Particle Vapour Deposition (PVD) chamber to be ion plated, giving the XLS its signature obsidian black finish.

This coating is vaporised and deposited onto the charged surface, fusing with it to form a permanent bond. 

An extra glass coating is also added as a finishing touch, further improving the XLS' scratch resistance. 

The inside of this ion-plated test-shell shows off the machine marks from the CNC machine, letting the eye track the movement of the tool through the CNC process. 

3. Internal Precision 

Working with a dynamic driver can be that much more unforgiving because of the effort that's needed in Quality Control. Making sure the inside of the chassis is completely flat so the driver sits flush against its surface, creating the XLS' sound.

Internally, surfaces need to be machined flat so as to ensure that the dynamic driver fits and sits perfectly flush to the sound tube. A dynamic driver that is not properly seated (flush) against its damper ring can have adverse and instantly audible effects.

4. Jigs for alignment

Custom-built jigs help the machinist check for alignment in assembly and part-to-part tolerance that the human eye might not be able to identify.

Each piece being assembled as intended is essential to ensuring that the earphone's innards sit in a way that allows its sound to play as intended. 

From metal block to earphone — this series of posts have attempted to abridge what is otherwise a long, drawn out process and give hobbyists a little more insight to the manufacturing workflow behind the Dream XLS.

The DITA Dream XLS can be found for sale here: