Introduction: Cheap USB Fume Extractor From Old PC Parts

**EDIT 6/25/2009**
This has been up for so long that I don't want to take it down. But it's not that good as a fume extractor. Don't waste your time making it for that purpose. Although it is better than nothing.

I've been sucking down these fumes for too long and if you have too then...well you should have got a fume extractor when you bought that soldering iron you have there, right? But you didn't, so time to make one out of the scrap you have laying around. I typically salvage USB cables from damaged keyboards, mouses, etc. So I had that laying around and an old computer fan. Also a powered USB hub. The hub puts out 12V, of course, perfect for the fan. After I built my electronics workstation I was doing some more soldering and found this was a perfect addition.


3" PC Fan

USB Cable

shrink wrap

Electrical tape

knife(for stripping tiny wires)

A way to power your USB. I don't have a laptop and pc is too far away so I used an old USB hub.

Step 1: Stripping Wires


Carefully strip back the outer layer of the USB cord and cut off everything not red or black.The red USB wire can be stripped with the red handled Klein strippers. It's for smaller gauge wire(or something similar). But the black wire is too small so carefully put small cuts in the wire at the bottom of where you plan to strip it and then just pull it off by hand. It's easy to rip in half so if you do just cut everything off and start over. No big deal.


The yellow wire is the tacho wire and we don't need it so do with it as you like. I left it attached to the plug and cut the red and black off about 2" back from the plug in case I ever want to use the fan in a pc again. but you can just cut it off and tape up the end of the yellow wire if you like.

Step 2: Time to Solder!

My soldering skills aren't the greatest so this was tricky for me because the wire bends so easily. But first cut your shrink tubing and put it in place.

I then turned the heat up pretty high, to around 700F. This allowed me to touch the wire as little as possible and heat it up quicker. Otherwise I found myself pushing the wires apart which made it difficult to solder together. So, with the iron under the wire apply the solder on top and it works out pretty well like that.

Step 3: Shrink Tubing

Slide it on, heat it really needed a step for this?

Step 4: Wrap It Up

I put some electrical tape over the shrink tubing, fan wires and usb outer coating so that the thin wires inside the USB cable don't rip off.

Step 5: Finished

Fumes being sucked through a fan are metal and strobes and 'Murica!