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Thread: Soundproof enclosure for air compressor?

  1. #1

    Soundproof enclosure for air compressor?

    I came across this sound-deadening box for a Shop Vac on FineWoodworking and thought it might work well for my loud air compressor, too. (My workshop is in our townhome garage, so I'm trying to do my neighbors a favor....so please no "wear hearing protection!" replies)

    http://www.acousticalsurfaces.com/echo_eliminator/shop_vac.htm?d=0

    This dropped the sound level from 83 to 58 decibels (60 is normal conversation)! Any drawbacks to enclosing an air compressor in a box like this? Anyone tried this? If it matters, my compressor is the Dewalt 15g 200psi upright model.



    Thanks!
    Dustin
    Last edited by Dustin Smith; 10-28-2010 at 11:24 PM.

  2. #2
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    Keep in mind air flow is needed to feed the compressor and to cool it. You could make a "Z" shaped input duct so the sound wouldn't have a direct line to travel from the enclosure. Jim Becker did that for his DC and knocked the noise level down dramatically.


    BTW...your link doesn't work unless you are a subscriber.
    Ken

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    Keep in mind air flow is needed to feed the compressor and to cool it. You could make a "Z" shaped input duct so the sound wouldn't have a direct line to travel from the enclosure.
    The box built for the shop vac includes a Z-vent, since the vacuum obviously needs to expel all the air it sucks in. So that point should be covered, but good catch.

    I changed the link to an off-site picture of the box, since my original link doesn't work unless you subscribe to FW. My bad.
    http://www.acousticalsurfaces.com/ec...op_vac.htm?d=0



    Dustin

  4. #4
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    I did some millwork for a friend who was building a recording studio for a client. He was using a pancake compressor on site and getting complaints about it from neighboring tenants in the office building. The walls were not yet sound proofed. So he found a cabinet that had arrived which was intended to house noisy amplifiers during recording sessions and isolate them from any microphones. He ran the compressor in that cabinet, which had accommodations for cooling and air flow, for months. No problems, very quiet in use. I'd guess a home made version would work just as well.

  5. #5
    I took some scrap sheet material and lined it with very deep "egg-crate" foam. I stand the compressor on a thick piece of rug assuring adequate clearance. The box has legs to keep a large gap at the bottom and it just stands 4 inches or so from the wall. The decrease in noise was quite effective. I'm sure something a little better thought out would be more effective still.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 10-29-2010 at 6:58 AM.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  6. #6
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    I would add a piece of plywood on top of the foam in the bow bottom so the compressor wheels will not cut the foam and you will need a exhaust fan to keep the compressor cool

  7. #7
    Wow, that acoustical foam is EXPENSIVE. It has to be bought in minimum quantities, and the minimum is almost $400. This is for the foam with an NRC (noise reduction coefficient) of 0.80.

    My local Home Depot sells USG Ceilings "Luna ClimaPlus" acoustical ceiling tiles that have an NRC of 0.70 and they're only $6 per 4x8 panel. I think that's the direction I'm heading.

    Dustin

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin Smith View Post
    Wow, that acoustical foam is EXPENSIVE. It has to be bought in minimum quantities, and the minimum is almost $400. This is for the foam with an NRC (noise reduction coefficient) of 0.80.

    My local Home Depot sells USG Ceilings "Luna ClimaPlus" acoustical ceiling tiles that have an NRC of 0.70 and they're only $6 per 4x8 panel. I think that's the direction I'm heading.

    Dustin
    Many medical facilities use egg crate mattress tops with the same shape and throw them out after a patient leaves. I got ahold of some of those and they may not work as good as accustic foam, but they are cheap and work well.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Edgerton View Post
    Many medical facilities use egg crate mattress tops with the same shape and throw them out after a patient leaves. I got ahold of some of those and they may not work as good as accustic foam, but they are cheap and work well.
    Plus, you get whatever the patient had at no extra cost.

  10. #10
    After burning up my shop vac in the fine woodworking sound enclosure, I put my pancake air coimpressor in it. It works great in there-you can barely herar it run. I only use my compressor for driving finish screws so it does not get too hot in there, but when I tried inflating some tires it hit a thermal overload on the motor. So with that being said, it does work great for silencing the compressor, but you must account for the heat or you will kill your compressor as others have said.
    I used the egg crate material in a 3/4" plywood box. All surfaces inside are covered in egg crate. The compressor sits on a plywood shelf.

  11. #11
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    My compressor is an upright 7HP twin. We live in a rural area so, it's not a problem. But, I can hear mine in the house and my shop is detached. In addition to surrounding it with sound deadening material, attention needs to be paid to the mounting and the flooring. Even concrete will transmit sound relatively well.

    As an aside, I have used actual fibrous egg crates (18 count) as sound deadening and it works surprisingly well. Also, cheap, un-faced 3/4" insulating foam does a good job, too.

    I'd ventilate any enclosure at the bottom of the tank, farther away from the compressor.
    Gene
    Life is too short for cheap tools
    GH

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Gene Howe;1546574]My compressor is an upright 7HP twin. We live in a rural area so, it's not a problem. But, I can hear mine in the house and my shop is detached. In addition to surrounding it with sound deadening material, attention needs to be paid to the mounting and the flooring. Even concrete will transmit sound relatively well.

    As an aside, I have used actual fibrous egg crates (18 count) as sound deadening and it works surprisingly well. Also, cheap, un-faced 3/4" insulating foam does a good job, too.

    I'd ventilate any enclosure at the bottom of the tank, farther away from the compressor.[/QUOTE]


    the box will need to be ventilate at the top of the box also where the heat is greatest

  13. #13
    Can anyone recommend a way to properly ventilate the box while also maintaining its ability to control sound?

  14. #14
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    I install a exhaust fan on the opposite side from where the air hoses exit the box but the hose could exit the box at the box bottom thru. the air hole and have the exhaust fan discharged route out thru. the box top

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by ray hampton View Post
    I install a exhaust fan on the opposite side from where the air hoses exit the box but the hose could exit the box at the box bottom thru. the air hole and have the exhaust fan discharged route out thru. the box top
    .....what?

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