The air conditioning in my apartment is horrid, and I can't expect my slum lord to fix it. I'm rarely home so the idea of running the a/c all day to have it slightly less hot than it is outside when I get home is not worth it. Not to mention I don't have the financial means to pay exorbitant utility bills. I would just sweat it out, but heat + electronics & instruments don't mix.
Homemade A/C for about $15 (give or take depending what you have laying around and how far you want to take this project).
Step 1: Materials & Basic Idea
x2 Fans (one medium size fan would work as well- it all depends on your cooler size and how many fans you want to fit into it)
Knife or some cutting tool- if you want to get fancy and feel high tech go ahead and break out that hand held rotary tool.
Over arching idea:
A Styrofoam cooler with ice packs in it. Holes are cut into the top to place fans. The fans will draw in the cool air and shoot it up. Basic idea that cool air falls and will hopefully make the room a little more tolerable.
Step 2: Start by Cutting It Out
What we're doing here is cutting holes in the lid to fit the fans in. I found it easiest to keep the lid on while cutting that way all the Styrofoam bits fell into the bottom of the cooler and was easier for clean up.
If you feel a need to put those math skills to work I'm sure you can calculate the circumference and throw in some diameter action. Then figure out the right micro watts to set your laser to so not to set anything on fire while cutting with it.
I just simply set the fan on the lid and did small pokes with a knife to make an outline for the fan shape. While cutting, I tried to cut at roughly a 45 degree angle so the fan didn't just fall into the hole. Think about it as carving a pumpkin and when you are making cuts to take the top off.
Remember you can always make the hole a little bigger with additional cuts.
Step 3: Assemble!
Take your fan and insert it into the hole(s) made.
Step 4: Ice Ice Baby
Uh oh no ice packs? No problem, fill up some plastic bottles and toss them in the freezer.
Step 5: Chill Out
Step 6: Potential Upgrades
Some items that could potentially make it better:
Possibly using a coolant + water mixture in 2L bottles and freezing? (~70% H2O & 30% coolant)? Not sure if that would work as desired- I'm assuming coolant would have a higher heat capacity than water and therefore stay colder longer? Careful with coolant around pets!
Make some sort of copper piping lattice to freeze and put into the cooler? Hmm... I do have access to liquid nitrogen...
The fans I used were some what weak and took a bit to get air circulating in my room before I noticed a difference- I've been thinking about replacing my fans with stronger ones
To make the fan installation more permanent feel free to throw in some hot glue. Personally, I like the idea of being able to take my fans out if I want to.
Using a plastic cooler- I have a few Styrofoam coolers myself that I am trying to put to work instead of having them sit in a land fill though. But a plastic version might be more durable and tighter seal around fans.
Add some LED's that always seems to make stuff cooler *ba dum tish*