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-   -   Things I learned while building my traps/absorbers (http://www.gearslutz.com/board/bass-traps-acoustic-panels-foam-etc/698023-things-i-learned-while-building-my-traps-absorbers.html)

darkbuddha 9th February 2012 04:49 PM

Things I learned while building my traps/absorbers
 
I was answering a friend's email about my room treatment and came up with this list... I thought I'd share it here hoping it will help someone somewhere doing the same thing. Feel free to post your lessons learned too.


My list (in no particular order):

- Materials cost me more than expected/hoped. It wasn't the insulation so much as the hardware, wood, and fabric… oh gawd, THE FABRIC! Which brings us to…

- I needed a lot of fabric, and I mean A LOT! To do my 13'x13.5' room, I used 32+ yards of fabric. That's a lot of fabric. It can get expensive quick, even though I chose a reasonably priced fabric ($2.50 per yard @ 60" wide).

- Working on the a big table/bench is tons better than working on the floor.

- Having a nice big, well-lit, dry, cool/warm, covered space to work and not have to clean up everyday (like a garage) is AWESOME!

- Having power tools to do stuff is really awesome… even more awesome when they work right and you know how to use them correctly.

- Crappy power tools can be more hassle than doing it manually… I cut a lot of wood with a hand saw rather than mess with a crooked cutting jig saw.

- A regular old office stapler does a crap job for attaching fabric to wood. A nice, strong, heavy duty, electric staple gun on the other hand is absolutely awesome.

- A regular old office stapler is sometimes preferable to a electric staple gun in some instances, but make sure it's a good one.

- I used lots more staples than I anticipated and had to run to get more… twice.

- 1x2 wood strips are rarely straight, and actually only measure .75" x 1.5".

- Corner reinforcement brackets are invaluable for making frames more square-ish.

- I used lots more screws/nails than I anticipated and had to stock up. Damn deck screws are expensive when you buy 2-3 lbs of 'em.

- It's good to use wood glue at all joints… trust me.

- Concrete floors are hard on the feet and back when you stand on them for a really long time everyday for several days/weeks at a time.

- Even though I planned it all out, had seen several others' versions, thought I had it figured out, and all that, building the panels wasn't as easy as it seemed. My first panels took a long time to build and don't look nearly as good as the later panels that I built in 1/4 the time. And even then it still took an hour per panel to do everything necessary to build just one by the end. (Yes, my very first panel took 4 hours to build… seriously.)

- I got f'ing tired of building panels and found myself cutting corners while building them. Bad idea… well, unless you like doing things twice, unnecessarily.

- As I ran low on materials, I started cutting corners while building. Again, bad idea… unless you like doing things twice, unnecessarily, and wasting more material than you have to.

- Finished panels are heavier than you might think, so hanging them can sometimes be trickier than it seems it should be.

- Good 30 lbs. picture hanging wire is adequate for your basic 4-6" deep 2'x4' absorber on a wall, as long as you don't stress it.

- Hanging straddle panels in the ceiling-wall corners is an f'ing pain in the ass. I tried several methods I saw online and finally developed my own method. I can't in good conscience recommend any method, not even my own. Yes, it's that much of a pain the ass.

- KISS (keep it simple stupid) is better than complicated. Well, duh…

- Wear a mask. Wear eye protection. Wear gloves. Wear long sleeves. Irritated lungs, eyes, skin, etc. is not only unhealthy, but also really really really really f'ing annoying.

- Insulation has a funky, unpleasant odor when initially opened. Let it air out a few days before using it.

- Cutting insulation isn't difficult… as long as you have the right "tool". I found a $120 10" Henckels Twin Pro S butchers knife did the most awesome job, especially cutting pink fluffy R30 or panels stacked double thick. Don't tell my wife.


- And one last one… Pro-built panels with pro-built quality and pro-built finish are probably worth the pro-built price if you can afford it.

avare 9th February 2012 05:23 PM

Thank you Wyatt for a great post!

Andre

audio limit 9th February 2012 05:55 PM

Very very useful advices.
Thank you !

G-Sun 9th February 2012 06:01 PM

Thanks :)
Pictures?

darkbuddha 9th February 2012 06:15 PM

Thanks guys. I didn't do many (if any) pics of my actual panel builds (there are so many better ones posted here already), but before and after pics of my space are available here: http://www.gearslutz.com/board/studi...do-i-do-2.html

Glenn Kuras 9th February 2012 08:13 PM

Do you mind if I use your copy as a newsletter??

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:


I of course am kidding but it is nice that you where honest about it. howdy

_Ludovico 9th February 2012 09:01 PM

Thank you for this.

I'm actually about to start building my own stuff as well, I'm at the tool buying stage. I must finish the basement first and then get to the room treatment part.

I always foolishly let myself into thinking it should be fairly easy but then I always try to remind myself I will probably have a friggin hard time with all this! though in the end it will be just as I had envisionned it to be.

Advice like yours is precious!

kfhkh

darkbuddha 10th February 2012 02:31 AM

I don't think there's much actual advice in what I wrote, but if you got something useful from it, I'm very glad.

BTW, it's been a couple weeks it's been done now and my right foot still hurts (no trauma, just plantar fasciitis caused by standing on bare concrete for hours a day for weeks).

seen-da-sizer 10th February 2012 05:30 AM

Awesome DB! I read your other posts with enjoyment too. Especially due to the fact that you came to the same conclusions in choosing the materials (example R30 for corner treatment). kfhkh

But I am far behind you with my little project. I did not even start constructing yet. My first task will be replacing the W2W carpet with a new floor, due on the long weekend next week... boing


PS: I noticed that 2x4s aren't really 2" by 4" either. mezed

G-Sun 10th February 2012 08:24 AM

Thanks for your post, pics and analysis :)

vocom 10th February 2012 04:42 PM

A question to everyone who is looking to save money by building your own: What is your time worth?

This is not just dollars, but "opportunity cost".

I built my own monitor stands because I couldn't find what I wanted commercially. And I know sometimes it doesn't matter if you don't really save any money, DIY can be enjoyable. But make sure you consider all the "costs" in your plan. Purchasing 10 commercial absorbers & traps was one of the best buys I've made in my project.

jmvideo 14th February 2012 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by darkbuddha (Post 7544829)
- And one last one… Pro-built panels with pro-built quality and pro-built finish are probably worth the pro-built price if you can afford it.

Well said. This whole DIY thing is not really practical unless you already have all the tools, the skills to use them, and a workshop/garage space to build in. Not to mention the HUGE amount of time it will take to build the panels.

I built my first panel yesterday and at this point I'm wishing I just forked over the cash for the pre-built panels and traps.

Now I'm looking at about 4 solid weekends dedicated to finishing the work I started, not to mention numerous trips to Lowe's for more wood, screws, brackets, staples, etc.

_Ludovico 14th February 2012 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmvideo (Post 7561167)
Well said. This whole DIY thing is not really practical unless you already have all the tools, the skills to use them, and a workshop/garage space to build in. Not to mention the HUGE amount of time it will take to build the panels.

I built my first panel yesterday and at this point I'm wishing I just forked over the cash for the pre-built panels and traps.

Now I'm looking at about 4 solid weekends dedicated to finishing the work I started, not to mention numerous trips to Lowe's for more wood, screws, brackets, staples, etc.

What about the fun of doing it? Time spent with dad, GF, step family, friends, the actual pride of doing something yourself and adapting all this thing to your space, in the end, that's fun, no?

I can understand commercial facilities, but as a hobbyist at home...

darkbuddha 14th February 2012 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by _Ludovico (Post 7562888)
What about the fun of doing it? Time spent with dad, GF, step family, friends, the actual pride of doing something yourself and adapting all this thing to your space, in the end, that's fun, no?

There is certainly a sense of reward that comes from DIY'ing it... maybe even some fun. But doing it solo (like I did) means losing time spent with family, wife, kids, friends, etc. In fact, I also have a big sense of guilt from all the time it took away from spending with my wife and kids, so I've been working to make up for it a bit. But on the other side, I'm looking forward to having my brother come and record a bit in the room now, so there is that.

_Ludovico 15th February 2012 03:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by darkbuddha (Post 7563413)
There is certainly a sense of reward that comes from DIY'ing it... maybe even some fun. But doing it solo (like I did) means losing time spent with family, wife, kids, friends, etc. In fact, I also have a big sense of guilt from all the time it took away from spending with my wife and kids, so I've been working to make up for it a bit. But on the other side, I'm looking forward to having my brother come and record a bit in the room now, so there is that.

You're totally right.

Regarding my situation, I have alot of days off during the week because I work day, evening and night shifts on rotation (every two weekends as well), and my GF works 9 to 5 mon-fri. So by default I got alot of time by myself to work on that...

I can tell though, that for people working 8 to 5 together, it can quickly occupy most of the free time and cause conflict...Or on the opposite side it can just remain unfinished indefinately. I would've considered going another way in that situation.

I should've considered that.

Glenn Kuras 15th February 2012 08:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by _Ludovico (Post 7562888)
What about the fun of doing it? Time spent with dad, GF, step family, friends, the actual pride of doing something yourself and adapting all this thing to your space, in the end, that's fun, no?

I can understand commercial facilities, but as a hobbyist at home...

Actually if you are that kind of person then you should be building your own pre amps and so on. Talk about saving money!!!!!!!!!!! jkthtyrt

kasmira 16th February 2012 01:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by _Ludovico (Post 7545821)
I'm at the tool buying stage.
kfhkh

I just recently finished the frames for my panels, and honestly didn't even need many tools. I borrowed a co-workers miter saw to do all of my cuts, which saved me SO much time. I cut enough 1x2s for 8 panels in like 2 hours, maybe less (also, just to note, thinner wood will save you a ton of time cutting, as well as make your panels weigh less). Other than that, I used a hammer, a large clamp that I got at a swap meet for about $3, a staple gun, a box cutter, and some wood glue. There are definitely many ways to make these panels, but I tried to simplify it as much as possible as I am by no means a carpenter, or much of a handy man.

Edit: Oh, and the 1x2 furring strips that I used normally come in 8' lengths. I asked the people at home depot to cut all the ones I bought in half so they would fit in my car. Even though they sometimes do charge for cuts, I was never charged for any cuts when I was there. So, half my cutting was done for me as well, which saved me even more time.

_Ludovico 17th February 2012 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Glenn Kuras (Post 7568138)
Actually if you are that kind of person then you should be building your own pre amps and so on. Talk about saving money!!!!!!!!!!! jkthtyrt

Thought about it... I have a tech friend who does repairs for my local shop who could assemble these for me at good price. But really in the end the savings are minimal, because the parts themselves are costly, being high quality for most models available. If you add resale value in the balance (ESPECIALLY if you didn't buy pre-assembled), it's not as tempting as it might seem, at least for me...

Building your own acoustics, on the other hand, is a fun father&son project :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by kasmira (Post 7569083)
I just recently finished the frames for my panels, and honestly didn't even need many tools. I borrowed a co-workers miter saw to do all of my cuts, which saved me SO much time. I cut enough 1x2s for 8 panels in like 2 hours, maybe less (also, just to note, thinner wood will save you a ton of time cutting, as well as make your panels weigh less). Other than that, I used a hammer, a large clamp that I got at a swap meet for about $3, a staple gun, a box cutter, and some wood glue. There are definitely many ways to make these panels, but I tried to simplify it as much as possible as I am by no means a carpenter, or much of a handy man.

Edit: Oh, and the 1x2 furring strips that I used normally come in 8' lengths. I asked the people at home depot to cut all the ones I bought in half so they would fit in my car. Even though they sometimes do charge for cuts, I was never charged for any cuts when I was there. So, half my cutting was done for me as well, which saved me even more time.


Well, i bought many things that I plan to use not only for the room reatment but for the actual structure as well, and maybe for a few things outside. Plus It's always nice to have a few tools available downstairs. I just had a brand new house built and I'm in the late 20's, plus I didn't have any tools at all yet... I'm buying stuff i'll probably keep for a long time...

It's also a little challenge I put myself into!

darkbuddha 2nd March 2012 04:02 AM

Glad this thread has been useful to some folks (I've got a few PMs about this and related stuff).

BTW, be careful about those free Home Depot cuts... lots of times, they aren't at all careful about the accuracy of the cuts (by a long shot!). Getting home and finding you've got some that are 48.5", and some that are 47.5", and some that are 46, and some that are 50" can be very very very annoying. I much prefer doing the cuts myself, even if by hand, just to be sure they're right.

48volts 14th April 2012 03:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vocom (Post 7548724)
A question to everyone who is looking to save money by building your own: What is your time worth?

This is not just dollars, but "opportunity cost".

I built my own monitor stands because I couldn't find what I wanted commercially. And I know sometimes it doesn't matter if you don't really save any money, DIY can be enjoyable. But make sure you consider all the "costs" in your plan. Purchasing 10 commercial absorbers & traps was one of the best buys I've made in my project.

I just went through the same situation. I could not find decent stands anywhere in Toronto. I ended up going to the habitat for humanity (reuse it center) and bought an old fireplace mantle for 35$ I made a few cuts and screwed them together so beautiful and detailed.
Im not overly sold on going out to buy things new after that experience.

mhch 14th April 2012 04:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by darkbuddha (Post 7624761)
Glad this thread has been useful to some folks (I've got a few PMs about this and related stuff).

BTW, be careful about those free Home Depot cuts... lots of times, they aren't at all careful about the accuracy of the cuts (by a long shot!). Getting home and finding you've got some that are 48.5", and some that are 47.5", and some that are 46, and some that are 50" can be very very very annoying. I much prefer doing the cuts myself, even if by hand, just to be sure they're right.

Oh yes, think twice before asking a large DIY store to cut wood. I had similar experience in the past, specially at the end of the day or when there is a long line of customers waiting for their boards to be cut.

When I need many cuts, now I only buy whole 4'x8' panels from a wood supplier - not a DIY store - who uses a CNC circular saw to perform accurate cuts, as I'm lucky to have one not too far from my place.

If I need a few, I use a rail guided circular saw, making sure I cut two matching sides together (e.g. two sides of a cabinet), stacking two boards together.

Vovin 16th April 2012 11:07 PM

My biggest regret was fabric. I really wanted Guilford of Maine and as a Canadian I had to order from the U.S. The shipping was not so bad, but what they DIDN'T tell me is the ridiculous 45 dollar brokerage fee I had to pay when I got to my door. :facepalm:

ScottTunes 26th April 2012 02:26 AM

DAMNIT!!!!!!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by darkbuddha (Post 7544829)
I was answering a friend's email about my room treatment and came up with this list... I thought I'd share it here hoping it will help someone somewhere doing the same thing. Feel free to post your lessons learned too.


My list (in no particular order):

- Materials cost me more than expected/hoped. It wasn't the insulation so much as the hardware, wood, and fabric… oh gawd, THE FABRIC! Which brings us to…

- I needed a lot of fabric, and I mean A LOT! To do my 13'x13.5' room, I used 32+ yards of fabric. That's a lot of fabric. It can get expensive quick, even though I chose a reasonably priced fabric ($2.50 per yard @ 60" wide).

- Working on the a big table/bench is tons better than working on the floor.

- Having a nice big, well-lit, dry, cool/warm, covered space to work and not have to clean up everyday (like a garage) is AWESOME!

- Having power tools to do stuff is really awesome… even more awesome when they work right and you know how to use them correctly.

- Crappy power tools can be more hassle than doing it manually… I cut a lot of wood with a hand saw rather than mess with a crooked cutting jig saw.

- A regular old office stapler does a crap job for attaching fabric to wood. A nice, strong, heavy duty, electric staple gun on the other hand is absolutely awesome.

- A regular old office stapler is sometimes preferable to a electric staple gun in some instances, but make sure it's a good one.

- I used lots more staples than I anticipated and had to run to get more… twice.

- 1x2 wood strips are rarely straight, and actually only measure .75" x 1.5".

- Corner reinforcement brackets are invaluable for making frames more square-ish.

- I used lots more screws/nails than I anticipated and had to stock up. Damn deck screws are expensive when you buy 2-3 lbs of 'em.

- It's good to use wood glue at all joints… trust me.

- Concrete floors are hard on the feet and back when you stand on them for a really long time everyday for several days/weeks at a time.

- Even though I planned it all out, had seen several others' versions, thought I had it figured out, and all that, building the panels wasn't as easy as it seemed. My first panels took a long time to build and don't look nearly as good as the later panels that I built in 1/4 the time. And even then it still took an hour per panel to do everything necessary to build just one by the end. (Yes, my very first panel took 4 hours to build… seriously.)

- I got f'ing tired of building panels and found myself cutting corners while building them. Bad idea… well, unless you like doing things twice, unnecessarily.

- As I ran low on materials, I started cutting corners while building. Again, bad idea… unless you like doing things twice, unnecessarily, and wasting more material than you have to.

- Finished panels are heavier than you might think, so hanging them can sometimes be trickier than it seems it should be.

- Good 30 lbs. picture hanging wire is adequate for your basic 4-6" deep 2'x4' absorber on a wall, as long as you don't stress it.

- Hanging straddle panels in the ceiling-wall corners is an f'ing pain in the ass. I tried several methods I saw online and finally developed my own method. I can't in good conscience recommend any method, not even my own. Yes, it's that much of a pain the ass.

- KISS (keep it simple stupid) is better than complicated. Well, duh…

- Wear a mask. Wear eye protection. Wear gloves. Wear long sleeves. Irritated lungs, eyes, skin, etc. is not only unhealthy, but also really really really really f'ing annoying.

- Insulation has a funky, unpleasant odor when initially opened. Let it air out a few days before using it.

- Cutting insulation isn't difficult… as long as you have the right "tool". I found a $120 10" Henckels Twin Pro S butchers knife did the most awesome job, especially cutting pink fluffy R30 or panels stacked double thick. Don't tell my wife.


- And one last one… Pro-built panels with pro-built quality and pro-built finish are probably worth the pro-built price if you can afford it.






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