Brandon PDR Post



For this project I am planning of building a bladeless fan. You may have seen fans like the one featured above. dyson is a company that makes many unique products. I like the smooth curves in conjunction with simply geometries that give their products a modern aesthetic. For my project I will attempt to utilize the technology to make a similar product, but I want to experiment with the aesthetic.

In order to make this product I will have to design a frame with the desired contours, and attach it to a fan/compressor. To achieve the required dimensions, and any internal structures, It is clear that 3D printing will be required. Since it is too expensive, material wise, to print a full scale table fan. I think I will tray my hand at making a hand held fan at first. This will allow me to experiment with the technology, while maintaining a reasonable budget for this project.

An example of a hand held bladeless fan is shown below.


In order for this product to successfully function, there are some design goals I would like to achieve.

  • The product must amplify the flow to a point noticeably greater than that of the original fan or compressor.
  • The product must be small enough to fit inside a pocket or purse.
  • The product must be able to run off a reasonable power source, AA batteries.
  • The product must be light, no more than 1.5 lb.

Additional goals I would like to achieve are as follows.

  • The product will operate quietly.
  • The product will have a modular design so that the shape of the head can be changed.


I would like to achieve a smooth look to this product. I think it is important that the shape of the fan be ergonomic to improve comfort when handling the device. In addition to this smooth look I would like the head of the product to be more interesting than a circle or ellipse. It may sacrifice functionality, but I believe it would allow for more customization of the product making it more personal.

This has already been done with larger table fans. Some bladeless fans can come in the shapes of hearts or apples, as shown below. I would like to implement this concept into my design and create a hand held fan with interesting shapes.

Initial Design


I have an initial concept of what the design will require. I need to purchase a miniature fan and build around that to get the baseline for the structure I want. From Home Depot I found a replacement motor for some ceiling fans. It may be small enough for my purposes, possibly slightly too big based on the picture below. The issue is it looks like it runs off a power outlet. I need the motor to be able to run with portable batteries, preferably AA or 9V batteries.

I will have to keep looking for other options for the motor. One possible solution I can look into is just buying a DC motor, and printing the fan blades for the motor. This will give me greater control over the design.

Estimated Cost

Currently I do not know exact prices on this project. I do not know exactly how much material will be printed. I can only estimate the price based on what my requirements entail. I am currently setting my budget for this project to $150.

The 3D printer I may end up using is the Objet30 printer. The material this printer uses costs $0.50/gram and the filler material costs $0.20/gram so it can get pretty expensive. I may try to prototype with the cheaper printers, and perhaps not use the Objet printer altogether if it is too expensive.

Below is the breakdown of what I need to buy.

  • Printed frame: ~$120
  • DC motor: $5
  • Fan blade attachment: ~$5
  • AA battery case: $2
  • 2x AA batteries: $1

Total: $133

The price of the printed frame could vary greatly depending on the printer I choose to use, and how I design my part.



Probably the greatest challenge I face is designing a frame for the motor and the batteries which contains the required flow paths. Other challenges I may face are how the motor and the batteries will remain self contained.



Week 1 – Source a viable motor and fan

Week 2 – Design a structure to house the motor and provide flow paths.

Week 3 – Continue Design and receive feedback from a 3D printing specialist

Week 4 (Break) – Finalize Design

Week 5 – Print the frame

Week 6 – Assemble and Test

Week 7 – Design improvements/Redesign if necessary

Week 8 – Continued design iteration

Week 9 – Final report and presentation.

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Brandon PDR Post […]

  • This is a really cool project. Are you concerned about vibrations from the motor while someone is using it? Are you also considering making the device rechargeable in some way also?

  • Great aesthetic. Amplify the flow might be a little tough; only do so after you finalise your structure. Different shapes are cool, you can get a lot of round shapes. Maybe experiment with mud or sheet metal forming before 3D printing.

  • This is really cool. I have always wanted one of the dyson fans because they look so cool and unique, but they are very expensive. The handheld version is a great way to do the same project, and will lower manufacturing time, design constraints complexity, and costs I would recommend looking at outsourcing your 3-D printing to see if there is a cheaper alternative to the ITLL.

  • It’s a good idea to keep it small and light. It’s also a good idea to design around the motor, vs trying to find a motor to fit the design. It might be a good idea to print with the low resolution printer/use clay to develop first round cases, and then use the Objet to complete the frame design when it’s ready.

  • Samantha Maierhofer
    March 4, 2016 12:49 pm

    Really cool project idea and can’t wait to see it work. The blade-less fans look like magic and have a cool aesthetic going on. It sounds like the 3D printer you pick might have a large effect on how the final design goes.

  • I have never heard of blade-less fans before. How powerful will your fan be? Any idea what the aesthetic of the frame will be?

  • A portable bladeless fan would be immensely useful! Not only would you not have to deal with an exposed or semi-exposed blade, it would look super cool as well and be a good conversation starter. Just make sure you design it so that it provides enough airflow to be useful. From an aesthetic standpoint, be sure to go wild on this. There are so many different possibilities, from the shape of the fan to the color and how it looks as an accessory. I’d go with something futuristic since bladeless fans are pretty futuristic in general, but good luck in whatever you decide on!

  • Meridith Richter
    March 4, 2016 12:47 pm

    I think the idea of being able to customize it with a personal choice of fan-head would be very appealing to a lot of people. What kind of shapes did you have in mind?


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