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Step 8: I'm Your Biggest Fan!

To get the full AC effect, we'll need to circulate air through our cooler and then back out through the duct hose we'll be attaching later. To do this, we'll need a way to blow air into the cooler.

*For this build, I snagged a small cooling vent fan off of Because this build is for my dogs and they're smaller, I knew I could get away with a smaller fan. For larger dogs or for a project where you plan on moving larger quantities of cool air, I would suggest either multiple fans like this one or a larger fan. I also wanted the air movement to be fairly low because my dogs really don't like having wind blown on them and I was afraid if the incoming air into the dog house was too strong, they'd end up avoiding it. Slow and low is the name of the game for us, but can easily be scaled up for whatever works for your needs.* UPDATE BELOW!

Speaking of whatever works for your needs, there are LOTS of options out there for fans and almost as many ways to power them. While looking for parts for this project, I seriously considered a solar powered fan. There were also options for fans that were USB compatible, could work in your cigarette lighter, ran off of batteries... Again, look for the solution that works best for your problem. For us, I went with a straight AC plug unit as there's an outlet right behind where the dog house sits.

I put the fan on the side of my cooler so that the air would be blowing across my frozen cooler contents before coming back up through the exhaust vent and into the dog house. You could absolutely put your fan on top of your cooler, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and the way the fan fit in the little dent where the handle folds down was just too damn perfect for me to avoid. It just felt...right. So that's where I put it.

Just like we did with the dryer pieces, you're going to want to trace a guide before you cut out your slot for the fan. For this one, I wanted to mount the fan to the outside of the cooler which meant all I needed to do was cut out a circle large enough for the fan blades while still leaving enough cooler around the fan for me to screw the fan to for support.

I pushed my pencil through the fan blades and rotated it around, creating a perfect blade sized circle which I then carefully cut out, using my trusty Dremel.

I then marked the four points on the corners with the fan where the screws go and drilled through the cooler all the way to the interior and attached the fan using long mounting screws and four locking bolts to keep it all in place.

To help keep the cord out of the way when not in use, I used a small Command hook and stuck it to the cooler next to the fan. I can wrap the cord around the fan casing and tuck the end of the plug cord under the hook and it holds it all.

Very nice!

*UPDATE* - The original fan I got was perfect for my dogs when the temperatures were cooler, but once we started to go above 95F, it couldn't keep up. I have since replaced the fan with a larger one and the full description of that addition is now on the last page of this Instructable. :)