A story about fans, oil, and glue!

Just a story. No questions, although some of you might still have answers.
I have a fan with a little 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" flat metal base that I keep mounted on the window sill over my bed. It's the only fan that will fit, and I have to nail one of the corners into the wood sill to keep myself or the curtains from knocking it over. It has one blade and as protection, only a couple wires so that it's easy to stick one's fingers in it. But the motor isn't powerful enough to hurt someone much, I think**. It's 50 years old or more and I think it was once riveted to a factory machine and used to blow air on the operator.
It has to be oiled every 2 weeks to 2 months. I'm guessing it only last 2 weeks when I didn't get the oil in the right place. I don't know why it lasts 2 months sometimes.
I've let it get unoiled several times to the point where, in the middle of the night, it stops spinning and gets very hot. But it always works fine again after I oil it.
One time I couldn't find my 30 weight oil, and I used 10W-30. The same night or soon after it stopped spinning in the middle of the night and smelled bad, although I couldn't tell if that was the windings or the oil burning.
I oiled it again, but it never got up to more than half speed, and was very hot after about 10 minutes. I kept wondering if it was the 10W-30 somehow.
Finally noticed that the blade had come loose from the shaft. It was like this when I got it, (**which is why it never hurt to put my fingers in there,) and it would make a noise (that everyone at work laughed at, and they bought me another fan, which I didn't want!) until after about 30 seconds the blade was spinning as fast as the armature. But this time, it never got up to speed and it didn't make any noise, and it got very hot. I thought it was ruined, but now I think the fan wasn't blowing enough air through the motor case vents.
I had glued the shaft once, and now I reglued it, and now it spins fast and doesn't overheat. It's back to normal!
Hope this wasn't boring.
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pathetic
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I have been chewing my arm off, to get away from the computer, but I still have hold of the mouse. What makes you think I'm bored?
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

hey I too fix stuff sometimes thats not worth the effort, perhaps attached by nice memories, rebuilt my moms old gas grill for that reason, or the challenge of making it work, occasionally i like the old item so much i dont want to buy a new one.
all of these and more are just part of me, and likely others are the same...
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Yes its well worth the sense of accomplishment at the risk of burning down the place mixing glues, oils and who knows what else instead of spending a couple bucks for a new fan.

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:-) For the record, I have lots of fans, including the new one they bought me at work. None are small enough to fit on the window sill. (a cheap modern one that has no overhang.) I could put a fan on the table next to me, but that wouldn't blow the cool outside air in after sundown and all night.
I could nail a little shelf to the window sill, but I sit with my head up against the window sometimes, and I'm sure I would hit the fan, etc. quite a few times, and it would be not satisfactory. I can't move the fan to the left or right beyond the portion of the window that opens. That's only one pane of three, about 2 feet out of 6.
On one other small fan, also from the 50's, I think, there is a hole for hanging from the wall, and or I could drill a hole, and I could nail that to the window sill with only 2 or 3 inches hanging over the edge, but I wouldn't like the looks and I would still hit it.
This is the perfect sized fan. I think after it was oiled again, it only overheated because the blade wasn't spinning fast enough to blow air through the vents. I"m so glad it works again. Plus I did like fixing it.
Christopher, I hope your arm heals. LOL
And I'm just like hallerb in the things he says below. I still have my father's beautiful table fan, with the hope of fixing it someday. From his dental office. He died in 1955 (finished dental school in 1915) and the fan might have been 10, 20, 30 years old then. Making it 60, 70, maybe 80 years old. It has a beautiful 5-arm cast aluminum blade where the trailing edges come together in an almost exaggerated point at the center, patterned I think after propellers on the fastest airplanes of the day. It has screw knobs at each side so it will point forward and can be adjusted up and down a bit. I used the fan for a couple years, and electrically it's fine, including its 3-speed- and-off inline switch. But I can't get it to spin well.
Oil used to make it run fine, but after a while it didn't. So I took it apart to clean it. It has the outer race of its front and rear bearings as spheres, so that they will point in any direction. I rotated one a little, and I keep thinking that I haven't gotten it back to the right position yet, and that's why it won't spin well. Even though I would think it is designed to be self-adjusting when the fan case is screwed together. Not sure what to do.
Oh, and I just got a 1969 Honda CR450 motorcycle that wasn't ridden since 1971 or '72, which I hope to get running this fall. Given to me by the 2nd owner who is 69 now. For 3000 I could buy this same bike beautifully restored, and I suppose for less I could get something that runs fine now. But fixing it is more than half of the fun. (I'm not going to restore this. Only get it running. It will be my first and probably only motorcycle.)

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Then buy a fan that fits INTO the window opening.

One day that fan WILL catch fire. An electric motor that is powered and not spinning is pretty much a short circuit.
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I'm sure they don't sell them. I haven't hunted, but I notice what is sold and what people have, and they don't sell anything like this.

That's nonsense. It's a resistor, not a short! I think it loses some backwards inductive impedance when the motor isn't spinning, but it's no short or the circuit breaker would trip or the wires would melt. It doesn't even burn the insulation or it wouldn't work fine after it is reoiled.
This has run without spinning on several occasions for a total of several, maybe 10 hours without spinning, at least 2 hours at a time, and it's gotten as hot as it will get.
I've used this fan for 15 years or more (though only in the summer and the hot part of fall). I only *thought*the wires had burned up more than before because the blade was spinning more slowly than usual after oiling. That was because the glue failed and the blade was loose on the shaft. It may have been a coincidence that the epoxee failed when it did, or maybe it was because the motor had gotten hot (although I don't think much heat could have been conveyed to the blade through the shaft, or radiation.)
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mm wrote:

I can't see the point of the story and would be terribly embarrassed to write something that illustrates such a lack of knowledge. Sorry if this is a bit harsh.
First: the problem isn't lack of oil, the problem with any 50 year old fan is usually one of the composite thrust washers disintegrates leaving a tar like substance that binds the shaft. A little oil helps dissolve the substance but doesn't get rid of it so it binds after a short period. The solution is to take the motor apart, clean the shaft and the bearing surface thoroughly, and replace any composite washers with brass, stainless steel, or nylon washers. Then you oil it once every year or two at most.
Second: fan blades are never glued to the shaft, they fit by compression or by a screw from the fan hub to the shaft.
Third: Never heard of a one bladed fan; it would be terribly unbalanced. Maybe the OP means a two bladed fan (two parts sticking out on opposite sides of the shaft).
Fourth: There are all kinds of small fans from 1-1/2." x 1-1/2" to 4-1/2" by 4-1/2" Many are DC for use in computers and other electronic equipment but many are also 120 V AC, and they have more blades.
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On Tue, 29 Aug 2006 19:07:20 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

Did I say, "The problem is lack of oil"? I said I had to oil it frequently and when I did, it was back to normal. I'm not some stupid or lying politician etc. who attempts to summarize things or flee from a question, and in doing so makes statements that are hard to prove, or in some cases false.
I just give the facts. Once one gets in the habit of doing that, it's fairly easy.
I would be embarrassed to imply someone said something he didn't when criticizing him. Sorry if this is a bit harsh.

Except to replace the cord, I don't think I've ever taken the fan apart. I probably would have seen and cleaneed at least one end of the shaft if it had been dirty then, but that was a long time ago anyhow. I don't know if there is anything on the shaft or not.
But I don't think it has oil-impregnated bearings, and iiuc, if it doesn't and they are metal bearings, they have to be oiled periodically.

It lasts between 2 weeks and 2 months. Oiling again is a spall price to pay for having the right fan.
Since oil solves the problem, I think it would probably be fair to say the problem is lack of oil. But I didn't say that.

I can't get at the blade end of the shaft without removing the "screen" and the blade. The screw that holds the blade on is already damaged, flared at the slot. I don't want to go looking for trouble.
I would really like to see if there is substance from the thrust washers, etc. on the shaft, but I have loads of other things to work on , and I've learned not to go looking for trouble.

Mine are**. For the last 14 years.

That's how the collar fits on the shaft, but not how the blade fits on the collar. There is a collar and a set screw, but the blade is no longer tightly crimped to the collar. My experience tells me that if I disassembled the thing (which I don't want to do), if I tried to recrimp it with a hammer and a dull chisel or a punch, the metal would be too soft to stay that way for long.
**Well, my blades are glued to the collar which is attached to the shaft with a set screw.
There is no reason for me not to have used glue. Glue is used for loads of things, but even if it weren't, it works here. The tiles are glued to the space shuttle, and my fan doesn't face the risks of re-entry.

Yes, I meant a two-bladed fan like you say. At the time of posting, I thought my language was pretty clear with the fewest words, to convey how simple the fan is. If I said two blades, I was afraid someone would think two long blades with four ends. Thanks for clarifying this.

True.
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