Introduction: IO TU Delft Course TfCD: Bendable Bladeless Desktop Fan

Small 3D printed flexible 'dyson' desk fan

This small bladeless desk fan is built from 3d printed parts, from which one is made of flexible rubber-like material. It showcases the utility of 3D printing rubber-like emerging materials. They offer great flexibility in the creation of products that require flexible properties. The subject of the course TfCD this prototype is made for, is ventilation. Therefore the application is, for which 3D printing of flexible materials will be used, a tiny desk fan using 'dyson' technology. This means funneling the airflow from a fan to tiny creases that accelerate and redirect the air. The flexible part makes it possible to twist/turn the fan to the position you like within certain limits. In the following few steps will be explained how we built the prototype and how you can do this as well.

Step 1: Recources and Materials

To make this fan, 2 different 3D printers are needed. 1 regular ABS printer and 1 customized printer which can print rubber-like materials.

The resources we used for this prototype were:

- Small 5v DC fan of 60x60mm
- A Duemilanove arduino microcontroller
- Laptop with 5v USB port as power supply
- Ultimaker 2 3D printer Flexible material and standard 3D printing plastic material
- Metal wire of 1.3mm diameter (sturdy yet bendable)
- Ducktape
- Pliers
- Jamara glue for platic
- Small knife to pierce little holes in rubber

Step 2: 3D Modelling

The first step is to make the 3D components in CAD software.

In our case, we used SolidWorks 2016.

To help you, we have uploaded our files for you to use, but you can also modify them before you start printing.

The inner cylinder, outer cylinder and the bottom part are printed from ABS on a Ultimaker 2.
The rubber cylinder in printed on a modified Ultimaker which is able to print flexible materials.

Step 3: Printing!

Step 4: Glue

After the printing is done, use the Jamara glue to glue the inner cylinder to the outer cylinder ( see section view).

It needs to dry for about 20 minutes, so you in the meantime you can proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Rubber Cylinder

You have printed the rubber cylinder.

now you can pull it over the bottom

Step 6: Fixate It

After waiting for 20 minutes, the inner and outer cylinders are dried.

Now you can also pull the rubber cylinder over the glued parts.

Cut 4 pieces of metal wire and press them through the holes in the rubber to fixate the glued parts and the bottom with the rubber cylinder.

Step 7: Legs and Fan

When the parts are totally fixated, you can turn everything upsidedown to be able to put the fan in. Fixate this fan quickly with ducktape, but you can also make it cleaner by using screws.

For the legs, also cut some metal wire and bend them in little corners as shown in the photo. Also fixate them with ducktape.

Step 8: Arduino

Connecting the Arduino is very easy. You can use any Arduino and connect it to the USB gate of your laptop/pc.

make sure you put the black wire in GROUND and the red wire in 5V.

Step 9: YES!

Now the fan should work.

With the rubber cylinder, you can bend the neck a little bit to adjust the direction of the fan.

Step 10: Improvements

This was the first prototype.
To optimalize the prototype, we can define some improvements:

- The legs are needed to provide incoming air for the fan. It would be better if those legs were integrated into the bottom to save an extra step.

- The prototyp bends, but it does not stay in place, which is the most practical. For the next prototype, the rubber cylinder should be longer to make it easier to bend. Also use a bendabe metal spring inside the rubber cylinder so you can bend it and it will stay that way.