Introduction: Mini Inflatable Waving Tube Guy

About: Just a 15 year old kid who loves making things.

This is a tutorial on how to make your own mini inflatable tube guy from an old fan! It does the same thing as the big ones you see in real life! Not only do you get a little wave man, but you also strengthen the fan power.

Now, is it pocket-sized? Actually, yes! Depending on what pants you wear, you can make it fit into your pocket. I was able to fit it into my basketball short pockets no problem. It does bulge out, but it fits!

I got the fan from Target for only $5, but I can't seem to find it anymore. The links below should be the same fan, but are a bit more costly.


You will need. . .

  • Mini USB fan - link here, here, and here
  • 3D printer - or go to a local makerspace
  • Produce bag
  • USB wall adaptor ~ 5v
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Soldering iron + soldering stuff
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Long metal thing (step 8)
  • Marker
  • Pliers
  • Dremel *optional*
  • Lighter
  • Scissors
  • Rubber band (Loom bands work best)

Step 1: Remove Everything

Grab a Phillips screwdriver and remove all of the screws. Make sure not to lose or mix any because they will be used later.

There will be three screws on the front holding the frame together, three on the back holding the motor on the frame, and then one screw holding the fan blade onto the motor.

Cut the wires with wire cutters and then use wire strippers to strip off the insulation. Or, you could use a soldering iron and melt the solder to get the wires off.

Only disconnect the wires on the switch and the one connected to the motor's positive wire. Make sure to be VERY careful and do not remove the wires connected to the motor. This will result in having to re-solder them back on and is nearly impossible. But, if you do accidentally do that (like me), then look to step two.

Step 2: Dremel *optional*

This step is for people who were not VERY careful.

Use your dremel to make a hole over the motor's circuit board. Make it just large enough to fit your soldering iron in. We will solder the wires back on later. Also, be careful with this step and don't damage the circuit board.

If you're not careful and do damage the circuit board, then I can't help you with this one.

Step 3: Design & Print the Casing

This is the hardest step out of all the steps. Lucky for you, I've already done the work.

I made it in Tinkercad and I designed it specifically to not need supports. I hate supports.

It took many, many, many tries.

Here are my STL files: Fan Blade, Fan Case, Motor Holder, Wire Cover.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I printed it using regular standard PLA filament using my Ender 3.

My settings are:

Layer height: 0.1 mm

Nozzle temperature: 205 degrees C

Bed temperature: 60 degrees C

Supports: None

Step 4: Solder the Wires

First, put the switch and the cord back in.

Then, solder on the wires. The blue wire should be connected to the red wire. The brown wire should be connected to the switch, the middle peg. And then the black wire should be connected to the other peg on the switch. Now's the time you solder the wires back onto the motor if you were not VERY careful.

Step 5: Assembly

Put the motor in the motor holder and make sure the holes line up.

Next, screw on the wire cover. Use the screws that held the motor to the frame.

Now, screw the blade on. Use the screw that held the blade to the motor.

And, lastly, the blade casing. Use the screws that held the frame together.

Step 6: Bags

Make sure to choose the right bags. The best type of bag is the one you find in grocery stores in the produce section.

Now, cut along the lines I provided.

Cut a strip about 5.5 inches wide and 17 inches long.

Step 7: Body

Now, get anything long and made of metal. It could be a ruler, beam, file cabinet, anything. Fold the bag in half and line it up and pinch it between the metal. Make sure a little bit of the bag is poking out.

Use a lighter to melt the plastic together. The metal acts like an insulator, so the rest of the plastic won't burn.

Turn it inside out so the seam is on the inside.

Use a rubber band to secure the bag onto the 3D print.

Cut little strips out of the top of his head.

Step 8: Arms

Cut two strips about 2 inches wide and about 6 inches long.

Do the same thing you did in step 8 to the arms.

Cut a hole on each side of the body and tape on the arms. Don't apply too much tape or it won't inflate.

Step 9: Face & Finished!

For the last step, draw on a little smiley face and you're done. Watch it dance like the real ones!

Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge