The Fleshlight™ is arguably one of the best sex-toys for men available on the market. Lifelike to the touch, widely customizable, health-safe. Recently I bought one and I cannot express how much I like it. However, given its nature as fundamentally a rubber tube rich of creases and ridges on the inside, I immediately asked myself how to best ensure that, once it has been cleaned, no moisture stays inside. Moisture is quite harmful for these toys; it leads to bacterial proliferation – albeit thorough cleansing with appropriate antibacterial products may reduce the risk – which can produce black spots in the porous rubber material and pose a serious health problem for the user. Sex toys are fun, but they must be used with great care and responsibility; this is no laughing matter.
Looking around the net, I found out that this problem was felt by many people, and I was amazed at the range of solutions users had found to achieve their goals. But, from enclosing fans in lockers where the toys are stashed, to rotating transparent hangers, none of these solutions appealed to me. I wanted something that:
- was active (i.e. electrically powered), to ensure complete drying;
- was easy to power;
- could hold the toy horizontally, so that no internal crease could constitute a moisture “pocket”.
So, here I am presenting my personal USB-powered, fan-operated Fleshlight™ drier!
Materials and tools required for the project:
- a Fleshlight™ in its hard sleeve ;)
- a 120-mm PC fan: I chose this size because PC fans usually operate at 12 V, and since USB voltage is only 5 V, the rotation speed will decrease noticeably, so a great air volume is required to compensate;
- an USB cord with male type-A connector: I took mine from a dead PC mouse;
- a CD/DVD spindle transparent cover: mine is from a 100-disk spindle, and will be the air guide from the fan to the rear end of the toy;
- a cardboard box for the structure: mine was the actual box the toy came into, because its size was just perfect! If you kept it like I did, or if you can find a 260x160x160 mm box, you will end up with my exact layout;
- a cutter;
- a hot-glue gun;
- a soldering iron;
- a marker, preferably the type that can write on CDs;
- heat shrink tubing (best) or insulating tape (less than optimal);
- a multimeter (optional).
A word of advice: I strongly recommend washing thoroughly, and with great care, both the fan and the spindle cover, especially if you took the fan out of a dead PC PSU. Dust and dirt are ways of transport for bacteria, and you just don't want to blow dust-rich air into your sex toy! I used a formaldehyde-based product for house cleaning, followed by hydrogen peroxide which is the top choice to sterilize a plastic surface.
Take care not to let any liquid pour into the inside of the fan; you can stuff absorbing paper in the crease between the rotating part and the main body.
Step 1: Support (part 1)
Let's start with the structure. Remove the top flaps from the box and place the fan against one the smaller faces (that is, the one along the longitudinal axis), centering it while keeping the top borders together; mark the fan's approximate center on the cardboard.
Step 2: Support (part 2)
Put the fan away and, using the Fleshlight's front cap (specifically, its smaller border) as reference, trace the outline of a circle, centered on where the fan center was. That's because the toy and the fan will need to be along the same axis.
Step 3: Support (part 3)
Take the cutter and make an U-shaped hole from the edges of the circle, as shown.
Check for the rings in the larger side of the Fleshlight's hard sleeve to fit in the hole. If you used the front cap to trace the circle, like I did, you should find that they fit perfectly. This will be one of the support points for the toy.
Keep the removed piece of cardboard: it will be useful later.
Step 4: Support (part 4)
Now cut a window inside the adjacent long face of the box; this is not mandatory, but I did because it allows for easier access when assembling and gluing the parts, and, well, because it looks cool! ;)
Step 5: Support (part 5)
Cut a window in the rear part of the box, the same size of the fan. Use the fan itself as a guide, placing it like you did on the front face (remember to keep the top borders together); this way the center of the fan will be in line with the Fleshlight.
Step 6: Support (part 6)
Now bend the tapered portion of the piece of cardboard you removed before, and make a “stand” that will support the narrow part of the toy.
Use the Fleshlight to determine where the stand should be - it's really any point before the end of the sleeve - and cut a portion from the top, in a half-moon shape, so that the toy can be accommodated here; finally, glue the support to the bottom of the box. I took advantage of one of the flaps on the bottom, and slid the “foot” beneath it before gluing. However, just be sure to place it anywhere before the beginning of the threaded part on the Fleshlight's sleeve.
Step 7: Support (part 7)
Cut a triangle of cardboard from a piece like the one you removed from the window; glue it to the front of the support, opposite the “foot” you glued before, and to the box bottom, to give stability.
Step 8: Air Guide (part 1)
Now we will proceed with the air guide. Take the spindle cover and the Fleshlight's back cap, i.e. the smaller one; put the cap on your working surface upside-down, so the hollow part will be up, and then lay the spindle cover, also upside-down, over it, like in the photo.
Step 9: Air Guide (part 2)
Now align the spindle cover and the cap as best as you can and, using the marker, outline the inner border of the cap on the inside of the cover; this is where a hole will be cut in the plastic, so that the rear part of the Fleshlight's hard sleeve can fit. That's why we need a hole exactly the size of the inner border of the cap.
Take your cutter and, having care not to let the plastic crack too much, cut the hole. It will crack, as it's quite stiff and thin, but if you work carefully this should not become such a problem that chunks of plastic will come off. Should this happen, however, you can glue them back, as this structure will not have to support any weight.
I had to remove the top “ridge” from the spindle cover, as it pushed against the cardboard stand I had positioned before. I also used the hot-glue gun to create a soft border along the hole (and to seal some of the cracks in the plastic).
We are over with the structure and the air guide. It's time for the electric part.
Step 10: Fan Power Measurement (optional)
Normally, PC fans have a very low current consumption, mine reaching a declared 0.3 A, or 300 mA. As we are powering our fan through USB, which provides only 5V against the required 12V, we can be quite sure that the consumption will drop well beneath half of this value. An USB wall charger won't probably have any problem, and the USB ports of any PC have a theoretical maximum output of 500 (USB 2.0) or 900 (USB 3.0) mA each, so we can feel reasonably safe; however, for those who are worried, or just curious, we're going to take a measurement (optional).
Strip and twist the ends of the black wires from the fan and the USB cable together. Strip the ends of the red wires (don't mind the other colours from USB, as they're meant for data transfer and we're not insterested in them) and twist each of them around each of the two rods of your multimeter. Set this on direct current measurement, with an adequate maximum (I set 200 mA). Insert the USB cable in your charger or PC USB port, and read.
Mine stabilized at 85 mA, so we're definitely good!
Step 11: Soldering Fan Wires
Solder and insulate the wires: red with red, black with black. I won't go into detail about soldering here, though I can give some pointers should somebody feel uneasy. It's best insulating through heat shrink tubing; I am using a smaller diameter for single wires, and a larger to wrap them together.
Test your power connector to see that everything is working. As we're driving the fan with a lower voltage, its speed and noise levels will be noticeably lower than normal, which is a good thing for our project.
Step 12: Assembling Fan and Air Guide
We're almost over! Now hot-glue the spindle cover on the fan's body (mind not pouring any glue on the blades, or they may get stuck to the body!)...
Step 13: Assembling the Drier
...then hot-glue the guide-fan assembly into its slot in the box, allowing the power cord to come out from one of the fan corners.
Now you have the assembled unit.
Step 14: Test Run
Remove any caps from your Fleshlight™ and put it into its brand-new drier, checking that everything is stable and that the sleeve end fits nicely into the air guide; connect the USB cable, and feel the delicate air flow coming from the front hole!
We're done! Enjoy your Fleshlight™ and always take good care of it!