How to Take Apart a Case Fan




About: I'm one hell of a guy, what can I say, hey and as a human being, I even feature a cranial capacity of 1350cc, how's that for feature listing?

I thought it would be helpful to some to put together a quick but informative instructable on how to take a case fan (or any computer fan for that matter) apart down to the bearings and motor assembly.

This way you can soak/clean/wash the fan blades without risking damage to the pcb from immersing it in liquids. You can oil it too afterwards if you like.

And yes, this applies to all computer fans of all sizes, however be warned, the smaller computer fans (such as those found on GPU's) are a lot trickier to pull the ring off to remove the fan blades.

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Step 1: Remove the Restriction Ring

As you can see, you want to remove the white plastic ring from around the end of the axel. A pair of tweezers or the tip of a thin pocket knife also works, however be careful not to break the ring, as you'll need to for later when you put the fan back together.

Also, some case fans have metal clasps instead of plastic, I'll try to get a picture of one later this week.

Step 2: Clean the Fan

Now for the fun part, everyone has their own methods, and depending on the build up it may need anything from a blast of air from an air compressor to soaking it to remove the caked up gunk

This isn't something I recommend doing a half-ass job on, as you'll only be taking it apart a month later because all the dust you left on the fan will collect even more dust, especially if it's still wet when you start using it again.

I myself soak the fan blades in a secret blend of hydrochloric acid and rubbing alcohol (I'm only joking about the former).

Step 3: Re-assemble

Now that you have your fan all spankin clean, it's time to put it back together. I couldn't find my oil today so I didn't include the picture/indivigual step for it. However note in the pictures below where to put a couple dabs of oil.

Step 4: Does It Work?

Of course it does! The fan doesn't make any noise now, and even better, there's no dust for the led's to make completely obvious. I hope I help some people out with this!

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49 Discussions


3 years ago

You might want to rename this Instructable's title, Such as something that has "Clean a computer fan"


Reply 3 years ago

I cut myself on case fans alot, mostly when tinkering with my very glitchy audio setup. I'll go to hold on to part of the pc, and OWW it was that giant fan going at <1000 RPM. Right under the fingernail.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

At 3000 rpm it can cut me on the edge.Just say I accidentally touched the edge of the blades....


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I have a 7300rpm thermaltake fan on my AMD's cpu, I've stopped it more than once with my index finger, sans blood. I still have no idea what you're talking about unless you have the skin of a 80 year old.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

No, this is what I have, as you can see, you can't touch the middle part of the rotor to slow it down. I've put my finger right in there where the spokes turn several times both accidently and not on accident. I didn't even get a scratch.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I have actually since removed this heatsink from my computer because it was too loud for my liking, I shouldn't have to turn my stereo up half way to drown out the sound of the fan.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

well, i had a really loud fan, but i cleaned it, now you can't even tell it's there! its amazing!


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Shouldn't really matter where you put your finger in, all the blades still rotate in the same direction. And I still haven't cut myself off a fan, that's why I think it sounds rediculous, sorry if It's not.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Just this evening I nearly sliced the tip off of my middle finger while i was testing a potentiometer connected to a DELTA PFB0912DHE (8000RPM). It can happen, blood, pain, and all. Be careful with high speed fans no matter what they are made of.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

i sliced the tip of my finger off with a huge 150mm case fan (it had metal blades)

Any method to remove the axle from the blade ???
i tried alot to safely remove it ,but every time the blade breaks


9 years ago on Introduction

lol. the kernels secret blend of 11 herbs and spices... mmmmmm... great info! and would sewing machine oil work for lubing the fan?