View Full Version : Fan Painting Tutorial

06-27-2008, 10:30 PM

Disassembly (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?p=193784#post193784)
Masking (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?p=193791#post193791)
Painting (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?p=193792#post193792)
Re-Assembly (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?p=193793#post193793)

Case fans come in all shapes and sizes and most important to this tutorial, all kinds of colors. This tutorial will walk you through how to paint your fans to match your case mod theme.

Time: Total 3 hours of working time - Allow 2 hours for disassembly, masking, and painting with 24 hours to allow the paint to dry. For re-assembly and clean-up allow an additional hour.

To demonstrate, I'll show you how I modded an Arctic Cooling 9 PWM fan. These fans are a little different than standard case fans but don't worry, the important steps are similar.

Parts List
X-acto knife or similar small razor knife
Small screwdriver
Small pick or bent paper clip
Painter's tape
Lubricating oil
Alcohol or cleaning agent
Paper towels
Paint for fan
Small tube 3/16" - 1/4"

Find the smallest straight screwdriver and pick that you can. You'll use these to remove the retainer washer.
The small tube is useful for putting the washers back on the spindle.
You'll use the papertowels and alcohol for paint prep and removing sticker residue.
The painter tape is for masking the fan internals. For paint, I'd recommend Fusion plastic paint, Plastikote, or Testors. I wanted to try some different colors and textures so I picked some speciality Rustoleum paint.
Here's the fan before modding with the standard black plastic.
And after, with copper fan blades and brass housing. Here's how:

06-27-2008, 10:31 PM

Unless you're modding an Arctic Cooling fan like this one, you can skip to the next step. Disconnect the fan cage from the mounting base by pulling free the rubber stand offs.

They're a friction fit so they pull out with gentle but constant pressure. Then pull the standoffs from the fan cage. Put the standoffs in a safe place for later.

Remove the sticker on the back of the fan near where the wires enter the fan body. If you want to re-use the sticker, put it aside for later.

Under the sticker, you'll find a rubber plug in the center of the fan cage.

Lift out the rubber plug with the X-acto knife.

Put the rubber plug aside with the rubber standoffs for later.

Looking down into the hole that was covered by the rubber plug.

You should see the retaining washer. In this fan, it's white plastic. Yours may be a different color. Because of the size, it's tough to see but the washer is split.

Use the small screw driver to feel around the top of the washer to find the split. Then push the screwdriver into the split and spin the screwdriver to open washer. Now use the pick on the back side of the washer to lift it out of the spindle slot. Scroll down and look at the spindle and washer to get a better idea of what you're trying to do. Go easy, although the washer is flexible, you can break or chip it.

This is the retaining washer that you're trying to remove.

At the top of the fan spindle is the retaining notch. You'll need to open the washer enough to clear this notch.

Once the retaining washer is out, the fan blades will slide out of the fan cage. Be careful at this point, you'll likely find another plastic and rubber washer still in the fan cage. You can take them out but its easier to leave them in-place and tape over the hole.

Before masking, carefully remove the wires the from the channel. Then use a paper towels and alcohol to remove the sticker residue from the fan and give entire fan a good wipe down.

06-27-2008, 10:55 PM

Now that the fan is apart, the insides need to be covered with painters tape to keep the paint out of the electronics or moving parts. That includes the spindle area, magnetic coils, and the wiring.

The following images are post painting but you get the idea of what to mask.
Mask the interior spindle area and trim the tape with the X-acto knife.

Mask the interior of the fan with a tape tube by working the tape in under the fan controller board and pinching the tube end closed.

Mask the wires as close to the fan body as possible. Cover the entire length of wires to avoid overspray. Try to slide tape down into the hole to keep paint overspray out.

Mask the spindle hole closed.

06-27-2008, 10:58 PM

Before painting and after masking, wipe the fan parts down again with alcohol. Then, paint the fan blades, fan frame, and mounting base. Leave it sit for 24 hours to allow the paint to cure before removing the tape.

06-27-2008, 11:03 PM

Remove the tape from the center hole but make sure not to lose the washers if you've taped them in place

Remove the tape from the wires and re-thread the wires into the channel.

Remove the tape tube from the other side of the fan cage.

Remove the tape from the fan blades.

Slide the fan cage down on the the blades. Look closely to make sure that the washers are in-place. If they've come off the spindle or you removed them prior to masking, put them in place on the spindle using the tube. Do the same with the retaining washer, seating it with tube until you feel it click in place.

Put a drop of oil on top of the spindle to keep the spindle lubricated.

Seat the rubber plug by pushing it into place so it flush with the back of the fan.

Replace the rubber standoffs and re-attach the fan base.

Finally, replace the sticker or put a new sticker on the back to keep the rubber plug in place. I used a scrapbooking sticker that I found that matched the paint colors.

Drum Thumper
06-29-2008, 01:44 AM
Very impressive! +Rep

The boy 4rm oz
06-30-2008, 02:37 AM
Nice tutorial. Here is a guide I have used before just for comparison:

06-30-2008, 07:48 AM
Thanks for the rep guys!:banana:

Good one, the modtown tutorial is one that I've used as well as:

Mini-FAN-mod (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7505)

Having trouble disassembling case fan for painting (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4282)


08-28-2008, 05:24 AM
Fantastic Tutorial! +Rep

08-28-2008, 11:17 AM
Thanks Eclecticos! Glad you like it :)

11-08-2010, 02:54 AM
WOW this is great, I wouldn't have thought to take the fan apart before being a dumdum and painting it.:facepalm: Now I can buy cheapo fans and and customize them and my first thought, using glow-in-the-dark paint or other UV reacting paints and get some AWESOME glowing going on!

also I realize this post is old but I had to show my appreciation for this. Simple yet elegant!

04-15-2014, 03:28 AM
Nice work.
I know all about these pics that how you paint on the fan they fly off at the speed of sound,never to be seen again and for the painting speed of the fan is increased its my opinion..What did your opinion on fan painting?