Box Fan Into Buffer

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Blog entry by PineInTheAsh posted 06-30-2009 05:13 PM 1870 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Re: The box fan that has been under discussion on LJ for dust collection.

Can you remove the typical 5-fin plastic blade on a box fan and turn it into a buffer or put it to other such use?

I have the popular under $20. Lasko 20” box fan sold by the big box stores. With its size it would seem a candidate for a nice, slow-turning buffer or even a fine-grit sander.

Of course, this all depends on the the motor’s shaft. Is ithe shaft soft plastic? Is it simply too underpowered?

Comments, experiences, suggestions are genuinely appreciated.

7 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117618 posts in 3941 days

#1 posted 06-30-2009 05:31 PM

That would be something i would like to see.

View Workbench_Warrior's profile


47 posts in 3618 days

#2 posted 06-30-2009 06:30 PM

I believe it would just burn out as you can stop the blades with your hands but ouch! It would probably overheat first.

-- SAEPE EXPERTUS, SEMPER FIDELIS, FRATRES AETERNI - "Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"

View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 3643 days

#3 posted 06-30-2009 07:26 PM

The motor in a fan is what they call a Synchronous Motor, it has to rotate at a constant speed determined by the frequency applied to it. The torque this type of motor develops is very limited.
If you need to reduce the speed of the buffer or sander you need a mechanical means to do it via a reduction gear arrangement. I believe you could use one for the purpose you describe but not directly, good luck.
And by the way the shaft on the motor is steel, in a fan they have a flat face to key the blade and have a plastic nut that locks the blade to the fan.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4463 days

#4 posted 06-30-2009 11:28 PM

I would just buy a buffer if that is what I wanted.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3631 days

#5 posted 07-01-2009 01:50 AM

yeah you could probably get a buffer at harbor freight for around $20

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 4097 days

#6 posted 07-01-2009 06:39 PM

The torque is so low on a box fan motor that just connecting it via a belt to a buffer wheel shaft would probably stop the motor. If not, the load placed on the motor from buffing would certainly halt the motor and burn it up. This motor just isn’t designed for more than turning the lightweight fan blades.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4150 days

#7 posted 07-06-2009 10:52 PM

A box fan motor is not wound to develop the amount of torque required for a buffing operation. I would recommend buying a buffer and saving the time lost experimenting.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

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