USB Power Fan Cooled, Built in USB Hub, Laptop Bag Part 1




Laptop Bags are expensive. the cheap ones are total crap. The barely decent ones start at like $69.99 and I have a hard time spending that kinda money when it isn't exactly what I want in the first place, so I decided to do it myself and see what I could come up with. This is what happened.

This is part one of 2. I took a bunch of pics and I will for part 2 as well but this is only a half done project. I hope to be able to finish it and post the 2nd part by thursday Oct. 25th 2007. This is also my first instructable so I'll do the best I can.

enjoy!.... ( or at least don't laugh to hard)

Cost: if you have the junk around then it's free, if you have to buy stuff maybe $20 at most
Difficulty: its pretty easy, but to make the final product look pro it can get a little frustrating

This Project is approx. %90 recycled materials

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Stuff Your Gonna Need

your going to need a few tools to do this...... probably some I might not mention but work better for you but heres my list

- Utility Knife
- Glue gun
- Phillips Screw driver (maybe others)
- Wire cutters/strippers
- I used a cordless drill a few times as well but they probably could have been done with other tools and I soldered my connections together but you could use crimp connectors or if you really wanted electrical tape

- The box your laptop came in or similar style box ...... better if its bigger then your laptop...... the hinged top style box with close flaps
- A full roll of Duct tape
- glue sticks for your glue gun
- a USB cable (if you don't have one to cut go to the dollar store and buy one for a buck)
- reusable grocery bags (They sell them for a buck each at the Zehers - in Canada I'm sure other places have em too..... there made of a recycled cloth)
- 2 CPU fans from an old computer (I had a couple lying around.... make sure there the old ones with just the black and red wires - ask around for them I'm sure sombody that has intrest in computers probably has a couple useless old ones lying around)
- A generic USB hub fairly small is best
- some type of foam padding (I used both bed lining pad the you can get cheap..... I stole a chunk from my bad lol....... and I used a small piece of under carpet pading I had in the shed)
- a switch ON/OFF style of any kind

Step 2: Get Started

1. Cut off the flaps on the box but leave about half the flap width wise on the sides

2. place you fans in the center of the box ( roughly center to where your laptop will sit spaced evenly) trace the INSIDE of the fan to mark where to cut Exaust holes leaving a lip to sucre the fan too.

3. Cut out holes and re-enforce with duct tape

4. Re- enforce the rest of the box with a layer of duct tape (this is to make it stand up to day-to-day use) this can get tedious and boring

5. Use sharpie to kind of map out your hardware

Step 3: Components

6. strip end of wires on both fans so there is exposed wire on red and black wires on both fans

7. line up your fans in there spot and mark the screw holes. I drilled out these holes woth mycordless......made it cleaner and neater. secure fans with a couple small bolts each.

8. find a place for a switch in the box and secure it in. (I used a round push button, so I just drilled a hole and pushed it through the side of the box

9. cut one end of a usb cord leaving the computer USB male end intact. expose the four wires inside, find the positive and negative wires usually black and red. (it was blue and red on the one I used). once you have the pos and neg cut the other 2 flush with the protective wrap and strip the pos and neg wires to expose the wire.

10. connect the red wires of the fans together as well as the black wires. connect the black wire from the USB cord to the black wires on the fans and secure together (use whatever I used a little solder). connect one side of the switch to the red wires on the fans and secure connect the red wire from the usb cord to the other side of the switch and secure. hide all the wires and connections under some duct tape.

Step 4: USB Hub and Laptop Tray/component Hider

11. place your USB hub in the spot you want it and trace it out. cut a hole for this (best on the side near your fan switch) re- enforce the hole with duct tape.

12. use which ever method you prefer to tightly secure the USB hub to the box with the connection slots on the outside of the box

13. cut a piece of foam to fit the bottom of your box, making sure to cut out around your fans. place in box snugly making sure usb connections are sticking out.

14. find a piece of cardboard big enough to cover the entire bottom of your box. cut holes for your fans and a notch for your wires and Re-enforce with a layer of duct tape

Step 5: The Covering and Padding

15. cut out a piece of foam to fit on your shelf with the fan holes cut out. make it match the cardboard piece you just made (I used the carpet foam for this because it was much thinner)

16. THIS IS WHERE CRAFTMANSHIP MATTERS. THE NEXT STEPS WILL DETERMINE THE VISUAL ATTRACTIVENESS OR ASTHETICS OF YOUR FINISHED BAG. Cut one of the grocery bags in an attractive way to cover the foam and cardboard this will hold the foam on as well as be the platform for your laptop. use glue gun to glue down all of the edges making sure to pull the fabric tight to avoid wrinkles and make it look good.

17. cut pieces to glue around the sides of the box. remember the inside of the box will later have the tray in it to cover the inside of the box. From this point until the 2nd part it is a matter of cutting the bags and glueing them to the box to form a nice look and make it start to look like a bag. take your time and make sure your seems line up and the whole box is cover by fabric.

Step 6: Until Part 2

Well thats all I got so far. I will get part 2 out ASAP. Part 2 will include finishing the covering, making straps and bag closers, a strap to secure laptop, exterior pouches and additional finishing touches. I'm also hoping to include a USB powered LED light that is built into the lid with an on/off switch.

hope you enjoyed so far


P.S. if anyone has a suggestion I should try and include for the final bag post soon. I'll start finishing on monday probably so if you can get them to me before then and it seems like a solid idea I'll try and work it in

Be the First to Share


    • Assistive Tech Contest

      Assistive Tech Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest

    17 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 1

     Hey I have a question. I am trying to wire fans to a powered USB hub. I have a D-link hub that is powered. However, It requires that I plug the hub into a working PC. Does the hub you use require a PC connection to supply power to the USB ports? If so could you give me the manufacturer and model. It needs to be a powered hub not powered through USB.

    Note: On the D-link I can plug it into a pc, then the 4 ports green up, then i can un-plug it and they stay green. I however need this to be done without a PC. I tried looping the data back on itself on the PC in side of the hub. No dice.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

    I'm not entirely sure what your asking. You want it battery powered?

    battery power would be easy.

    The power has to come from somewhere.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

     I'm asking if there is a hub that is not "smart". The hub I have is powered, "non PC, WALL" and i am asking if there is a "dumb" one, still WALL but supplies power to all 4 ports. 

    Basically again, the hub that I have requires that I connect it to a PC to power the 4 ports on it. If i do not have a PC it does not power those 4 ports... I want something that doesn't care if I walked through a fire, it just powers 4 USB ports through "wall" power.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You could solve your problem placing a resistor, between the DATA+ & DATA- of the USB Hub... so it thinks that there is some data flowing, and it has to send power trough the ports.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Just had to comment on this: "The barely decent ones start at like $69.99" I live in Sweden, where I end up paying far more for electronics over here than I ever did when living in the States. Anyhow, I've picked up a really good USB powered laptop cooler for a third of the price you mention decent ones being priced at. I've even picked up a more mediocre one at under 10 bucks - both of these which were purchased brand new. I know it looks better for the instructable to say you are building something for much cheaper than it would cost you to buy it, but I think that is quite a bit exaggerated. Maybe you just aren't shopping at the right places. Try ebay and you can find good ones for less than $20. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for doing it yourself and the fun in building and learning things on your own. But I can't help but feel that the price as a reason to do it yourself isn't quite as it's made out to be here.

    2 replies

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea, love it. I'm gonna make one with stands like the ones on a keyboard so it would stand at an angle instead of just flat on the surface. That way the fans would be much more effective and it would be easier to type and all that.

    logic bomb

    12 years ago on Introduction

    there are so many things I could say to this.... fan cooled?, USB Hub?, man if it wasn't halloween I don't think I could hold back right now. But I'll be nice. Lap top bags really do make it so easy. but props for the craftsmanship.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Wait... Is the cloth covering just held on by hot glue? If so, that won't last you long. And cardboard won't either. No matter how much duct tape you put on it, it will still get bent easily. The time to make this bag (judging by the partially finished instructable) isn't really worth how long it will last you. To start improving it, I would get a better base material. I probably wouldn't even use a rigid material. A lot of bags are just made of cloth and padding.

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    ya the cloth is held on by hot glue which adheres to the cloth very well and very well to the duct tape too. The duct tape makes the cardboard more sturdy but your right its not gonna be concrete. it would probably take me about 5 hours from start to finish with an instructable but since I'm making it up as I go along and I ran out of glue sticks it has made it require more time. I would have the second part up sooner but I work 6 days a week so I only had about 4 hours one day to work on it and I plan on having it finished my next day off in about 4 hours. it was worth it to me because although it won't last me forever I do excpect it to last a year or 2 if I take reasonable care for it, I enjoy making things and #1 reason it is totally free for me..... I had all the parts and supplies lying around. its something fun to make and if you put some care into it its a useable laptop bag with some extras.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    A fair bit. I mean is no super cooling station but it allows things to run smoothly inside the bag without overheating. it basically just helps things out. if your in need of a more serious cooling system I'd suggest just replacing the fans with a better idea. but thats what I came up with to ease my mind about running a laptop stil inside the bag