If you're looking for a way to cool off your garage or workshop this summer, look no further. Like most people, I don't have an air conditioned space to build projects. So I'm always looking for ways to keep it somewhat cool in the summer. I came across a couple of these big fans the other day, and I heard this guy call them "squirrel cages." I'm not gonna lie, the squirrel cages bit really intrigued me as much as anything else. I couldn't shake the image of a squirrel in a tiny prison cell from my mind. Anyways, I just had to bring one home and give it a chance to cool off my garage.
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Step 1: Get Wired Up and Test It
The squirrel cage that I acquired was not wired up, so I grabbed a standard power cord with three prongs as you can see in the picture. I simply kept the end that goes in the outlet and cut off the other end. The power cord has three wires and the fan had two wires. So I just left the green wire alone, then tested the remaining two wires until I figured out which ones worked together. Then I twisted them together and soldered them together. I wrapped the wire in some heat shrink tubing to try and protect it over time, but electrical tape will do just fine.
Remember to test the fan and make sure it's working before you move on.
Step 2: Build the Box
I came across this half sheet of plywood that I decided to build my box out of. After carefully measuring (yeah right) for every single cut, I cut the plywood in half to make it easier to handle. Then I cut all my pieces at 45 degrees, so the box would have mitered corners. I used a 90 degree clamp that I have to glue up the pieces then I shot in a few brad nails in each joint to hold them together while the glue dried.
I wanted to add some splines to the miters to reinforce them and give it a little bit nicer look.
Step 3: Adding Spines to the Miters
I put together a super simple spline jig for my table saw and carefully ran my box through the blade. I cut slots for four splines down the length of the long joint. Then I cut a thin piece of cherry that would fit in those slots. After gluing them in place, I let them sit for an hour or so before cutting them flush with the surface of the box.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
I added a little piece of pegboard to the front, to hang certain things that are always nice to have nearby, scissors for example. Then I sanded the whole thing down, just to knock off any splinters that were hanging around. I added a coat of shellac all the way around to seal it. Then I added a magnetic strip to the side, for a place to hang the tools that I'm currently using on a project.
That's all I've got for this one. Have a good one, and stay cool out there!