USB Powered Desk Fan From JUNK




Intro: USB Powered Desk Fan From JUNK

This is a small fan that you can put on your desk and is powered solely by the USB port on your computer. This can be made completely from junk and is a great first project for both USB and soldering. It is relatively easy, but some parts will take patience.

Step 1: Gather Materials

These are the parts you will need:

-Small Motor (you can get this from a portable fan)
-Fan Blades (you can also get these from a portable fan)
-USB cable (sorry, the one in the picture is different from the one used later on)
-Case (This is where you get to be creative; see step 3 for more info)


-Soldering Iron
-Knife (any kind will do; you can also use wire strippers)
-Tape (electrical tape is best, but I was out)
-Hot Glue Gun (this is not totally necessary, but it's the best thing for securing the motor)

Step 2: Prepare the USB Cable

I ended up using a different USB cable from the one in the first picture because it is probably much more like the one you will be using. Cut your cable and strip the outer insulation. There should be four or five wires. One red wire, one green wire, one white wire, and one or two black wires. You want one red and one black wire; you can cut the rest off. If you have two black wires, either one will work. Strip the ends of these two wires with a knife or a pair of wire strippers.

Step 3: Prepare the Case

For my case, I used a broken lamp, but it can be anything you want. Some other ideas are a portable fan case, a computer mouse, or even just a wooden box with some holes drilled in it. For me, "preparing the case" meant unscrewing the light bulb, cutting out the socket, removing the top of the case, and pulling out the wires. Then, I threaded my USB cable through the "tube." This was by far the hardest part and took lots of patience. Attach the motor with tape and plug it in to make sure your fan that it is working properly.

Step 4: Solder Connections

First, you need to figure out which way you want the motor to spin. Put on the fan blades temporarily and hold the wires together with your fingers or some tape. If the fan blows air backwards, switch the wires (For me, it was red on yellow, black on white). Solder the wires together and remove the blades.

Step 5: Attach Motor and Blades

I used a hot glue gun to attach the motor, but tape or another kind of glue would work, too. Be sure to attach the motor well! I cannot emphasize that enough. If the motor is not attached well, it will spin out of control, the solder connections will break, and the motor will fall off.
Once you have the motor attached, put on the blades and plug it in.

Step 6: You're Done!

Congratulations, you did it. I hope you like your new USB Powered Desk Fan!



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    17 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 3

    if you taped/tied the usb wires to the original wires and then pulled them out, you could have saved some trouble.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    i think the problem is the fact that there's no voltage limit for the motor... find out what the max voltage is for it, then put a resistor on it.. or something

    4 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I think these are 1.5v motors. Could be slightly more, but I've ran 9v through mine, and they still work, but you can't run 'em that hard for too long.

    The problem is definitely that there's no voltage limit. This is supposed to be an easy project and I didn't want to go into resistors.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Don't worry about overheating - theres a fan in front of it, and that sould create enough airflow to cool it. I like it except for the huge lamp base.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    one problem: if you leave this plugged in for 5 or more minutes my motor over heats ridiculously, other than that it works great though


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Could the over heating problem be due to the fact that some of the hot glue might be covering holes in the motor which air used to flow out of? This is a great Instructable!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    hot glue isn't my problem, i know since i didn't use any glue, instead i taped it with electrical tape. could that be a problem?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I guess anything that doesn't let air go out of the motor will overheat it. I was wondering about just mounting it with the back end, due to the fact that the air doesn't flow through the back (I have a few of these motors myself).