This 3D Printed “Bladeless” Fan Gets It Done Cheap

Not long after Dyson unveiled their “bladeless” fan, a fairly steady stream of ever cheaper clones have been hitting the market. But this 3D printed version created by [Elite Worm] must surely be one of the most budget-friendly takes on the concept. If you’ve got a 3D printer, we’d wager you’ve already got most of the parts required to build your own.

See, there’s a blade.

To be clear, of course there’s a blade. They aren’t magic, obviously. The fan is just small, and hidden inside the base. Air is pulled from the sides and bottom, and into the ring mounted to the top of the unit. When the air eventually exits the thin slit in the ring, it “sticks” to the sides due to the Coandă effect and produces a low pressure zone in the center. That’s all a fancy way of saying that the air flow you get from one of these gadgets is several times greater than what the little dinky fan would be capable of under normal circumstances. That’s the theory, anyway.

We can’t promise that all the physics are working as they should in this 3D printed version, but in the video after the break it certainly appears to be moving a considerable amount of air. It’s also quite loud, but that’s to be expected given it’s using a brushless hobby motor. To get it spinning, [Elite Worm] is using a Digispark ATtiny85 connected to a standard RC electronic speed control (ESC). The MCU reads a potentiometer mounted to the side of the fan and converts that to a PWM signal required by the ESC.

Beyond the electronics, essentially every piece of this project has been printed on a standard desktop 3D printer. An impressive accomplishment, though we probably would have gone with a commercially available propeller for safety’s sake. On the other hand, the base of the fan should nicely contain the shrapnel created should it explode at several thousand RPM. Probably.

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Wood-Turning A Bladeless Fan

It’s a simple enough premise: to make a Dyson-style bladeless fan out of wood. The execution of the finished fan, done and filmed by [Neil] from Pask Makes on YouTube, is however spectacular. Using nothing but scrap wood from a chopping board business local to him, he’s made the entire body of the fan using some interesting fabrication methods.

To plan the circular design of the body, [Neil] used an online calculator to measure the specific cuts of wood he needed in order to form cylinders out of trapezoidal sections glued together. Once the rough shape is made, he then used a profile template to turn the air channel with precision out of the two main parts of the fan body. Then, he uses SketchUp in order to figure out what shape needs to be cut from the base in order for the top to fit on it. From there, it’s just a matter of drilling out slots for the air intake, which he does so with an ingenious custom jig, and fitting the internals of a standard fan into the new wooden body.

The video, which you should definitely watch after the break if you have a spare half hour, might not be detailed enough to be used as a tutorial, but it certainly outlines his methods and the tools used well enough to impress us. And the finished build is beautiful to look at, too! If you’re looking for more impressive woodworking, we’ve covered this gorgeous recreation of a Commodore 64 case in wood. But if the hand-built nature of that doesn’t satisfy you, here’s a professional-looking custom caliper case made with CNC and laser engraving.

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The Legacy Of One Of Science’s Brightest Stars: Freeman Dyson

Of the many well-known names in science, few have been as reluctant to stick to one particular field as Freeman John Dyson. Born in the UK in 1923, he showed a great interest in mathematics and related fields even as a child. By the time he was 15 he had won a scholarship at Trinity College, in Cambridge, where he studied mathematics. Though the war forced him to work at the Air Force’s Operational Research Section (ORS), afterwards he would return to Trinity to get his BA in mathematics.

His subsequent career saw him teaching at universities in the UK and US, before eventually ending up at Cornell University, where he joined the Institute for Advanced Study at the invitation of its head, J. Robert Oppenheimer. Here he would meet up with such people as Richard Feynman with whom he would work on quantum electrodynamics.

Beyond mathematics and physics, Dyson would also express great interest in space exploration — with Dyson spheres being well-known — and genetics, both in the context of the first formation of life and in genetic manipulation to improve plants to deal with issues today. He also worked on the famous Project Orion, which used nuclear bombs for propulsion.

In this article we’ll take a look at these and other parts of Mr. Dyson’s legacy, as well as the influence of his works today.

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The Dyson Awards Definitely Do Not Suck

Named after British inventor James Dyson of cyclonic vacuum cleaner fame, the Dyson Awards are presented annually to current and recent students of engineering, industrial design, and product design, regardless of age. Students from 27 countries work alone or in groups to describe their inventions, which are then judged for their inventiveness, the production feasibility of their design, and the overall strength of the entry itself.

Much like our own Hackaday Prize, the Dyson Awards encourage and highlight innovation in all areas of science and technology. Some ideas help the suffering individual, and others seek to cure the big problems that affect everyone, like the microplastics choking the oceans. The Hackaday spirit is alive and well in these entries and we spotted at least one Hackaday prize alum — [Amitabh]’s Programmable Air. I had fun browsing through everything on offer, and you will too. This is a pretty good source of design inspiration.

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Dyson Engineers’ Hacks Traverse Robot Obstacle Course


These guys are all engineers who are employed by Dyson. They’re holding remote control creations made from Dyson parts. This time around the object of the challenge was to build a bot based on a the Dyson ball and race it through an obstacle course.

This sort of thing is right up our alley, but unlike the last time Dyson engineers shrugged off the daily grind to hack their own hardware, this doesn’t show off nearly enough of the festivities. Sure the pair of videos embedded after the break make a great trailer for the event, but we would love to have seen 90 seconds devoted to each of the entries. Alas, you do get to see most of the winning unit’s obstacle course run which includes a distance route, navigating through rough terrain, and negotiating a high path where falling off the edge is a real threat.

Maybe the engineers themselves will post details about their own builds like the contestants in Sparkfun’s autonomous vehicle contest do.

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Racing With Dyson’s Spare Parts

When it comes time to unwind at the Dyson design facility these engineers know how to do it right. Recently, the company challenged their engineers to a grown-up version of the Pinewood Derby in which they raced their own cars powered by a Dyson motor.

The video after the breaks shows a large collection of these time trials on a track made from upturned wooden pallets. Most of the vehicles are made from parts which we don’t recognize. But some of them are very familiar like our favorite hand dryer ever (seen above) and the iconic goldenrod manifold from the Dyson ball vacuum cleaner.

The course ends abruptly, as you can see in the last run of the video. There is one entry that included a human rider and he seems to be going nearly as fast as the riderless carriages are. The video cuts away before he hits the wall, but we can’t image he had the time to include brakes in that design.

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Beer Mini-kegs Turned Into A Cyclonic Dust Collector

[Darrell] made his own cyclonic dust separator which connects to a shop vac. We’re amused by his poke at Dyson’s marketing machine where he mentions that the ads say it took years to perfect those vacuum cleaners and he managed to put his together in a few hours…. from trash/recyclables no less!

Two mini-kegs are used as the separating vessel. The only other parts are some PVC plumbing fittings which help to direct the air and give him a way to attach the collector to the shop vac. The top keg is where all of the magic happens. Air and debris is sucked in through the hose coming in the side wall. A 45 degree elbow directs it downward and to the side, which starts the cyclonic action. The shop vac is attached to the tube in the top, with a cylinder extending into the keg. The spinning air must make a sharp turn to get into that cylinder; it’s at this point the debris drops out into the lower keg. See for yourself in the clip after the break.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen dust collectors that use this concept. [Darrell] pointed out this one made out of plastic cups, and this other made from a 5-gallon bucket.

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