Quiet use in an apartment?


I would like to buy one but from the videos, I can hear they are loud. I don’t have a shop or garage and will need to use it in an apartment with thin walls. I see the Carvey will be enclosed, but it doesn’t look soundproof.

Has anyone built or bought a soundproof enclosure for the X-Carve?


Don’t forget you’ll also need to consider a dust control system. Right now, I’m using a standard shop-vac style…and it’s twice as loud as the machine itself.

For scale, I run my X-Carve along with a small shop vac to collect the dust. Using the stock spindle, the shop vac is considerably louder than the X-Carve.

I think you are going to have several challenges operating an X-Carve in an apartment. First of course as you know, is the noise. A good sound enclosure can certainly help with that, but you also have the vacuum for dust collection that must be soundproofed also.

Next you have the support equipment. If you plan to carve wood then you are going to need some way of cutting the wood to the lengths needed for your projects. I have found that a table saw is a very necessary tool. Then you are going to need equipment for sanding and finishing the competed work. Again a power tool like a belt sander is a necessary tool in my opinion. You could sand everything by hand but I would not want to do that.

The problem with these tools is that they are 1) Loud and 2) produce lots of dust.

There is not really any way I can think of to reduce the noise from these tools. There are some good dust collection systems available but they are expensive and require loud vacuums

Depending on your circumstances you may be able to cut and sand your materials at another location and then just do the actual carving in your apartment., So you may not need to address these issues.

You will also need to think about the fumes from the finishing process you use. Stains, paints and lacquers all release volatiles as they dry that need to be vented. If you have a balcony then that would be a good place for your finishing station. I just would not want to be doing a lot of staining/painting in a closed apartment.

But you definitely need to consider everything needed before spending a lot of money on a tool like the X-Carve.

Thanks Allen, that’s very helpful.

Hi @ElaineWalker,

I do live in a house so it isn’t an exact comparison, but for what it is worth here is what I have set up.

I am really only able to do long carve projects on the X-Carve at night, and the only room to do them in is the one right next to where my wife and child are asleep. I use the stock X-Carve with the 300w spindle and @AlanDyke and @AllenMassey and @DanBrown are right, the vacuum is much louder. So, I keep mine in a sound dampening box with insulation and a baffle for the outlet. This helps a ton and there are plenty of videos on youtube on how to do this. You can also build an enclosure to dampen the noise the X-Carve makes while carving, but I have yet to do that. All in all, my wife and child sleep though it just fine without complaints.

As far as other tools, it will depend on the projects you want to work on, but so far I am using my X-Carve to do as many tasks as I can… it is my table saw, my drill press, my thickness planer, etc… living in smaller spaces makes one have to think of other ways to accomplish tasks.

I would check out @WinstonMoy on youtube and watch through some of his videos, especially the ones about his Shapeoko 2 where he has to deal with these very issues living with flat mates and running a CNC. He also does little things as well like using the SO2 to cut material to size or drill holes…

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@ElaineWalker, there are some expensive, but very quiet options out there for shop vacs. The Fein vacuum, some models from Bosch, are ridiculously quiet. If you were to combine a quiet vac with a quiet spindle option (like the water cooled spindles mentioned in another thread). You would have a pretty quiet setup to start with. If you then took measures to build a dampening enclosure on top of that, I bet the results would be pretty promising.

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I think this situation is the idea behind the Carvey

Take a look at mini-storage or self-storage. These are quite affordable… In my town, I can get a 4x4 space for $23/month or a 5x10 for $49/month. The upside to this is that you also get STORAGE SPACE!!!

Just an option. Usually, if you look around, you can find an outlet or a light you can get power from… If no power, try Harbor Freight for a nice $99 generator!

If you are buying an x-carve, you already want to think or live “outside the box,” so this is reasonable!

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. You’ve given me a lot of good ideas!

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I’m in an apartment as well, and this is why I’m waiting on the Carvey and going for the extra expense. Also, I’m more interested in actually carving than maintaining the machine, so hopefully Carvey is reasonably fool proof as well as quiet and clean.

This may be a bit of a stretch, but if you might have an acceptable ‘outside the apartment’ space, it might be possible to have a small format, or custom 500x750 or 500x1000 machine on a simple rolling set up, with just two wheels at one end like a hand truck. Though, I think this may apply more to a ‘house’ without a separate space and a desire to move operation out of the house. Although, maybe that could open up use at a friend’s house.

As a side note, when I was testing a quiet spindle with my components, I just placed a couple of couch pillows in a teepee over the spindle, and it seemed nearly silent in comparison.

I live in an apartment and when I first powered up my Shapeoko 2 with dremel we soon found out we needed a sound dampening enclosure. So we set out to build a box that you could just slide the entire shapeoko unit into. Our box measures about 30"W X 25"D X 23"H (exterior dimensions). The front of the box is small wooden frame which is attached to a hinge on the top of the box. A large piece of plexiglass is screwed into wood frame so you can view things while it’s cutting. Then we lined the inside walls with a cheap memory foam mattress from Wal-mart (I think it was like $12). Also, for dust collection, we drilled a large hole in the upper right corner and attached a shop vac step down attachment. Now we can plug in a normal shop vac hose to the outside of the box. Inside the box there is a smaller diameter hose that I zip tied to the cutting tool. If you use the vacuum while it’s running, you will need to drill holes in the side of the box for air inlets.

So how does it work? Fan-freakin-tastic! I would feel totally comfortable running my shapeoko late at night. Now the shop vac is problem for noise. I tried getting one of the really small shop vacs (which work great by the way) to put in a similar padded box (with an inlet and outlet hose for exhausting). It’s great for sound dampening, but the vacuum heats up too much - even with an exhaust port.

So milling in an apartment - CAN BE DONE. But there are certainly limitations with other tools like router table, table saw, miter saw etc. I have these tools in my apartment and when I need to use them, I roll them outside away from people and use them. You don’t have to tell me - It’s a PAIN. It really slows things down and in turn I don’t tackle too many in depth projects.

One tool that I would recommend for basic cutting is the 10" Craftsman bandsaw. For $200 - it’s a steal! I use mine quite a bit. It’s not too noisy - but again, you have to be mindful of your neighbors.

Take care!

How about regulations? Safety? I have just recently moving my storage to my new living place and i would like to setup my xcarve in my apartment, i already have good silencer box setup but even if i have enough space, and they are kind of hobby machine for hobby purpose uses, is there any rules that we have to follow ? Or any request check from any safety departments? Any routine inspection etc?

Every situation is different & the potential regulations or ordinances will vary from location to location.

There may be ordinances about operating machinery in a multifamy dwelling that are specific to your city of county, possibly even state wide.

Your rental contract may have wording excluding the renter from using the space to run a business (they often do). And along those lines, depending on the local regulations there may be fire codes that apply to business activities that you couldn’t possibly meet in the apartment space.

Then there’s insurance, if you’re running a business im sure your renters insurance or even the apartments own property insurance would not cover damage from your business activities inside the residential apartment unless you have a seperate business policy, which usually has language about complying with local regulations, and that rolls back to the fire code and the likely violation of it voiding the policy anyway.

Sooo you could try to do it legally and will probably face either roadblocks or uncertainty as mentioned above, or you could do whatever you want and hope theres no issues that drive you into bankruptcy if things do head for the worst.
I suggest keeping a fire extenguisher or 2 nearby and a power shutoff within easy access if you do go this route.

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