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muel

Acoustic panel build

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I built some acoustic panels a couple of years ago and was going to share the process with you here but never got around to it.  My room was in dire need of of acoustic treatments!  I wanted these to look nice and professional (as much as possible) without spending too much.   Here is what I did and how I did it.

 

I built 2' x 4' x 2" acoustic panels using the following:

Cloth - Guilford of Maine FR701 which is a little expensive but worth it  - Silver Papier is a popular color... looks good... not too dark and not too light and it matched my existing traps.  I also bought some very cheap acoustically transparent material for the backs... the color didn't matter so I just got the cheapest.

Acoustic Material - Owens Corning 703 fiberglass 2" thick 2' x 4'

Frame - 3/4" baltic birch (which is WAY overkill).  1/2" would have been fine but I had scraps that were just about perfect size.

Miscellaneous screws, screw eyes, and staples.

 

First step was to measure the actual fiberglass panels to verify their size.  I cut the frame so the inside dimensions would be 1/16th of an inch smaller than the fiberglass.  This way it would friction fit into the frame.  I used a Kreg jig to connect the frame together.

 

 

 

 

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After putting the frame together I laid the cheap fabric over the frame rough cut to easily overlap all edges.post-36269-0-50300000-1460737313_thumb.j

 

Then I laid the fiberglass panel over the fabric and into the frame while keeping the wrinkles out of the fabric.

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I cut the fabric so it was even with the top edge of the frame.

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I stapled the inside edge of the fabric to the frame... every 4 to 6 inches or so.  I had to push the fiberglass down with the top of the stapler to get it aligned with the frame... no big deal as it didn't hurt the fiberglass at all.

Edited by muel
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I did the same thing a few years ago and in my opinion treating your room gives a much greater impact on sound quality than anything.

 

The cost of some DIY panels and the ease of building them, make it a no brainer!!!

 

Way to go muel. :emotion-21: :emotion-21:

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I built mine the same way, using 1/2" BB which made things a bit lighter.

From my research, having an inch or so behind the panel is a good thing.

So I built my frames 3.5" deep for 1: 2" layer of 703 and 5" deep for the couple of panels that have 2 layers (4") of 703.

 

I am not sure how important this air gap is, I guess if the panels are hanging slightly off the walls it would not matter.

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Now I flipped over the frame and laid out the nice Guilford of Maine fabric.  I cut it large enough to be able to drape past the bottom edge of all sides of the frame by a couple of inches.  

 

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Holding onto the fabric and frame I flipped the frame over so it is laying face (front side) down.  Pulling on the fabric to keep it taught and wrinkle free on the front side I arranged the fabric so I could fold the fabric edge over to give it a double thickness and an area to staple on the back of the frame edge.  Notice the disposable gloves... nice when handling fiberglass.

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Once I've stapled one entire edge I pull the fabric and stretch it tight towards the opposite side.  I cut the fabric so that there is just enough to fold under and still cover the back edge.  Lift and check the front to verify that it still looks good and isn't too tight and so the thread pattern looks straight.  See that I'm starting my fold for the ends.

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Looks decent when you take your time.

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Edited by muel
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I like baltic birch plywood more than anything, but if somebody wants to build these and doesn't have access to a table saw, the poplar boards at Lowes work great.

Also if you don't have Kreg jigs, a well clamped glue joint with 45's works fine.

Curious how you mounted yours though, I ended up using picture frame hardware, screwing on both sides and running a cable from one side to the other.

edit: I guess you're still posting though. :)

Edited by MetropolisLakeOutfitters

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Just wrap the ends like you are gift wrapping pretty much.  I experimented until I had a corner where you only see the fold at the corner of the short end.

 

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These particular panels were mounted to the ceiling with a couple of inches of air space behind.  

I was pretty happy with the results but I have found that I might have wanted to experimented with my folding the corners some different ways.  Over time they have a very slight looseness at the corner fold... just doesn't look as professional.  I'm wondering if a little hot glue underneath the fabric at the very corner would have held it more flat.  I will have to experiment with some scraps to see how that would work.

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Edited by muel
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I like baltic birch plywood more than anything, but if somebody wants to build these and doesn't have access to a table saw, the poplar boards at Lowes work great.

Also if you don't have Kreg jigs, a well clamped glue joint with 45's works fine.

Curious how you mounted yours though, I ended up using picture frame hardware, screwing on both sides and running a cable from one side to the other.

edit: I guess you're still posting though. :)

 

Once I had my location chosen for the panel I found the ceiling joist with a stud finder.  I installed small hooks through the ceiling sheetrock into the joists.  On one edge of the panel I screwed in screw eyes (after measuring carefully) that would fit right onto the hooks.  I could swing the opposite edge of the panel up to the ceiling and mark my exact location for another pair of screw eyes on the panel and hooks in the ceiling.  On the first panel I screwed up with my placement of the hooks and screw eye so I filled the gap by using hanger wire to securely wrap the screw eye to the hook.  On the next panel I actually got them lined up well enough so I could just hook all four hooks straight on to the screw eyes.  

 

For wall mounts it is easy to just use picture frame wire and hang it like a painting.  When hanging horizontally I found it best to use two hangers (or nails) on the wall. 

Edited by muel

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I probably spent over 40 bucks per panel.  You could do this cheaper but I would stick with the nicer fabrics if you want it to look good.  I'm certain the Baltic Birch wasn't necessary and certainly not 3/4 inch!  These are plenty stout though and you can be sure they won't warp or sag.  

 

A decent source for materials is http://www.acoustimac.com/   Their prices and service was good. 

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Very nice Muel. DIY is the cost effective way to go.  I used R 30 for mines.  I have some 2'' and 4'' thick panels.  This is a must for every serious audiophile.

Edited by derrickdj1

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"I am not sure how important this air gap is"

 

Very important if you expect them to work below 250hz or so.

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Great looking fabric, never considered using silver before and it looks like it would make for a nice grille cloth material.

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Awesome write-up Muel! Im about to do some for my room very soon and im really liking the way that Silver Papier looks!

 

Hope you dont mind me asking a question - but I was thinking about using walnut as the outer frame and doing an inner frame out of birch... do you think having an outer frame that isnt wrapped in cloth will be just as effective? I was also thinking about using linen (like this) instead of the guilford of maine stuff. Expensive route but im looking to make it aesthetically pleasing as well as effective.

 

Thanks! :D

Edited by TheFiend1
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do you think having an outer frame that isnt wrapped in cloth will be just as effective? 

 

There was actually a study done to see how much better totally unframed panels worked as opposed to framed ones, and the effect was very minimal.  I imagine that unwrapped vs. wrapped frames would be a tiny fraction of that.  

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I built mine like yours, but when I made my last panels i found some redwood (1/2x4) that was significantly lighter than the pine I was using, so I finished off my ceiling panels with it.

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Awesome write-up Muel! Im about to do some for my room very soon and im really liking the way that Silver Papier looks!

 

Hope you dont mind me asking a question - but I was thinking about using walnut as the outer frame and doing an inner frame out of birch... do you think having an outer frame that isnt wrapped in cloth will be just as effective? I was also thinking about using linen (like this) instead of the guilford of maine stuff. Expensive route but im looking to make it aesthetically pleasing as well as effective.

 

Thanks! :D

Outer frame isn't going to matter and the fabric covering of the frame could not make much difference.  If you wrap the acoustic insulation without a frame there is a small benefit but not much... seems I read a comparison somewhere about that.  The frame choice is for aesthetics... whatever you like.  I think your plan will look nice.  I was told once that you could test material for acoustic transparency by holding it against your mouth and blowing.  You will be able to feel how much of your breath is restricted or blown back on your face.  Ideally, you would feel no resistance at all.  Good luck with your build!  Share some pictures!

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Those look nice. Did you notice much of an improvement in SQ?

Yes but I need more panels.  Also, panels alone do not help the lower frequencies.  I'm still struggling with some annoying peaks and nulls on the low end.

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