How Loud Are 3D Printers? How to Silent Them!


3D printers are innovative machines for your design and rendering tasks. But they can be pretty noisy in operation, depending on your printer. 3D printers have different mechanisms that move, grind, and squeak during operation.

So, how loud are these printers? The average 3D printer generates 50 decibels – which is as loud as regular conversations at home. However, most 3D printer noises range between 45 and 55 decibels. The noise produced is based on several factors discussed in the article.

Because some 3D printers run for several hours without interruptions, some of their noise production will be inevitable. Below are a couple of examples from which this conclusion is drawn.

3D Printer ModelPrice (USD $)Noise level (dB)
KACSOO Mini115.99<60
FlashForge Adventurer 336945
Entina Mini14955
Creality 3D Ender 318958
WEEFUN Mini14950
Monoprice Voxel39945
3d Printer Price Vs Noise

We can also conclude from the above table that there is no correlation between the price of the 3d printer and its noise level

Why Are 3D Printers So Loud?

3D printers generate so much noise from the machine components during operations. Its overall noise can also be attributed to the machine’s moving parts that create vibrations. These components and features include:

3D Printing Is Here To Stay

1.   Fans

Fans are pretty essential in cooling the machine component before and during production. The average printer has two types of fans:

  • The layer fan.
  • The hot-end fan.

The layer fan cools off the printed material so that it can dry off quickly and not get deformed in shape. The hot-end fan, on the other hand, cools the hot end of the machine. These fans contribute to the noise during 3D printing.

2.   The hotend

Hotends are vital in 3D printing; they gain high heat to melt the material (filament) used for printing. The process of dissolving the filaments generates noise.

3.   The bearings

Bearings on a 3D printer help regulate the motion on a 3D printer by reducing friction. While they’re necessary for any 3D printer, they add to the overall noise it produces. However, it is possible to buy bearings that make less noise during operation.

4.   The extruder

The extruder is another piece of the 3D printer. It pushes the produced object out of the machine and places it in a spot to dry off. They are usually quiet during operation. However, they may make a clicking sound when it experiences difficulties in pushing a filament through a nozzle.

5.   The stepper motors

These components move the print bed up and down the machine during production. They are also responsible for carrying the building platform along the X, Y, and Z-axis to complete the printing process.

These motors vibrate and create noise while working.

6.   The frame

These are aluminum or steel components that house the 3D printer components. As the printer’s components work and move during operation, they create vibrations that cause the frames to make whirring noises.

Apart from these components and parts, 3D printers could generate much noise due to defective issues. If your printer’s belts, pulleys, and gears are faulty, they could produce noise.

Factors That Affect the Noise Levels of 3D Printers

Several factors impact the level of noise of 3D printers. These factors include:

Maintenance Level

Your printer is made of various parts and components. If those components are defective, it is bound to generate much noise. Thus, you should cultivate the habit of checking your printer for issues. Ensure that the bearings and gears are properly lubricated to reduce friction.

Type of 3D Printer

Another factor you should consider is the type of 3D printer used. These printers are generally divided into three groups:

  • Open FDM printers. These printers have no enclosure covering the moving parts of the machine. Thus, you can clearly see components and parts when it is working. Because the parts are exposed, they make an average noise of 60 decibels. Beyond noise, you need to worry about inhaling the fume. Studies have shown that inhaling filament fumes causes fatigue, drowsiness, and headaches (source).
  • Enclosed FDM printers. These printers are specially designed with a container that houses the entire machine build. The enclosure helps keep the noise, heat, and smells inside the printer during operation. Thus, these printers generate less noise (54 decibels) compared to open FDM printers.
  • Resin printers. These are enclosed printers that protect the photocuring resin they use during production. The average noise resin printers generate is 55 decibels. That’s slightly higher than enclosed FDM printers but lower than open FDM printers.

The choice of 3D printer purchase will determine the noise level you deal with.

Quality of the Components

The quality of the components of your 3D printers also determines their noise production. Low-quality mechanical parts tend to generate noise when working or moving. You can swap them for high-quality components that generate less noise.

How Can I Make My 3D Printer Quieter?

The noise from a 3D printer can be very distracting and annoying, especially if it’s working for prolonged hours.

People often ask, “How can I make my 3D printer quieter during operation?” The first thing you need to do is identify what is causing the noise. After which, you can narrow down solutions to sort it out.

There are different ways of reducing the noise level of a 3D printer. They include:

1.   Reduce fan noise

3D printer fans generate noise during operation. Manufacturers typically use cheaper fans for inexpensive printers. A simple solution is to swap the cheap cooling fans for quieter ones.

Quieter fans are relatively cheap and can be installed to reduce the noise of your printer. So, if you notice that the most noise comes from the fans, simply replace it.

2.   Place rubberized mats under the printer

Most home or office-based 3D printers vibrates while functioning. This is primarily due to moving parts, defective components, or loose belts. The vibration is bound to disturb your neighbors if installed on a surface.

A recommended fix will be to decouple it from the surface. After which, you can insulate the vibration your printer makes by placing rubberized mats under it. You will enjoy less noise with rubberized mats under your printer.

Ensure that airflow isn’t restricted to prevent overheating and complete breakdown.

3.   Lubricate the inner rods

Over time, the X and Y-axis linear bearings tend to accumulate dust and grime. This results in noise production when the printing is operational. Thus, you should habitually clean and lubricate the linear bearings and rods.

Recommended lubricants include WD-40 and White Lithium Grease formula.

4.   Reduce power supply to the stepper motors

The stepper motors are one of the significant noise generators in a 3D printer. They produce noise due to the printing speed. If their printing speed is increased, the noise automatically increases.

The reverse is the case if you slow down the power supply to reduce its speed. The information on slowing it down should be available on the manufacturer’s website or online discussion platforms.

5.   Replace the stepper motors

Apart from reducing the power supply on the stepper motors, you can also replace them altogether. Faulty stepper motors also tend to generate much noise.

There are several better alternatives in the market that produce less noise during operation.

6.   Buy rubber dampers

Another way to make your 3D printer make less noise when operational is to purchase rubber dampers. These dampers are positioned between the stepper motor and the printer frame.

Thus, the damper will help absorb the vibration from the motors and frame. This significantly lowers the noise produced by these two components of the printer.

7.   Tighten loose bolts and screws

You can fix the noise level of your 3D printer by carrying out routine maintenance. You need to critically check the screws to see that none of them is loose. You should also check the belt and tighten it if loose.

8.   Buy a sturdy enclosure

This is the last resort, but it is just as efficient. Having a high-quality enclosure on your FDM printer will drastically lower the noise produced.

If your printer comes with a default enclosure, that’s great. However, if it isn’t sturdy, it will generate more noise. Installing an enclosure is also beneficial for your health. Studies have also shown that long-term exposure to ultrafine particles may impact human health (source).

If you’re using an open FDM printer, you can opt for foam core boards or make a box around the printer.

What Is the Most Silent 3D Printer?

Most experts agree that the Creality Ender 3 V2 is one of the best silent 3D printers on the market. It’s relatively cheap, and most of its parts are easily replaceable with a better alternative for less noise production.

Also, the Ender 3 V2 printer can be easily maintained due to its open structure.

Does 3D Printer Enclosure Reduce Noise?

Enclosed FDM printers are generally considered to produce less noise. The reason isn’t far-fetched. Enclosed printers absorb the noise of the moving parts and components during operation.

Thus, it won’t cause a severe disturbance if it’s going to work for several hours. It’s a better option compared to open FDM printers where all its moving parts are exposed.

sherifjallad

I am a very well experienced techie civil engineer who's extensively interested in 3D printing technology and even more captivated by the potential of 3D printing livable structures

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