Introduction: Cooled Cable Tidy Box

My problem: Like many moden people we all come to the problem of what to do with all the cables, power supplies, and attachments that come with moden computers. As you can see from the picture it's a bit of a mess, the only person who liked it was my cat (Spice!) who would sit on one of the wifi boxes. It looked messy, so messy even the pictures upside down, apologies for this, this is my first instructable.

The solution: tidy it, into a box.

Step 1: You Will Need.....

I've tried to keep this as simple and above all as cheap as possible. So you will need....

Plywood: mine is 6mm thick, and offcuts that i had from another project, yours can be what you want.
Two old computer fans: These where taken from the power pack part of an old pc, dig around a junk yard, old office, ebay, just keep it cheap!
PVA glue: or and wood glue
some small screws: 
Old USB cable: needs to have the normal male end and a length of cable.
terminal blocks: the plastic screw kind, if your hand with a soldering iron you might not even need this.

total cost: £0, I had everything already to hand

saw: for cutting
jigsaw: for cutting with POWER!!!!
sandpaper: for sanding back the rough edges for when you use too much power.
cable cutters/strippers
pencil, ruler  
vice or other clamp: to hold stuff tight
cup of tea; cant stress how important this is. add sugar accordingly 

Step 2: Cutting Wood.

Use a jigsaw or saw cut the sides, base and top for your box. This size will depend on what your putting in it. Roughly about the size of a shoebox, I've put the dimensions of my box on the pic

Learn from my mistake No1: take into account the thickness of the wood, when it came to put this together as a box I didn't  and has to cut the long sides down a smidgin to make it fit with no gaps.

When these are cut give it a rundown with some sand paper to take off any splitters 

Step 3: Making Room for the Fans

All this electronic equipment gives off heat. Heat is bad for electronic equipment. Putting hot electronic equipment together is bad, it gets hotter.


to combat this my box is going to have two fans, one taking air in, one taking air out, its going to be self powered from the USB outlet of a Wifi box.

In the smaller ends of the cut plywood, cut a hole big enough for your fan, my hole is a funny shape as my fan has various screw holes ect, yours will probably be different so I havent put dimensions on. 

Once you have a hole fill it with a fan and screw in place. 

Step 4: Mind the Gap

On one end cut a rectangle hole, this is where the cables will go in and out.

Make sure you do this before making the rest of the box, and if you want to make your life easy, put any cables you need though this hole BEFORE you stick anything together 

Step 5: Boxing Clever

Time to make the box. We want to make sure that air is coming into and out of our box. When you put it all together make sure one fan is facing into the box and the other out and set in the wood accordingly. 

I used PVA glue to hold it all together, glue the faces, and a bit more in the corners to make sure it all fits. leave it proped up over night. In hindsight clamps would have helped.

Step 6:

Coming out of the fan are three wires, red, black and yellow. Separate these and cut back the yellow as this isn't used.

Measure out the red and back and cut them so they meet in the middle of the box, strip off the ends to revile the wire underneath. 

Twist together the red with the red and the black with the black.

Step 7: Preparing the USB Cable

This is much easier than you think. Cut the cable to the length you want, I used the cable from a old computer mouse.

Trim back everything apart from the red and black wires, 

strip the ends of these and twist to make neat.

Step 8: Connect It Up.

Use the conector terminal, in one end put your two red and black cables from your fan, on the other put your USB wires, make sure that red goes to red and black. screw down tight

screw the terminal down to the box to keep it tidy

Step 9: Put It All in the Box

Now comes the tricky bit, putting all this in the box, Ive got lots of cables, boxes and power units to go in, I'm not going to lie, it was tight.

Learn from my mistake number two: The plug is much bigger than the hole. to get round this i had to un wire the plug, feed the cable and wire it back up again. I should have foreseen this and fitted it into my box before hand. If you dont know how to unwire and rewire a plug DONT!!! theres a lot of juice going though this and I dont want anybody to get injured. 

Once your wifi box is in make sure the USB fan is connect to a USB port. and put a lid on it

and your done....

I've been checking the box it all works after taking it appart and putting it back together, even with the lid on it the fans keep it nice and cool. Probably a good idea to keep an eye on it, maybe move things it things get too hot.

have fun, hope you've enjoyed reading this, and hope you enjoy making it