Instructions: Build DIY anti vibration damper board for your 3D printer – reduce noise and vibration

3D print projects

3D printer on DIY damper board with 3D printed damper feet made of flexible filament and additional weights photographed from the front

The singing and rattling of your 3D printer is driving you crazy or is already calling the neighbors into action? Decouple your 3D printer from the ground with a damper board and reduce the printing noise!

Why build a damper board for 3D printer?

It’s simple: just to reduce the noise of the 3D printer. It prevents that the vibrations of the 3D printer are being amplified by a resonator. The table or shelf on which the 3D printer is placed is enough as a resonance body, which then amplifies the stepper motor noise many times over.

For my first 3D printer over 10 years ago, I screwed a wooden board directly to the wall in front of my desk. So, the printer’s vibrations were transmitted directly into the wooden panel and from there into the wall, the whirring, rattling, and singing of the stepper motors could be heard in every room of the apartment. The neighbors probably also thought that the world is going to end, but fortunately they couldn’t identify the source of the noises.

What happened? The vibrations of the 3D printer caused the shelf and the wall to vibrate. The wooden board and the wall in turn made the air vibrate, and so the adjoining rooms became resonators that amplified the vibrations even further.

You can think of the whole thing like a guitar: If only a string vibrates without being coupled to the guitar body, it is almost inaudible. If the string is coupled to the body, it causes the body to vibrate, and the volume of the string is multiplied.

Unfortunately, what is wanted with the guitar is unpleasant with the 3D printer.

Reduce the vibrations of the 3D printer and thereby reduce noise

The solution: A damper is needed to isolate the vibrations of the 3D printer and decouple it from the ground.

The most obvious idea was to put foam under the 3D printer, which brought a lot in terms of noise, unfortunately the printer rocked a lot due to the extremely soft bearing. This was neither good for the printer nor for the printed parts. The next experiments were made with a rubber anti-vibration mat for washing machines. These in turn were too hard and did not dampen well enough.

That’s why I started to print my own damper feet with flexible filament. These have the advantage that their flexibility can be adjusted very well by varying the design and the density (infill and number of perimeters). It is important to print the damper feet not too tight and not too soft.

Conclusion: Basically, the softer the dampers, the better the vibration isolation. This result in less noise when printing. At the same time, however, the swinging and the rocking of the 3D printer increase.

What can be done to prevent the 3D printer from swinging too much? The solution lies in an additional weight on the 3D printer. The easiest way to do that is with a damper board to which additional weights are attached.

Why is an additional weight on the damper board an advantage?

An effect that is also used in large production machines also helps with home 3D printers. If an additional mass is coupled to the vibration generator, this reduces the maximum oscillation amplitude and shifts the resonance frequencies.

In the case of large machines, it is realized by bolting it to a machine foundation, which reduces the vibration amplitudes compared to machines without a foundation. To prevent the entire hall from vibrating, the machine foundation is then vibration-insulated, i.e., decoupled from the rest of the hall foundation with rubber or special dampers.

Adding weight to the 3D printer does the same thing. The 3D printer is placed on a board that is equipped with additional weights and the board is then decoupled from the ground using damper feet.

On the one hand, this reduces the vibrations in the subsurface (table, enclosure, or shelf), which reduces the printing noise. At the same time the mass of the 3D printer is increased to prevent that it is swinging too much.

DIY 3D printer damper – build it yourself with or without flexible filament

Flex filament (TPE, TPU, etc.) is one of the more demanding 3D printing materials and usually requires a direct drive extruder. You don’t want to get into it or do you have a Bowden extruder on your 3D printer, that’s no problem. To be able to build a damper board without flexible filament, there is a simple trick: instead of using Flex filament for the damper feet, you can also use squash balls.

With squash balls, the aim is to dampen any impact as good as possible to avoid going too fast. It may sound paradoxical, but when it comes to squash, the pros play with balls that hardly bounce at all and absorb a lot of the energy, making them ideal for your damper board. Instead of the damper feet made of flexible TPE or TPU filament, mounts for squash balls made of classic filament are printed.

Damper board with flexible filament damper feet
Rendering of the anti-vibration damper board with the squash balls as damper feet working as shock absorber
Damper board with squash balls as damper feet

For the Flex filament used, I will give you a few more tips in the 3D print settings to get clean and beautiful 3D printed flexible parts.

Choose different weights with the included weight holders

Showing 5 of 33 included 3D printed damper board weight brackets

The project’s 3D print files contain 33 weight brackets of different heights. Weights with thicknesses of 8 to 40 mm (in 1 mm steps) can be used.

Shown in the photo are the brackets with the heights: 8, 17, 25, 33 and 40 mm

Damper board height overview

To be able to accommodate thicker weights and to adjust the dampening effect, four damper feet models of different heights are included in the 3D printed models.

4 3D printed flexible damper feet for the damper board for 3D printers, picture shows all four included STL files of the damper feet printed out

The STL files with damper feet in the lengths L= 30, 35, 40, 45 mm are included in the 3D printing templates.

An important factor for planning is how much space is available and how high the entire substructure can be. With higher damper feet, a good damping effect can be achieved even with relatively stiff flexible filaments, or thicker weights can be attached.

The rendered sketches with dimensions give a quick overview of the height of the damper board in its different versions.

Rendering sketch of technical dimensions of the version with flexible filament shock absorber feet
Dimensions of the version with flexible damper feet, where L= 30, 35, 40, or 45 mm and H= 8 to 40 mm in 1 mm increments
Rendering sketch technical dimensions of the version with shock absorber feet made of squash balls
Dimensions of the version with squash balls as a damper, where H= 8 to 40 mm in 1 mm increments

3D print parts

All included 3D print models templates STL files for the damper board with damper feet for 3D printer

In the 3D print files shop you are going to find not only the files for this project but also many other professional DIY projects.

These are purely digital products, you get all the files you need to print the parts yourself in a ZIP folder. It contains the STL files for all required components and variants, additional accessories, as well as templates and installation aids. A total of 39 different 3D print models are included.

  • 005700_Flex_Damper_Foot_L##
    4 models with lengths L= 30, 35, 40, 45 mm
  • 005800_Weight_Bracket_H##
    33 models for different weights with a height of H= 8 to 40 mm in 1 mm increments
  • 005900_Squash_Ball_Mount
  • 006000_Stencil_Damper

The largest 3D printed part of this project (005900_Squash_Ball_Mount) requires a footprint (X, Y) of 46 x 46 mm, the highest part (005700_Flex_Damper_Foot_L45) is 45 mm high (Z). Any 3D printer with a build space (X, Y, Z) of at least 50 x 50 x 50 mm is suitable for this project.

3D print settings

For all the parts not printed with Flex filament:

  • Layer height 0.2 mm and 100% infill (rectangular)

The following settings have proven useful for the PETG Filament* which was used.

  • Nozzle temperature: 250°C (First layer: 240°C)
  • Bed temperature: 90°C (First layer: 85°C)
  • Perimeter speed: 45 mm/s (First layer: 10 mm/s)
  • External and short perimeter speed: 25 mm/s (First layer: 10 mm/s)
  • Infill speed: 80 mm/s (First layer: 10 mm/s)
  • Top solid infill speed: 40 mm/s

For the 3D print part 005700_Flex_Damper_Foot_L## printed with flexible filament:

  • Layer height 0.2 mm, 15% infill (rectangular) and 2 perimeters

Depending on the flexibility of your Flex filament, the damper feet can be printed even softer or harder using less or more infill and number of perimeters. Make sure that your feet don’t get too soft to be able to carry the 3D printer and the additional weights.

Tips for 3D printing flexible filament

Three more tips for printing with flexible (TPE, or TPU) filament:

  • Print very slowly
  • Very little preload on the extruder gears
  • If the flexible filament sticks too much to the print bed – use Kapton (Polyimide) tape

Print very slowly – at only 25 mm/s

The flexible filament simply needs a more time to process, so turn the print speed all the way down.

The following settings have proven themselves for the Flex filament Fiberlogy Fiberflex 30D Black* used.

  • Nozzle temperature: 240°C (First layer: 240°C)
  • Bed temperature: 40°C (First layer: 40°C)
  • Perimeter speed: 25 mm/s (First layer: 15 mm/s)
  • External and short perimeter speed: 25 mm/s (First layer: 15 mm/s)
  • Infill speed: 25 mm/s (First layer: 15 mm/s)
  • Top solid infill speed: 25 mm/s

Why only little preload on the extruder gears?

To be able to process the flexible filament with the 3D printer, the preload on the extruder gears must be reduced. If the pressure of the gears on the flexible filament is too great, it wraps itself around the gears.

At first glance, that sounds paradoxical, better printing with very little pressure on the filament?

But since the flexible filament can be conveyed very well with the gears anyway due to its flexibility and stickiness, the problem with this material is the adhesion to the gear. As a result, it can happen that the flexible filament wraps itself around the gears and the printing process must be stopped as a result.

With the Prusa i3 MK3S, I unscrew the M3 cylinder head screw, which is responsible for the preload, until the entire screw head is visible.

What to do if Flex filament sticks very strong on the print plate?

The Fiberlogy flexible filament used here, sticks extremely strong to the PEI-coated print bed, so here is a tip for easy detachment: to avoid the flex material sticking to the print plate, simply stick a strip of Kapton (Polyimid) tape* on the build plate before printing.

Of course, only where the printed parts should arise later. Since the area to be printed is now closer to the nozzle due to the tape, increase the first layer in the slicer to 0.4 mm. For more useful tips and help see also the article: The best 3D printing tools and accessories

Used 3D printing filament and 3D printer

3D printer used: Prusa i3 MK3S* with a standard 0.4 mm nozzle

3D printing filament used: In this guide Prusament PETG Jet Black* was used for all solid parts and Fiberlogy Fiberflex 30D Black* for the flexible damper feet.

With the selected settings, approx. 35 g PETG filament and 23 g FLEX filament are printed for the 3D printed parts of the damper board.

With the PETG filament used (29.90 EUR/kg) and the FLEX filament used (47.05 EUR/kg), the filament material costs are approx. 2 EUR per damper board (with flex damper feet and weight holder with a height of 17 mm).

The total printing time for all required components is approx. 7 hours. To calculate the total printing time, all printing times are added together, with the entire quantity of a 3D printed component being printed at once.

A PETG filament is recommended because of the higher stability and lower distortion. The parts can also be printed with ABS or ASA, but these place higher demands on the 3D printer and the operator. The widely used PLA is not recommended, because technically more demanding parts are not stable enough due to the more brittle nature of this material and the lower layer adhesion.

Bill of materials: Needed purchased parts to build the damper board

The total cost of the purchased parts comes to around EUR 50 if the wooden panel is ordered directly from auprotec.com, without shipping costs and if only the costs for the parts required for a damper board are added up.

If the weights, which make up most of the costs, are not purchased – because there are still a few old dumbbell weights lying around in the basement, the costs for the purchased parts can be reduced to around EUR 12.

Optional, if you want to use squash balls for the dampers instead of flexible filament:

Alternative purchased parts

Screws are usually much cheaper in the hardware store and, above all, can be bought in exactly the required quantity.

The wooden plywood board is also cheaper directly from auprotec.com, or you can simply have it cut to size at a hardware store. The panel thickness should not be less than 12 mm, the brackets and feet are designed in such a way that the 4×20 mm wood screws used penetrate a maximum of 10 mm deep into the panel. Thinner plates are also not stable enough for the 3D printer and the weights.

For planning the panel dimensions, consider the space required by your 3D printer and the additional weights to be attached. The 400 x 300 mm board fits very well for the additional weights used and offers enough space for a Prusa i3 MK3S or a Prusa MINI.

Instead of the linked steel plates, various other weights can be used, from weight plates to simple steel plates or even thin stone plates. In the 3D print files are many different weight bracket models with different heights. Simply measure the thickness of the weight and select the weight bracket STL file with the next largest height.

Required tools

As always, a new project is the best excuse to buy new tools ;), not all are required but some help save some time.

Assembly instructions: Build a DIY damper board for your 3D printer

The step-by-step instructions follow to build the damper board for the 3D printer yourself, please read and observe the safety guidelines for assembly.

Safety Guidelines

Safety first! Read and follow the assembly instructions and the operating manual!

Read the entire assembly instructions and operating manual carefully and follow the instructions and safety warnings. If anything is unclear, simply contact support (support@3d-druck-vorlagen.de).

These instructions are only intended for persons of legal age (over 18 years old). If you lack knowledge in handling the tools or processes that occur, then it is essential to seek the help of trained persons. The preparation and assembly of the project is at your own risk.

Legend: Warnings and Symbols

Sign with attention symbol and inscription Danger! in capital letters
This symbol indicates a hazard that will result in serious injury or death if the instruction is not followed.
Sign with attention symbol and inscription Warning! in capital letters
This symbol indicates a hazard that could result in serious injury or death if the instruction is not followed.
Sign with attention symbol and inscription Caution! in capital letters
This symbol indicates a danger which can lead to minor injuries if the instruction is not followed.
Sign that says Notice in capital letters
This symbol indicates possible damage to the project or the environment if the instruction is not followed.

General safety instructions for assembling the project

Sign with attention symbol and inscription Caution! in capital letters

Wear protective goggles to protect your eyes during all processing steps that can produce chips (sawing, drilling).

Wear assembly gloves to protect your hands during all processing steps in which saws or knives are used. Do not wear gloves when drilling, there is a risk of being drawn into the drill.

When printing parts, sharp edges can occur (usually on the first layer), there is a risk of cuts. These edges must be deburred.

Step 1: Preparing the Plywood Panel

To make it easier to assemble the feet and weight brackets later, it is best to drill all the necessary pilot holes right away.

Required 3D printed parts

3D printed stencil for marking the pilot holes for the damper feet printed on a flexible PEI Flex sheet
  • 1 pc 006000_Stencil_Damper

Layer height 0.2 mm and 100% infill (rectangular)

4 pieces of 3D printed weight brackets with a height of 17 mm in PETG filament black printed on a flexible PEI Flex plate of the 3D printer
  • 4 pcs 005800_Weight_Bracket_H##

Choose the right weight bracket for your weights here. To do this, measure the thickness of your weights and use the next larger bracket. The height of the weight bracket corresponds to the weight height to be held. The total height of the bracket is calculated by adding additional 3 mm.

Height H= 8 to 40 mm in 1 mm increments

For the steel plates used in these instructions, weight brackets with a height of 17 mm are used here.

Layer height 0.2 mm and 100% infill (rectangular)

Sign with attention symbol and inscription Caution! in capital letters

Be sure to print the brackets with 100% infill and a mechanically robust filament (e.g.: PETG, ABS, ASA).

Preparation of the wooden panel

The edges of the wooden plywood panel of the damper board are sanded down with sandpaper so that no sharp edges remain

If the edges of the panels are sharp, simply sand them off a little with fine sandpaper to deburr them.

Examine the panel and decide which side should show upwards later (the one with the more beautiful surfaces and edges).

The pilot holes for the feet are set on the underside of the plate. It is not important whether the flexible damper feet or the squash ball holder are attached later. Always measure 20 mm from both edges. If you have printed out the stencil, it’s super simple.

The 3D printed stencil is placed on the wooden plywood board and the pilot holes for the damper feet are marked

Position the stencil in the corners and mark the pilot hole through the hole of the stencil.

A marker pen or a wood screw can be used here.

Then place the intended additional weights on the underside. Make sure that they are not too close to the damper feet or squash ball mounts, so that they can be screwed on later without any problems.

Vibration-reducing additional weights (Steel plates 4 kg) placed in the middle of the damper board

Place the selected weights as centrally as possible to distribute the additional mass evenly over the damper feet.

Fix the additional weights on the wooden plate using a 3D printed weight bracket and wood screws - mark the pilot hole with a wood screw

Place the weight brackets on the weights and use a wood screw to mark the pre-drilling point through the hole of the brackets.

Additional weights are placed on the plywood board and the 3D printed weight holders are applied

Repeat this for the chosen number of weight brackets, in this case 4 pieces are enough to fix the steel plates.

When all markings have been made, remove the stencil and the weights.

The marked points are pre-drilled with a 2 mm wood drill bit on the DIY damper board for FFF / FDM 3D printers

Pre-drill about 9 mm deep at all 8 markings with a 2 mm wood drill bit, be careful not to drill through the wooden board.

Tip: To do this, cover the wood drill bit with adhesive tape at 9 mm depth (for the selected 12 mm wood board).

The board is now ready for mounting the shock feet and weights.

Step 2: Attach 3D printed brackets and damper feet

In this step, the flexible filament damper feet or the squash ball mounts, and the weights are attached on the damper board.

Required purchased parts

Purchased parts weight steel plates and wood screws
  • 8 pcs Wood screws with countersunk head Torx 4×20 mm
  • 2 pcs Steel plate – weight for weight jacket 4 kg

Alternatively, use other weights that can be easily attached to the wooden board using the weight brackets.

For the variant without Flex filament:

4 pieces of squash balls that can be used as damper feet instead of flexible filament 3D print parts
  • 4 pcs Squash balls – double yellow

Required 3D printed parts

4 pieces of 3D printed flexible damper feet on the flex steel plate of the used 3D printer
  • 4 pcs 005700_Flex_Damper_Foot_L##

STL files with the lengths L= 30, 35, 40 and 45 mm are available. On the one hand, the choice depends on how much space is available and how high the chosen weights are. On the other hand, how strong the damping effect should be.

With the Fiberlogy Flex filament used, the damper feet were printed with a height of 30 mm and the following settings were used: layer height 0.2 mm, 15% infill (rectangular) and 2 perimeters.

The infill and the number of perimeters depends on the flexibility of the flexible (TPE or TPU) filament used and on the total weight of the 3D printer and the additional weights. The basic rule is: as flexible as possible, but enough to stably support the total weight.

Sign with attention symbol and inscription Caution! in capital letters

It is essential to check the flexible damper feet before start-up. Execute a test print to check whether they are mechanically stable enough. If not, print them with more infill and/or perimeters.

For the variant without Flex filament:

If you want to avoid printing with flexible filament, the squash ball mount is printed with PETG or another mechanical robust filament. The squash balls then later provide the necessary damping effect, which is why no flexible filament is required in this variant.

4 pieces of 3D printed squash ball mounts on the flexible printing plate of the 3D printer
  • 4 pcs 005900_Squash_Ball_Mount

Layer height 0.2 mm and 100% infill (rectangular)

Sign with attention symbol and inscription Caution! in capital letters

Be sure to print the mounts with 100% infill and a mechanically robust filament (e.g.: PETG, ABS, ASA).

Installation of the damper feet

The four damper feet are fixed with the 20×4 mm wood screws.

A flexible filament 3D printed damper foot is bolted to the wooden damper board

Put the wood screws through the hole in the damper foot and screw them into the outer pilot holes of the wooden board.

It is important not to over-tighten the screws. Depending on the flexibility of the damper foot, it will be squeezed too much, and the screw will protrude out of the top of the wooden panel. It is best to work step by step, tighten the screw a little, then test if the damper foot is fixed well enough. If not, then repeat until the damper is securely bolted to the plate.

Wooden panel with all 4 mounted damper feet

Perform this for all four damper feet.

Assembly of the squash ball mounts and the squash balls as damper feet

For the variant with the squash balls as a damper, the mounts are installed instead of the flexible damper feet.

3D printed squash ball mount is screwed onto the damper board with a wood screw

If the squash ball mounts are used, then screw the squash ball holders to the plate with the 4×20 mm wood screws. Aligning the support bars at a 45° angle to the wooden board edges.

All four pieces of 3D printed squash ball mounts are installed on the 3D printer damper board and the vibration-damping squash balls are inserted into them

Perform for all 4 mounts. Then insert the squash balls into the mounts. The balls are going to stay there even is the board is flipped afterwards, because of the mount’s design.

Mounting of the vibration reducing weights

Then the weights are put on the wooden panel and the weight brackets are positioned.

The additional weights on the damper board are screwed on with the 3D printed weight brackets

Insert the 4×20 mm wood screws through the holes in the weight brackets and then screw them into the pilot holes you drilled in Step 1.

The additional weights on the damper board for 3D printers are completely fixed with the 3D printed weight brackets

After fixing the last weight bracket, check if the weights are held securely.

Sign with attention symbol and inscription Caution! in capital letters

Check if the weights are held securely and cannot fall out of the brackets.

If the weights are not held securely, screw them to the wooden board with additional weight brackets or use other weights.

The damper board is now ready for the first test. In the next step, the 3D printer is positioned, and the setup is thoroughly tested.

Step 3: Position and test the 3D printer

Finally, the 3D printer is placed on your damper board and a few test prints are performed to check whether everything is working properly.

3D printer is placed in the middle of the damper board, shot from above

Place the 3D printer in the middle of the damper board.

Detailed view of the damper board with one flexible damper foot and the mounted weights for vibration damping, checking if something is touching the ground

Then check the weight brackets and damper feet.

Sign with attention symbol and inscription Caution! in capital letters

Carry out the following checks before start the 3D print process / operation:

  • Is there enough space between the weight brackets and the ground?
  • When the damper board vibrates, how do the damper feet react – are they stable enough?

If the damper feet buckle or deform too much, do not use the damper board, but print the feet again with more infill and/or more perimeters.

3D printer is printing a benchy on the DIY damper board

Congratulations you can start the first test prints and enjoy the reduced background noise 🙂

Sign with attention symbol and inscription Caution! in capital letters

Always pay attention to whether the 3D printer slips or shifts on the damper board during printing. If this is the case, then fix the 3D printer on the damper board, for example with double-sided adhesive tape.

Also pay attention to how the damper feet behave, do they deform too much or are they too stiff and transmit too many vibrations? Depending on this, they can be adjusted by variating the infill and/or the number of perimeters to be more rigid or more flexible.

Were all checks successful? Congratulations on building your DIY damper board!

Before final operation, be sure to read and follow the operating manual of the DIY anti vibration damper board and the safety instructions given there!

Below are more photos of the finished DIY damper board for your 3D printer, with flexible damper feet and with the squash ball dampers.

3D printer on DIY damper board with 3D printed damper feet made of flexible filament and additional weights photographed from the left
3D printer on DIY damper board with 3D printed damper feet made of flexible filament and additional weights photographed from the front
3D printer stands on anti-vibration damper board with flexible damper feet and additional vibration-damping weights
DIY damper board self-built with 3D printed damper feet made of flexible filament and additional weights photographed from the right
DIY damper board self-built with 3D printed damper feet made of flexible filament and additional weights photographed from the front
Build your own DIY damper board for 3D printers with squash balls as damper feet and additional weights, photographed from the left
Build a DIY damper board for 3D Printer yourself with squash balls as damper feet and additional weights photographed from the right
Build a DIY damper board for 3D printer yourself with squash balls as damper feet and additional weights photographed from the top right
damper board with squash balls as damper feet and additional weights photographed from the top right
damper board with squash balls as damper feet and additional weights photographed from the low right
damper board with squash balls as damper feet and additional weights photographed from the low front

Disclaimer

The instructions and the associated files are an inspiration of Ingenieurbüro Dr. Janko GmbH to build this project yourself. Since Ingenieurbüro Dr. Janko GmbH has no way of checking and influencing the required quality of the printed components and purchased parts as well as the quality of the assembly and the correct functioning of the project or if any inadmissible changes and modifications to the project has been made, Ingenieurbüro Dr. Janko GmbH accepts no liability for functionality, stability or damage incurred by the project.

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