The Shapeoko 4 Noise Level

I’m thinking about buying the Shapeoko 4. How loud is it using the Carbide router?

The unit itself and to a lesser degree the trim router are reasonably quiet — the noise come from cutting and depending on material and feeds and speeds can be quite loud.

An enclosure will help, but arguably it’s better suited to a shop or garage or shed (though I use mine in a finished basement and just spend a lot of time vacuuming around it).


The machine is pretty quiet. Once the router is on, my ear plugs go in. But cutting is when the noise begins. You can also take smaller cuts to reduce the noise.


Thanks guys for the replies. I plan on setting it up on my workbench in my garage, but the bench is close to an interior wall. If my wife can hear it running while she is in the house, I have a problem. :slight_smile: I have a hand held router and it is load so I guess that is what I should expect. Decisions, decisions…?

If noise is an issue, an enclosure is the best option.

Other things which will help:

  • place the machine on a sheet of foam — this helps to deaden resonance vibrations
  • put the table on vibration isolating pads such as one would put under an appliance
  • quiet dust collection (if putting the dust collection inside an enclosure isn’t an option)

You didn’t even buy a Shapeoko yet and here I am already suggesting that you could upgrade to a spindle instead of the trim router. I did it for the exact reason you mentioned (wife behind the wall), and it’s an order of magnitude quieter (but it’s extra cost and a little effort to install it)

A properly sound-proofed enclosure and having the dust collection inside that it definitely the #1 priority as Will mentioned.

And finally, it depends on what material you intend to cut. Wood is relatively quiet (or at least you can tune your feeds and speeds to minimize noise), metal is always going to be louder (and higher, annoying, pitch)


Tell me more about a spindle upgrade.
Thanks for your reply!

These all sound like a solution.

As they said, it’s not so much the router/spindle…it the cutter against the material. I find cutting wood louder (90+db) than cutting metal. Meaning this is a noisy hobby…like all cutting…Enclosures help a lot, light cuts help too…but who wants that.


Basically, you

  • take out the trim router
  • replace it with a spindle of the same diameter, to reuse the router mount (800W is enough and they come in 65mm diameter models like the router). They come in two types: air-cooled and water-cooled. Water-cooled is quieter, but does involve adding a water cooling pump & hoses to the setup.
  • the spindle’s “power supply” is called a VFD and is a somewhat bulky box that one adds.
  • the VFD needs to be connected to one of the signals (PWM) available at the Shapeoko controller connectors, and its parameters tuned.

The other advantage of a VFD+spindle setup is that you can then control the RPM automatically from the Shapeoko controller, no need for adjusting the RPM manually at the router (admittedly, this is not a big deal, but as with all comfort features, one soon cannot do without them)

Anyway, you should not start upfront with a spindle upgrade, I just mentioned it as one of the ways to eventually end up with a quieter setup. My wife could not bear the sound of the trim router at 30.000RPM, so I got a green light for the upgrade easily.

There are a couple of threads here from people who use their Shapeoko in an enclosure in their living room, @holgersindbaek is one of them so out of curiosity you can check out his setup here.


You know you could get arrested for doing that, @Julien? It’s not very nice to do that! :rofl:


not when I am the one on the wrong side of the wall, stuck in the tiny dusty dark garage :slight_smile:


Well isn’t that a matter of perspective :rofl:

Fortunately for me, I’m self-banished into the garden shed :+1:


Currently, my decibel meter is telling me I have (vacuum noise). That is running the router and a HF dust collector in my unfinished shop. Not bad not good, ear protection is used.

Thanks, Michael, that helps a lot.

A water cooled spindle looks like the way to go. I would need to buy a router anyway.
Julien, thank you for taking the time to give me a lot of good info. Members such as you makes this forum very valuable, especially to a newbie such as myself.

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