Introduction: USB Cooling Fan (from a Broken Drive)

Picture of USB Cooling Fan (from a Broken Drive)

An easy step to step Tutorial explaining how you can build an "USB Cooling Fan" for your notebook/desktop/whatever from an old or broken cd-rom drive. Enjoy.

You can follow that Instructable or just watch the video version:

Step 1: Dismantle the Drive

Picture of Dismantle the Drive

Dismantle the (broken) cd/dvd player. You'll find a lot of interesting parts (e.g. the lens), but in this tutorial we need just one of the motors (usually are 2, and the damage is somewhere else, so they works). Take it out.

NOTE: every drive is different "inside", so it's a bit useless show you where is located. But you can see the picture to know what you are looking for.

Step 2: Making of the Blades

Picture of Making of the Blades

Take the empty package and get out the transparent cd.
Mark 8 identical cloves on the "cd", then cut them with a cutter.

Step 3: Mount the Blades

Picture of Mount the Blades

Mark the cork where you'll put the blades.
Make a small hole in the bottom. Cut off 1/3 in height and hack enough space for the blades.
Insert the blades (4 or 8) and secure them with super-glue. Let it dry :)

Step 4: Prepare the Usb Cable

Picture of Prepare the Usb Cable

Take the usb cable and cut it to the desired lenght, then peel it out leaving only the RED and the BLACK wires (isolate the other 2).

Step 5: Insert the Wires Into the Sheath

Picture of Insert the Wires Into the Sheath

cut 3 iron wires as long as the cable
tie the wires (3 irons +2 from the usb) to a longer iron wire threaded in the sheath.
Pull the longer iron wire from the other side of the sheath, in order to make slip inside all the wires.

Step 6: Fix the Motor

Picture of Fix the Motor

Fix the motor to the cable and solder the usb wires. Isolate all with tape.

Step 7: Fix the Cork to the Motor

Picture of Fix the Cork to the Motor

Glue the motor to the cork and let it dry.

Step 8: Test It..!

Picture of Test It..!

Test it... IT WORKS!

you can watch a video clip showing this cool Usb Fan here:

NOTE: thank to the iron wires, you can model the cable to any shape ;)



rrubera (author)2011-10-03

This is a really a nice fan and really want to make one! But the thing is when i dismantled the CD ROM (got it from my old Pentium 3 PC) i couldn't find the motor (similar to the image shown here). I removed everything I COULD. Below are 2 photos of both side of my CD ROM. Hope someone can help me with finding the motor....

arham_abdullah (author)rrubera2014-11-06

here you go !they were different in size.

agis68 (author)2013-06-26

cheap and easy. Cool too!!!

Minifig666 (author)2009-08-27

Cool. I have an idea to combine a USB fan into a laptop stand to cool the RAM 'cos mine doesn't have a fan and it keeps overheating and shutting it off.

rocyahsoul (author)Minifig6662011-12-22

RAM doesn't normally have a fan. The processor is what usually causes over heating. Almost definitely your processor already has a fan. You probably just need to clean the fan that's cooling your processor. If it gets caked with dust, it will be less efficient at moving air, thus less efficient at cooling your processor.

divudi2 (author)2011-03-17

nice fan,
but add some more guide on fan blade making and shaping ..

riverreaper (author)2010-07-13

my laptop pooped so i had the swisscooling table laying around , after looking at it for months our heatwave hit i took the swisscooling table apart lined both fans up sameblowing direction taped them together then taped it to the back of desktop computer about half an inch way from its fan an usen a toothpick atached at the bace itsabout inch an 1/2 away , seening it alread had usb plug with on off switch it works well at adding cooling to the desktop durrning our heat wave.

kbishop (author)2009-12-26
Cool t-shirt, mate!
ellogan (author)2008-10-09

Ok, but, what if i want to do it bigger? can i give power trough 2 usb conections? how can i measure the energy it is using? thanks!

robocrazy155 (author)ellogan2009-11-08

Try a digital mutimeter to measure the voltage and current, but I would be causious of wireing two USB ports together, could damage the computer. You may just want to run it off a battery, then you could add more power without frying your hard-drive.

rravenn (author)2009-07-03

where do it solder the red wire and the black wire? and will i see any positive or negative in the motor? by the way nice work...

Minifig666 (author)rravenn2009-08-27

Touch the red and black wires to the motor and make sure it blows at you, then solder them that way round.

aliyevzaur1989 (author)2009-08-21

That one is out of balance :)

stains11 (author)2009-06-28


wee_man (author)2009-04-15

hehe nice im gna make one. One thing though becareful if you have little kids around.

thefunktopus (author)2009-03-14

Nice instructable!! Really clear great pictures!! Even nicer T shirt!!!

Mr_lonely (author)2008-11-27

is any possibility to make it work with batteries

ekulmeekul (author)Mr_lonely2009-01-15

Yes it will work REALLY well with 4 AA batteries just instead of having a usb on the end have a battery pack...

darknight06 (author)2008-12-21

red wire to the red black to the black one =)
i made it it seems good now
thanx for the idea maybe it will work for me @summer

Derin (author)2008-07-09

no im not

firefighter1333 (author)2008-07-05

so i only use the red and black wire?

samcrut (author)2008-06-19

Just blow it across the keyboard. I usually blow mine at the back of the keyboard since that's where the exhaust comes out. Keeping that hinge area cool will help cool down everything else as well. Plus the breeze feels nice on my fingers.

pdpmacman (author)2008-06-15

internal fans in desktops are almost always 12 volts. The power coming from a USB port is 5 volts, so you would be under powering that fan, thus not getting that much movement at all. If you have an old laptop laying around, the cooling fans from those are also usually 5 volts so you could put those to work!

casey321b (author)2008-05-26

you could use a w ire hanger. id ont know if its iron but it still bends nicely

dardy_7 (author)2008-04-19

That's genius using the iron wires as a movable stand, kudos to you!

scorpionsf (author)2008-03-09

Great Instructable. I made one from an old scsi cd drive I was going to throw out. I made my blades rounded though, didn't like the idea of sharp cornered blades whirling around on my desk.

tempahmental (author)2008-01-04

this a great instructable....I made one lost night in about 5 mins...without the aesthetic side of it complete just the working circuit... but I like this project...I'm going try find new and cool things to use usb power for that can benefit mankind.(I sound so scientific - for want of a better word - when I say that

babyboi512 (author)2007-12-31

this motor u can get from a playstation controller or batteri operated cars and similar things good fing tho!

fadi-the-great (author)2007-12-28

u can simply add a switch too, so u dont have to disconnet the usb when you want to turn it off:D simply add it in series near the usb cable..

ichipoodle (author)2007-12-11

Great Instructable! i wonder, now that it's winter time, how would i make a heater? like one of those ceramic fixed fan heaters?

Computer Maker 101 (author)2007-12-11

Congrats in making the top 5!

GorillazMiko (author)2007-12-09

cool, awesome family guy shirt :-)

zorro3355 (author)2007-11-28

takin out a cd drive for a mortor is too much of a waste!u could buy a mortor for aas little as 50 cent!

BlindSight (author)zorro33552007-11-28

I agree with you. Dismantle a working cd drive just for the motor is a real waste, but if the above-mentioned cd drive is going to the trash bin ..I think is better to recycle something than recycle nothing of it :) Thank You zorro3355 for your feedback!

Doctor What (author)2007-11-17

Great Instructable!!! Just an idea, instead of a fan, an led would make a flexlight. They have 'em on thinkgeek for like ten bux.

littlechef37 (author)Doctor What2007-11-19

You can buy them at the dollar store for 2 bucks !

Doctor What (author)littlechef372007-11-19

I thought that a dollar store meant that everything was a dollar, not more.

littlechef37 (author)Doctor What2007-11-26

well theirs buck or two and the dollar store and their prices are both more than a dollar but theirs a place called dollarama where things are a dollar

Or attach an LED in the center of the spinning fan and have contacts (attached to power) on the other side. So when the fan spins, the leads of the LED come into contact with the contacts and make the LED blink rapidly.

or use a let that chanches colour :D

sn0n (author)2007-11-19

i used the old fan (much easier) from an old tower i had.. ;-)

torval (author)2007-11-19

you don't need a computer cd or dvd player... you can get a regulat cd player or dvd players have them... just disassemble them and the same exact motors are in them too... basically anything that spins a cd has a motor in it but this is a good instructable... i had these motors from my cd players but i wasn't sure what to do with them... i'll do this in the summer but its a good idea! THANKS!

gamer (author)2007-11-17

well made very nice video, and shirt:) great instructions -gamer

shooby (author)2007-11-17

Good job. I think that this would be more effective as a personal cooling fan than for your computer. But, like you said, it works! Did you take any temperature measurements for a before & after comparison?

BlindSight (author)shooby2007-11-17

Thank you shooby for your feedback. That's a very good idea, I'll do it :)

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