Misting Fan From Scavenged Parts





Introduction: Misting Fan From Scavenged Parts

About: I'm an architect by day. I love doing projects by night, both on my own and with my kids

I had an idea for the "Keep It Cool" challenge for a simple misting fan from scavenged parts.   I put this together in about 15 minutes and am really impressed with how well it works.    This model is really just a "proof of concept".  now I just gotta get a bigger fan..........
I'll update this with better pictures once I get a bigger fan.  In it's current configuration the fan has an effective range of about 4 feet which is good for 1 child but not so good for multiple and they end up pushing and shoving for positioning.  With a big fan and mounting it up high this should work great. 
Unfortunately my home internet connection bombed yesterday so I wasn't able to submit this in time.

Parts needed:
thin tubing
fish tank air pump
water bottle
misting nozzle (spray paint tip)
plumbing tape
silicone caulk


Step 1: Cut & Insert Tubing

first step is to cut two (2) lengths of tubing.   one length will go from the water jug to the air pump.  the other tube will run from the water jug to the fan.   think about how you'll ultimately want the components to be arranged and cut your tubing accordingly.   For me I knew that the air pump would sit right next to the jug so I cut that tube short and then gave some extra length for the fan tube.

now that you have your tubes, take the cap off of your water jug and drill two holes in it that are slightly smaller than the tubing.   insert your tubing into each hole.   the tube that will run to the air pump should only stick into the cap by an inch.   the tube that will run to the fan should be able to reach the bottom of the jug .

apply silicone sealant around the tubing on both the inside and the outside of the cap.   this isn't for leaking.  this is for getting a good air seal.

Step 2: Prepare the Spray Nozzle

I took me a while to figure out a misting nozzle for this.   at first I planned on using a sprinkler system nozzle but when I tried it out I couldn't get a good stream.   so I started racking my brain...."what is it that is designed to spray with good atomization.....?"  and then it hit me....SPRAY PAINT!!!!
Because I work with spray paint a lot and i had an empty spray can so I took the spray tip from it.    The tip was in good shape and wasn't dirty (I clean out the tips when I use them by spray the can upside down to clear out paint).     I took the tip and soaked it in paint thinner and then rinsed it off.
In order to make the tip fit into the tubing I simply wrapped it with plumbing tape until it was wide enough to create a good seal with the tubing and the water pressure wouldn't push it out.   the tape was wider than the tip so I simply trimmed off the excess tape.

Step 3: Clip Nozzle to Fan & Mist Away!

Now that you've prepared the spray tip all you need to do is to clip the tubing to your fan and then turn on your air pump and mist away.

I meant to do this with a big fan but unfortunately our large fan had recently crapped out so all I had was a small fan. 

I'm really happy with how this turned out (and my kids dig it).   the one problem that I have is that when I turn off the air pump, the air pressure inside the water jug will keep the water pumping.   to stop it, I pull the tube off of the air pump and that will relieve the residual air pressure.



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    Don't you know these projects are never finished? :)

    Did you ever make a bigger version of this? I should would like to see an instructable for it if you did.

    3 replies

    I did try but it didnt really work. The fish tank air pump i was using was ok for 1 spray head and a small fan, but when I tried to do this for a bigger fan, I used multiple spray tips and i just couldn't get enough pressure.

    last year I bought a lizard and was planning to use this concept to make a misting system for his aquarium. unfortunately the poor thing didn't make it through the harsh winter we hard. i live in a older house with poor insulation and he just couldn't take all the temperature fluctuations. I may get another lizard but not until i invest in much better equipment.

    Oh, dear, poor thing. I have an old pump that came with one of those blow up swimming pools. I was wondering if that would work. Also, I found this:


    your swimming pool pump is probably much stronger than the fish tank pump i was using so this may still work. thanks for your comments. I also have a air pump that was used to pump an an air mattress. Somehow it never occured to me to use that. Now I may have to revisit. great....one project i thought i had moved off the list, is now back on it......super.....just super. :)

    the homedepot mister looks good for a portable system. I found one on Amazon that looks good if you already have a fan and are using it at home. it connects to a hose and uses water pressure to create the mist.


    what kind of air pump did you use? is there a certain psi for the pressure?

    2 replies

    the air pump is a small aquarium air pump. One of the problems that i had is once you get air pressure inside the water bottle the water will keep flowing even once you turn off the air pump. the way that i was releasing the pressure was to pull off the air hose off the air pump. for my next version i'll be adding some sort of pressure release valve.

    does the mist created by the spray ti leaves you wet throughout the day or night?

    Thanks for the reply.
    The spray can tip creates the mist and then the fan blows it out.
    This instructable was really just to test an idea. I've gotten a bigger fan and have some other ideas that I'm gonna be playing with once the weather warms up and will update this then.

    If you have access to an old pump sprayer the adjustable sprayer tip might work great for a bigger fan....or there might be replacement tips available at Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.

    Great idea with the air pump and the spray paint nozzle.
    I had a terrarium once and i was looking for a cheap fogging system, this would have been perfect!

    1 reply

    I'm not sure if a spray paint nozzle will work for you. it doesn't really fog. the fan is what creates the fog.
    I have another idea for mine. instead of using the spray paint nozzle i'm going to try simply plugging the tube and poking holes into it. that may work better for you. there are also these aquarium air bubbling tips that may also work.
    something like this:
    one problem that i have is that when i turn off the air pump it keeps spraying because of the pressure in the water jug. I have to pull the tube off the pump to relieve the pressure. haven't solved that one yet. i gotta figure out some kind of pressure release. they have these little mini ones for sprinkler systems which may work:

    I'm going to do this again but I'm waiting to try again until i can find a bigger fan. as soon as I get one I'll update this with Version 2.0.

    Very nice! This would work great in dry heat, but I'm not sure about those super-humid days (we get both). At what humidity level does misting stop being effective? Or would you just go with ice-water in the jug when evaporative cooling stops working?

    1 reply

    that's a good point. not sure how effective this will be on day of high humidity. I think on those day you simply use cold water (if possible). that would still have a cooling effect.
    where I am (Cleveland) it was pretty humid this weekend and my kids still liked this.
    I was using cold water. i'm getting about 45 minutes from 1 gallon of water so I would just refill when it got low.

    Good idea!

    Misting is a very effective way to lowering the heat.

    1 reply

    thanks. it's an easy quick build. I'll be posting better photo's when I get a better fan. this one is really just a "proof of concept" to see if it would work.