Cold Air Fan From Reused Plastic Bottles




Well not much to know about me really. Name is Tait live in Alabama. I enjoy all sorts of hands o...

This is an instructable on how to make an extremely simple mini cold air fan and alternative to cooling off. This will help you to recycle & reuse some stuff you have rather than throwing it away and it ending up in a landfill somewhere. You more than likely you already have all the items laying around that are needed for this project and I have made this to be so simple that anyone could do it. This is a pretty good thing to have , especially if you happen to be the only one wanting to cool down in the room. You can also use this to help keep something cool be it food all the way to electronics. I know there are others out there people have done before this one but again I tried to make this fan in its most simple form. 

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Step 1: Gather Your Materials

First thing you want to do is gather up the materials that are gonna be needed for this quick and easy project. 
  1. Small sized cylinder container. I used a plastic protein shake container.
  2. Plastic water bottle
  3. Battery - mine is a 6V NiMH rechargeable battery from a RC truck.
  4. Fan from a computer 
  5. A few small screws 
  6. Electrical tape
  7. Ice packs
  8. X -acto blade, Razor 
  9. velcro
This picture  only shows the three main components here but the others are needed as well.

Step 2: Cut Holes in Lid and Container

     After you get all of your materials gathered you want to go ahead and set your fan you have found and set in on top of the lid and cut a hole out of the lid to match the size of the fan. After cutting this hole out go ahead and attach your fan to the top of the lid with either some small screws or maybe you just want to glue it up there, anything to make the fan stay in place. Don't forget when hooking the fan to the lid you want to have the fan facing so that it is pulling in from outside and blowing it into the container. 
     Next you want to take your water bottle and trace an outline of the bottom of it onto your container.At this point you want to go ahead and cut out the bottom and top of your bottle, as well as the hole that you traced into your container. Go ahead and put the bottle into the hole and tape in into place.

Step 3: Hook Your Battery and Lid On

     Next you can attach your battery to your container. This part is optional if you want to keep your battery free or connected in some other way it would't hurt anything. I just used some velcro straps to hook the battery to the container so that it would be hooked , but I could still take it off to be able to recharge it as well. 
     Depending on the lid you may have to attach it back on somehow, fortunately mine was able to still screw on and off of the container which comes in handy. To hook the battery to the fan  I just use some electrical tape to hold the wires from the fan to the battery leads. Again I am doing it this way to keep it simple so that anyone can do this and not have any problems with it. 

Step 4: Fill With Ice Packs and Enjoy

     The last thing left to do it get some ice packs that have been sitting in the freezer and set them down into your container. I filled mine with some ice cubes as well as the ice packs to help out. The good thing about the ice packs is that you aren't wasting any water by reusing the ice packs. Truthfully you could always re-freeze the water from the ice cubes when they melt ,either they will both work fine. 

     Now all that is left to do after filling it with the ice packs and ice is to hook the fan up to the battery and enjoy the nice refreshing cool air of your new mini cold air fan. I hope someone out there enjoys this. As with any of my instructables all comments and criticism are welcomed and wanted. Now save some of those plastics from a landfill and build you some mini cold air fans. 

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    56 Discussions


    3 years ago

    What other kinds of batteries can I use? Can I use a small one or does it have to be a big one?


    4 years ago

    we're do the razor blades go.


    4 years ago

    thank you for this instructable I will make this and share my fan!
    also can you use a D cell battery instead of a 6


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    The battery that I used was old and it last maybe an hour or so , but if you had a new battery or had one hooked to a solar panel then it could last a pretty decent time. Time would also depend on the fan that you use.


    5 years ago

    I am not as adventurous in my camping anymore. I would like to see an Instructable for a solar powered version to take camping. I do not tolerate sleeping in a stuffy hot tent anymore!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    A solar powered one wouldn't be that hard to make really just hook a small panel to the battery to give it a contant trickle charge


    5 years ago on Introduction

    We have a lot of old computer fans around, and I intend to build several of these to use when the power is out after a hurricane. Getting ice is no problem then, and I freeze it in gallon jugs for our cooler anyway. That's probably the only time I'd use this, but when you need it you need it, such as in the Florida heat and humidity after a hurricane when it is unbearably hot. Last time I didn't have a dry stitch on for 5 days.

    See the last picture. The power plug is a 4 Pin (Molex). So using a 4 pin to 3 pin, you can skip the rewiring and just plug it in. But no longer mobile though.

    I made the unit out of a folgers coffee plastic can. Works well with a high CFM 120 MM fan.


    6 years ago on Step 4

    If you have one of those external usb to sata/ide kits, you can use that to power the fan with a Molex to 3 converter. Saves on batteries.

    1 reply

    that might be an idea. Thanks for checking this out and taking the time to comment . Im not too familiar with what you're talking about but it surely sounds good enough to look into. Thanks again

    It's a good idea, mobile and convenient. However, aren't you just transferring cold energy which was produced with a freezer/refrigerator? How does this qualify as "Green"?

    7 replies

    Depending on where it's used, this could be very green. People using this in their car or truck would find that they would end up saving gas. Car engines are not optimized for generating electricity, or running the A/C compressor. The electrical grid is optimized for efficiency (at least in comparison to a car's engine), so this would save you money and result in burning less fossil fuels, even in those areas where coal is used in electricity generation.

    That is true yes, however it's saving the plastics and fan from ending up in a landfill. it uses far less energy than a fan you run from an outlet or cutting on an AC unit. Every little bit counts, don't you think? And nearly everyone has a freezer so why not make the most use out of it you can. You could also easily integrate solar power to charge the battery as well, and hopefully it makes people think of how they can reuse stuff they have. Of course recycling is always an option.Thanks for taking the time to check this out and thanks for the comment and questions.

    I think a solar charger would be great. I run my PC off of a few large panels and an amp+Battery bank. But I don't think you'd need a massive solar panel for your project. Solar pipe (Oil and/or salt) + Peltier + Your design - (Minus) the ice = pwnage. You could use the heat from the solar pipe to power the Peltier, which powers the fan AND gets freezing cold on the negative side (Is it negative? I might be wrong) so you wouldn't need ice. Question it possible? Also if you direct airflow straight up, you'll be forcing cold air to raise and mingle with the warm air, cooling your room considerably faster =)

    They are pretty cheap online, like 10-15$ I think. I've never bought one, always had one laying around from a mini-fridge or something that I've gotten from back when I worked at coca-cola. There's also some DIY projects and instructables on how to use them to convert heat into electricity.