How to Convert An Old Coffee Can Into A Portable Fan That Will Keep You Cool All Summer

Making a cooling can out of a plastic coffee can

Staying cool in summer heat is so important, but it can also be so expensive. Not everybody’s lucky enough to have central air conditioning, and those of us who do have it then have to deal with the cost of all that extra electricity. Plus, stores tend to jack up the prices of everything from window units to fans just when we need them the most. While the cost can be worth it, sometimes you just want a little extra cooling boost without buying yet another appliance. One creative and crazy-cool option? A “cool can,” coming to us from the mind of Kipkay. He’s turning a coffee can and rescued computer parts into a powerful little fan that can keep you cool while you work. Here’s how he does it.

COOL CAN

MATERIALS

  • Plastic coffee canister, cleaned
  • Grill, from the back of an old computer (or blank CD, or plastic container top, or anything similar), cut to fit the coffee can
  • Small computer fan
  • 2 – 9-volt battery clips
  • Solder
  • Heat-shrink tubing
  • Old USB cable
  • Ice cubes
  • Plastic zip-top bag

DIRECTIONS

  1. Carefully drill holes all the way around the bottom of the coffee can.
  2. Use hot glue to install the grill on the inside of the can. It should rest slightly above the drilled holes.
  3. Carefully cut the connector off the fan. Install one of the 9-volt battery clips using solder and heat-shrink tubing.
  4. Use an x-acto knife, razor or scissors to cut a circular hole in the coffee can lid.
  5. Hot glue the fan in place over the hole, paying attention to the arrows on its side that show the direction of the air flow. You want the air to “come out of the can up into your face,” so make sure the arrows are pointing up.
  6. Clip the ends off of the USB cable. Save the red and black wires, which are power and ground.
  7. Solder the other 9-volt battery clip to the USB cable, flipping the red and black wires.
  8. Place the ice cubes in the plastic bag, and put the plastic bag into the can.
  9. Connect the “cool can” to power by either plugging in the USB cord and connecting the two battery clips, or by attaching a 9-volt battery directly to the fan’s clip.
  10. Enjoy the air!

Pretty “cool,” right?! If you have an old coffee can and computer parts available, Kipkay says this project can take as little as $2.00 to make! As always, be careful, especially when you’re doing that soldering part, but if you have the materials and the skills, this project could be a great alternative to buying yet another fan. Be sure to watch Kipkay’s tutorial to really see each step in action, and tell us if you give this one a try!