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Fan Hack Job


In this project I tried to fix a fan, and the result, while functional, is one of the ugliest things that my shop has ever produced.

It was 28c (and humid!) the other day and the house was getting hot. So I thought I would set up a fan in the doorway to try and cool off the house in the early morning before the heat set in. However, my big oscillating fan is pretty much broken. The motor is quite large and heavy, and the mount where it attaches to the base has broken, so the fan only tips downward.

In addition, the motor is so front-heavy, that it is constantly on the verge of tipping forward.

I was intending to throw out the fan and go out and buy a new cheap box fan. A new box fan is about $28-30 around here. But then I decided to first try and see what I could do with the old fan. As I mentioned, the motor itself is fine. So I thought I'd see if I could come up with a base that was non-tipping and non-broken.

Here is a closeup of the motor-base connection, showing the crack.

I did not want to cut the wires, so instead I cut the base. I used tin snips (shears) and just hacked away at the plastic base until it was cut off.

There is a steel shaft under the motor. This is how the fan+motor attached to the base. So I figured that I could just drill a holw in a piece of wood and slip that steel pin into the hole in order to have the beginning of a new base. Unfortunately, the steel pin is positioned quite close to the fan shroud, so it also needs to be quite close to the edge of any base that I make.

I cut out a base mounting block from some scrap hardwood. I drilled a hole to accommodate the steel shaft. I also notched the block, so that the mounting block would fit snug under the motor shroud.

I sketched up two curvy legs on a piece of wood and cut them out on the bandsaw.

I first attached two legs at the front of the base block. But I then thought it was better to move them to the BACK of the block. I then cut out a third leg, which was designed to be angled forward.

This helped balance out the tendency of the fan to tip forward. Also, three legs makes for a stable base. Four legs are harder to level out so that it sits stable.

I then had to figure out how to fasten the fan to the base. I thought about using hose clamps, but I don't happen to have any in the shop. I then thought about building some sort of wooden shroud to trap the fan motor. That would work, but it would be a complicated process to figure out.

Then I noticed the notch in the steel mounting shaft. I could use that. So I measured it's position and drilled a hole in the side of the base that intersects the hole at the right place, though off center.

I could then slip the base under the fan, and insert a screw into that hole which locks the fan in base. This was simple, and gave a rock solid connection.

I built a box to hold the power/speed switch. This was a bit tricky, as I did not want to cut any wires. So I made the outside of the box with glue and screws. Then I fed in the switch + wires. Then the back of the box (with a notch cut out to accommodate the wires) was attached with screws.

Then I could mount the switch in the box, and feed the wires out the front/side of the box. The front and back were attached with screws only, so that they can be removed later if needed.

Just for fun, and an extra touch, I then cut up the old plastic base to free up a bit of the base that surrounds where the switch was located.

I could then attach a bit of the old bezel around the switches. This includes the labels, so we have "0" (off) and 1,2,3 for the 3 speeds

And here is a photo of the homely finished project. Trust me, I know it's rather ugly. But it does work, and I'm glad that I saved it from being thrown out.

And yes I know that I used a ridiculous amount of expensive woodworking tools in order to avoid spending $30 on a new fan. I really don't care. I had fun in the shop.

Some of the Tools/Supplies Used In This Project: (Affiliate Links)


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See Also:

Fan Fix Hack

Simple Shop Vac Fix

Stanley Belt Sander teardown