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Thread: Some Wire Mesh/Filter/Fan Grill Testing...

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    Registered User ScottAllyn's Avatar
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    Some Wire Mesh/Filter/Fan Grill Testing...

    I originally posted this to Cutless009's Project "Formal Black" thread but a few people have suggested that I make a stand-alone thread out of it, so...

    I'm working on a new build and plan to use wire mesh for my fan filters. I've had good results with store-bought wire mesh filters in my current Antec900 build (which uses the filters in column #12 in the table below) but I wanted to see if I could find something with a finer "weave" for trapping some of the smaller dust particles that still get into my system. I have some 100 x 100 copper mesh here at the office, which I'm sure will filter out all but the finest dust particles, but it's pretty restrictive on the air flow and creates a *lot* of wind noise. Fan noise BAD! I have become more appreciative of silent computers in recent years.

    McMaster Carr has a huge selection of wire meshes, so I ordered a bunch of 12" x 12" mesh samples from them, created a wind tunnel (or sorts) out of old/junk 120mm fan bodies (can you say "SilenX"?), and went about testing the meshes once I received them. Here's the results:



    ...and a few photos of my crude little wind tunnel and the meshes/grills (click on 'em for larger images):



    For each mesh/grill, I noted the anemometer reading with the filter installed on the intake side of the wind tunnel and then again immediately after removing the filter. There's some turbulence inside the tunnel which caused my anemometer readings to bounce around a bit, so I just averaged out the numbers over a period of a few seconds and noted the before/after numbers for each mesh.

    As I mentioned above, the main thing that I wanted to check with these meshes is their noise level with the Scythe S-Flex fans but figured that, since I actually have a little anemometer, I may as well check the air flow. Almost all of the meshes/grills are noisy when installed directly adjacent to the fan body, so I used an extra fan body as a shroud - made a world of difference, especially with the Ultra Kaze.

    Here's a close-up of some mesh swatches to show (more or less) their "transparency" level (Click the image to see *all* of the swatches in the full-size photo):



    I didn't have any time to set that photo up, but it looks about right. The swatches are the first 10 meshes in the table above, in order from left to right, top to bottom.

    Here are some shots of the various store-bought filters/grills (click on the thumbnails to see a larger version):




    If you're wondering about filter #13, that's the filter from the bottom of a Cosmos S case and it is yet another casualty of the Ultra Kaze fan - that thing is a menace!

    I'm probably going to go with the 43 x 43 mesh for my own case (mostly because I already have 12 feet of it). It's a tight enough weave that it should keep most of the pet fur and much of the dust from entering the case, yet it still allows for good airflow and won't create any extra wind noise in my setup. If I didn't already have all of that 43 x 43 mesh, I'd probably go with the 60 x 60 (or the 70 x 70), which'll catch even more dust and still allow for decent air flow.

    That copper mesh is too restrictive - even without looking at the numbers, you can just *feel* the difference at the end of the wind tunnel. With that weave as tight as it is, it won't take very long to build up an accumulation of dust and fur, which'll make the mesh even *more* restrictive - it'd probably require daily cleaning and I'm waaaay too lazy for that!

    I'm sure there are flaws in my setup and test procedure but it told me what I needed to know - maybe it'll be useful to you guys.

    11-Dec-2008 Notes:
    I added the MeshX FanGuard, the fabric softener sheets, and the pantyhose. I can safely say that an Ultra Kaze has no trouble tearing a Snuggle fabric softener sheet to ribbons; at least it wasn't my finger this time.

    The fabric softener sheets are more restrictive than the wire meshes and, after looking at them closely, I really don't think they'll do as good of a job at keeping dust and pet fur out of the cases. The sheets look a bit like a sheet of cob/tangle web that's been soaked in fabric softener "goop". There are areas full of relatively large openings and then areas where the "goop" clogs the openings. I'd worry about that stuff getting sucked out of the sheet and blown into the case. Then there's the smell... I know some of you guys like the smell, but it makes me sneeze. I tested them about an hour ago and my nose is still running.

    The pantyhose performs quite well, tho it's very dependent upon how much you stretch it. If you don't stretch it at all, it's way too restrictive and'll probably kill your fans in no time. For my test, I stretched it to the point that the openings between the threads were approximately the same size as the openings in the 70 x 70 wire mesh (as judged by my eyes). I have no doubt that this will stop dust, but so will that 70 x 70 wire mesh and I think the mesh looks nicer (at least on the case).

    13-Dec-2008 Notes:
    Vapor made a comment that he thought the fabric softener sheets were supposed to be used (run through the dryer) before using them for fan filters. I was wondering about that when I tested them since they were clearly clogged up with the fabric softener, but some of the guys had mentioned liking the smell... so I figured I'd test them fresh out of the box. I've since soaked sheets from both brands in hot water, rinsed them thoroughly, and let them air dry. This, obviously, isn't quite the same as running them through the clothes dryer but it's about as close as I can get - I'm not going to throw them in with my clothes since fabric softener makes my skin itch.

    The "used" sheets are now completely free of fabric softener (yay... no more stinky aroma!) and have actually shrunk a little bit. There's a much higher percentage of open areas now which are slightly smaller in size, due to the sheet fibers tightening up. I'd say they'll do a good job at trapping dust and pet fur. Both the Bounce and the Snuggle sheets look the same after washing out the detergent, so I only tested the Bounce sheet - check the chart above for the airflow numbers.
    Last edited by ScottAllyn; 12-13-2008 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Added the photos of the filters

  2. #2
    Xtreme Mentor Eddie3dfx's Avatar
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    Scott, these are the ones that I'm using.
    Any idea where these would fall into the category above?



    Excellent test btw.
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    Registered User ScottAllyn's Avatar
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    Eddie, that looks like the A.C. Ryan Alumino filter - same thing that I'm using in my Antec900 right now and #12 in the table above. I like those a lot - they do an excellent job of keeping out pet fur and also stop a decent amount of dust. They don't create much wind noise, even when mounted directly on a 1500 rpm fan, tho they do make an annoying whistle when attached directly to the Ultra Kaze at 3000 rpm. I think that "whistle" is a result of the ripple in the mesh because the 30 x 30 mesh I tested (which looks to be the same mesh density) doesn't make that noise.

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    excellent info...
    in the chart which one is the silver with a dome ??

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    Xtreme Mentor Eddie3dfx's Avatar
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    Hmm... After looking at this picture, I think the ac ryan one is different from similar ones that have the same metal edging.
    I'd have to take a look at mine again, but I believe these ac ryan ones have thinner mesh. These look much more air friendly than standard filters.
    Hmm.. I may pickup some ac ryan ones



    As opposed to this (what I have

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    Registered User ScottAllyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j.almonte View Post
    excellent info...
    in the chart which one is the silver with a dome ??
    That'd be #11. I was really surprised when I first tested that one, as I thought it'd be pretty restrictive, but it doesn't hinder the airflow much at all. It is kinda noisy, though.

    That's the filter that prompted me to make a shroud out of one of the extra fan bodies. With the shroud and a low/medium speed fan, it barely adds any noise. With the Ultra Kaze, that filter makes a *lot* of wind noise and the shroud doesn't really help.

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    good info.

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    Xtreme Member ryan92084's Avatar
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    Q: did you use the regular or the hexx version of the ACryan meshx?

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    Registered User ScottAllyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryan92084 View Post
    Q: did you use the regular or the hexx version of the ACryan meshx?
    It's the Hexx version.

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    I know all are wire mesh you've tested, but what do you think of this? Don't know if you know, but they're foam like. How restrictive are they compared to the wire ones? Great info
    Last edited by Pellepel; 12-04-2008 at 01:01 PM. Reason: fixed link
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    Xtreme Member ThugsRook's Avatar
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    nice testing ~ thx

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    Registered User ScottAllyn's Avatar
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    Pellepel, your link is broken; here's a good link. I actually have a bunch of those foam filters from a previous build - 'dunno why I didn't think to test them. I'll dig one out this evening and update my test table tomorrow when I get back to the office. My gut feeling is that they're going to be fairly restrictive, but we'll see...

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    Never go full retard skinnee's Avatar
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    Excellent testing project! I've always wondering what the impact was on the mesh filters I use.

    Thank you for testing and sharing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottAllyn View Post
    Pellepel, your link is broken; here's a good link. I actually have a bunch of those foam filters from a previous build - 'dunno why I didn't think to test them. I'll dig one out this evening and update my test table tomorrow when I get back to the office. My gut feeling is that they're going to be fairly restrictive, but we'll see...
    Ah cool you figured it out. Yup I agree with you on the restrictive part.
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    Hi Guys,
    I'm new and I'm currently Building a custom Cosmos S Tower with a quad radiator on the top and a dual on the bottom.
    I was thinking of buying Fan Grills and Filters and then had an idea while I was looking out of the Window. I saw the Window Screen and I thought I would use this instead of a Fan Filter.
    It is pretty good and I can post some pictures if you like.
    The Screen Mesh is easy to work with and very flexible and cheap

  16. #16
    Registered User ScottAllyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pellepel View Post
    I know all are wire mesh you've tested, but what do you think of this?
    I tested one of these last night and have added it to the table in the first post - item #16. The one I tested is not *exactly* like the one in your link, but it's very similar and I suspect that all filters of this type will perform about the same. It blocked 25% of the air flow, which wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. It's definitely one of the quietest filters that I've tested - I couldn't hear any difference with the filter on or off when using the S-Flex.

    I'm willing to bet that no animal fur is ever going to get through a filter like this and it'll likely keep out all but the finest dust, too. It'll probably start to get clogged up pretty quickly, tho - it'll need to be cleaned frequently so that it doesn't become even more restrictive.

    Quote Originally Posted by riccardo View Post
    I was thinking of buying Fan Grills and Filters and then had an idea while I was looking out of the Window. I saw the Window Screen and I thought I would use this instead of a Fan Filter.
    Hi riccardo. I'd actually considered using window/patio screen when I started thinking about the meshes. The main deterrent for me was that I want a shiny silver color and those types of screens are usually dark gray or black. They also have a fairly open weave relative to most of the meshes that I've been looking at - good for airflow and larger debris (pet fur and large dust particles) but not as good for preventing the smaller dist particles from getting into the case. Still... I bet it's as good or better than many of the screens that come with the cases these days.

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    Xtreme Enthusiast HESmelaugh's Avatar
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    Wow, what a cool idea to test these different fan-grills!

    Thanks for the testing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottAllyn View Post
    I tested one of these last night and have added it to the table in the first post - item #16. The one I tested is not *exactly* like the one in your link, but it's very similar and I suspect that all filters of this type will perform about the same. It blocked 25% of the air flow, which wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be.
    Hey that isn't bad at all, I guess I'll keep mine. Thanks for testing Scott.
    Last edited by Pellepel; 12-05-2008 at 05:19 AM. Reason: fixed quote
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    Xtreme Addict zlojack's Avatar
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    Great test Scott.

    It would be awesome if you took the time to show a photo of each type of filter you tested.

    I know it's a PITA, but it would really make this review complete!

    Good work!
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    Great job, thanks for sharing

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    Xtreme Mentor Utnorris's Avatar
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    Nice job. Any idea where these would fall in your testing?

    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catal...oducts_id=2333

    They don't list a space size in the specs, but I am thinking #4.

    Anyway, great job, should be a sticky in the guides section.
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    Xtreme Mentor demonkevy666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utnorris View Post
    Nice job. Any idea where these would fall in your testing?

    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catal...oducts_id=2333

    They don't list a space size in the specs, but I am thinking #4.

    Anyway, great job, should be a sticky in the guides section.
    my telstar case came with filters similar to that but the holes are way smaller and not shaped either just flat.
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    Xtreme Mentor Utnorris's Avatar
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    I got them for the looks. Keeping the dog hair out of the case was a bonus.
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    Registered User ScottAllyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utnorris View Post
    Nice job. Any idea where these would fall in your testing?

    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catal...oducts_id=2333
    That filter/grill is #11 in the table - I have about 20 of those in silver and black (impulse buy before I really knew what I wanted... even then I didn't know which color to get, so I got both). The hole size is actually larger than the openings in the 24 x 24 mesh, so I wouldn't expect it to keep a lot of dust out, tho it should do a decent job with pet fur. A nice layer of pet fur over the filter will probably help with the dust.

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    If you still have the setup up and running, please test some pantyhose/stockings. Great budget solution, with very easy and fast installation, in my experience better filtering than metal mesh.

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