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

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.
    Making a cooling can out of a plastic coffee cankipkay
  2. Use hot glue to install the grill on the inside of the can. It should rest slightly above the drilled holes.
    Install a small grill in a coffee can to make a portable fankipkay
  3. Carefully cut the connector off the fan. Install one of the 9-volt battery clips using solder and heat-shrink tubing.
    Solder a 9-volt battery clip to a computer fankipkay
  4. Use an x-acto knife, razor or scissors to cut a circular hole in the coffee can lid.
    Cut a smooth circular hole in the lid of the coffee cankipkay
  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.
    Hot glue the computer fan to the lid of the coffee cankipkay
  6. Clip the ends off of the USB cable. Save the red and black wires, which are power and ground.
    Clip off the end of the USB cord and leave the red and black wireskipkay
  7. Solder the other 9-volt battery clip to the USB cable, flipping the red and black wires.
    Solder the USB wires to the 9-volt battery wireskipkay
  8. Place the ice cubes in the plastic bag, and put the plastic bag into the can.
    Put ice cubes in a plastic bag and put in coffee cankipkay
  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.
    Attach battery or USB to coffee can to powerkipkay
  10. Enjoy the air!
    Prop up coffee can fan on binder clips to aim airkipkay

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!