Soundproof enclosure: plywood vs mdf vs glass(plexiglass, acrylic anything transparent)


(crew) #1

I am trying to design an enclosure but can’t decide on the material. Priority of course is soundproofing, but at the same time the unit will be in a room in the apartment that occasionally may be used by guests so it has to look pretty.

Transparent enclosures would be pretty, but will it hold sound better than Mdf or plywood? The latter also has the option of gluing soundproofing materials on them which is not practical for transparent panels. Can anyone with glass enclosures share if the properties of plexiglass et al is good enough if cost isn’t an issue?

Added detail: I plan to use aluminum rails (ie misumi frames) for the frame as I don’t trust my carpentry work enough to make a symmetric box, and slide the panel in the slots in the rails.


(Adam X) #2

Transmission of sound through as material is a function of the density and thickness, opacity (clear or not) plays no part.


(Jude Marleau) #3

As has been mentioned many times here by one of my favorite members (mentor) , if you want the enclosure to be “soundproof” than do not put a window in it. Hence if you don’t want to hear it than don’t build it out of glass type material. OMO. Could the Shapeoko build (cut) it’s own enclosure???


(Jose Prieto) #4

To use aluminum rails you can place a double glass wall, the outer glass can be laminated in a thickness of 6 mm. (glass 3mm. + polyvinylbutyral + 3mm glass) in the air chamber must have a tubular moisture absorber so that the glasses do not fog up if you can place another laminated glass inside would be the best or if you do not place another glass of 6 or 5 mm. so that no noise comes out, the rails placed in the areas of closing must have a plush so that the sound does not escape to the outside.


(crew) #5

Yes, that is why I am interested in the soundproofing ability of the different materials presented.


(Adam X) #6

Yep, so anything of a similar density and thickness is going to be about the same. MDF v Plywood, maybe MDF is a bit better (thickness being equal) but not by anything noticeable. Something like Acrylic, at 3/4" thick would likely be just as good, maybe better than MDF or ply, but 3/4" acrylic is extremely expensive and not viable for most to build a whole enclosure out of.


(crew) #7

Thanks JoseD3,

Does the PVB have any soundproofing ability or it is just for strength?

The aluminum rails allow for an insertion of a panel 7mm thick. If I were to make another layer, I would need to make another rail, which would double the cost. If I make 2 glass panels 3mm thick, and somehow create a 1mm space between them for a total of 7mm wall, you think that would work?


(Jose Prieto) #8

Yes PVB is a bound layer it has soundproofing ability use only glass (4mm.+PVB+glass 4mm.)
Is good , the first formula was the best only , If you need more info tell me and I do the sketch to you ,don’t worry be happy .
In the market of aluminum frames you can find rails with channels for double glazing in a single rail.


(crew) #9

Thanks! It has to be glass and not acrylic?

Also, do you think it is better t have the aluminum rails as legs and extend all the way the floor, elevating the machine to my preferred level, or should I make it just like a box and place it on top of a table for my desired height?


(mikep) #10

Keep in mind that acrylic panels that are 3/4 in thick (to keep the noise down) is pretty expensive stuff.


(crew) #11

I found out the hard way. I think I am giving up on an all transparent enclosure and settle for just one side. What would be a cheaper transparent alternative?


(Jim Chamberlain) #12

Mount a webcam inside on the dust shield bracket and see even better with less noise!!


(crew) #13

Based on your suggestion I googled one of those endoscope USB cameras, and wow, they might just do the trick (and are 1/7th the price of 1 acrylic panel. Still not nice to see a big wooden box wth no windows though:)


(Jim Chamberlain) #14

Actually I have both, a double pane thick plex window and the endoscope.
It would be a “cloaking of invisibility enclosure” if I replaced the plex with an old LCD panel and another webcam :grinning:


(crew) #15

Got any tips or advice on building the acrylic door. I feel I will be spending too much on the acrylic and it might affect all the effort I put in soundproofing the other sides of the enclosure.