Ultra-quiet DIY AV component cooler fan

jfinnie

Distinguished Member
A recent re-organisation of my cabinets to accommodate some power amps and a mini-DSP has left some things a bit closer than I would normally like.

I needed a cooler to pull air stale warm air from the top of components and exhaust to the rear.

I didn't just want to leave a fan dangling on top of product, and the commercial solutions are a bit uninspiring spec wise (I have a very gnarly little Mid Atlantic device, and also have an AC infiinity S6 on the way from the US which will be in classifieds soon). Anyway, I have access to a 3D printer so I figure a very quiet PC fan, powered from USB, in a simple case to support the fan without coupling vibration to the product, and to direct airflow out the back of the cabinet, would be just the job.

Cue a little design project for the Holiday Season! :)

The below is what I came up with. I used a Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM fan (120mm x 15mm for low noise and low overall height) with a USB fan cable - cost for parts < £23:

The Noctua fan running with the USB cable should result in only around 10.2dBA acoustic noise; and indeed it is inaudible unless you have your ear pressed up against it.

The part takes the NA-AV3 compliant silicone fan mounts to mount the fan (4 included with retail fans), and I put 5 locations for stick on "bump-on" feet max dia 10mm (4 corners, plus a middle location in case you want to use it 3 legged on a slightly uneven surface). The design was an experiment as I was a little concerned initially that there might not be much airflow coming out of the exhaust aperture due to the limited height above the fan, but there is a pleasant breeze coming out the back of the unit, without any significant noise or vibration transferred into the unit it is resting on. Unit is only 33mm high in total.

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A couple of notes:
  • Make sure you're happy with the wiring being safe, and whatever you end up using to power the fan being left on. Consider a fan controller if you need fans to be off when your gear is off, or to only come on at certain temperatures (this Noctua is so quiet I doubt I'll bother)
  • If you have kids able to get to this bear in mind the fan is spinning and open to the bottom - consider adding grilles. To be honest though this particular fan has such little torque running at 5V from USB that it's unlikely to cause issue for all but the most sensitive of extremities...
  • If your cabinet or room is dusty, then dust might be an issue (fine mesh grille or filter would be the order of the day). I didn't want to do that as that increases the likelihood of noise and reduces performance.
  • Print it in something that won't melt into your gear! I used PETG; ABS or ASA would be other good choices if you have a suitable printer. I don't recommend PLA.

The printable STL file is attached, let me know if any of you print this, and how you get on with it. Print it "lid-down" on your print bed, with support only needed for the 4 holes that the fan mounts are inserted into. Once the fan mounts are in, trim the excess silicone off them.

Have fun!
 

Attachments

  • hificoolerMK2.stl.zip
    537.3 KB · Views: 25

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