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A recent popular Reddit thread speaks to a common problem that many people who regularly use 3D printers have encountered: noise level. Of course, many 3D printers are guilty as charged for making enough noise to have the neighbor complaining — and no one wants that, right? After all, 3D printing is supposed to be a positive thing that promotes a sense of wonder and excitement, not a sense of stress or dread. Thankfully, this Reddit thread is filled with all kinds of excellent advice about different strategies you can use to reduce printer noise levels and make peace with your roommates, spouses, and neighbors.

“Fade430” kicks off the thread explaining that the printer is in the bedroom on a milk crate, and the downstairs neighbor is able to hear the printer running. “SirEDCaLot” claims to have the solution: “decouple the printer from the floor acoustically,” since the noise seems to be caused by the vibration coming from the floor. SirEDCaLot recommends “a rubber mat, foam pad, even a piece of carpet remnant should do the trick. Go with a few layers if you want to be very sure (IE carpet with rubber on top).” “Deaner3D” chimes in to concur that decoupling has worked well; he has a “delta sitting on some spare RC truck springs and it really lowered the noise a lot.”

“I also had this issue with my downstairs neighbor. He threw a fit one night at like 3am swearing, yelling loudly and banging the ceiling went completely psycho. anyways, what I did to quiet my printer was I ordered TMC2100 silent step sticks, I put my printer on a solid shelf, and i got some tile gym floor to dampen the vibration…the TMC2100’s require more voltage than the standard 12v from the ramps board so you might need to get a booster to get 24v for just the TMC2100s but it’s worth it. they also have dampeners for the nema 17 motors but I don’t have experience with those.”

Great ideas for avoiding an early morning confrontation with the neighbor, huh? “Kariko83” also suggests that a thick yoga mat works under the printer to dampen the volume. Even more dampening suggestions come from “SergeantTibbs” who suggests acquiring tile rubber mats made for standing at a workbench and stacking them together. If the mats slide relative to each other, you can also cement them together and even “cut off the nubbins for a smoother look.”

“Delaminated” suggests a material called sorbothane here, which isn’t inexpensive but has good dampening properties. But pretty much anything springy and filled with air does the trick (even kitchen sponges or erasers under your printer are recommended). Also, there’s a strong consensus that putting your entire printer in a box helps reduce noise, as one user wrote, by “10 dB, so that’s a 50% reduction.”

You get the idea, right? If you are stressed over 3D printer noise levels, you can box it, decouple it, and dampen noise levels using a combination of tricks depending on your needs.  Also, remember, you can slow your printer speed down at night to reduce noise and avoid a confrontation with any cranky and tired people around you who are less than enamored by all that your amazing machine can do! Do you have a noisy 3D printer? Discuss in the 3D Printer Noise Reduction Tips forum over at 3DPB.com.

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