Winning tip: step-by-step instructions for a home-built motorised BBQ blower

Date:30 April 2013 Tags:, , ,

Here’s a tip for those who like to use parts from old or broken tools and appliances to breathe new life into something else. A while back, my BBQ blower broke – no biggie, considering that they’re relatively cheap – but the shops were out of stock. This gave me the perfect excuse to put on my “mad scientist grin” and have a look around the garage. I took the motor from an old cordless screwdriver I no longer use, the switch from a broken spotlight, some galvanised sheetmetal, silicone pipe, hose clamps and some wire, and set to work (cue the A-Team theme song).

I ended up with a motorised BBQ blower that runs on three rechargeable AA batteries. Although I have since acquired a new blower, I generally end up using the Frankensteined version because it always puts a smile on my face.

Here’s the step by step instructions:

1. Take the gear set out of the blower and grind down the one into which the lever fit until only the centre bit remains.

2. Drill holes for the new shaft, which I made out of a 2,5 mm gas weldingrod. I drilled the hole in the ground down gear a little smaller at 2 mm, and roughed up the end of the shaft, the inside of the ground gear and the middle bit of the fan around the shaft’s hole a bit for better grip. Fill the round hole with Pratley Steel, pass the shaft through it and the upper side of the fan, and let it set.

3. Assemble the blower with now new shaft, and less the gears.

4. Cut 3 strips of 0,6 mm galvanised sheet metal to size and solder them onto the motor bracket, using a hose clamp will work as well.

5. Line up the motor with the fan as straight as you can and clamp the galvanised sheet metal pieces (now bent to shape) in place on the opposite side of the blower with a big hose clamp.

6. Use Pratley Steel again to fit the gear on the motor inside of the square hole from the ground gear that’s fixed on top of the fan and let it set.

7. Cut the silicone pipe a little longer than the length of the batteries and make 2 small cuts at the one end 5-10 mm from the edge.

8. Cut 2 more strips of sheet metal, pass one through the cuts at the end of the pipe and bend the last 10 mm of it at 90° to hold it in place. Drill 2 holes into the strip and screw it into the butt-end of the handle. Shape the other one to fit snugly into and around the opposite end of the pipe. Bend a piece of wire to fit around the pipe and hook into the hole where the lever used to be.

9. Do the wiring, from the negative of the batteries (where I soldered in a spring) to the motor, and from the motor to the switch and then the positive end of the batteries (check to see if the fan is turning the right way, if not swap the wires).

10. Loosen the big hose clamp a little and turn the fan by hand to see if it is running free, if not you’ll have to align it by adjusting the 3 legs of the bracket one by one going forwards and backwards until it does. Insert the batteries and turn it on to see if further alignment is necessary. I attached the switch by inserting one of the mounts underneath the clamp before tightening it, and bent the other flat. I did the same with the protruding bits of the bracket legs.

11. Enjoy!

LINDO PIENAAR

GEORGE

PS: Thanks for a great magazine.

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