How loud is a Nomad?

Hi everyone! I would quite like to get myself a nomad 3, but I live in a 3rd floor apartment and would also quite like not to be murdered in my sleep by my lovely downstairs neighbors.

I think most of what I use it for would be wood of some sort, but I also have a few ideas for working in aluminum and (if I dare) I might try something in steel eventually.

I guess more than noise I’m concerned with vibrations travelling through my table and into the floor. I’m wondering if anyone with similar experience might be able to weigh in on how I might best isolate noise from a Nomad, or if it’s a lost cause.

I use gym floor pad stuff to isolate the machine from the table. The noise can be a bit loud, about equal with a vacuum cleaner. But it’s a bit constant. I have mine in the basement where my office is now, and I’ve had it running while doing virtual meetings (it’s in a separate room in the basement). Sometimes coworkers can hear it, other times not.
You could put an enclosure around it do dampen the noise further if you needed to.
I wouldn’t say it’s a lost cause. It’s certainly a fun machine. Apartment walls have varied level of thickness, so if your neighbor can hear you sneeze that might prove to be harder to overcome.

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I have the previous generation - the Nomad 883 Pro.

Noise is a tricky thing. Different frequencies of noise are annoying to some and not to others. Some noises travel and others don’t. With that in mind, here’s a ramble…

  • The stepper motors on my Nomad are substantially noisier than those on my Shapeoko XL.
  • When the machine initializes it sounds like a cat caught in a bear trap.
  • The drive screws are only secured at one end and can create some a few odd rattly sounds when moving rapidly
  • The spindle is actually very quiet when running.
  • When cutting fine detailed work with low cut depths it doesn’t sound very loud at all… there’s a sweet spot where it is quite quiet.
  • When trying to remove a lot of aluminium it “chatters” a fair amount and its quite loud.
  • The aluminium-covered composite material C3D use as a “floor” for the inside of the machine is like a speaker cone. It vibrates and adds to the volume.
  • For me, the HPDE surround also makes it louder.
  • The door has no sound seals and doesn’t do much for the volume.

All that said, transmitted vibration is pretty easily solved by putting the machine on a vibration mat, such as those used for washing machines.

It’s hard to know if the sounds emitted by the housing would transmit to your neighbours. If you are in a London flat, I would say “definitely”. But a more insulated building, perhaps not.

A reasonable solution for noise from the machine is probably a new housing. I took all of the existing housing off, and made the following insulated housing. It drastically reduces the noise of my Nomad.

I’ll try and take some decibel readings with the enclosure and with the door open in case that helps… it’s more scientific, anyhow :slight_smile:

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Things which help mitigate noise from a Nomad:

Add an enclosure around the machine.

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I’m also in an apartment and had the same question when I bought my Nomad 883 Pro, so I’ll try to tell you what I wish someone had told me: if you want to cut hard materials like metals the Nomad is not a quiet machine. If you want to use it in an apartment, you will have to compromise.

The compromise I chose (and highly recommend) was an enclosure: an MDF box inside an MDF box, with foam lining the sides and supporting the machine on the bottom. I have polycarbonate sheets on the front so I can see inside while the machine is running. This wasn’t a particularly difficult enclosure to build, I just bought pre-cut MDF, screwed it together with wood screws and used a hole saw to make a couple of holes for the cables. With the enclosure, I can run the Nomad as long as I please without worrying about noise unless I do something really crazy.

If you’re prepared to do that, pull the trigger, build the box, put the Nomad in it. You’ll be happy.

If you don’t want to do that, your compromise is going to be on feeds and speeds. It’s possible to make the Nomad cut even Aluminium super quiet, but it’s going to be slow, like really slow. Aluminium in particular will be painful. Forget hours, you’ll need to plan for jobs to take days. That isn’t hyperbole, when you’re cutting Aluminium at “I don’t need ear protection for long exposure” volumes, it really is that slow.

For the softer materials, I can’t comment, as I haven’t done any work in plastic and my experience with wood is limited to some light carving, which I did inside the enclosure.

You can do that with foam but I’d recommend you try to find a specialty foam that’s made to bear load. They make variants that are specifically made for heavy vibrating machinery.

I agree with all of these points. That Aluminium composite stuff in particular is horrible. On the 883 Pro, it isn’t even solidly attached, it’s just floating in some slots, it’s like C3D wanted it to be noisy.

One thing I’ll add to this is that it might be a good idea to put something rigid between the Nomad and the mat, to help more evenly distribute the weight. I haven’t done this myself but it’s definitely a concern for my next enclosure.

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Will note several have tried putting acoustic absorbing material like Dynamat in the Nomad 883 Pro with promising results.

That being said I would say if you cant run a normal vacuum cleaner in the apartment for hours at a time without the neighbors complaining I would suspect you will need to take some steps toward a custom enclosure like @Moded1952

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I agree with this but not the opposite: just because you can run a vacuum cleaner for hours at a time does not mean you can run a Nomad.

The volume of the two devices is similar but the character of the sound is completely different. A vacuum cleaner is a constant high frequency white noise that’s reasonably easy to ignore and reasonably easily blocked by many materials. The Nomad has a variety of different sounds going on at various frequencies and they vary a lot as it moves around and goes in and out of cuts.

For “neighbours’ acceptability” purposes, I’d compare the Nomad to loud music. If you can play loud music without bothering anyone, then you can run the Nomad. “Loud” here would mean “loud enough to be heard over a vacuum cleaner”.

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Thanks everyone for your input! It looks like the solution here is going to be a combination of a Dynamat and a willingness to build a sound enclosure if all else fails.

Luckily enough (or unluckily) the pre-installed heating unit in my apartment is absurdly loud and I frequently find myself playing music over it, so it seems likely I’ll be able to get away with this.

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I agree with the above. I’ve ran mine cutting aluminum in my basement. It was audible upstairs when it was quiet up there, but not loud. I would have considered it good for daytime running, but it might have been just enough to keep a person that needs silence to sleep, awake. I never enclosed mine just had it on an EVA foam pad.

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