Introduction: Creality Ender 3 - Silenced!
First task: Identify the source of the sound
- Mechanical noise when moving
- Fan noise
- Electrical noise of motors
Each chapter below will describe how I managed to minimize the noise from each of these sources.
2x or 3x Nema17 Stepper damper
2x or 3x UBEC
3x 40x40x10 12 V low dB fan
1x 60x60x25 12/24 V low dB fan
Step 1: Mechanical Noise
Source: Shaking of the printer structure as the motors switches direction. I found that the Nema17 stepper motor dampers available from here: damper, actually does its job really good. They are cheap and will improve the sound levels a lot. The X and Y axis is the most important, but I have one on the Z axis as well. I would not recommend to mount one on the extruder as this will decrease the accuracy of filament extrusion.
Make sure to get those with the larger inner hole as this will make it much easier when mounting them.
I printed this Thingiverse part in order to mount the X-axis damper.
For the Y-axis I used the .stl file found attached. I don't know where I got it from (it's not my intention to steal someone else's work. If you know who made it, contact me please).
I printed the "plain-with-distance-v1" from this Thingiverse part in order to mount the Z-axis damper.
Another important upgrade is the feets of the printer. I found no feets that met my requirements online so I made my own. Thingiverse. Print it using PLA (due to its high stiffness) and anneal it before you use it. Amazing how much rattling noise goes away with just for new feets! This one uses the rubber feets provided by Creality.
Step 2: Fan Noise
The original fans of the Creality Ender 3 are the worst! This upgrade is a must if you want to reduce the sound levels. However, this add will set you back some $. You need to buy some low dB fans. There are many ways to change the fans, I will explain how I made it happen.
You have four fans on your original Creality Ender 3 (Pro). The one in the power supply, the two on your extruder (one radial fan and one axial fan) and one for the motherboard.
I found it hard (impossible) to find a good low dB fan that is radial. Therefore, I decided to remodel the extruder in order to fit 2x 40x40x10mm axial low dB fans. You can find my extruder design here: Thingiverse.
The 40x40x10 mm fans I bought was the "Noiseblocker NB" as they are a third the price of the Noctua fans but still have good performance sound-wise. If I weren''t that cheap, I would have gone for the Noctua fans.
However, there is a catch here. The Ender 3 runs on a 24V system. The low dB fans run on 12V. Therefore, you will need to purchase a DC/DC converter. These are real nice ones: UBEC. However, doing this upgrade will eliminate the "soft control" of the part fan. You will afterwards only be able to do 0% OR 100% as the UBEC cannot handle the PWM out of the control board. This is not a problem for the extruder heat fan as it is allready on or off.
Power supply fan
I bought a 60x60x25mm 12V Noiseblocker fan (would have bought a Noctua if I weren't cheap). Mounted it on the outside of the power supply and removed the fan on the inside. Used the same wires for the new fan. If you buy a 12V fan like me you should install a resistor in series with the fan in order to reduce the voltage for the fan (voltage divider circuit). 200 ohm were the right value for me (U = R*I, 24/(current for the fan = 0,12A) = 200 ohm). You could aso mount an UBEC inside as well.
I made this Thingiverse for a simple cover of the fan.
This fan also need to be changes to a low dB fan. As described in section "Electrical noise" I decided to change to another mainboard and a new enclosure for the electronics. Even if you don't, you can easily change your fan to a new one. Remember to use a UBEC if you buy a 12 V fan.
Step 3: Electrical Noise
This upgrade will decrease your noise levels the most! Its also a big upgrade that will set you back many $:s. Not for the faint hearted.
The original mainboard of the Creality Ender 3 has integrated motor drivers. These drivers controls the motors using a square-shaped voltage signal which creates a lot of high-pitched noise. As these drivers are integrated you must change the whole board in order to use the TMC2130 drivers.
The TMC2130 drivers created a sinusoidal wave to the motors by switching the power on and off more than 20'000 Hz. In this way, the high pitched sound totally disapears. Another cool feature of the TMC2130 is that they can detect a missed step. That means that you can use this for the end-stops, i.e. you can remove the end-stop switches (sensorless homing). It is most important to change to TMC2130 for the X, Y and Extruder as these are the main noise producers.
I suggest you to tune in to the "Teaching Tech" Youtube-channel as he walks through the mainboard change (and TMC2103 installation) thouroughly in a few videos. Youtube
The TMC2130 drivers can be purchased here: TMC2130
In order to fit this new mainboard on your printer, this Thingiverse seems to do the job. I will try it myself soon enough. (Update: Printed it, it's awesome!)