Introduction: USB Fake Fire Pit in a Bamboo Box

Picture of USB Fake Fire Pit in a Bamboo Box

This is my first Instructable. It shows you how to build the item shown in the picture. A USB powered mini fake fire, housed in a bamboo outer shell for effect. This took me one afternoon, which would have been very boring if I hadn’t thought of doing this. The project didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, mainly because my fan was so weak and small (I found it in a computer component I found in a hedge, so I can’t really complain), it also wasn’t as good as it could have been as I misjudged the angles on the four pieces of bamboo at the top, though that is fixed in the instructions. I would also have liked to have added some very small LEDs to this, but the fan was weak as it was and I didn’t want to make the project not work at all :(, so I didn’t. It might be worth trying though :). Have fun :)

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need

Stuff:
-A computer fan, mine was 12v and small, so the product didn't work as well as it could have :(
-Bamboo Canes, or one long bamboo cane, with a diameter of roughly the depth of your computer fan (the distance between the two fan faces.
-Orange/red plastic shopping bag (I used Sainsbury’s), or it might work with tissue paper
-an old USB wire (it's important that it works)
-Electrical Tape (I had none so I used Duct tape, it doesn't work as well)
-Solder
-Glue Sticks (for glue gun)
-160gsm paper in case the fan is very weak (like mine was)

Tools
-Junior hacksaw, hacksaw, coping saw, or other thin bladed saw
-Soldering Iron
-Hot Glue gun
-Plastic Cement (not necessary, but it sometimes melts the plastic from the plastic bag using the glue gun)
-Scissors
-Wire Strippers (very useful, but again not absolutely necessary)
-Pocket knife, non serrated edge (for splitting bamboo)
-Pliers

Step 2: STOP!

Picture of STOP!

This instructable requires a lot of cutting and splitting and sticking bamboo, so it is important that everyone knows what I am talking about when I say height, depth, width and so on...

These are important points so DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!! IT COULD LEAD TO PROBLEMS LATER ON IF YOU DO SO!!!
-It is important that you work with so that the flame will not be stuck to the face of the fan which is spinning. One face of the fan (normally the top face) will have a fixed point at centre which supports the motor.
-Be cautious when using the hot glue gun and the soldering iron, they both can burn skin and soldering irons could cause a fire.
-Learn the dimensions on the image below.
-Make sure that when soldering the USB lead to the fan, you do it so that the fan spins the right way, otherwise the flame will be pulled towards the fan, which ISN'T the right way.

Step 3: Preparing the USB Cable

Picture of Preparing the USB Cable

Preparing the USB Cable
When you cut the USB lead, cut as close to the non-USB end as possible, to allow for the longest possible wire. Then strip the outer wire away. You should see a foil like substance. If not, then don’t worry, as you have to cut it off anyway (hint to those who do see a tinfoil like substance). You should then see a red wire, a black wire, a white wire, and a green wire, and some exposed wires. Cut the exposed wires, the green wire and the white wire away, these are not needed. You should only have a red wire and a black wire now, positive and negative. Strip these of their insulation, to leave the bare wire.

Step 4: Cutting the Bamboo

Picture of Cutting the Bamboo


Cutting the Bamboo
When Cutting, it is very important that you cut the right length of bamboo, and that any pieces DO NOT HAVE KNOTS IN!!! If they have knots then they are nearly impossible to split correctly!!!
You will need to mark out and cut:
-Two pieces of bamboo the same length as your fan
-Two pieces of bamboo the same width as your fan
-8 pieces with the same length as the diameter of the bamboo
-One piece which is the same length as the fan on one edge, and on the other edge the fan length minus the diameter of the bamboo either side. When looked at from a certain angle it looks like a trapezium.
-One piece which is the same width as the fan on one edge, and on the other edge the fan width minus the diameter of the bamboo either side. When looked at from a certain angle it looks like a trapezium, it is very similar to the other trapezium shaped piece and will probably be the same.

Step 5: Splitting the Bamboo

Picture of Splitting the Bamboo

BE VERY CAREFUL WHILE DOING THIS! IF YOU HAVE A VICE USE IT, AS IT IS VERY EASY TO CUT YOURSELF!
Turn on your glue gun now, so it will be ready for the next step.
The 8 pieces of bamboo with the same length as the diameter of the bamboo are NOT to be split
You split the bamboo by placing the knife blade on top of it and pointing downwards. You then tap it gently with a small hammer or the pack of your saw, so the knife blade cuts down with the grain.
The two pieces of bamboo the same length as your fan and the two pieces of bamboo the same width as your fan should be split in two, vertically down the grain, as shown in the image.
The two trapezium shaped pieces should be split in a similar way, split straight down the middle of the oblong shape at the top of them, to leave two trapezium shapes the same size (if looked at from a certain angle). This is very difficult to explain in text and will be easier to show on the image.
Depending on the position of the lines leading into your fan, you may have to cut a notch in one of the pieces, I did.

Step 6: Sticking the Bamboo to the Fan

Picture of Sticking the Bamboo to the Fan


BE CAREFUL, GLUE GUNS ARE HOT AND CAN EASILY BURN SKIN, AND IT’S PAINFUL!
Here’s the fun bit :): Sticking. USE THE GLUE GUN to stick the flat face of two of your four pieces the same length as your fan to the two opposite outside edges of your fan (the lengths). Repeat with two of the width pieces. Leave to cool. Then stick the circular faces of four of your eight pieces of bamboo with the same diameter as their length to the four corners of the top face of the fan (it works better if you hollow out the soft centre of the pieces and put glue in the hole made). Again, leave to cool. Then stick the remaining length and width pieces to the supports you have just made by putting a small dollop of hot glue at the each end of the flat face and pressing in against the support. Leave to cool. Next add legs. Do this by sticking the circular faces of the remaining four pieces of bamboo which are the same length as their diameter in the four corners of the bottom face of the fan, like you did with the last four of these pieces. Leave to cool (again). Last of all, turn the thing back over and arrange the trapezium shapes on to of it, so they lie on to of the supports. Glue them in place, leave to cool, and that’s the most difficult stuff over and done with.

Step 7: The Flame

Picture of The Flame


Turn on your soldering iron now, for use in the next step. MAKE SURE IT’S ON A STAND BECAUSE IT COULD START A FIRE IS IT’S JUST LEFT LYING AROUND!

This is an easy step. Cut a small flame shape out of the plastic bag (I would stretch the plastic bag a bit before doing this to make it lighter), and dab a little hot glue onto the centre of the top face of the fan. Wait 5 seconds, so the glue cools enough not to melt the bag too much, then place the bottom of the flame shape onto the dollop of slightly cooler glue. Leave it ten seconds or so to set, then move on.

Now you can turn off your glue gun

Step 8: Soldering and Covering

Picture of Soldering and Covering


FIND A SAFE PLACE TO SOLDER. DON’T SOLDER ONTO SOMETHING WHICH WILL CATCH ALIGHT, MELT, OR GIVE OFF POISENOUS GAS! Also don’t solder on anything to valuable.
Make sure you check the positive/negative wires to make sure your fan spins the right way when you plug it in.
Fold the wires you want to join together and heat them with the soldering iron. Then apply solder so it melts and sticks the two wires together. Then remove the soldering iron and allow the solder joint to cool. Cover any bare wire on the joined wires with insulation tape. Repeat this with the other two wires. Then wrap both in the insulation tape.

Step 9: You're Done, Just Plug It in and See It Go

Picture of You're Done, Just Plug It in and See It Go

The “flame” should just flicker nicely in the air flow created by the fan, giving it an effect similar to a real flame, not that realistic, but nice.
Thanks for making :)

Comments

dan3008 (author)2015-03-18

Just added this to my must make list. Although, I'll wait untill my gran next buys a new case fan for her desktop... (5 in the last year because the guy at maplins once told her a hot computer doesnt work well)

vishalapr (author)2011-08-04

maybe add a Red LED in there and add more of those papery things on top of the fan! But its a really nice idea!

PJEC (author)vishalapr2011-08-04

Thank you! I have some orange LEDs from a set of fairy lights. If I ever make an updated version of this I'll add them in :)

vishalapr (author)PJEC2011-08-04

Yay!

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