If you own servers, a CNC machine, a recording booth, generators, and other types of functional machines, you sure know that the noise they make can be very disturbing. The good news is, there is a way you can reduce, dampen, or stop that noise, by housing them in a soundproofed cabinet. In this article, you will see some easy steps to effectively soundproof a cabinet.
What is a soundproof cabinet?
A soundproof cabinet is a cupboard or some sort of storage locker that has been skillfully padded to reduce or dampen the noise produced by anything kept inside it.
There are several ways to effectively soundproof a cabinet, but the quality of the cabinet depends on how much you are willing to spend. The technique and materials used in padding depend on the size of the equipment you want to store inside, the noise generated by the equipment, and of course your budget.
In order to successfully soundproof anything including cabinets, you have to make sure it is completely airtight. Here comes the tricky part, most of these noisy machines require air flowing in and out of whatever containment they are placed in. So, you will need a cabinet that is properly ventilated and noise proof.
With all these in mind, ensure you have an idea about what you plan on making. However, before you make any steps, read this guide:
Soundproof materials for the best results
There are many materials that people use to soundproof different objects. Nevertheless, the truth is that some are providing better results than others. These are materials that serve specifically for absorbing sounds. People also call them acoustical materials. Most objects reflect sounds, but these items suck up most of the noise. They are usually placed on surfaces, with the sole purpose of decreasing noise. To ease the things up for you, here are the best soundproofing materials that you can use for soundproofing a cabinet:
These are foams that are used to reduce and absorb noise. They are available in different shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. They can be placed on literally any surface. Although their sound-absorbing features are not touching notch, they can be used especially when you are on a budget. If you decide to give it a shot, you can buy it here on Amazon.
Acoustic panels are also sound absorbers, but are of better quality than foam, of course, they are definitely more expensive. They can also be used on any surface, wall, etc., to absorb sound. The best part is that you don’t’ have to go around and look for them, but you can directly order them here on Amazon.
However, if your budget is relatively small, you can get your creative juices flowing and make them on your own. To do that, make sure to check out the video below:
This is a kind of thermoplastic that is also a good option for sound absorption. Plexiglass gives a tastefully finished look and it is resistant to breakage. When choosing plexiglass -like other noise absorbent materials – thicker is always better. It is also a better alternative to glass because it’s shatterproof. You can buy it here on Amazon.
As the name implies, fiberglass is fine fibers of glass, that are used for thermal insulation in building structures, by absorbing heat, cold and sound waves. It is very versatile. It is relatively good at absorbing sound, although it doesn’t block or reflect it. Fiberglass is easy to use, as it doesn’t require a lot of expertise. It is also very cost-effective. Some manufacturers make it by heating sand at a high temperature, while some use recycled glass. My personal favorite is this one on Amazon.
Door sealing gasket
Many used them to seal any space in outlets the open and close; like doors, windows. Doing this prevents sound from sipping in and out of a room or cabinet. You place it around the door.
Green glue sealant for decoupling
Decoupling… Well, that’s a term that not many people are familiar with. In fact, before we anything else, let’s better answer an important question.
What is decoupling?
In the simplest terms, decoupling is separating parts of a wall to prevent or decrease vibrations from bouncing off between the wall structures.
As you can already imagine from the headline, the best soundproofing material for decoupling is indeed green glue that you can find here on Amazon. Keep in mind that the green glue is usually used to seal the spaces between two structures – like between the wall and the ceiling. Shortly, it serves to prevent noise from going in and out. If you want to learn more about decoupling with a green glue then check out this article that covers that topic in specific.
Other materials you may need to soundproof a cabinet
Obviously, besides the typical materials that people use for soundproofing, you also need other materials if you want to effectively soundproof a cabinet. Before I get to the rest of the materials, I’d like to highlight the most important one:
Medium-density fibreboard (MDF)
If you are not familiar with this super important material, then let’s first define it.
What is medium-density fibreboard (MDF)?
MDF is a type of wood made from wood shavings, sawdust, and glue -resin and wax-, artificially combined with pressure and heat. They are thicker, denser, and heavier than most on the wood spectrum.
The reason why it is so popular among people is that it is cost-effective and more pliable for small carpentry projects. MDF is made from recycled wood -it is user-friendly – and it is resistant to pest because it was properly treated during manufacturing. It is also smooth and easy to paint.
Other materials you will definitely need are the most obvious ones and they are:
- Wood glue
Soundproof a server cabinet
Now that we have listed all the materials that might be good for soundproofing a cabinet, let’s better get to the practical side and talk more in detail about soundproofing a cabinet in specific.
As you probably know computer servers and certain IT devices can be very loud in open spaces because of their large fans and heavy-duty function. This noise can be a tad disturbing and distracting especially when you have a lot of work to get done in the same space. After all, noise can decrease your productivity.
Remember that people also know server cabinet as server racks that are soundproof, are your best bet to solve this noise problem at least to the barest minimum or completely even.
You will need a cabinet first obviously and you can buy here on Amazon or use an old one. If you decide to make it by yourself from scratch you should definitely consider these factors:
- Make the shelf of the cabinet to the specifications of your computer, or IT device
- Consider the necessary cutouts for the cables
- Keep in mind that you need to maintain proper air circulation
- Create enough space to accommodate the soundproofing materials
Steps to follow in order to soundproof a cabinet for servers effectively
Get the necessary measurements you need. After that, purchase the necessary materials- the wood, screws, etc.- from a hardware shop or Amazon, and get them to cut and measure the wood according to your measurement.
Go ahead and make your cabinet. Create a shelf within, with enough space; depending on the size of the machine you want to keep. Ensure the sides of the cabinet are easily accessible.
Depending on the noise your computer makes, you can either place your sound-absorbing panels- acoustic soundproof foam- directly to the inside of the cabinet, using glue- although some acoustic foams have adhesive that you can peel off and stick.
For maximum effectiveness, create a double wall on each side of the cabinet. Sort of another box within the cabinet. Insert between each wall a sound-absorbing foam or even fiberglass. This is to prevent mechanical vibrations.
For the door, you can cut out plexiglass on the frame, so that you will be able to see the inside. Finish by a door sealing gasket around the door to prevent sound from sipping out. Make sure the cabinet is airtight and adequately padded to prevent noise from getting out.
Create vents on the cabinet for cooling and heat removal fans depending on your IT gadget specification. After all the walls are padded, you have to ensure adequate airflow, if the heat stays in, this can be bad for your server or computer.
When creating air vents, ensure there are 90 degree bends along the path, this makes the distance longer for the sound wave to travel as opposed to just a straight vent. As the sound bounces off the walls it significantly decreases the sound heard.
Note that if you don’t feel ready to take these steps and soundproof a cabinet specifically for server then you can always purchase a server rack here on Amazon.
Guide to soundproof a cabinet for generators
Generators are usually very noisy. Since they are usually outside, it makes sense to create an enclosure, to reduce the noise it makes so that you don’t have to disturb the neighbor or the environment when you go camping. That’s why the best you can do is to soundproof a cabinet for your generator.
Steps to follow when soundproofing a generator cabinet
Get the necessary measurements. After that buy and get your materials ready, including your tools.
Use the box within a box technique to build the cabinet just like described above.
Line between the walls so that it’s airtight.
Create an opening for the generator exhaust to let the heat out, you can attach a lead pipe to the exhaust to lengthen it.
Remember that you can make the cabinet big enough so that you don’t have to use it for only your generators, but also for your air compressor if you have one. If you want to learn more about soundproofing a generator then make sure to check out my other article that deals with that topic more in detail.
Things to keep in mind
- Acoustic foams reduce echo but are not so good in absorbing sounds because of their thickness in a large surface area. But when place and stacked in a small enclosure can reduce noise significantly.
- What you need to know about soundproofing is the heavier or thicker the material, the better the result you get.
- The best material for making a noise retardant containment is usually wood. You can either use plywood- just make sure it is thick- or MDF boards. MDF boards are cheap and easy to work with.
- If your cabinet has vents, ensure they are able to weaken the noise coming out but also allow airflow.
- When making a cabinet you should consider something easy, cheap, and easy to work with.
Following these easy steps to effectively soundproof a cabinet is essential for the best results. The success of your project depends on your budget, the quality of the materials you purchase, and of course the work you are willing to put in. When these factors align, in no time you will be working or living in a noise-free space. Good luck!