|Power tools at the ready. Didn't use the torch on this project.|
|Front motor housing with stator|
Disassembly goes well until I go to pull the knob that engages the oscillating mechanism. It looks like there is a Phillips head screw holding the knob on but no amount of force will convince it to turn. Fine, I'll drill out the screw head. That'll get the knob off and we'll worry about how to reattach it later. If I have a left-hand twist drill bit that would be better, as at some point the screw may give up and the drill, instead of cutting into the screw head will snag it and it will unscrew. Surprisingly I do have such a bit (where did that come from?), but it doesn't help. The bit cuts almost all the way through the screw head before it goes off center and destroys the knob. Well, we got the knob off, we can now proceed with the disassembly. But look: there was no screw. The screw head was simply a flare on the end of the shaft. We've seen things like this before on things made in China. They have made a copy of an American design, but they found a short cut that enabled them to use fewer pieces, but because they are making a copy, they make the copy look just like the original, including screw heads for screws that are no longer there.
|Small parts. Left hand screw in jaws of Vise-Grips|
The next hiccup is the screw holding the link to the oscillating crank. The screw head looks just like most of the other screws holding the motor together, but it won't come out. I end up using the left-hand twist drill bit on this one as well, but I still need to get the screw out of the hole. There is enough of the screw sticking out of the other end that I can grip it with Vise-Grips, but even with the head gone, it won't turn. Then I get the idea that maybe if I try tightening it a bit it will break free and then it will unscrew. Tightening it does break it free because it is a left hand thread!
|Rear motor housing with oscillator, crank and the wrong screw|
The rest of the motor comes apart easily. I clean and oil the bearings and start reassembly. Now I need to reattach the link to the oscillating crank. You might know where to find a left-hand thread screw of the correct size, but I sure don't, so I pick a likely looking sheet metal screw and use it. The arm is diecast so it goes in easily. But now I think that maybe I should do something to ensure that it won't unscrew, after all the people who originally built it went to the trouble to use a left hand screw here for that reason, and if this fan is going to run for another umpteen months, we don't want this screw backing out.
|Gluing broken crank arm back together|
So I pick up a center punch. I figure I could punch the side of the arm and it would distort the metal enough to solidly grip the screw and prevent it from ever turning. But when I hit the punch with a hammer, it cracks the arm in two right across the screw hole. Bah! Double bah. Triple humbug.
Oh well, time to break out the epoxy. Glue the end of the arm back on, along with the screw. Wrap some picture hanging wire around the arm to hold it together. As long as it doesn't get in any fights it should be fine.
|The green wire has broken free|
|Green wire soldered back in place|
One wire popped off of the switch and I soldered it back on. One of the feet has been coming off for years, a little silicon sealer secured that. I filed down the jagged end of the oscillator control. If I ever want to disengage it I can grip it with Vise-Grips.
This whole exercise makes me wonder which way is up. I don't imagine this fan cost more that $20 when it was new. Of course that was long ago enough that $20 was still real money. You can buy a similar item from Amazon or Ebay for about $30 now. I spent a couple hours working on this, triple that if you count all the time I spent looking for bits and pieces, so economically it doesn't make any sense, unless my time is worth nothing, which it apparently is. I mean who would hire someone who would spend hours trying to fix a cheap fan? But I am rather pleased that I got it running again, even though the oscillator control is not quite so easy to operate.
Update: Peter Grant has a related post.