Antique Fan RestorationJuly 31, 2008 9:24 pm Restoration
At the De Anza Electronics Flea Market, someone was selling a rather beat-up and rusty desk fan. But it was no ordinary desk fan, this one was quite old. I had to have it. Later on, it looked at me plaintively from my workbench.
Suddenly it hit me–I had to restore this bedraggled-looking thing!
It was a really long and involved process, taking me well over a month, but I have finally (mostly) finished. Why did it take so long? Well, for example, I found that the speed coil (basically a big inductor with taps for each speed setting) was slowly being eaten by rust. Thus began the arduous process of disassembling the entire coil, pulling apart the laminations, polishing off all the rust, varnishing them again (since the laminations must be insulated from each other), and reassembling the whole thing.
All the work really did pay off. Here is what the mostly completed fan looks like. It’s fully operational. The cotton-covered twisted line cord I purchased from Sundial Wire. The plug is actually a standard item at OSH, believe it or not. I guess styles don’t really change much. The cord the fan came with was a more modern zip cord with a quick-plug, and the replacement plug is basically a 3-prong copy of the original.
Why “mostly?” Well, the badge that goes in the center of the cage is pretty much beyond repair, and it also appears to be the wrong badge for this fan.
The badge should be brass with a slightly different logo. Regardless of whether or not this badge is original, brass would look a whole lot better. I have been trying (and failing at) various brass etching techniques, since I have the CAD drawing of the logo already.
Problem #1 is getting the toner transfer method to work. I have used magazine paper (an old issue of Nuts and Volts: my Make magazine issues deserve better!) and it really does not work for me, probably due to the amount of toner my laser printer puts out. Trust me, I tried a dozen times or so.
Problem #2 is the actual etching process. Salt tank etching was a bit too faint, so next time I will try ferric chloride, which is usually used for PC boards, but should work for brass as well.
Problem #3 is getting the etched brass sheet into the proper shape, which is convex in the middle with a rounded rim. Metal tabs in the back fold around the disc in the center of the cage to hold the badge in place.
If you have any ideas, drop me a line in the comments…