A 1*1*1 Foot Evaporative Cooler (Swamp Cooler)





Introduction: A 1*1*1 Foot Evaporative Cooler (Swamp Cooler)

About: I love to build things!

I am a teenager and likes to make things this is my first Instructable.  I came up with this laying in bed because it was so hot.  I was going to buy a window air conditioner on top of our regular air conditioner.  Then I went to a swamp cooler and they didn't make a small enough one so I came up with the idea of making a mini one.  And it would be super cheap and it would be recycling things I would have thrown away.  Also please read the entire Instructable before you start. I usually make others things but I thought I would give it a shot of making something.  This is a swamp cooler that  I made from parts around the house.  Forgive me for the quality of this Instructable it is my first one.  Please No rude comments please feel free to post how to make it better and your opinions on it.  This was fairly cheap for me because all I had to buy was the Swamp Cooler Pad.  This takes some time, it is a great summer project.  It is fairly efficient, durable, and works very well in my opinion.  A way to help you decide to make this or if it is cool enough is to take a rag get it wet under the faucet ring out as much water as you can and put the rag on your face.  That temperature of the rag will be how cold the air will be directly out of the fan. 

I got this little swamp cooler to cool my 9 by 10 room from 75 degrees to 65ish degrees in about 1 hours with the doors shut and the windows shut and blinds shut.

What I have found that works just as good is just take a spray bottle and spray the pads manually. Also the colder the water the colder the air! 

Step 1: Parts

What you will need is the following;

1. Approx. 28X32 sheet of Coroplast (Plastic Cardboard)
2. 20 ft. (just in case you mess up) of clear vinyl tubing (the width of whatever size of barb on the pump)
3. A submersible Pump (I got mine from a fountain from Harmons it is a Jebao)
4. A high power fan (works best with a ducted fan I got mine out of a blow dryer)
5. Lots of duct tape
6. A  Y split off for the tubing
7.  Synthetic evaprotive cooler pad I recommend the DIAL 28 in. x 34 in. DuraCool Pad for Evaporative Coolers from Home Depot   DO NOT USE ASPEN FIBER COOLER PADS TOO THICK AND SMELL FUNNY
8. A transformer that will run the fan Depending on the voltage the fan can handle
9. Hot glue sticks
10. Electrical Tape

Tools needed:

1. A Utility knife
2. Hot glue gun
3.Ruler and or tape measure
5. Rubbing Alcohol
6. Cotton Balls or cotton swabs
7. Soldering Iron with solder

"some photos are from internet"

Step 2: Cut Out

You will need to cut out 6 1 foot by 1 foot Squares out of the Coroplast

Step 3: Take the Squares

Take the 5 squares from last step and draw another square inside of the existing square an 8by8 square on inside than cut that out.  The 6th square is for the top of the cooler cut out a hole that your fan will stay mounted in.  Also if you have a laser cutter you can use that to cut it 

Step 4: Put the Squares Together

Take 4 squares and put the squares together by taking rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe were the duct tape will go for a clean bond.  Put duct tape on the edges that hold it together.  The side you put the duct tape will be the inside of the cooler.  After putting tape on the inside of the cooler do the same with the alcohol and the duct tape as you did on the inside.

Step 5: The Bottom

From some of the scraps you have left cut out four 8 inches long 2 inches tall strips.  Make a square out of the strips. Take a cotton ball put some rubbing alcohol on the cotton ball and wipe all of the areas of were the duct tape will go.  After making a square place it on the bottom panel were the 8 by 8 hole has already been cut.  Make it so that the 3d square is on top of the panel.  Attach with duct tape.  Take the base and tape the bottom to the top of the 1 foot by 1 foot by 1 foot square.  Don't forget to wipe the area that the duct tape will be with a cotton ball with alcohol on it! :)

Step 6: The Top

Take the top and cut the hole for your fan.  Once hole is cut make a air tight seal with duct tape or hot glue.  DO NOT ATTACH THE TOP TO THE REST OF THE CUBE.

Step 7: Cutting Out the Pads

This part is super easy to do.  First take your swamp cooler pad and lay it down flat now make a 1 foot by 1 foot square you are going to use this as a template so cut out 4 squares of the pad and than put them aside.

Step 8: Add the Tubing

This step is the one that uses the tubing and the Y split off.  First you will take the Y and cut a piece long enough to go around on top of the pads and put the 2 ends onto the y adapter the other side cut a piece long enough  to run from your pump to the top of your box. Now glue the tubing to the top piece that contains the fan. Now poke holes into the tubing that point down onto the pads. Sorry I didn't take any pictures I forgot to.

Step 9: Start Attaching Every Thing Together.

Take some duct tape now and put some on the inside of your box sticky side up. You now take the top of the cooler and set it down on top of the cooler pressing the duct tape onto the cooler.  Line the outside with duct tape.  Make sure the tube coming off the y adapter sticks out.

Step 10: Putting the Pads In

This step is pretty straight forward.  Push the cooler pads in through the holes in the sides.  If it doesn't fit trim a little bit off the side of the pad that needs trimming.

Step 11: You Are Done!

To cool it just plug in the wall wart that powers the fan.  Take a cup of water put your pump into it connect the pump to the hose that comes out of the cooler and plug the pump in. I recommend only putting in about 1 cup of water in it.  And also put hot glue on all of the areas that have duct tape.  You can just put it in the room it doesn't really need to be outside.  I may also recommend on your gluing job that you put the cooler in a dish or something just it leaks.



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    some ideas if you want to try a newer model use a cheap styrofoam cooler. Mount one in a window. Meaning you could make a bit larger size. Then using a identical cooler sitting outside under it. Put the submersable pump in lower cooler add water and ice. Then use hoses between coolers. one a drain hose from top cooler to return water. And the other hose from pump to top cooler for flow of cool water over filters. Use a silicone caulking as glue for styrofoam. Be sure to use a larger fan for upper cooler.

    Only if you want to it just helps the duct tape stick better to the coroplast. If you are making this I want to see some Pictures!

    I'm not yet. I just wanted to be sure. I'm kinda in the process of moving to a state where it'd be redundant to have a swamp cooler... Michigan.

    I really like your design with the corrigated plastic.I love that stuff.I have made a few evaporative coolers.It will work better with a larger fan,maybe a box fan.The fan meets alot of resistance pushing through those pads.You want the pads totally wet or the air will take the path of least resistance that would be where the water isnt.I used a cheap aquirium pump.For it to work the best it has to be outside. The cooler is continously adding moisture to the air.If your supply is already moist it will get saturated and quit cooling It is easier to pull air through the pads than it is to push it..It also a good idea to crack a window as far away as possible so the room doesnt build up positive pressure.think of blowing in a balloon(positive pressure) or blowing through an open straw.Also if the sun hits your windows covering them with cheap aluminum foil using masking tape.You got a winner there keep making it better.

    1 reply

    You will not create a positive pressure by circulating air within a closed room If the room is closed you can neither add nor remove air. You would have to take air from outside, blowing in, in order to have a positive pressure. In a closed room, you can only circulate the air that is there. You couldn't blow up a balloon if you were inside of that balloon. The air you would inhale would come from inside the balloon.

    how is the tubing positioned in relation to the pads?

    FYI, it's "Coroplast", which is a brand name, also sometimes seen as "Corruplast" which is a shortened version of corrugated plastic. A Chloroplast is a cellular component of plant and algae cells that captures light energy.

    1 reply

    Okay I think I fixed the Coroplast error sorry.

    For a first instructable you did very well. I understood easily. You could go back and edit your grammar a little, but that may just be your age and/or typos. Good job.

    For swamp coolers to work properly, they need to have an opening (window or door) the size of the duct blowing into the room. Also only work well when the humidity is around or below 20%.

    1 reply

    Swamp coolers will work well up to around 50-60 % humidity, but the effectiveness (and thus the water consumption) of the cooler will increase as the humidity drops.

    Remember the limitations of the evaporation cooling is that they work well when the humidity of the air is fairly low - for example in AZ or NM - and some added humidity is desirable along with the cooled air . However , when the temperature and humidity are both high like in Florida and such - the cooler will not work very good and any cooling you get will be offset by super muggy air and the cooling effect you'll get will be limited by the dew point .

    Will have to try this. Thanks!

    Do you know how because I don't ;)

    You probably have to flip the photos from Windows or OSX and then post them after you have rotated them. From Windows you can rotate them by just right clicking on the pic and selecting rotate clockwise or rotate counterclockwise. Or use the rotate button on whatever picture viewer you're using. If the rotate button is greyed out, right click on the image, select properties and uncheck the read only box.

    I had the same problem on my instructable. I used my iPhone to take the pictures and whenever you rotate the phone it ends up screwing up the picture. There's really no way to do it I can think of.

    You'll notice the flipping on step 10

    Really nice instructable! It's nice to see someone else my age interested in staying cool! I'm definately going to build one for my room.

    Cool way to build a box and mount the fan, nice job!
    maybe the whole thing can sit in a tray of water that an internal water pump pumps out of. the box would keep the pump noise down too.
    just have to keep the water level up in the pan, or maybe a bucket, even.

    (could use some blinking LEDs though. everything should have blinking LEDs, IMHO)

    Nice work! i made something similair to this and it works great. just one suggestion: instead of using hot glue to seel it, try a water-proof paint it should stop the leaking problem, if you put on a few coats, and it will make it look a little niceer. but overall really good instructable.