Fans Project

I recently got this nice new desk. It's kind of big, but I like it pretty good, and it holds all of my stuff. It also has a nice little cabinet over on the left side, pictured here next to my pretty computer:

This is the cabinet

And the cabinet is just the right size to fit my small, cute computer:

This is the computer

But, there's a problem (as usual). The little cabinet is totally un-ventilated. And while the small computer has only a 650MHz Athlon CPU in it, not a real heat powerhouse, placing the computer into a small eclosed space and letting it run for more than, say, 5 minutes resulted in quite blistering temparatures. I supposed I could have just put the small computer elsewere, but then I would be left with this basically useless portion of my desk. It doesn't have any shelves or anything in it, it's a very inconvenient shape, and it's not in a very good place. So, I decided to fix it! After a little bit of shopping, I assembled all of the tools and parts I would need to happily ventilate my computer cabinet:

A collection of tools

And then, I went and got a few more that I had forgotten:

A smaller collection of other tools

As you can see, I decided to put 2 fans into the cabinet -- one in the front, blowing air in, and another in the back, to blow hot air out. I decided to install the front fan first. Step one, drill holes for the bolts:

Some holes

And then I mounted the fan on the outside of the door, to make sure it would fit properly:

The fan, dry-mounted

Everything looked OK, so I took the fan off and drilled some ventilation holes at the location where the fan would eventually be:

A ton of holes

Resulting a nice pile of sawdust:

A ton of sawdust

Then I mounted the fan into its final position on the inside of the front door:

The fan, mounted

And this is what it looks like with the door closed:

The fan, mounted, again

And then I repeated the steps to install the back fan. First, drilling the bolt holes and ventilation holes in the back board:

A bunch more holes

Resulting in another nice pile of sawdust:

A bunch more sawdust

Now, in order to attach the fans to the wood, I used nuts and bolts. When installing the front fan, it was relatively easy for me to hold the nut with a wrench in one hand, and drive the bolt with my drill in the other hand. However, in order to install the back fan, I needed a second pair of hands to do one half of the operation:

Two hands

(Note the mostly-complete lego castle in the background.) With a little help, the back fan is securely mounted:

Yet another fan

Now that everything is attached, all that's left is to provide electricity to all components. I started by splicing the bare ends of the wire from the front fan to the power cord:

Wires and a bunch of tape

And then I mounted the wires to the door and the side wall of the cabinet, to make sure they won't pull loose when the door opens and closes:

Wires and a bunch of nails

As you may have noticed, the other fan already had a plug attached to it. This was the result of my experimenting with the clip-on plugs and not knowing that they don't come off once they've been put on. In any case, after finishing the wiring on the front fan, I attached the two fans to an extension cord to complete the inner-cabinet wiring:

A bunch of wires

And then I attached that wire to the power junction for the rest of my computer gear:

A plug

Which was also attached to a switch:

A switch

And that's about it; I now have 2 fans mounted inside of my computer cabinet, which can be turned on or off with a switch on my desk. Before the fans were there, running the small computer for more than 5 minutes caused unbearable heat to build up in the small space. Now, with the fans running, the cabinet reaches steady state of temperature in about a half hour, and while it's still certainly warmer than room temperature, it's in no way a problem.

And finally, while taking photos around my desk area, I thought it would be fun to take a picture of another little fan-related thing that I once did. Here's my fun and exciting 8-ball fan:

A neat fan

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