Whenever I upgrade a computer, I always try to salvage and reuse as many of the old parts that I can. One part that I have collected a lot of over the years is the cooling fan. You find these in power supplies, on CPU's and in tower cooling systems.

So what do you do with a bunch of small fans? You combine them into one big fan. In this project I take 16 PC cooling fans and mount them together to make a single 12 volt box fan. It is thin, light weight, strong, and quiet. It also stores easily. It can fit behind furniture or in a packed car. It can be powered by your computer's power supply, an AC adapter, or a 12 volt car battery.

Step 1: Watch the Video

Here is a video walkthrough of the project.

<p>Very 'cool' idea :)</p><p>And if you use the 5 volt wire on your PSU then you can reduce the noise and yet still have a decent fan for hot days or when soldering etc :)</p><p>I like this one. Thanks for it :)</p>
<p>I know this is an old instructible now, but I have a question based on a project I'm thinking about utilizing PC fans.</p><p>What's the noise level like on this fan? As I know that sometimes PCs get loud, and I'd imagine that with 16 fans (more than I'm planning on using) it'd be unbearable in a small enough area that it'd be useful.</p><p>Also, what's the power consumption if you're using a PC power supply?</p>
<p>It does make some noise. But it is significantly quieter than an regular box fan.</p>
bro i think four fan for pc cabinet is ok...max to max 5....but this much fan !!!! The SMPS cant give that much power to run all these fans<br>
<p>Don't you need to add a capacitor to smooth out the voltage spike when you power all of them together?</p>
<p>I'm thinking of building one... If a capacitor is needed, How is it possible to decide which capacitor (type/mf) to use? (Without an oscilloscope)</p>
It needs to be atleast 12V, personally I would go with a 25V and the size, hust use &quot;bigger is better&quot;
I didn't us a capacitor and it seems to work just fine.
<p>First of all I love the concept but I don't know which cables to connect because my box fans have 3(Black,blue-not sure if the blue is for control of the fan,red) and you show how to make it with only 2(black,red). I plan to make 2 PC towers to the left and the right of my monitor to cool me off each tower will have 4 and each box fan requires .25 amps so that means 2 amps for both</p>
The red wire is positive. The black wire is negative. The third wire is for feedback to the computer. It typically sends a signal back to the motherboard to indicate the speed of the fan. That way the computer know if the fan is malfunctioning. You can just ignore this third wire and just connect the red and black wires as I describe in the procedure.
<p>AWESOME!!!</p><p>I have everything I need to make this(all be it on a much smaller scale), so it looks like I'm going to be busy for a wee bit! 8=D</p><p>TY for sharing this! </p>
<p>Took this idea with a usb cable to power 2 fans and it works like a charm, not to mention great portability.</p>
<p>The PC fans i salved from a old mac come with 3-pin &amp; 4-pin with all grey wires which is hard to tell which ones positive or negative, help please?</p>
Just use trial and error. Hook it up to the power supply and if it is correct, it will blow. If not, just switch the wires.
<p>Really nice proyect, i made one using tie wraps and putting the cable witchs carry the energy around the fans, it's really nice!</p>
Awesome. Thanks for sharing.
<p>I've got to ask. Are these fans wired in series of parallel?</p>
<p>Hmmm, if you recycled the drive cage and maybe the corners from inside a case, you could build a pc case out of pc fans! Gamers delight!</p>
<p>Cool idea. I bet you could stick this fan array out in a stiff wind and it would charge a 12 volt battery or two. Nice 'ibble.</p>
<p>To turn them into generators, would require stripping the pulse circuitry from the motor windings, re-wiring the coils like a 3-phase generator, and feed the voltage it creates through a diode bridge array (Nutshell response: Not practical.) (Note, Not impossible, just impractical.)</p>
<p>Impractical indeed lol. </p>
<p>these fans are brushless DC motors, so an output votage would never occur.</p>
really nice but what to do with it?
<p>Objective: reuse of several upcycled/reused cooling fans (power supply, CPU case, etc.) as a low-flow, cooling fan pack to passive cool or provide fresh air.</p><p>I've done this, as mentioned above, to keep a camping tent cool, or in my workshop when I don't want blasting air from the big fan, but just enough to cool the room through the window. (usually 2 or 3 fans in line.).. As long as you have a 1-2 amp (overkill, but means can run more fans 12V power supply, or a 12V Battery, and you're good to go!</p>
<p>Normally, I work and camp at a local renaissance Festival and this critter would be great to use on those hot days and nights in August when a tent of any kind can get stiflingly hot and all I would need is a car battery to run it! NICE! </p>
<p>I have done this.. a 5&quot; PSU fan, connected to a small 12V Gel Cell, and a small 1-watt solar panel. Relax a.steidl, I think she meant in the cast/vendor camp, not on-site.</p>
&quot;Relax a.steidl, I think she meant in the cast/vendor camp, not on-site.&quot; Have you worked at a Ren. Fest. before? Because, you got it correct in one shot!
<p>CTRF Hebron, CT. (front gate crew from 2006 to 2009), Original MMRF in Oxford, CT, (before it moved to Ansonia, CT and became MFRF.) and attended the Silver Kingdom Faire in Charlton, MA. . Unfortunately, I've missed ALL of my regular faires this year because of recent financial problems. How I usually appear: </p>
<p>Noooooo! Use no electricity at renaissance! :P</p>
I think it would have been cool if u stacked them and created a really high powered fan
<p>nice job! have used these coolers myself in various configurations. ^_^</p><p>cheers!</p>
<p>Attaching all the fans to a single piece of expanded metal mesh with some washers might be easier and would provide rigidity to the assembly. </p>
<p>LOL. 16 fans, 33cfm each for a total output of 528 cfm!</p>
<p>A cheap window box fan moves 2500 cfm. One cheap PC fan might move 40 cfm. You'd need 60+ such PC fans to move as much air. </p>
<p>Made something similar for my work station when I was at a H2 fuel cell manufacturer. I made the connectors out of old circuit boards as there were plenty laying about. You can modify the shape to fit your window opening to keep you cool in summer. I even stuffed some in the vent conduit to give a boost to the bathroom fan (hitting the boost switch also activated a warning light above the bathroom door ;) ).</p>
<p>He he!!! I like the bit about a warning light. How about making an <em>Instructable </em>for one of those; maybe even incorporate a gas detector and make it automatic!!</p>
<p>Now make a computer case using only cooling fans. That would be such a sight.</p>
<p>oh my mistake; excuse my comment.</p>
<p>I can appreciate the positive and constructive policy, and I hope this is taken positively... but since it is &quot;Make&quot; I would have expected a little bit better finish work. If the wiring was finished prior to assembling all of the fans, the wiring could be moved inside the channel of the fans. Looking at the picture above in step 9 with the fan in the trunk, who has a trunk that nice? With mine, it would be more likely to be snagged during travel. </p>
<p>I have created something like that earlier, with 120mm fans taken out of dead PSU's (initially there were 3, then 4 and finally 5 fans). Fans are connected with plastic tie-wraps, and wires are hidden between them. I also added a switch and female connector, which allows to power it with generic 12V, 9V or even 7.5V source (I use 12V from Linksys router). Everything is attached to the wooden base.</p><p>That device serves me well for 2 years, and provides steady and silent airflow.</p>
<p>What a great way to build a customized window exhaust fan. You could also add to it as you aquired more fans.</p>
<p>Interesting. Can think of many uses.</p>
<p>A few thoughts: Use a piano hinge vertically so it can be folded smaller or to make it's own stand. Wire into a mutiple-pole switch for high-low speeds, cutting out every other fan. Arrange in a single column or row to fit on a shelf, hang from the ceiling, etc. </p>
<p>Cool idea! :D</p>
<p>This is cool!</p><p>I was actually expecting it to be about making a PC case entirely out of fans though, and now I kinda want to see that...</p>
Lol that's why I checked this out.
<p>Now I'd pay good money to see that :D</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Jason Poel Smith I am a Community Manager here at Instructables. In my free time, I am an Inventor, Maker, Hacker, Tinker ... More »
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