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MAKE fan Michael Schaller send along this project he built at home to deal with one very important factor of the 3D printing experience: noise. From Michael-

Just for background: I live in an old house that doesn’t have good insulation. We have some neighbors that live below us and sound travels really easily through the floors and walls. I wanted to do long prints, especially at night, but you could hear the printer all through the house. I built this using some off-the-shelf materials to dampen the sound. An added advantage that I didn’t consider at first is that it keeps the inside of the cabinet at a warm temperature (~110ยบ F) during the build. I thought it might be a problem, but I think it actually produced more consistent parts because it reduced the shrinkage of the plastic during the build.

My wife called it the ‘fire box’ because she was worried about it catching on fire, but after monitoring the temperature for a few builds I stopped worrying about it.

Ken Denmead

Ken Denmead

Ken is the Grand Nagus of He's a husband and father from the SF Bay Area, and has written three books filled with projects for geeky parents and kids to share.

  • Bill C

    Make sure you don’t get the Stratasys Lawyers on you. I hear Strat owns patents on making a box around a printer. :-)

  • Ian Lee

    Nice job! Even better than a window might be to put add a WiFi webcam and LED strips inside the printer. Then you could watch it print from anywhere.

    • Ken Denmead

      Yeah, this might work better. Having a window could let more sound through that you might want. Plus wifi cam is makier! ;)

  • haber

    Tihs is good thanks my man !

  • Scott Petrovits

    FYI, it’s “damping”, not “dampening”. The former is what you do to vibration (e.g., airborne noise), the latter is what you do to a sponge.

    • Ken Denmead

      You know, I had to go double check, because what you said had the ring of truth, and I am the first to make the occasional word choice mistake. However, it looks like there’s no absolute right in this case. Webster defines “dampen” as “to check or diminish the activity or vigor of : deaden .” And really, if you google “sound dampening
      there are a huge number of results, especially in materials meant to reduce noise. I think this is one of those cases where the usage has blurred over time, and this is just as reasonable a choice.

  • Sam

    I know there’s a patent on selling heated enclosures. One could use parts from or even buy an egg incubator for the enclosure. Hovabator makes a 60 dollar stryrofoam incubator with heating element and temp control which could be easily modded into printer enclosure heat source.

  • Mojo

    Great invention Mr.Ken.. can you make this sound proof shields to the other 3d printers.

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