DollarFan – What could you do?

Craft & Design

Enlightenment in the checkout line. After forgetting the liter of olive oil that I went to the store to get and had to return for, I saw on my return trip, down on the bottom shelf of the rack in the chute to the register was a ratty box of beat up plastic fans. Summer is long gone, so they were marked down to $1. Cheap enough to grab two and chuck them onto the conveyor belt. With the oil and a few other shiny objects that I had missed on my previous run.

On the way home, I realized that these little fans might just be a gold mine. A dc motor would cost about a buck, a battery pack with a switch, the same, and a hub for the shaft of the motor that you could attach a wheel to might just be hard to make quickly. Action packed with lots of features and priced to move. The personal fan, battery pack, motor holder, hub, what could you do with this if you had a dozen? two dozen? a hundred? a thousand? What kind of projects come to mind? I was thinking little car, attach a cd to the hub, but there are other ideas as well. What are the ideas you think of when you see these? Certainly they could be used to explore fluids and movement of air. How about cooling and thermodynamics? Screw into the plastic, and you have a mountable system. Hack into the switch, and turn it on and off based on a sensor with an Arduino.

Just what could you do with these? Have you tried any projects with them? Do you have any in a drawer in your house? Do they have them at the local junk store/gas station/thrift shop/lost and found?Try out some projects with these little fans. Make some pictures and post them in the Make Flickr pool. Make a video, post it online and use the tag dollarfan
Post your ideas in the comments and lets see what we can come up with!

10 thoughts on “DollarFan – What could you do?

  1. Beardy says:

    …buy a hundred or more, stick ’em in a drawer, fish ’em out next summer and sell ’em for TWO dollars.

  2. SteveG says:

    This gives me a few ideas for a Rube Goldberg-ish music machine.

  3. Chris Connors says:

    And just how many would be left over come spring? With that many, wouldn’t they call out to you from your supply closet? “hack me…hack me! Hack Meee!!!” You wouldn’t be able to sleep with a hundred little voices calling out to be hacked into some crazy thing.

    Definitely a Rube Goldberg ingredient. What parts are most attractive? Battery holder? Motor holder? Switch? Air mover? water mover? Something else?

    At 3 volts in its current configuration, it could take power from the usb port as well. So it could be converted into a computer powered contraption.

    Thanks for your ideas!


  4. td says:

    The soft fan blades could be used to excite a string, bell, or skin on a musical instrument. Spinning things? Looks like POV display material to me. Take out the motor and use the empty space to make a shocker. Add a paddle and use it to stir drinks.

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