3D Printed Portable Bladeless Fan

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"A bladeless fan (sometimes called an air multiplier) blows air from a ring with no external blades." Dyson is a very popular company who has utilized this technology to make a quieter fan that performs better than more traditional versions. A common misconception is that "bladeless fans" are not actually bladeless. Instead of being external, a small fan is located in the pedestal and forces air out of a thin ring.

Here I'm building a very basic model which won't perform nearly as well as the Dyson models, but will be a small fraction of the price. This small model is easily portable and can be refreshingly used in a vehicle or outside as well as inside.

Parts printed on a Monoprice Maker Ultimate in PLA with a 0.4mm nozzle on a heated print bed.

Step 1: The Design

I designed my version on Autodesk Inventor with the intention of 3d printing. It is important to remember that all pieces will eventually be printed. Taking this into account, I decided to create three interlocking pieces that had minimal overhang and a large base to deter print failure. To create an accurate base, which would eventually hold the propeller, I measured the diameter of the blades and adjusted the base's inner diameter to ensure an optimal fit. Once I had finished my parts, I virtually assembled everything and checked that there were places for both air intake and discharge

Step 2: Printing

Printing went very smoothly since this is a relatively simple design. It was my first large print on a heated print bed and I was very happy how well it worked. The printing time was roughly ten hours for all three pieces. Since there is a dramatic overhang on one of the pieces, support material is necessary. In the first picture, you can see that one of the supports ended up collapsing, but the printer I used was able to handle the overhang. I assembled the parts and was happy how well everything fit together.

Step 3: Power

Instead of having a fixed cord, I decided to install a socket so I could easily switch between wall power and a battery. It would be very easy to update the source models to add a hole to fit the socket, but since I was unsure about placement I decided to manually install it. Cutting holes in filament is incredibly easy. In my case, I simply heated a soldering iron, plunged it into the plastic, and worked it around until the hole was suitable. I then filed off the excess plastic and fitted my socket.

Step 4: Fan

Although this method worked I have decided on another easier method. Check out my improvements step where I talk about the changes I would make to fan installation easier and have it operate better.

Next I found a fan that would fit the pedestal once modified. I then removed the exterior plastic with a saw. When removing the extra parts, make sure to keep the motor support arms. They should be slightly longer than the blades to ensure space between the blades and base wall.

Update: I originally used a 2" computer fan, but eventually decided that the motor wasn't fast enough to achieve maximum airflow. I plan on releasing a new updated fan design soon.

Step 5: Installing the Fan

Once all the pieces were ready, I glued on a temporary foam support to help me center and hold the fan in the right location. I then held at the right height (making sure it was above the air intake holes and none of the blades touched the sides) and used hot glue to secure the arms to the wall. This is another step that could easily be simplified by modifying the original CAD models. Once everything was secure, I removed the temporary support piece and tested the propeller to make sure there was still clearance. Once everything was working, I attached the wires to the socket and tested power again.

Step 6: Final Steps

Once all the electronic components were working properly, I assembled all the remaining pieces. Everything fits snugly, but if sturdiness is preferred, apply glue. I then added a colored vinyl stripe, which isn't important, but adds some much needed color to accent the white pieces. I am extremely happy how everything turned out. The fan is roughly 5.5" tall and used around 130 grams of printing filament.

I'm currently working on a quick substitute for the computer fan. Although it works, a simple dc motor with a higher rpm would be more effective.

Thank you for taking time to read through my instructables. I look forward to reading any questions or suggestions in the comments.

Step 7: Improvements

Gone is the cheap computer motor. I hope to find a better solution in the end but this is the best I could do with the materials around me. I removed the propeller blades from the old motor to secure it to my better dc hobby motor. To mount the pieces together, I glued an old gear that fit the shaft snugly onto the propellers. I glued a thick washer to the bottom and attached the whole thing to the fan base. since the motor is now below the fan my previous power socket would interfere. I covered the old hole and temporary ran the wires through the air intake holes. I plan to update the models to add a socket to hold the motor in place. I also believe that I need a bigger air intake slot. I plan on either enlarging the holes or adding more. Currently these changes have made a positive effect towards performance. The fan is faster causing the print to vibrate and "walk" around a table. To counteract this I just made a makeshift buffer with hot glue but will later replace this with a thin rubber sheet like a old mousepad.

Stay tuned for better updates. If you have any suggestions please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Step 8: Files

Above is a three way drawing of three way drawings. When the parts were converted to .stl files I messed up the scaling feature causing miniature pieces. You will most likely get an auto scale prompt that will result in the right dimensions. Please compare them to the diagram above. As long as each part is scaled exactly the same the pieces should still fit together.

Please note my suggested improvements. I plan on redesigning the base to accommodate my suggestions.

Please pardon my incredibly creative names. There is no longer a part number one. It was scrapped and I forgot to rename everything. Please remember that this performs not as well as a professional model but more like a scaled down version. Meaning, if you was hurricane winds you might want to invest a few hundred dollars or move to Flordia.

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Part2.ipt

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88 Discussions

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CVBruce

2 months ago

I don't understand your statement: "A common misconception is that "bladeless fans" are not actually bladeless." How is that a misconception, when that seems to be exactly what you do?

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corradiniCVBruce

Reply 2 months ago

I think he means "a common misconception is that "bladeless fans are actually bladeless". C'mon, you probably knew exactly what he meant. :-)

Yes, they have a bladed fan, it's just hidden in the base. They're called 'bladeless' because you don't see blades....OK, let's not quibble all day here. It LOOKS like it's bladeless, mmm-kay? It's not like it's a force field, or magnetic induction, or whatever - the point is you're not going to stick your fingers in it or lose Tweety-bird in a poof of feathers - it's a nice whooshy sound and a neat look. Which is a bladeless look.

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offtherails2010

2 months ago

agree with mcgivervii ! and well done on the design process, excellent ingenuity - LOVE IT !!!

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mcgivervii

2 months ago

A brushless Drone motor would provide 10k rpm with and appropriate esc and 12V....something to look into.

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SantitheGreatWhyyNot

Reply 1 year ago

No, I meant using a print cooling fan that is meant to cool down PLA. Would that work?

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WhyyNotSantitheGreat

Reply 1 year ago

It really depends on what type of cooling fan you want to use. Most cooling fans I've seen tend to have a slower rpm than what is needed. Another member suggested using a squirrel cage fan. I'm fairly certain that type of cooling fan might work well but it won't fit the dimensions of my current model. If you would like to try to use a squirrel fan you are welcome to customize my source models to your specific needs.

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PhilippeG1

1 year ago

un moteur de turbine d'avion à réaction RC ferait mieux l'affaire

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WhyyNotPhilippeG1

Reply 1 year ago

Je suis d'accord. Je suis actuellement à la recherche d'un moteur meilleur avec un régime supérieur. Un moteur à turbine RC serait plus efficace.

I agree. I am currently looking for a better motor with a higher rpm. A RC turbine engine would be more effective.

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brettt3

1 year ago

Very cool!

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joris23

1 year ago

You should calculate the surface of the fan and then make sure the air intakes have the same combined surface as the fan. This way there will always be enough air for the fan.

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WhyyNotjoris23

Reply 1 year ago

You are right. I will add that to my version 2. Thanks

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arazmjou

1 year ago

If you are planning to build second version I suggest to use 2 or three laptop fans right behind the holes to take the air in and for the main fan to use (from RC store) a fan which has the electric motor in the back so the combination of longer blades and higher RPM will generate lot stronger air flow. Good Luck

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WhyyNotarazmjou

Reply 1 year ago

Good idea. My problem would be getting it all to fit into the small enclosure. I do agree that an intake fan would be very beneficial. ill look and see if I can find something small that can fit. Thanks!

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Kings_HS

1 year ago

Wow! This is amazing!!!

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ThummarwitshW

1 year ago

I probable will do one from pvc pike.

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R A Shah

1 year ago

I tried importing these STL files in Slicer for 3D printing. It is showing very small size of 4mm dia. Can you please tell me what is the exact size of all the parts?

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WhyyNotR A Shah

Reply 1 year ago

I've added an image showing all dimensions in inches. Please let me know if there is some more information you would like to see in the diagrams.

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WhyyNotR A Shah

Reply 1 year ago

Sorry. I did something wrong when I converted the files. I'll have to double check the dimensions. I'll let you know when they're up.