DIY acoustic panels without fiberglass?

Discussion in 'The Cutting Edge' started by pragmatic001, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. pragmatic001

    pragmatic001 New Member

    Messages:
    42
    Well, I had planned to build some acoustic panels using fiberglass or rockwool. When my wife found out my plans she told me straight up no way.

    Shes concerned about the potential health issues of having fiber glass (even covered) in our home and around our young son. So I'm asking you, oh wise AKers, is there an alternative with similar acoustic properties that won't freak my wife out?
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. Tangent

    Tangent Sweet nightmares!

    Messages:
    1,688
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    You can try building them with wood sides, covered in fabric and you can probably stuff 'em with fluffy cotton or something like that. Maybe something that's used for cushions from a furniture manufacturer.... or there might be a cheaper alternative somewhere. Wait for garbage day and rip apart someone's junker sofa? :)

    Fiberglass is good, cheap and rectangular which is why it's popular. Cotton like stuff is probably more expensive.

    Not sure how open celled foam would work....

    Or you can try using a cloth over a wood frame and see how that works. Or put a few layers of cloth over it - one at the back....

    Worth a try!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
  3. Victor

    Victor Super Member

    Messages:
    4,515
    Location:
    Indy, In
    Foam does a good job for acoustical treatments, like the panels from Auralex (there are many brands out there). You could cover this foam with fabric for a better looking treatment.
     
  4. Arkay

    Arkay Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    19,966
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Ive seen commercial sound-absorption panels that are like a kind of open-cell styrofoam, with holes drilled into them at regular intervals of a couple of inches. The places that sell this stuff also sell softer "eggcrate" type foam material. It is my understanding that the "eggcrate" stuff absorbs higher frequencies, and the harder foam stuff behind it (which is itself 2-3" thick) absorbs mid-to-lower frequencies.

    You could make diy panels out of regular styrofoam packing materials. Make them irregular with plenty of variable depth, so sound waves will deflect and reflect around and stand a greater chance of being absorbed. Drill (melt, probably) some holes into it, too, for further absorption. What isn't absorbed will be diffracted, not a bad thing for audio. You could put something like pillow batting in front of it, held in by a wooden frame covered with chicken wire and with grill cloth (or fairly permeable decorative cloth) over that. It should look good and work well.

    Depending on the amount of absorption (versus reflection and diffraction) you want, you could use decorative picture-framing strips around the frame edges, a more decorative cloth, and perhaps even some decorative elements set onto the cloth. Acoustic panels like this can even be set behind pierced fretwork carvings, paintings or beautiful woodgrain panels, making them look like an integral part of the room decoration/design. These things will, of course, increase reflection and/or diffraction, and decrease absorption. But sometimes not as much as you'd think, because the decorative elements in front will also "bounce" the waves that come in from the sides (and around them), helping to further dissipate/absorb them.
     
  5. pragmatic001

    pragmatic001 New Member

    Messages:
    42
    That's an interesting idea, worth a shot. Do you think I could use the building grade pink styrofoam insulation, maybe cut a V pattern into it for defraction?
     
  6. a_retent

    a_retent Daddy's little shadow Subscriber

    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    St. Paul, MN
    I'm in the process of re-doing the inside of my garage and making it a year-round work shop. :banana:
    One of my concerns when insulating was sound absorbtion. I'll be running a tablesaw, jointer/planer, miter saw and so forth in the shop and the nieghbor's outside bedroom wall is just off the front corner of the gargage/shop. I've already got flaming emails about the noise.:( I filled the walls with R15 JM sound absorbing fiberglass but noticed I hear quite a bit of outside sounds coming through the front doors. Those doors are R15.67 injected urethane foam filled, kind like the pink sheet styrofoam, and they really don't stop alot of sound but sure stop the cold. I have a leftover 4'x6' sheet of the pink foam leaning against the wall and I can hear sound actually reflect off of it, so I'm thinking that won't solve my sound issue. I'm thinking of concocting some sort of framed sound absorbing panels that I can attach directly to the inside of the garage door panels. Weight will be a factor as too much of it and I won't be able to get the door open and the door opener may pitch a hissy fit. Fiberfil also seems lighter in weight than fiberglass.
    I worked on a pair of ported speaks for a guy that had some allergy issue with fiberglass (don't we all). Went to a fabric store and got some dacron 88 fiberfil, same stuff used in down look-alike jackets, in roll form and it worked great. Best of all no itchies. The sound dampening and handling properties are about the same as good ol' fiberglass but Fiberfil doesn't have the airborne particle problem as fiberglass. The cost of using "eggcrate foam" in the quantity I would need is cost prohibative (this remodel has already cost a fortune) and the fiberfil doesn't require precise cutting to fit into a framework but will require something over the face to keep it in place when it gets hung up on the door. I'm thinkin 1/4" hardware cloth, it's a bit more ridgid that chicken wire, and then cover that with some woven type of fabric.
    Anyways...that's my .02 worth but I will keep an eye on this thread to see if any other ideas show up. :thmbsp:
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2009

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. cmb3366

    cmb3366 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    968
    I made some room treatment using wooden frames with berber carpet stretched taught as a cover. I then mounted them on 2.5" spacers to get them away from the wall. My corner diffusers were similarly constructed, but with a solid plywood backplate. I used pre-finished oak molding to pretty them up and make them fit the room. These treatments solved some serious reflection and echo issues in my room, and were worth every cent. Imaging and realism is much better.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Tangent

    Tangent Sweet nightmares!

    Messages:
    1,688
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    They look pretty good!!
     
  9. Sir.Byrd

    Sir.Byrd Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,255
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Why not have panels for the door that are detachable for when you open it? I assume you are not running the power tools 24/7
     
  10. terra1

    terra1 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,285
    Location:
    WA
    The carpeting above looks great. Ingenious.

    I wonder if certain types of blankets would also work?
     
  11. casseysam

    casseysam New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I am using some king acoustic panel, You can try this too fabric acoustic panels The core material is glass wool, high efficiency sound absorption (NRC up to 1.0). A higher NRC means that less acoustic panel material is needed to handle your space. Attractive, textured fabrics are 100% polyester available in a range of colors to suit your style. You can combine the size and color in the creative way for unique and visually impressive appearance.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. homebrew

    homebrew Active Member

    Messages:
    216
    Some suggestions: You can use fiberglass. Just spray the surfaces with a fixative that will trap any stray fiberglass. Or you can use denim insulation. Or a product like rockwool. All of this is available from your local big box home center.
     
  13. soundmig

    soundmig AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,745
    Location:
    Western Colorado
    Home Depot sells acoustic panels made from recycled denim. I bought a bunch of them for my sons room (he is asthmatic) since we didn't want to risk the fiberglass thing with him and they work very well.
     
    Chip Chester likes this.
  14. Chip Chester

    Chip Chester Super Member

    Messages:
    1,953
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    I've used the recycled denim in my house for general insulation applications. Works well, and the polar opposite of itchy fiberglas. Nice and soft. Would work well for acoustic purposes, as long as you can constrain it to keep its shape in panel use. Hardware cloth overlay, under decorative fabric, may be the key. Be mindful of any required fireproofing, though.
     
  15. casseysam

    casseysam New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Why don't you try polyester acoustic panels. It is made of 100% polyester fiber and is bonded using heat rather than conventional chemical adhesives. Since polyester is naturally resistant to moisture, pests, insects, molds and bacteria, so do polyester acoustic panels. Our polyester material is non-toxic, non-irritating, non-allergic, and safe for people who touch it. This means that there is no annoying itching and scratching, and there is no ongoing health problem for the building occupants.
     
  16. hifix

    hifix Active Member

    Messages:
    304
    Location:
    Groovy Tunes HQ
    Heres one with towels
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. nedseg

    nedseg AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    395
    Location:
    Wisconsin

Share This Page