Power tools can get pretty expensive. A high-quality branded leaf blower may cost you hundreds of dollars, and a low quality one may break after just a couple of uses.
But is there an option to avoid that by making your own? Find out in this article!
Today, we shall cover the emerging topic of homemade leaf blowers. We will ponder upon topics such as if making your own blower is worth it, what you should expect from such a Frankenstein device and how to go about making it.
What Should I Expect From a Homemade Leaf Blower?
Most DIY leaf blower designs are made by directing airflow of a fan (propeller) through a narrow tube. The power of the leaf blower will therefore depend on the engine operating the propeller and the efficacy of the propeller design. In general, you shouldn’t expect to produce a leaf-whirling tornado from such a contraption, but you can still pull off making a decent, not entirely useless gadget which would still find its use.
Given that electric leaf blowers start at just 20 dollars, your time and money would be most likely better spent ordering one of these budget blowers or better yet, shooting for a second-hand device. We therefore cannot recommend making your own blower to save money, as you simply cannot beat the economic advantage of overseas sweatshops in your own garage.
DIY leaf blowers should therefore be considered an idea for a weekend project, rather than a rational money-saving endeavor. Despite that, let’s learn how to make one!
What Will I Need to Make a Homemade Leaf Blower?
Your leaf blower will need the following core components: An engine, a propeller, a power/fuel source and a housing unit with a suitable nozzle. Assembly will require (among other common tools) a drill and a soldering iron. Using a voltmeter (multimeter) and non-conducting glue/tape is also recommended.
This guide will focus on making a hand-held electric leaf blower. Although it would be possible to make a DIY gas-powered leaf blower, chances are you won’t have a spare gasoline engine. Small gas engines may also be harder to incorporate safely into a home-made design.
Electric blowers can be powered either by a battery or by an electric outlet. Both are viable options, although powering your device by electric outlets will require you to either convert your current to DC or incorporate an electric AC motor (opens in a new tab) into the design. DC motors shoud be considered exclusively for battery-powered units.
Both the electric motor and the propeller may be adapted from a preexisting device (e.g., a vacuum cleaner or a computer fan). Alternatively, you may source your own from e.g., eBay or Amazon. In general, the more powerful the engine, the better. We recommend opting for at least an 18 V motor if running a battery-powered design, and to make sure that the battery fits the engine’s power requirements (opens in a new tab). If you wish to create an electric corded blower, we recommend a 120 V motor.
Making your own housing unit for all the components can be the trickiest part of the process. The unit must both stabilize the engine in position, allow free rotation of the propeller, house the electric circuitry, and must be disassembled easily enough to allow maintenance and battery change (if housed inside the unit). The easiest way to go about it is to simply use a large PVC tube. However, sky is the limit as far as creativity is considered and you may repurpose almost any piece of plastic or metal for this purpose.
Alternatively, you may skip fiddling around with electric components and simply repurpose an old vacuum cleaner, as demonstrated in the video below, by fitting its exhaust with a suitable nozzle. We highly recommend finding an alternative for the plastic bottle, though, since it seems just a little bit too flimsy.
How to Go About Making a Homemade Blower?
In the simplest terms, the process can be summarized as follows. Drill two holes into a PVC pipe, fit the engine with a propeller and attach it via the holes by either a bought or a homemade stator attachment (made by e.g., soldering the engine to a piece of metal). Solder two wires to the engine and the power source, minding the + and – signs. Done. However, we do have a few more tips for you.
- Pay most attention to the stability of the stator. It must not rotate, wobble, or move side to side under any circumstances.
- Always work with covered wires. Fit your wires tightly along the walls of the tube by e.g., isolation tape or non-conducting glue.
- Utilize a voltmeter heavily when working with any electronics to make sure that the parameters of the circuit do not exceed the tolerance of any of its parts.
- The best way to include a battery into your circuit is to buy a premade battery holder (opens in a new tab). They will save you a lot of soldering and can be easily attached onto the exterior of your blower.
- You should include an on/off switch or a push-button to easily turn your blower on and off. The switch or button should be placed between the engine and the power source by leading the circuit to the exterior of the tube through a drilled hole.
- We highly recommend including a fuse or a circuit breaker (opens in a new tab) in your circuit, either by buying an adapter/battery socket with one built in or by attaching your own separately. Keep in mind that the fuse must accommodate the surge wattage of the engine, which will exceed the operating wattage by a significant margin. These values should be included in the documentation of the engine.
In conclusion, making a DIY leaf blower is a rather dumb idea. However, that won’t stop us from making one if we really want to. The simplest design employs a single PVC tube, a computer fan and a battery socket. However, a quick google search will reveal some quite impressive designs and maybe you’re crafty enough to add your own to the list!
If you choose to repurpose an old vacuum cleaner, this process will cost you almost nothing, given that you have all the necessary tools. You should expect meager results, as you’re basically just refitting the exhaust of the vacuum cleaner with a narrower outlet to direct its airflow. If you’re making your own design, we estimate that the individual components may cost you anywhere between 30 and 100 dollars, depending on where you buy your components from and how intricate and powerful blower you come up with. Just make sure to work safely and don’t expect too much from your garage-made contraption.