Welcome to the tutorial of how to make a solar powered fan!
For starters, you will need:
- Green Science Solar Rover Kit (Can be bought from any Michael's Art Store)
- Accessibility to a 3D Printer
- Accessibility to a computer (For part design)
- Power Saw
After getting these items, be very careful not to loose any parts, especially from the kit, because if lost, you might need to buy a whole other kit just for those parts. When using the power saw, be sure that a professional or someone who knows how to work the saw is present. Plus, for the portion of 3D printing, you need to be very patient; most printing projects take hours, so try to do them overnight. Okay, now you should be ready to get started building your own, personalized solar powered fan.
Step 1: Open Solar Rover Box and Assemble Items Necessary
Open the box of the solar rover and check if all materials are there. Now, seperate the materials that you need.
You will need:
- 2x reflectors panels
- 1x solar panel
- 1x solar panel holder
- 2x reflective stickers
- 1x chassis with rear axle in place
- 1x motor with wires and gear
- 1x set of arm components (base joint, short arm section, long arm section, top joint.)
- 1x motor cover
- 4x short screws
Once seperated, you can start to look at the instructions of the rover.
Step 2: Build Solar Panel
Find the solar panel holder and the solar panel itself. Slide the solar panel under the bars of the solar panel holder, being careful not to damage the screen or sides. When totally in, you should hear a little clicking noise, signifying that it is tightly held. It should look like the picture included once done.
Step 3: Find Motor and Place in Motor-sized Case
In the supplies, you should also find a motor. This is what is going to make the fan rotate, so it is critical that we have this. Along with the motor is red and black wires attached. Carefully place the motor in the motor sized case that is on the body of the tool.
Step 4: Screw in Motor Cover
Included in the supplies is a motor cover that will fit perfectly on top of the motor case. Screwing this on top of the motor will require a screwdriver, preferrably a small headed one, and the small screws included in the packaging. Screw the top onto the casing, making sure that the black and red wires are outside the case with the little hole in the cover. The hole side should face the front of the body, like in the picture. Screw the screws in tightly and securely so that there will be no damage to the wires, which will connect to the solar panels.
Step 5: Find Pieces of Arm and Assemble
In the packaging, there will be included four small pieces that can connect to make an arm that will bridge the solar panel and the rest of the body. You should find small, medium, and long sized pieces, one of each, that will connect to the bottom. The last piece, the "T" shaped piece, will be attatched to the top and to the solar panel case. Look to the pictures if you are having trouble with this process, but it is relatively straight forward.
Step 6: Slide Red and Black Wires Into Coordinating Spaces
Now it is time to connect the motor to the solar panel. You can follow the instructions included in the box, but they are very confusing, so you can back to these two steps when needed. First locate the two wirescoming from the motor. Then, slide each into the coordinating slits. When you are facing the front like in the picture, black should go into the right slit, while red should go into the left.
Step 7: Screw in Small Screws to Secure Wires
As you might have noticied already, the wires will not stay in their spaces themselves. So, to keep them in, screw in two of the small screws to the screw holes. This will be a two man job, so grab a partner if you do not already have one. One person will need to hold the wires in the slots while the other screws in the screws to the holes. Once you think you are done, the person holding the wires in the slits can tug outward on the wires to make sure that they are secure. Once secure, continue on in the project.
Step 8: Cut Down Body of Fan
Now that we are done with assembly of the power section of the fan, now it is time to move on to modifications. The first modification we will make is to cut down the body to just have two axles. To do this, measure out 4 inches from the top of the fanto the middle of the base. Draw a line there; this is where we will cut with a power saw. Have a professional do the cutting, or at least someone who knows how to safely cut with a power saw. Once precisely cut, you can move on to designing the 3D printed objects.
Step 9: Start Design of Fan
After the modification of the body, it is time to design the fan and grip. To do this, go onto a computer and go tinkercad.com and create a free account. This will let you design the 3D parts of the fan. You can be creative with your design, just make sure you have a connector in the center and blades coming from the center of the fan. Also, make sure the connector is the right dimensions to fit onto the rotator of the fan. The measurement of the circumference should be around 5 mm, so make sure to get that right. Included with step are some pictures of fan designs that we did.
Step 10: Start Design of Grip (OPTIONAL)
The included body is a little rough to hold in a hand, so we made an optional step of making a grip. The grip makes holding the fan much more comfortable. Measure the body of your fan and make the design a few millimeters taller than that. Also, make a hole in the middle of the modle with the width and length of the body. This will let you slide the grip onto the body tightly. Now you should create finger holds on a side of the grip. Create "blocker" spheres on one side of the grip to create inlets for the fingers to slip into. With this step, we have included a design of what our grip looked like, and yours should look a little like this too.
Step 11: Check Designs and Print
This is where you will need access to a 3D printer, so make sure that you have that. Have a third party check your design of the fans and grip to make sure that they look good and will work. Now you can upload your designs to the printer and start to print them. This process will take a long time, especially if you made multiple fan designs, so you can do it overnight to save time. Make sure that you have enough plastic for the entire print because if you don't, the printer will malfunction and forget about the design.
Step 12: Remove From Printer and Clean
Once the print is done, you can remove the designs from the printer. To support the fans, the printer will make garbage plastic on the bottom of the outside rings. You can remove all of this unnecessary plastic as to remove weight. Once this is done, dispose all unneeded plastic in the garbage and move onto the next step.
Step 13: Attatch Grip to Body
Now we can start attatching the parts to the body. If you made a grip, which you didn't need to, you can now attatch it first. The hole that you made is very snug, so don't worry if it doesn't fit in the first time. You might need to use a little force to fit it in, but once in, it should be easy the rest of the way. Don't forget to face the finger holes the opposite way of where you are going to face the fan. Attatched is what the body should look like after this step.
Step 14: Attatch Each Fan and Test
Now you can attatch each fan made and test it out. Whichever works best and weighs the least you can use. If it doesn't connect great to the rotator, you can hot glue them together so that the fan stays in place. Make sure to be safe when using the glue gun. Now, go on to the last step and you are done with your solar powered fan!