Red's Highly-Adjustable 3D-Printed Smart Desktop Fan Links an ESP32 to a Smartphone App via Blynk
Pseudonymous maker "Red" has showcased an Arduino-powered build that turns a simple fan, designed for cooling computers, into a fully-adjustable smart device driven by a linked mobile phone app.
"I created a wireless fan that you can fully control wirelessly using your phone," Red explains of the project. "You can rotate it left and right, tilt it up and down, control the speed of the fan and rotation, and set a start and end position of the rotation."
The fan, a simple unit designed for cooling PC equipment, is linked to an Espressif ESP32 microcontroller which uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) to control the speed — or simply turn it on and off.
A NEMA 17 stepper motor, connected to an A4988 driver, enables the fan to turn to either side, while a DS04-NFC servo motor controls its tilt — allowing the cool air to be directed almost anywhere.
"To design all the 3D models," Red adds of the fan and motor housings and the base which hides the electronics, "I used Fusion 360, and printed them using the Creality CR6 SE 3D printer."
The project extends beyond hardware, though, by offering full wireless remote control using a companion smartphone app - written using the Blynk Internet of Things (IoT) platform. "It's a very easy way to connect Arduino boards to your phone wirelessly with minimal setup," Red notes.
"I initially wanted to 3D print my own fan blades and use a DC motor for the fan," Red explains. "However, most DC motors were too loud and took away from the soothing fan noise.
I did look at the motors that were used in commercial fans, but they were either too big or too expensive for such [an] Arduino project. However, it would have been nice with custom 3D-printed fan blades as I could have experimented with different fan blade designs and observed which is more effective."
The source code, wiring diagrams, and STL files for 3D-printing are all available from Red's GitHub repository under the permissive Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.