Mark Gilbert's Blog

Science and technology, served light and fluffy.

3D-Printed Desk Fan Base

I’ve had a desk fan at home for years, but I was never happy with the base.  It was just too deep:

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That large ring pushed the fan too far out from the wall, so it was taking up way more room than I thought it should.  The fan’s existing base attached with two screws, which were easily removed:

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A little while ago, my brother got a 3D printer, and offered to print stuff for us.  All we needed to do was send him the file.  I decided it was time to try my hand at this, and see if I could come up with a better base.  The printer could handle things up to 5.5” x 5.5” x 5.5”.  That was more than enough to accommodate the height of what I had in mind, but to make the new base stable, I figured it would need to be close to the width of the fan, which was more like 8 inches.  Even if the printer could print something that large, I didn’t want to use that much filament printing a solid block of plastic.  I dug around my junk box, and found these:

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These were bendable metal straps that came with a swingset anchor kit, but they were too small to use with our new swingset.  If I turned them up on their edges, though, they could become the legs of the new base.  With that idea in hand, I fired up SketchUp to generate the 3D drawing.  Fast forward 3 hours, and I arrived at this:

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I exported this as an STL file, and emailed it to my brother.  Fast forward several hours again, and we get this:

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The top is solid.  The bottom has two channels that I hoped would allow me to insert the metal straps:

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I started by drilling out two holes that would hopefully match the fan’s base.

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They are intentionally offset because I wanted the fan to lean back a little.  Next, I cut a piece of 12-gauge solid copper wire, and bent it into a U-shape:

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The holes were just large enough to accommodate the wire, so friction would do most of the work of holding it in place:

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Next it was time to insert the new legs.  I bent the metal straps to match the V-shaped bends in the base, and worked them in gently:

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I was most worried about pieces of the plastic base snapping off if I pushed it too hard, but it remained solid. Here’s the assembled base:

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I re-attached the base to the fan, and bent the wire over to make doubly-sure it wouldn’t pull out accidentally:

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The new base didn’t look too bad:

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And it was significantly less deep than the original:

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I did notice the fan felt like it would fall backward a little too easily now, but another bend to the rear legs solved that:

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All in all, a resounding success.  3D printing got a new fan today.

Ahem.

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July 4, 2017 - Posted by | Maker Life

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