People love a great big supercharger. You know, the kind that you’d see sticking out of the hood of a classic American muscle car or out of the last of the V8 Interceptors. They’re amazing, but what if you don’t have a vehicle on which to slap one? You could always just put one on your computer.
I’ll explain. YouTuber MajorHardware decided to 3D print a classic 6-71 style blower to use as a cooling fan for a radiator in his water-cooled PC. Is it kind of a crazy thing to do? Yep. Is it likely to work well? Nope, or at least not as well as a $20 Noctua fan. Is it really, really rad looking? Yes, especially in the neon Hotline Miami color scheme he printed everything in.
The decision to go with a classic Roots-style 6-71 blower (so named because they originally came off of the Detroit Diesel 6V-71 two-stroke diesel heavy truck engine) is smart for several reasons. First, it looks iconic. Second, it uses fewer parts than you might think, and those parts are mostly easily printable, as opposed to a centrifugal blower (aka ProCharger).
MajorHardware opted to go with a straight, tri-lobe rotor design which is arguably the simplest, if not the most efficient or quietest. He does mention that he might try a twisted screw design at some point, which would be harder to make, but much more efficient. To drive the blower, he uses a gear-reduction motor that spins at around 1,000 rpm but which, as a trade-off, has sufficient torque to get all the rotating bits moving without a struggle.
In the video, he’s as shocked as we are that his design just kind of works, albeit with a few caveats. While torquey, the motor spins too slowly to move a significant amount of air. His flow tests place it in 32nd place on his list of tested fans, which isn’t brilliant.
To try and take the design of his blower to its ultimate end, he adds a brushless RC car motor with less torque but way more speed. This results in predictable destruction, but our intrepid PC hot rodder doesn’t leave things there, as you’ll see.
Ultimately, the design is way more functional than it should be, but it’s not likely to put any PC cooling companies out of business. That said, if there were ever a way to get your Luddite boomer parent interested in learning how to use the computer, this is probably it.