Simple Cheap DIY Cabinet Intake or Exhaust Fan.

Apprentice

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Lifetime Member
Feb 4, 2015
61
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Gardiner, N.Y.
This is a pretty cheap and easy diy cabinet fan.


Parts:


3 used 12 volt PC case fans.


1 spare USB cable.


Spare 5 volt .5 amp charger with usb port.


1 package of tie wraps purchased at home store.


1 package of shrink tubing purchased at home store.


1 package of tape foam weather stripping purchased at home store.


Electrical tape.


Other supplies:


Wire stripper.


Soldering iron and solder


.


Other option is using wire crimp connects if you dont want to buy or use soldering iron and solder.


First connect fans together with tie wraps through fan screw holes top and bottom.


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Next pull all the fan wires in one direction (your choice) and use the same screw holes to tie wrap the wires to the fan.


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I add one last tie wrap at the end.


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Cut and strip the wires evenly. At this point tin the wires. This is simply heating the wire with the iron and allowing the solder to coat or flow on to it. Alternative is to us crimp connectors. Now solder all red wires or crimp together. Do the same with the black


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Strip end of USB cable that is not going to power supply. You will see four wires. You will only need the red and the black. These are the power lines. The other two are for data. You can just clip them off close to the outer sheathing. Tin the wires if soldering.


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Before soldering or crimping cut an appropriate length of shrink tubing and slide over each red and black fan wire bundle . The length should cover the solder or crimps. Cut another length of larger diameter shrink tubing to fit over usb cable. This will protect all the wires and help reinforce the cable.


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Now solder or crimp all fan red wires to the USB cable red wire. Do the same for the black. Slide shrink tubing for each connection and heat with lighter, heat gun, hair dryer or even soldering iron till it shrinks. Now slide larger piece over all the wires and heat. I add some electrical tape at each end for a little extra protection against water intrusion.


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To mount the fan in cabinet I first trace an outline of the fan where I will place it. Then I drill a hole big enough to put a saw blade in. I use a hack saw blade with no handle. The material ( thin plywood ) was brittle and the hack saw made for a fairly smooth and easy cut.


The fan fit snugly in the opening. I then use tape foam trim insulation to further secure the fan. Has the added benefit of vibration and sound dampening.


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The reason I went with this mounting option is I wanted something I could remove easily. I know eventually these will need to be cleaned.


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I figure my total cost about 6 bucks. Even if you had to buy the fans and a 5 volt power suplly you could pick them up on fleabay or one of those asian shopping sites for about 5 dollars shipped.


This whole build including install took less than an hour to complete. I have it set to exhaust. Just flip it for intake. With some creative mounting options I am sure you could use these for other tank mounted or hood cooling options.


Regards, Rob