Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

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BenTheRighteous
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Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by BenTheRighteous » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:18 pm

I bought some stepper motor dampers from SeeMeCNC about a month ago and was able to finally install them last weekend. I definitely didn't see the drastic change in noise that everyone mentions. It's a little quieter perhaps, but I can still hear the printer running through a closed door several rooms away. This isn't something I'd want to sit in the same room with or share an office space with all day, but people seem to think that the dampers ought to make that tolerable.

I'm pretty sure I installed them correctly - 2 screws in the stepper, 2 screws through the melamine, no screw makes contact with both objects. I'll upload a picture in a bit, but I'm wondering if something else is going on.

My first thought was that the belts were too tight, so I loosened the top idlers on all axes and that didn't seem to help.
Then I was wondering if the vibrations were somehow resonating with the platform I have the printer on, so I picked it up briefly to see if it would suddenly quiet. Nope, still noisy.

Do I just have unrealistic expectations? Or is it possible I got crummy dampers? They look exactly like the astrosyn ones here: http://astrosyn.com/section.php/44/1/vibration_dampers
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by BenTheRighteous » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:22 pm

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nitewatchman wrote:it was much cleaner and easier than killing a chicken on top of the printer.

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by bot » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:26 pm

I notice you have the Kysan steppers. You did adjust the voltage in the firmware, right? I have the other brand of steppers. The Kysans might be louder. I do not know. You do seem to have installed them correctly. I never had the printer going without them, but I had a home made rostock a while ago, and this is much quieter than the home made one was. It is still not silent or anything. It's tolerable.
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by Earthbound » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:11 am

Perhaps the dampers that SMC stocked were a harder material?

I have a set of them that are not installed - grabbed them for a future project.

My MaxV2 has set of Astrosyn dampers I bought on ebay. Been in there since day-1 so I can't speak to how much difference they make. I can say that I can barely hear the machine running if I am on the other side of a closed hollow core door. I routinely watch video on my PC, where my head is 2 feet away from the running printer. The right damper, properly installed, results in a very mild noise level. I don't have the Kysan steppers either, so maybe that is significant.
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by Jimustanguitar » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:22 am

I can confirm that the Kysan steppers are louder than the Wantai's. I've had both on my machine.

I agree with your observations. The noise from my printer doesn't bother me as much as it does you, but I'd say that the dampers reduced my overall sound level by 30% or so. I don't have any db measurements or anything to quantify it with, but it did seem like they made everybody else's machine quieter than mine :)

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by BenTheRighteous » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:28 am

Shucks - so it seems like the stepper motors themselves are the culprit. They refuse to be damped, apparently! That's too bad! I did check my firmware just to make sure that I had the motor_current set correctly as the manual suggested (thanks bot) - and indeed it was.

Well, I guess if my badass-machine-of-molten-plastic-spraying-construction has to make a little noise to do its job, well, I can live with that. ;)

I don't think it's worth it to me to try and swap out the motors or dampers to see if it helps, but if anyone wants to chime in saying they damped their Kysan motors well, I'd be interested to hear it.
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by bot » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:03 pm

Well in an old thread that was recently bumped by another member, he complained of hot steppers even after lowering the current. Maybe they can/should go even lower? Try and identify the exact model of stepper, get the amperage requirements, and calculate the exact proper firmware setting (just to be sure). It could be that the Kysan Steppers aren't all the identical model, or some others might have slipped in a shipment.

Since you have the dampers installed perfectly, the only other variables are the current and (maybe) the belt tension. I was surprised at how loose the belts actually should be to work properly.
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by bvandiepenbos » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:20 am

yes, machine will be quieter by isolating the motor from frame.
I have not ever noticed differences is noise when trying different motor current settings.

What DOES make a big difference is the electronics and firmware.
My old MAX was originally running Marlin fw and Rambo board, when I switched to Repetier fw it was noticeable quieter and smoother.

Then built 5-6 machines with newer Rambo and Repetier fw and they where a bit quieter yet. Maybe due to 1/16 stepping vs. 1/8 stepping
(all machines had cork laser cut dampeners, not astrosyns. I tried astrosyns and sound level was about the same, but they let motor wiggle to much and I felt it hurt print quality on sharp corners and short quick moves, so I went back to cork)

Next an all metal delta with rambo and marlin fw, it is really quiet. It has bigger stepper motors than MAX and also 30 tooth pulleys vs 20 that may help sound level.

Then another almost identical metal delta with Smoothie electronics and fw... it is super quiet.

So I am sure how the fw pulses the steppers really has a impact on sound level and smoothness of movements.

Belt tension also effects sound level, the tighter they are the more sound seems to come "out" at the effector platform. Even with motor totally rubber/cork isolated from frame, I am sure motor sound travels through the belts!
Excessively tight belts and tight stiff moving cheapskates contribute to noise also.

Setting the printer on several layers of a soft foam exercise mat helps reduce noise also by preventing desk/table from amplifying noise.

I like to use big soft rubber feet on the bottom of my printers.
Like these http://www.mcmaster.com/#60525k13/=v00lh8

If we could figure out how to dampen sound, maybe at the carriages, to stop it from going down arms to platform and hot end... it would be quieter and smoother printing.
I am sure the noise we hear vibrates the hot end degrading print quality somewhat. ...probably could be the reason for some of the odd patterns that show up in the prints sometimes.

Could pulley size have some bearing on noise level also?
Currently I am swapping some old 15 tooth pulleys back into the old MAX named "KITT" from the current 20 tooth to see if sound or print quality changes.
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by bot » Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:12 am

The PEEK fan vibrates the effector as much or more than any of the stepper vibrations ever could. Microstepping plays probably the largest factor in noise. No microstepping at all makes for a LOUD printer, I have heard.
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by Eaglezsoar » Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:23 am

Brian, thanks for the nice writeup. I don't know where you find the time to do everything!

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by Chrissi » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:00 am

I wonder how much of the noise is transmitted through the table surface as a sounding board? Our stock V1 has always been very quiet, we only run it on a granite counter top.
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by Nylocke » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:00 am

The mircrostepping does help. I installed the 1/32 drivers from Panucatt and my machine got even quieter. I have similar dampers to the original astrosyn ones, but I only have 2 of them. I might try getting some of the newer ones with the more solid rubber, or I might remove mine to see how it affects print quality (the Kraken isn't exactly a feather, probably doesn't help with the flexing thing)

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by RegB » Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:14 am

I had originally built my V2 with foam rubber gaskets between the motor faces and the melamine.
I also used longer screws with 1/8 inch rubber grommets and washers under the heads to isolate them from the other (belt) side of the melamine.
This was largely because astroboy was out of stock of the astosyns and I was too IMPATIENT to wait before starting my build.

A couple of weeks ago I put a set of astrosyn dampers in, I have written about the retrofit elsewhere.
The printer is definitely LOUDER and it is not a matter of me having expectations that were too high, others remarked on it without being prompted.

I think it is the hardness of the astrosyn rubber layer that accounts for this.
Since I took out the longer screws with grommets and washers those are what I used to mount the astrosyns, so that is a common factor with respect to what is transmitted to the belt side of the melamine.

BTW, I did a "dry run" of a print with Repetier-Host to confirm that the noise is NOT from the extruder.

I agree with Brian that what the printer stands ON can matter - though muffling_sound/absorbing_vibration as close as possible to its source is probably the best strategy.
At one point I had mine on a cheap folding table and that table top was a DRUM.
I will be experimenting with foam mat of some sort.

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by RocketMagnet » Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:41 am

As discussed in your other thread Regb I've just installed Astrosyns on an Orion and the difference over nothing is pretty marked, certainly reduced volume significantly and it definitely muffles/cuts off the high end.
I didn't measure any DB or vibration values and I should have but overall I'm very impressed and personally wouldn't need or bother to try and make the XYZ and quieter, the noisiest bit is the filament feed now.

Still if I had a better solution like you I'd personally just go back to it, did you still use the grommets on the two longer screws with the astrosyns? sounds like a good addition to me.

I've got mine sitting on 2X large packing foam Squares (pretty high density stuff) I got when I ordered some build plates from SeeMeCNC.. so about 3cm (2X1.5cm) and it does a very good job.
Not sure if it adversely affects print quality yet... what I've printed so far looks ok but not done anything tall yet.
The ultimate would be one of those marble vibration plates they use for high end laboratory balances 4-5 places, though the cost (more than your printer) Vs some Free packing foam... the latter wins ;).

2014-12-14 16.24.14.jpg
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by jdurand » Sun Dec 14, 2014 12:48 pm

On sound dampening, a couple of extra ideas.

If it's on a table, attach material under table to prevent it being a sounding board.

There are vibration absorbing feet and pads available for machine tools. Here's an example
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PART ... A=325-6640
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by bvandiepenbos » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:10 pm

This gives me a new idea to try. I happen to have some chunks of real marble counter top about 2" x 24" x 30", got them from a local manufacturer as scraps, they where literally in the dumpster being thrown away! They are HEAVY.
I am going to dig out one of those pieces to put under the printer to see if it makes it quieter.

If you have a local counter manufacturer you might want to ask, they may have cut offs or sink cut outs for free or cheap?
If not real stone, even 4-5 layers of the typical 1/2" solid surfacing material would be fairly heavy.
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by jdurand » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:17 pm

There's also "Wonder Board", concrete wallboard used in showers. Pretty cheap at your local hardware store.
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by RocketMagnet » Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:30 pm

bvandiepenbos wrote:This gives me a new idea to try. I happen to have some chunks of real marble counter top about 2" x 24" x 30", got them from a local manufacturer as scraps, they where literally in the dumpster being thrown away! They are HEAVY.
I am going to dig out one of those pieces to put under the printer to see if it makes it quieter.

If you have a local counter manufacturer you might want to ask, they may have cut offs or sink cut outs for free or cheap?
If not real stone, even 4-5 layers of the typical 1/2" solid surfacing material would be fairly heavy.


Essentially marble has lots of crystal interface boundaries in all directions, it's this that prevents the transmittance of vibrations as there is no direct path though the material.
So not all marbles are good, you need marbles that have a very fine granular pattern.. no large chunks. It's why the balance marble plates are significantly more expensive than kitchen work tops :)
So yeah look for the finest structure/pattern you can find as that's the highest number of crystal boundaries..

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by bot » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:08 pm

I don't think it has to do with crystal boundaries but simply the mass of the object. This is the same as studio monitor stands. They need to be heavy. That's all. Rather, they need to firmly connect the source of vibration to something very firm and heavy (the concrete floor).
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by RegB » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:29 am

@RocketMagnet; Yes, right now the astosyns are in with the longer screws - with the rubber grommets and washers on the belt side.
This is why I believe it is the hard rubber of the astrosyns that transmit more vibration/sound than the foam rubber gaskets, i.e. the A/B difference is the astrosysns vs foam rubber gaskets.
All else is the same, except for the spacing out of the pulleys on the motor shafts.

Ummm, maybe I'll sit my printer on a sand bag, or a bean chair (-:

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by RocketMagnet » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:46 am

Maybe they will "bed in", perhaps im imagining it but I think mines got even quieter the more I've run it as I'm hearing lots of little noises that were drowned out before.
I'd say there is probably a balance, too soft could also cause issues with belt wear etc so I suppose the rubber has to be something specific though not sure really there must be some reason?

Best way to tell would be a Vibration probe at specific points before and after.. I've seen them used on motors when they are checking for bearing wear. Yeah you would have to monitor over a set movement cycle but you'll have to do the same for DB readings.

On the issue of belt wear I noticed when I came to do the dampers that there was a dust of belt rubber on top the cheapskates. I didn't notice if the belts were aligned properly after transport but I've got them spot on now.. still I'm wondering about normal belt change frequency (e.g. Hours Printed)

As for marble I was under the impression it wasn't just the mass but interfaces and varying crystal structure of different minerals that helped reduce vibration transmittance. Essentially a composite material like many modern sound proofing materials.. Still it's possible it's down to mass, if so the marble plates are a waste of money and it's pure sales nonsense ?

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by RegB » Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:58 pm

More likely you'll get used to it.
In my youth I had cars like that, so I'd just turn up the radio (-:
"Belt dust" seems ominous, I hope that is corrected.

There was some concern in a thread that having to put the pulleys so far out might lead to them not running true.
I'm not enthusiastic about how far they are out on mine and that MIGHT become motivation enough for me to resort to the foam gaskets - depends how much sleep loss I suffer over this little nagging fear.
At a guess wobbling pulleys COULD scuff belt edges, though if it were that bad I would expect it to show up as print quality problems - yet another thing for me to watch for and worry about )-;

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by jdurand » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:42 pm

1612-173050.jpg
jdurand wrote:On sound dampening, a couple of extra ideas.

If it's on a table, attach material under table to prevent it being a sounding board.

There are vibration absorbing feet and pads available for machine tools. Here's an example
http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PART ... A=325-6640


I was ordering some things from Enco and so I added some of the above pads to the order. Attached is a picture of one under the Afinia printer with the RMax hot end for a size comparison. It's uploading a big job to the SD card now so I won't know how it sounds until it finishes loading (slooooow over the USB and you can't take the SD card out of the Afinina).
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All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison. (Ibid.)

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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by jdurand » Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:28 pm

Printer is running and is a lot quieter. It's in a wooden box to keep it warm for ABS, the box is no longer transmitting as much noise.

I give these pads thumbs up. I got enough to also put three under the RMax when we get it assembled.
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Quando omni flunkus moritati (Red Green)
Let no man belong to another that can belong to himself. (Paracelsus)
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Re: Stepper motor dampers don't seem to be working

Post by RocketMagnet » Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:09 pm

One thing to consider before using any old foam or rubber will be the temps the stepper motors get to. On long prints the steppers get blisteringly hot and in direct contact
with your damping material of choice, So yeah it's something to think about?.. especially if the high temps causes the stuff to breakdown over time.

As for belt dust it was either slightly offline, just breaking in or it's perishing.. it's certainly not offline now.
There are small crazing cracks in the belt surface so could just be from the belt wearing in and the source of the dust.. will keep an eye on it.. though not seen anymore dust since I cleaned it off
put in the Astros and realigned.

Anyone implemented any cooling solutions on their stepper mothers .. specifically the cold end feeder stepper?

Sound levels are good now but I've had to offset the cold end back plate with a couple of printed washers which doesn't help with the noise from the cold end stepper.. may try some springs in place of the washers...

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