Do I soundproof or find a better space?


I’m relatively new to using CNCs and I’m looking to start building professionally using my CNC (Shapeoko 4 XXL). I’ve been renting out a workshop for the past year but it’s just not working out since it’s too far away and far from air tight so environmental and atmospheric issues have taken their tole. I’ve decided to either find the ideal space close to home or just do it from home.

The main issue I’m having is that I can’t find anywhere that works. Everywhere is either too expensive, too far away or unable to accommodate a workshop with powertools, which has lead me to think more and more about doing the work at home.

The issue there, again, is noise. I live in a semi-detached house with another neighbour close by on the other side so noise would likely be a big issue, especially when running cnc programmes that last hours.

I’ve been considering building a sound proof/sound dampening enclosure like ones some of you folks have posted on here, but I’m still slightly concerned. I’m just thinking:

  1. Whether the noise will be dampened enough to create little to no disturbance to neighbours,


  1. Whether the shapeoko would overheat in an enclosure also if I were to install some sort of air conditioning system, whether that would create any condensation which obviously wouldn’t be great.

I’m stuck as to whether I just hold onto the gear and wait to find the ideal place or whether I try building the encolsure which could in itself be quite expensive and may not work fully.

Any information or suggestions you guys have would be greatly appreciated!!

Edit: There’s also the added option of getting a powerful solar panel with an inverter and just going to a remote, sunny place and doing it. Kind of scuffed, but any thoughts?

The noise proofing would also need to noise proof the vacuum / dust collection too. I found that my vacuum was noisier than my router, so went with a much quieter but bigger system (which also uses less power!).

Also, what sort of speed are you running the router? Many people run them much faster than they need to, which just increases noise further.

My preference is always to have things at home where possible.

Building an enclosure that dampens most of the noise is very doable, as long as you can get a reasonable seal on it. The old industrial dot matrix printers from the 80s we mega noisy but put them in the acoustic covers and they were much quieter. CNCs are the same.

I don’t see overheating being an issue.

Lots of YouTube videos on building them.


My enclosure is just 1/2" PVC & Plexiglass. It dampens the sound quite a bit. ~20db.

I think in your case I would consider soundproofing the wall between you & the neighbor. Not sure where you plan to put the machine (garage?). But that would take care of any noise as well as the machine. You should be able to do a wall for about $5 linear foot (62¢ sq.ft.) if you shop around.

Mine’s at home, and I wouldn’t want it anywhere else. I’m sure I would use it a lot less if I had to drive somewhere to use it. Although I also work from home, so anywhere else would be an inconvenience.


I thought about an enclosure, but as DPME said my cyclone dust collector is probably twice as loud as the router so it would have been pointless. Plus, I find myself needed to get to both sides of the machine to reposition the gator clamps all the time.

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I second this - if you’re going to use a variety of tools, you’re better off trying to sound proof the walls rather than every tool. With dust collection you’ll end up putting holes in your enclosures which will then give places for sound to sneak out.

The secret to sound proofing is breaking up the sound waves - this is done by varying the materials, leaving (small) air gaps, etc.

A quick option is simply adding insulation if the wall doesn’t have it (as many garages do not). But odds are good that if you share a wall with the neighbor there’s already been some soundproofing done.

Add some acoustic tiles to the wall could help, as could adding offset framing and another layer of insulation.


The dewalt stealth sonic shop vac’s at Lowes, Cut down the noise quite a bit… its not like going from a router to spindle quiet but you can still talk without yelling. Its been my second favorite upgrade next to the C3D spindle.


How big is your home work area? I run my setup in my garage with the door down and you can’t hear it in my neighbors homes at all and my side neighbor is fairly close. You can hear it faintly outside up front but hardly anything on the side.

I have a large 4ft wide double pane window on the side and a 1.5" foam insulation on the 2 car garage door.

The money you save in fuel and rent should easily cover the cost of adding noise reduction. If you have single pane windows you can make 4" rockwool insulation panels to fit in the recess during operation and remove them when you are done.

To block out house party noise back in the day we used to stich a cover for them with old sheets and use wire pulled tight across the window opening wrapped around wall dog picture hanging screws to hold the insulation in all the windows. It worked great when we managed to keep the party in the house otherwise there was a blast of sound every time the front door was opened. It still reduced the amount of times the cops had to stop by.


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