Jan 6, 2017 | By Benedict

Maker Julien Dorra has developed a 3D printable noise absorption system that can be fabricated on a low-cost 3D printer. The open-source modules of the system are based on acoustic research literature from 1975 up to 2016.

Excessive noise can be a problem—at home, in the office, or within virtually any enclosed space, and managing that noise has been a challenge to engineers and construction workers for many years. Foams and wood panels filled with absorbing materials can be effective noise absorbers, but they are also bulky, heavy, and have fixed absorption peaks, meaning that some materials are better at dampening high frequencies and some better with lows. Unfortunately, mixing and matching different materials to broaden the absorption band is simply not an option in most situations.

Faced with the problem of ineffective sound absorption, maker Julien Dorra recently set out on a mission to create some 3D printable sound-dampening devices with adjustable absorption bands. These clever board-like devices can be used in homes, offices, or elsewhere, and can be customized to deal with specific bandwidths. “This 3D Printable Noise Absorbers project goal is to make advanced noise-absorbing panels printable on the new wave of low-cost 3D printers,” Dorra says. “It works by creating FLOSS [open-source] generative modules that can be used by 3D printers owners, tested by acoustic researchers, and enhanced by 3D developers.”

While the project is still underway, Dorra has already used OpenSCAD to design a number of different 3D printable modules, including conical, cylindrical, and rectangular devices, which can be used to absorb different kinds of sound. In order to make the most of the different modules, each of which is fully parametrized and adjustable, the maker has implemented four different noise-dampening “strategies.” These strategies give users a range of noise-reducing options, while parameters such as depth of backing, porosity, and channel length can all be adjusted depending on the specific noise-reducing task.

Noise absorption strategies:

  • Micro Perforated Panels with cone backing
  • Micro Perforated Panels with 3-length tunnel backing
  • Destructive interference [not implemented]
  • Perforated panels with coplanar coiled air chamber [preliminary, brittle implementation]

Constructing a suitable noise-absorbing panel might sound complicated, but Dorra has endeavored to make his modules easy to experiment with, while each can also be printed on a low-cost FDM 3D printer. Making the intricate designs easily printable has, however, been a challenge for the noise-busting maker. “When trying to print a surface with sub-millimeter holes using a low-cost FDM 3D printer, most of the time the holes get clogged by the plastic expansion and movement imprecisions,” Dorra says. “Thus, Two Layers panels are a dedicated design that can consistently get sub-millimeter holes on low cost FDM printers by superimposing two perpendicular layers of stripes. Stripes print much more consistently than holes, and by superimposing them at 90º we create square holes of sub-millimeter width.”

Dorra’s 3D printed sound absorbers need further testing and experimentation, and people interested in developing the devices can get involved with the project to help with various tasks. Specifically, the maker is looking for likeminded makers to help with 3D printing and testing the modules in various buildings, while the project also requires a Destructive Interface module, a new coil module, and further research contributions.

Although the 3D printed sound absorbers currently require around $50-100 worth of filament for a square meter of paneling, Dorra believes that costs could be cut by developing an acoustically effective coiled and segmented back with low backing length, which would provide compact modules and fewer layers to print.

To follow the evolution of Dorra’s 3D printing project, or to get involved with it yourself, follow the maker's Github page.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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