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Gordon W21/02/2019 12:00:08
2011 forum posts

Hello, I know this has been asked before and I have searched the forum and the web but still confused. We have to move house soon because my feet are dropping to bits . I may well be lucky and have a small "bedroom" to use as a w/shop, but there are people living below and to the sides. Question is how to insulate/ isolate the noise . Have a 4"x 16" lathe and a bench drill plus the usual sundries. Thinking of sturdy bench in (say) 4"x6" timber with similar spreaders under the legs as a basic start. Any ideas welcome.

John McNamara21/02/2019 13:58:09
1314 forum posts
113 photos

Hi Gordon

A couple of UK? links on ideas. and one from OZ

Sound deadening underlay placed under a plywood floor over the existing floor.

Walls and ceilings?

In Melbourne Australia where I live we are lucky to have MacKay Rubber. They manufacture a huge range of rubber isolators for machinery. The smaller sizes are quite affordable. They take a scientific approach to vibration control and are very helpful. You could mount your lathe and drill on a plate and use rubber isolators to isolate the plate from the bench Or just isolate the whole benchtop from the bench frame. Look for isolators with lateral stiffness and vertical compliance. **LINK**

Their home page


Edited By John McNamara on 21/02/2019 13:59:01

AdrianR21/02/2019 18:38:11
540 forum posts
36 photos

Hi Gordon,

The building regs now have a chunk all about sound proofing so materials are quite easy to get. Have a look at or for a starting point.


Howard Lewis22/02/2019 01:56:47
5224 forum posts
13 photos

One way of reducing air borne sound is to line the walls with foam wedges, set at right angles to each other, A super cheap alternative would compressed paper egg boxes, to do the same thing, absorbing and not reflecting sound.

But since the room becomes effectively an anechoic chamber, it can be very disconcerting. You may well hear your breath rasping and your gut gurgling, and your voice does not sound like the one to which you are accustomed.

Years ago, Goodmans, the speaker manufacturers, in Wembley, lost one of their senior sound engineers. He got locked in an anechoic chamber.. Since no one could hear him shouting or knocking he was there all night. In the morning, poor chap, he was a complete nervous wreck.

So maybe do not line all the walls and ceiling!


Gordon W22/02/2019 16:07:01
2011 forum posts

Thanks for that- Foam sheet on the floor sounds good and cheap. The building is quite modern (70's 80's) so maybe up to standards. Will know a lot more in a month.

Pete.22/02/2019 18:04:17
620 forum posts
102 photos

You can buy soundbloc acoustic plaster board, you could probably do the whole room for under £100, when I was working on the new Curve theatre Leicester we just overboarded the areas needed with this stuff, just put it over your existing board, it's that simple, and at 12.5mm thick, it won't reduce the work space in a small area.

Bazyle22/02/2019 18:56:13
5987 forum posts
220 photos

There is a huge difference between creating an anechoic chamber and what the OP needs which is stopping transmission through the floor. When I was in a flat I had a problem not with the floor below but the one below that owing to some quirk of the construction, I think by transmission down the walls rather than the floor.

Gordon W26/02/2019 15:24:28
2011 forum posts

I was talking to my mate the builder about this, to see if he came across off-cuts. He said just use foam boards on the floor, 1" is effective and no problem with the load. Will be trying this in about a month's time so will let you know.

Mike Poole26/02/2019 15:42:26
3051 forum posts
72 photos

My favourite cafe had quite a noisy ambience when busy and as many customers are at that stage of life when although they are not deaf but picking out a conversation from the hubbub gets harder, the owner took heed and got some acoustic specialists in, they took measuments and I think he said it was taking 3s for a sound to do whatever they were measuring and 1s was the target for this type of venue . They installed the panels and the room is just below the 1s has made a very noticeable change and is a much more comfortable place and has a warmer cosier feel just by getting the acoustics sorted.


Edited By Mike Poole on 26/02/2019 15:42:57

John Paton 126/02/2019 16:43:47
303 forum posts
17 photos

Hmm, depends very much what you will be doing in the workshop.

most insulating materials are designed to eliminate higher frequency airborne sound. For low frequency noise and impact sound you need mass ( heavy construction) and ideally also isolate the source of there noise physically from the structure using resilient material and not having fixings bridging the resilient element.

also be aware that airborne sound is just that and can travel through any cracks in the soundproofing.

to soundproof floors the traditional method was to use sand pugfing - the sand being both heavy and 'dead'. Lead sheet is pretty good too but much more expensive. Most modern floor structures are already on the mean side so might not sustain the weight of pugging plus workshop equipment and storage.

medium sized lathes, hammering and use of bench grinders are very likely to make you unpopular with neighbours if your workshop is immediately adjacent to their rooms.

john carruthers28/02/2019 10:07:46
611 forum posts
180 photos

CAV installed new machines which upset the neighbours. We fitted tripple glazing and the walls and ceiling were foamed.
Still the noise travelled to the neighbour's houses.
Various materials were tried as insulating blocks under the machine feet, but eventually balsa wood was judged the best in this case.

Russ B28/02/2019 10:50:54
599 forum posts
26 photos

I would guess the majority of the sound will not be air borne, so sound deadening on the walls and floors won't do much.

Mount your machines stands on anti vibration motor mounts, this will be the main source of sound that is passed through the floors and in to the walls, shaking the whole building.


Russ B28/02/2019 10:54:41
599 forum posts
26 photos

I used this method to mount a coolant pump, which on its own, is COMPLETELY silent, you can't even tell its running, unless you put your hand on it. As soon as it's rigidly mounted there is humming sound that just resonates through the whole house, it is now completely silent again (I didnt use rubbers as big as the ones in the link obviously!)

Edited By Russ B on 28/02/2019 10:55:37

Howard Lewis28/02/2019 16:05:50
5224 forum posts
13 photos

High frequency sound can be absorbed. Low frequencies must be decoupled using flexible mounts (It can take a LOT of mass to absorb / damp low frequencies)

Glass fibre, or mineral wool make good H F absorbers. The softer (Shore hardness) rubber mounts will decouple the lowest frequencies, but the downside is likely to be a large amplitude of vibration. This can be limited by the use of rubber snubbers.

So, picking numbers out of the air, a 50Hz vibration would be unlikely to transmit much energy through a mount with a natural frequency of 30 - 40 Hz.


Neil Wyatt28/02/2019 17:09:56
18721 forum posts
727 photos
80 articles

An article in an old ME underlined what is said above - you need to isolate the bench from the floor. I think the solution in the old ME was a box under each foot containing a leather bag full of sand. Modern elastomer mounts will no doubt work almost as well


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