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How to Make a Fan Car

By Jeffrey Brian Airman ; Updated April 18, 2017
The battery-powered fan must be powerful enough to move the car.

A fan car is a land vehicle propelled by the turning blades of a fan. Fan cars are sometimes used as teaching tools in physics and design courses. Most are battery-powered and toy-sized, and the wireless power source make it possible for the fan car to travel greater distances without a cord tether. Basic small-scale fan cars can be built rather inexpensively. Fan cars are fun to design, make and race against friends.

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Cut a flat panel car chassis from lightweight and rigid materials like plastic or wood. A basic rectangle shape wide enough for the base of the fan is all that is necessary. The width of the chassis must be narrower than the length of the axles.

Drill through the chassis crosswise 2 inches from the front and 2 inches from the back. Make holes that are only slightly wider than the axles. Thread the axles through the hole at the front and rear of the chassis.

Attach the wheels to both ends of the axles. Test the wheels and chassis to make sure it rolls. Make adjustments to the shape of the chassis or position of the wheels until the chassis rolls smoothly on a flat surface.

Place the base of the battery-powered fan on the chassis just above the rear axle. Use adhesive tape to thoroughly secure the base of the fan to the chassis. Load batteries into the fan.

Turn the fan onto its highest power setting. Place the fan car on a flat even surface. Monitor the way the car travels so adjustments and improvements can be made.

Reduce the overall weight of the chassis by cutting away unnecessary material if it too heavy for the fan to push. Add counterbalance weight to the area above the front axle if the front wheels are popping up. Switch in a more powerful fan to increase travel speeds.

Things You Will Need

  • Chassis material (plastic, cardboard or wood)
  • Drill and bits
  • 2 axle and wheel sets
  • Batteries
  • Adhesive tape
  • Lubricant

Tip

Lubricate wheels and axles on fan cars to reduce friction. A small amount of oil on the venter of the fan blades can help them spin more freely and push the car faster.

Warning

Fan cars are a bit unpredictable. Test and race fan cars in a large open space where it has plenty of room to roam.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Brian Airman is a writer, musician and food blogger. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has used his experience to cover food, restaurants, cooking and do-it-yourself projects. Airman also studied nursing at San Diego State University.

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