Noise dampening - what do people do?

I’m going to call this an upgrade since it sort of is, I guess.

I live in a subdivision.
my next neighbor is 20’ from my garage.
My test carve yesterday was ~10 hours for the clearing pass, and it was LOUD.

before I start getting nastygrams, I’d like to try to dampen that down.
I’m already gonna go to the local surplus office furniture guy and see fi I can get some cheap standup acoustic dividers or something like that,
but wonder if anyone has some tips on what foam or insulation I could use to dampen the noise down in my space?

Has anyone ere done anything that worked particularly well?

I can’t even hear my Dewalt running with the shop door closed. Is it a shop vac that is that loud?

it is the bit when it cuts.
even with wood. I won’t go into what cutting metal sounds like. whole different realm, that.

safe to say, it is not quiet enough. I need to pre-empt the inevitable.

I have an extensive background in sound engineering and I can tell you that it’s not easy (or cheap) to control noise once it’s released in the wild. Foam, insulation, dividers, etc. etc. will only minimally muffle at best, and your neighbors will still have plenty or reasons to complain, and then you’ll be a lot poorer and even more frustrated. The bottom line is what you need to do is to determine at what frequencies the noise is loudest (different materials will cancel out different frequencies) and use the correct material(s) to cancel that spectrum of the noise out.

I will be starting a project regarding precisely this for the X-Carve in a couple of months myself, not because I need it (I live alone and neighbors are 100-200’ away) but because I know there is a lot of interest in the community about this topic. Without knowing the particulars about your situation I would guess that most of your noise is stemming from your spindle. With this in mind, a water cooled spindle is much quieter than something like a Dewalt, and while we’re on the subject, if you’re using a DeWalt are you sure you’re using it correctly? For most projects it shouldn’t be set higher than 1 or 1.5. There are products on the market that will hush up a router, but they are costly and if you don’t do them fully the noise will simply leak out somewhere else.

OMG, if you solve this you are going to be rich beyond your wildest dreams selling upgrade kits.

if you solve it.

here is a video of my current rig, cutting, yesterday.

The noise is I am concerned about is NOT primarily deWalt router noise (It’s on 1, and it is suitably quiet when not cutting)
The noise appears to be bit noise when the bit is engaged with material.
cut direction and material seem to matter a fair bit.
you can hear in the video how the volume varies quite a lot depending on when the bit is engaged and which direction it is going in.

I have fantasies of building a noise cancelling rig in my garage using old Fender concert speaker walls,
and a Raspberry Pi for sound processing,
but probably for now I’d be happy if I could maybe damp it down some.

I have an XCarve: is it possible to use it to do something like cut foam into damping panels?

I cut through all kinds of red oak and poplar and can barely hear mine with my door closed while in the laundry room right off the garage. Can’t hear a thing outside with the garage door up.

I already know that the majority of the noise from the X-Carve can be controlled. I need to run more tests and will (hopefully) be in a position to run them in a month or so.

Bit noise would be the hardest one to control. How large is your garage? How many windows? Metal door or wood door?

typical 2 car with metal door.
XCarve is in an alcove in the back, surrounded by drywall or concrete on 5 of 6 facing surfaces.

my assumption is that the surrounding hard surfaces are making it a lot worse, and if I put some damping material on those it would make things less noisy outside…

Not necessarily. Think of sound traveling through the air. When that sound (which is simply vibrations) hits another surface it will cause that other surface to also resonate. What you need to do is to stop the vibrations (decouple) with a false wall by using resilient channel. Think of it as a sound shock absorber. This will absorb the vibrations and not retransmit them to your neighbors.

SR-500 might also help. It works by converting noise into a low-grade heat. The heat can then be dissipated easily. With the false wall you will lose around 45mm (2 inches) of room per surface, but it works exceptionally well. Instead of foam use something like Roxul. Home Depot should carry it. Resilient channel works incredibly well but you’ll need to buy drywall with it too. This video shows how to install it;

Being the anti-social guy that I am, I use a set of BOSE QC-35 wireless noise cancelling headphones. They are Bluetooth capable and I connect them to my IPhone, which is loaded with lots of music. With those on, I can’t hear a thing, other than the music, including any nasty neighbors.


My shop vac is louder than my z carve

just build a cheap plywood box to fit over the whole thing and put some egg carton foam inside on the walls. There are several examples in the ‘showcase’ thread here on the forums.

It sounds like it isn’t the spindle or cutter, but the wood that is making all that noise. What I mean is that the lathe and bed are conducting noise from the bit hitting the wood, and that if you stiffen up the bed and dampen the supports, it will likely drop noise quite a bit. Try pressing on the xcarve table and see if the noise changes, also try gripping various parts of the machine (where it is safe, of course) while it is running and see if anything changes the sound, that will be the first thing to fix.

2 penny advice…

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good advice, that.

I tried a plywood box and it don’t work out so well. The box was a little too small for my setup and trapped the heat and dust in. I think if I had a better dust shoe it may have been less of an issue.

For me, most of the sound seems to be leaking out around the garage door.
(there was another spot where there was a open gap in the wall from a patio addition. Sealing that up blocked a lot of the noise)
I was thinking of trying some kind of curtain arrangement in front of the door to help block the sound?. Maybe packing blankets? But I have not come up with an idea that won’t interfere with the door opening yet.

Not an xCarve but a carvey here - I work at a makerspace that’s part of a library at my university. We still are trying to reduce noise but the single most important thing we did - that made it go from “This is loud in the classroom through the wall” to “you can hardly hear it in the classroom through the wall” was putting padding underneath it: I put some spare carpeting, and a few layers of foam (hard foam) between the feet and the counter it’s attached to. It’s still loud when you are nearby, but the noise travels much less far.
We do still want to make it a bit quieter and have tried putting “noice cancelling” foam (from amazon) on the wall behind it but that doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

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Adding mass will dampen the sound. A quick way to keep the noise inside the garage is to add Mass Loaded Vinyl.

I’m a nocturnal animal and its tough not being able to run most of my tools in my garage late at night when I prefer to work. I found this, , while trying to figure out how to keep the noise down in the backyard shop I’m planning while not breaking the bank or over complicating it. I may be mistaken but from what I understand it’s a similar concept to the resilient channel that X-CNC mentioned.

While it seems to be the best bet for me since I’m building from scratch, as I plan on just running all of the electrical in conduit and dust collection tied into the cleats. I’m not sure how well it would work in your situation with the garage, outlets, and whatnot already in place. Obviously I don’t know your budget or how big you want to go to tackle this, but there is always the option we used when I use to build high end home theaters of building another room within your room. You could build these cleat type walls over the existing walls of the alcove and then add a front wall. Or maybe just build a small “room” out of some heavy packing blankets to take the edge off.

Maybe we are trying to kill a mosquito with a shotgun here though. I would definitely try to minimize the the source of the sound. Like Mike and Benjamin said, it could be the vibrations resonating through the machine/table/etc and amplifying it. Is it equally loud when cutting flat stock secured to the bed? I can run mine with the garage door open in the evening when it’s fairly quite outside and its barely noticeable 20 meters away at the end of my driveway. My shop vac with the silencer in is still the loudest part of the setup.

I’m curious what you figure out and what solution you come up with.

On a side note, I’m in the middle of upgrading my machine, and had been contemplating an almost identical setup to yours with the rotary device. I think you pushed it over the top and I’m gonna bite the bullet on it.

There are profound differences between using a cleat, and using resilient channel. When using resilient channel the sound vibrations are reduced down to traveling through only the mounting screws. However with the cleat the sound is being transmitted through the entire cleat, plus through however the cleat is mounted. At the very least I would put something like Stinger RKXTK Roadkill (stick on damping material) on either side of the cleat. This would add mass to where the sound vibrations are penetrating.

Albeit heavy, two layers of plaster boards with a damping material sandwiched inbetween will do wonders.
In Home Theatre world there is a glue that is called GreenGlue which act as a damping material between two hard layers (plaster).