Introduction: 3D Printed Portable Bladeless Fan
"A bladeless fan (sometimes called an air multiplier) blows air from a ring with no external blades." Dyson is a very popular company who has utilized this technology to make a quieter fan that performs better than more traditional versions. A common misconception is that "bladeless fans" are not actually bladeless. Instead of being external, a small fan is located in the pedestal and forces air out of a thin ring.
Here I'm building a very basic model which won't perform nearly as well as the Dyson models, but will be a small fraction of the price. This small model is easily portable and can be refreshingly used in a vehicle or outside as well as inside.
Parts printed on a Monoprice Maker Ultimate in PLA with a 0.4mm nozzle on a heated print bed.
Step 1: The Design
I designed my version on Autodesk Inventor with the intention of 3d printing. It is important to remember that all pieces will eventually be printed. Taking this into account, I decided to create three interlocking pieces that had minimal overhang and a large base to deter print failure. To create an accurate base, which would eventually hold the propeller, I measured the diameter of the blades and adjusted the base's inner diameter to ensure an optimal fit. Once I had finished my parts, I virtually assembled everything and checked that there were places for both air intake and discharge
Step 2: Printing
Printing went very smoothly since this is a relatively simple design. It was my first large print on a heated print bed and I was very happy how well it worked. The printing time was roughly ten hours for all three pieces. Since there is a dramatic overhang on one of the pieces, support material is necessary. In the first picture, you can see that one of the supports ended up collapsing, but the printer I used was able to handle the overhang. I assembled the parts and was happy how well everything fit together.
Step 3: Power
Instead of having a fixed cord, I decided to install a socket so I could easily switch between wall power and a battery. It would be very easy to update the source models to add a hole to fit the socket, but since I was unsure about placement I decided to manually install it. Cutting holes in filament is incredibly easy. In my case, I simply heated a soldering iron, plunged it into the plastic, and worked it around until the hole was suitable. I then filed off the excess plastic and fitted my socket.
Step 4: Fan
Although this method worked I have decided on another easier method. Check out my improvements step where I talk about the changes I would make to fan installation easier and have it operate better.
Next I found a fan that would fit the pedestal once modified. I then removed the exterior plastic with a saw. When removing the extra parts, make sure to keep the motor support arms. They should be slightly longer than the blades to ensure space between the blades and base wall.
Update: I originally used a 2" computer fan, but eventually decided that the motor wasn't fast enough to achieve maximum airflow. I plan on releasing a new updated fan design soon.
Step 5: Installing the Fan
Once all the pieces were ready, I glued on a temporary foam support to help me center and hold the fan in the right location. I then held at the right height (making sure it was above the air intake holes and none of the blades touched the sides) and used hot glue to secure the arms to the wall. This is another step that could easily be simplified by modifying the original CAD models. Once everything was secure, I removed the temporary support piece and tested the propeller to make sure there was still clearance. Once everything was working, I attached the wires to the socket and tested power again.
Step 6: Final Steps
Once all the electronic components were working properly, I assembled all the remaining pieces. Everything fits snugly, but if sturdiness is preferred, apply glue. I then added a colored vinyl stripe, which isn't important, but adds some much needed color to accent the white pieces. I am extremely happy how everything turned out. The fan is roughly 5.5" tall and used around 130 grams of printing filament.
I'm currently working on a quick substitute for the computer fan. Although it works, a simple dc motor with a higher rpm would be more effective.
Thank you for taking time to read through my instructables. I look forward to reading any questions or suggestions in the comments.
Step 7: Improvements
Gone is the cheap computer motor. I hope to find a better solution in the end but this is the best I could do with the materials around me. I removed the propeller blades from the old motor to secure it to my better dc hobby motor. To mount the pieces together, I glued an old gear that fit the shaft snugly onto the propellers. I glued a thick washer to the bottom and attached the whole thing to the fan base. since the motor is now below the fan my previous power socket would interfere. I covered the old hole and temporary ran the wires through the air intake holes. I plan to update the models to add a socket to hold the motor in place. I also believe that I need a bigger air intake slot. I plan on either enlarging the holes or adding more. Currently these changes have made a positive effect towards performance. The fan is faster causing the print to vibrate and "walk" around a table. To counteract this I just made a makeshift buffer with hot glue but will later replace this with a thin rubber sheet like a old mousepad.
Stay tuned for better updates. If you have any suggestions please let me know in the comments. Thanks!
Step 8: Files
Above is a three way drawing of three way drawings. When the parts were converted to .stl files I messed up the scaling feature causing miniature pieces. You will most likely get an auto scale prompt that will result in the right dimensions. Please compare them to the diagram above. As long as each part is scaled exactly the same the pieces should still fit together.
Please note my suggested improvements. I plan on redesigning the base to accommodate my suggestions.
Please pardon my incredibly creative names. There is no longer a part number one. It was scrapped and I forgot to rename everything. Please remember that this performs not as well as a professional model but more like a scaled down version. Meaning, if you was hurricane winds you might want to invest a few hundred dollars or move to Flordia.