As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.  

Fan Fix Hack

 

This is a quick hack job home DIY project.

This small fan was knocked of a table and landed on it's back, which as you can see, was completely broken. The motor mounts to the back, so the fan was rendered useless.

Now it is not a tremendously valuable fan, so the first inclination was to just throw it out and replace it. Yet after some time to think about it I realized that the back was the only broken part. The rst of the fan body is fine. Also, I reasoned that there is a lot of strength in cylindrical structures, so if I can cut out the broken part of the back, without damaging the surrounding structure, I should be able to fit in a piece of plywood and re-mount the fan motor.

Put it this way, it was already broken, so it wouldn't hurt to try, and maybe I could save the $30 or so cost of replacement.

Here is a close-up of the inside. As you can see, the motor was mounted on these standoffs that hold it away from the back. Those will need to be replicated as part of this fix.

The power and speed knob just pops right off and then the nut around the rotar switch can be removed, which frees up the switch so it can be removed.

Removing the strain relief screws/clamp.

Fortunately I have one of those oscillating multi-tools, as that made short work of cutting through all the plastic ribs holding the back onto the body of the fan.

 

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Then it is just a matter of tracing the opening onto some scrap half-inch-thick plywood. This was then cut out on the bandsaw... and sanded to the line on my disc sander.

 

I then popped it into the frame of the fan to test the fit. It required a little more sanding but then popped in snugly. I was quite suprised at how easily I had got to this point, but more than that, how strong the body of the fan felt with that piece of plywood in place.

Time to start putting it back together.

 

I marked the center spot of the plywood and positioned the fan motor in the center. Then I fit into place two piece of wood to serve as motor mounts and standoffs. I had measured their height against the actual broken motor mount piece.

These were glued and tacked into place -- and then I added a pair of screws through the back as I did not want to wait for the glue to dry.

Again, I test fit everything into the fan body and it fit just fine.

 

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I think most of the air will come from the sides, but I still thought it was a good idea to drill some 1" holes in the back of the new plywood mount to allow air movement. They would also lighten up the project.

I also added a small hole right at the bottom edge for feeding the power cord into the fan. In the original plastic back, the power cord was routed through a hole in the middle. I did not want to cut the pwoer cord, so by drilling a hole at the edge I could avoid that.

I then took it out to the garage and spray painted it black and left it overnight to dry and offgas.

 

The fan motor was then remounted to the finished back. The strain relief clamp was reinstalled. And I drilled a series of holes through the plastic frame into the side of the plywood and inserted some #6 half-inch screws to hold it fast.

That is just about the end. I re-attached the front with the original screws. (I'm very glad that this fan actually had accessible screws. So many things are built in a way that makes it hard to take them apart!)

And here is a look at the new fixed/replaced/hack-job plywood back on my fan, and a last shot (NEXT PHOTO) of testing the fan. (I had tested it several times along the way to make sure things worked and to verify that I had not installed the switch backwards -- I had, but I fixed that.)

I know that this project is pretty specific to my situation. In a very real sense, Matthias, John, and Steve's fan fix videos are probably more useful to most people since a cleaning and tuneup are usually the problem. Still, I hope that this might encourage you to consider taking a chance on fixing some of your own gear. If it's broken, there isn't much to lose!

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

 

Thanks for reading!

See Also:


Air Rocket System


Magnets from Hard Drives


DIY Bike Cargo Trailer


Interior Auto LED upgrade


Headphone Holders