6.7. Reducing 3D printer noise
Even a quiet 3D printer can make a lot of noise. Much of this noise is caused by resonant vibration with the surface the printer sits on. These notes describe how to reduce noise by increasing printer mass, and isolating the printer from the supporting surface.
The Prusa i3 Mk3 is a quiet printer. Even without using stealth mode, I often have to look at the printer from across the room to verify it’s printing. All of this can change if you move your printer to a shelf or table that vibrates at a resonant frequency. Your near-silent printer suddenly produces deep rumbling sounds that can be heard throughout your home or building. This is usually due to printer vibration and resonance with the supporting surface.
These notes are based on my experiences with the Prusa i3 Mk3 and Artillery/Evnovo Sidewinder X1 printers. If you are using a different printer, please verify the hardware details are similar.
Stefan of CNC Kitchen has videos on this topic that are well worth watching:
Key points are:
The trick to reducing printer mechanical noise is to increase mass.
Mounting the printer on a heavy surface such as a 17x17 inch paver stone adds mass.
Acoustically coupling the printer to the mass maximizes the vibration dampening effect.Do not isolate the printer from the base. Felt non-isolating feet work well.
De-couple the printer mass from the resonating surfaces. Isolating foam or Sorbothane feet work well to keep any remaining vibration from being transmitted into the flat supporting surfaces.
I went down the rabbit hole of reducing noise after moving my Mk3 to an audio equipment rack. This was meant to be a temporary home, but I quite liked the ergonomics and appearance of the rack. The problem was the vibration produced by the peg-mounted shelves and large, flat sides.
After reinforcing the cabinet and adding a 17x17 inch paver, noise levels are back to ultra-quiet levels. Although not fully enclosed, the 3/4 cabinet arrangement retains a small amount of heat and protects prints from most breezes. I sealed the paver to keep concrete dust away from the printer and finished it off with a textured bronze finish.
Contact and feedback
You can find me on the Prusa support forums or Reddit where I lurk in many of the 3D printing-related subreddits. I occasionally drop into the Official Prusa 3D discord server where I can be reached as bobstro (bobstro#9830). You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last edited on Apr 04, 2021. Last build on Apr 22, 2022.