My spring break entertainment: monstrous computer fan

By aaron.axvig, 19 March, 2007

My brother and I took apart a microwave this past weekend.  They are surprisingly simple inside--just a capacitor, microwave emitter, circuit board and a really big fan.

All right, maybe it's not that BIG, but it is pretty cool.  It's actually a blower (alright, two blowers).  As such, it is lots more nifty than just having 15 120mm fans spread out in your case like some LAN party freak.  And my dad just happened to have brought home an old computer from work that he only wanted the hard drive from, so I had a case to hack apart.

One hour of measuring and Dremel work later, I had something that actually looked pretty decent.  As for powering the fan, it appears to run off of 120VAC.  So I hacked a notch in the case to allow passage of a power cable (of course I borrowed the old power cable from the microwave) and powered it up. 

Pros

  • Extremely high airflow.
  • Easier than water cooling.
  • Cheap (two wire nuts for about $0.20)
  • More 1337 than a Linux tattoo on your forehead.

Cons

  • Extremely loud.
  • Smells like a weird mixture of all the greasy food someone has cooked in their microwave over the past 15 years.
  • Is poorly placed in case, resulting in a lot of sucking and blowing but it's all in the wrong spots.
  • Blocks anything resembling a normal size add-in card.
  • Probably generates large and powerful magnetic fields inside the computer case.
  • Idles at 3+ amps.  In other terms, it easily burns 360 watts.

I haven't actually tested to see if the computer functions with this thing inside (I don't think there would be any problems other than magnetic fields, but I doubt even that will be an issue).  Here are some obligatory pictures:

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