Introduction: Cold Air Fan From Reused Plastic Bottles

Picture of Cold Air Fan From Reused Plastic Bottles

This is an instructable on how to make an extremely simple mini cold air fan and alternative to cooling off. This will help you to recycle & reuse some stuff you have rather than throwing it away and it ending up in a landfill somewhere. You more than likely you already have all the items laying around that are needed for this project and I have made this to be so simple that anyone could do it. This is a pretty good thing to have , especially if you happen to be the only one wanting to cool down in the room. You can also use this to help keep something cool be it food all the way to electronics. I know there are others out there people have done before this one but again I tried to make this fan in its most simple form. 

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials
First thing you want to do is gather up the materials that are gonna be needed for this quick and easy project. 
  1. Small sized cylinder container. I used a plastic protein shake container.
  2. Plastic water bottle
  3. Battery - mine is a 6V NiMH rechargeable battery from a RC truck.
  4. Fan from a computer 
  5. A few small screws 
  6. Electrical tape
  7. Ice packs
  8. X -acto blade, Razor 
  9. velcro
This picture  only shows the three main components here but the others are needed as well.

Step 2: Cut Holes in Lid and Container

Picture of Cut Holes in Lid and Container

     After you get all of your materials gathered you want to go ahead and set your fan you have found and set in on top of the lid and cut a hole out of the lid to match the size of the fan. After cutting this hole out go ahead and attach your fan to the top of the lid with either some small screws or maybe you just want to glue it up there, anything to make the fan stay in place. Don't forget when hooking the fan to the lid you want to have the fan facing so that it is pulling in from outside and blowing it into the container. 
     Next you want to take your water bottle and trace an outline of the bottom of it onto your container.At this point you want to go ahead and cut out the bottom and top of your bottle, as well as the hole that you traced into your container. Go ahead and put the bottle into the hole and tape in into place.

Step 3: Hook Your Battery and Lid On

Picture of Hook Your Battery and Lid On

     Next you can attach your battery to your container. This part is optional if you want to keep your battery free or connected in some other way it would't hurt anything. I just used some velcro straps to hook the battery to the container so that it would be hooked , but I could still take it off to be able to recharge it as well. 
     Depending on the lid you may have to attach it back on somehow, fortunately mine was able to still screw on and off of the container which comes in handy. To hook the battery to the fan  I just use some electrical tape to hold the wires from the fan to the battery leads. Again I am doing it this way to keep it simple so that anyone can do this and not have any problems with it. 

Step 4: Fill With Ice Packs and Enjoy

Picture of Fill With Ice Packs and Enjoy

     The last thing left to do it get some ice packs that have been sitting in the freezer and set them down into your container. I filled mine with some ice cubes as well as the ice packs to help out. The good thing about the ice packs is that you aren't wasting any water by reusing the ice packs. Truthfully you could always re-freeze the water from the ice cubes when they melt ,either they will both work fine. 

     Now all that is left to do after filling it with the ice packs and ice is to hook the fan up to the battery and enjoy the nice refreshing cool air of your new mini cold air fan. I hope someone out there enjoys this. As with any of my instructables all comments and criticism are welcomed and wanted. Now save some of those plastics from a landfill and build you some mini cold air fans. 


jasminesoy1 (author)2016-09-14

What other kinds of batteries can I use? Can I use a small one or does it have to be a big one?

MichaelB276 (author)2015-11-16

we're do the razor blades go.

Kuntakinta (author)2015-11-13

thank you for this instructable I will make this and share my fan!
also can you use a D cell battery instead of a 6

joao.rafael.7355 (author)2015-01-04

what happens if I use a stronger battery ?

sarmadq (author)2014-01-16

Nice... how long do the batteries last?

SirPhobos15 (author)sarmadq2014-08-04

The battery that I used was old and it last maybe an hour or so , but if you had a new battery or had one hooked to a solar panel then it could last a pretty decent time. Time would also depend on the fan that you use.

WJewel (author)2014-07-01

I am not as adventurous in my camping anymore. I would like to see an Instructable for a solar powered version to take camping. I do not tolerate sleeping in a stuffy hot tent anymore!

SirPhobos15 (author)WJewel2014-08-04

A solar powered one wouldn't be that hard to make really just hook a small panel to the battery to give it a contant trickle charge

IamTheMomo (author)2013-12-25

We have a lot of old computer fans around, and I intend to build several of these to use when the power is out after a hurricane. Getting ice is no problem then, and I freeze it in gallon jugs for our cooler anyway. That's probably the only time I'd use this, but when you need it you need it, such as in the Florida heat and humidity after a hurricane when it is unbearably hot. Last time I didn't have a dry stitch on for 5 days.

Recycled_Awesome (author)2013-05-23

See the last picture. The power plug is a 4 Pin (Molex). So using a 4 pin to 3 pin, you can skip the rewiring and just plug it in. But no longer mobile though.

I made the unit out of a folgers coffee plastic can. Works well with a high CFM 120 MM fan.

Recycled_Awesome (author)2013-05-22

If you have one of those external usb to sata/ide kits, you can use that to power the fan with a Molex to 3 converter. Saves on batteries.

that might be an idea. Thanks for checking this out and taking the time to comment . Im not too familiar with what you're talking about but it surely sounds good enough to look into. Thanks again

EndureReclaimRebuild (author)2013-04-28

It's a good idea, mobile and convenient. However, aren't you just transferring cold energy which was produced with a freezer/refrigerator? How does this qualify as "Green"?

Depending on where it's used, this could be very green. People using this in their car or truck would find that they would end up saving gas. Car engines are not optimized for generating electricity, or running the A/C compressor. The electrical grid is optimized for efficiency (at least in comparison to a car's engine), so this would save you money and result in burning less fossil fuels, even in those areas where coal is used in electricity generation.

Very true, I did not think of it that way. =)

That is true yes, however it's saving the plastics and fan from ending up in a landfill. it uses far less energy than a fan you run from an outlet or cutting on an AC unit. Every little bit counts, don't you think? And nearly everyone has a freezer so why not make the most use out of it you can. You could also easily integrate solar power to charge the battery as well, and hopefully it makes people think of how they can reuse stuff they have. Of course recycling is always an option.Thanks for taking the time to check this out and thanks for the comment and questions.

I think a solar charger would be great. I run my PC off of a few large panels and an amp+Battery bank. But I don't think you'd need a massive solar panel for your project. Solar pipe (Oil and/or salt) + Peltier + Your design - (Minus) the ice = pwnage. You could use the heat from the solar pipe to power the Peltier, which powers the fan AND gets freezing cold on the negative side (Is it negative? I might be wrong) so you wouldn't need ice. Question it possible? Also if you direct airflow straight up, you'll be forcing cold air to raise and mingle with the warm air, cooling your room considerably faster =)

Here's a quick draw up, pardon the sloppiness

Seems pretty legit, may have to throw something like this together if I run into one of these peltiers

They are pretty cheap online, like 10-15$ I think. I've never bought one, always had one laying around from a mini-fridge or something that I've gotten from back when I worked at coca-cola. There's also some DIY projects and instructables on how to use them to convert heat into electricity.

I'm gonna have to find one of these, it's very possible that I may have one laying around. Seems like be a nifty little thing to play with.

I would consider this greener as the cold air can be supplied directly to you. Its a cooling effect more than just moving hot air with a fan but not having to run a whole room or house AC as much would save a lot of energy. You can stay cool and let the rest of the house warm up all it wants.

Until you decide to get off the couch and do other things, then you would probably turn on the AC as the "Personal" unit probably wont do much for a family of 4 + pets. Like I said, it's a good idea, it's mobile and convenient.

Keep in mind I never claimed that it would cool a house ha ha

tru_casper (author)2013-05-22

made mine last night!! made a few changes though. Make future project is to make one with a higher powered fan.. maybe one of the 110v Thanks for the idea :)

KEUrban (author)2013-05-05

Have you considered filling the container with water up to the outlet, and then throwing it in the freezer overnight? Then when you need it, pull it out and attach the lid and battery.

SirPhobos15 (author)KEUrban2013-05-06

I may just have to try that out one day and see how it works out. The only thing would be how much condensation builds up on the outside of the container. Thanks for the comment.

kinderdm (author)SirPhobos152013-05-10

Also look out for expansion of the ice, it could potentially be enough to crack the container if it doesn't flex enough. Unrelated, I was also thinking maybe a insulated cooler would work well (though not as cheap or as easy to modify). It would help to keep from taking on heat through the walls as they are insulated and also prevent condensation on the outside. I really want to make one of these for next time we go camping, its too humid around here in summer for a swamp cooler to work well.

SirPhobos15 (author)kinderdm2013-05-10

the ice does expand it a little but with these plastic containers they have a good amount of give in them. An insulated cooler would be much more efficient, I've been on the lookout for some cheap ones when I go out to the thrift shops and what not. Thanks for checking this out and hope that you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comment as well

ragdolldude (author)2013-04-28

I use a similar setup, but for odor control. 110 volt muffin fan is mounted on lid Folgers plastic coffee container. About 35 holes are drilled through upper third of side of container. 5 cups water, 1/2 cup Soil Moist, and 2-3 oz of Ona liquid odor control liquid. The Soil Moist crystal expand, and you end up with a gelatin type mixture. The fan blows down on the mixture, expelling odor control scent. Fan is on a timer, running about 15 minutes every 1-2 hours, as needed. Crystals do dry out over 2-3 weeks, but adding 2-3 oz ONA and another 4-5 cups of water will renew crystals so you have more odor control.

kinderdm (author)ragdolldude2013-05-10

This sounds pretty cool. I would love to see an instructable on this with pictures. Sounds like something i would like to make for the liter box room.

SirPhobos15 (author)ragdolldude2013-04-28

That sounds like a really good setup, I may just have to try that out. Thanks for taking the time to check this out and leave a comment. Hope that you enjoyed.

troopersmachine (author)2013-05-01

Nice job, now I have a 2nd use for those old protein powder containers.

Yeah there are probably tons of uses for those things and this is just one of them. Appreciate you checking this out and taking the time to comment.

kInstructor (author)2013-05-05

Nice! I think i'll build one when summer kicks in in germany.

SirPhobos15 (author)kInstructor2013-05-06

Thanks for the comment. Feel free to share yours if you decide to make one. When does summer start in Germany?

anktinstructable (author)2013-05-05

this is amazing.. i am going to try this out

BTW can u tell me how does the cooling feels in hot summer.

Hey thanks for checking out this instructable. This works pretty good when it's nice and hot out. Great for being used it the hot of the summer. Thanks for the comment.

putty1cat (author)2013-04-28

Nice idea! How about using a frozen diaper for the freezing part? Take the clean diaper apart and put the powder very carefully into an old clean sock. Wet it and place it in the freezer. To use it quickly wet it again and place inside your plastic container.

putty1cat (author)putty1cat2013-04-28

Forgot to say it is reusable too,

SirPhobos15 (author)putty1cat2013-04-28

That it is true it is reusable ...over and over and over ha ha, and as far as the frozen diaper part I do believe that this would work. May have to give it a go. Thanks for the comment.

putty1cat (author)SirPhobos152013-04-28

I am speaking from experience. The best part is there is no water to throw away like when ice cubes melt. I use frozen diapers to cool myself all summer long. I have a neurological condition that makes me over heat. Reuse and throw away at the end of the season.

ragdolldude (author)2013-04-28

Check the CFM rating. The 110 volt fan I noted was 36 CFM rated and seems to do fine. You likely won't find a higher CFM rated computer fan, as they're usually very quiet, which means low air flow, likely around 5-10 CFM as a guess. If you don't need the portability of the battery pack, I'd opt for the 110 volt to get more air flow. I got mine from Ebay, getting 2 fans with shipping for around $20.

SirPhobos15 (author)ragdolldude2013-04-28

That does sound like it would work well, this is mainly used to set about a foot or so from me while I work on school stuff or anything like that. Also I do like the fact that the fan is extremely quiet. Thanks for taking the time to comment and I hope that you enjoyed this instructable.

dougfrance (author)2013-04-28

Excellent! I have been thinking about a simple cooling device and you nailed it.

SirPhobos15 (author)dougfrance2013-04-28

Hopefully this will help you make something of your own and feel free to share if you do. Thanks for the comment by the way.

kdf.inc1969 (author)2013-04-28

i see alot of instructables using computer fans. do they put out enough air to really cool good?

SirPhobos15 (author)kdf.inc19692013-04-28

It puts out a decent amount but nothing amazing. Good enough to cool you down on a summer day in Alabama ha ha.

kdf.inc1969 (author)2013-04-28

nice intructable. has got me to looking around the house to find materials to make me one.
going with what aaahotdog said, would not a 1/2 gallon insulated cooler work great? there insulated,round,not to large and have a handle to carry it with.

SirPhobos15 (author)kdf.inc19692013-04-28

Yeah I believe that would work really well. I didn't happen to have one of them lying around anywhere. It would definitely work well though. If I happen to come across one I might just make another one. I was using what was readily available for this one. Thank you for taking time to question and comment. If you happen to make one I would love to see the end result. Thanks again

About This Instructable




Bio: Well not much to know about me really. Name is Tait live in Alabama. I enjoy all sorts of hands on projects; Woodworking, electronics work ... More »
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