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Kuchofuku air conditioned shirt knockoff

What

The weather is becoming wilder, the summers are getting hotter. This calls for a portable wearable cooling system, air conditioned clothing. Early experiments were performed several years ago, with success. However, no actual non-improvised implementation was worked on (insert some head-against-wall banging), and meanwhile a Japanese company started actualy making those. They are now known as "kuchofuku".

The hot summer was a stimulus to finally bring the concept to the implementation.

How

An old worn-out flannel shirt, with a large hole on an elbow and scheduled to be decommissioned, was used as the substrate. Two 70x70mm 12V fans were sourced from old CPU heatsinks, together with the aluminium mounting brackets connecting the fans to the heatsinks themselves.

Fan mount

For attaching the fan to the fabric, a sort of flexible to rigid coupler was necessary. The connection has to be removable, in order to put the shirt through the washing cycle while keeping the electronics dry. Velcro was chosen for flexibility and versatility.

The fan mounts from the heatsinks were almost perfect, except the flaps were bent down. They were bent back by 90 degrees to make the mount plates planar.

Velcro strips were cut and attached to the mount plates with 5-minute epoxy.


Fan mount frame

Fan mount frame

Fan mount frame

Mount frame with fan

Mount frame with velcro attached

Mount frame with velcro, detail

Shirt mod

The positions of the fans were chosen on the basis of the kuchofuku shirt itself, based on the hypothesis that Japanese did some research about the best placement. The fans are located on the sides, a little below the belly button level. The shirt is intended to be tucked into pants, so the airflow goes over chest and back and underarms, drying off sweat in process.

Rectangular holes were cut into the fabric, with about 7mm flaps to avoid exposing the fraying-prone cuts. The flaps were bent down, velcro strips were sewn in to line the edges (full width at top and bottom, half width on left and right side). The edges of the holes, where the stress is concentrated, were sewn through in few passes to reinforce them and avoid tearing.

To connect the fans and the battery, strips of fabric were sewn to the inner side of the shirt, to form loops through which the power cable is pulled through.


Shirt, positioning

Shirt, positioning

Fan hole, marked

Fan hole, cut out and with velcro

Fan hole, cut out and with velcro

Fan hole

Fan hole

Fan hole

Fan hole, edge detail

Fan hole, edge detail

Wire holder

Fan grilles

The inner sides of the fans have the center-mounting bars, preventing most of access to the spinning blades. This was deemed sufficient for now.

The outside however became a major problem. The wildly spinning blades were fully exposed, hungry for fingers and for any piece of material they could bite on. A sort of a grille was required to prevent access.

An off-the-shelf metal grille was decided against because of the added weight. A plastic one was chosen against due to the flimsiness. A homemade approach was decided for, partially also to avoid a trip to a store.

The fan grille was drawn in OpenSCAD and cut with a 40W CO2 laser from a 2mm acrylic, using 15mA (could be as low as 10mA) and 3 cm/sec setting, at a single pass. Two were cut.

The grille is surprisingly rigid, resistant to external pressure; under ordinary loads won't bend enough to touch the fan rotor. The cut went pretty accurate. The only problem encountered is fairly high level of noise at full fan speed.


Fan grille, laser-cut

Fan grille, laser-cut

Lasercut grille, with countersunk holes

Fan with mounted grille

Fan with mounted grille, detail

Fan with mounted grille, detail

Fan with mounted grille, detail

Fan with mounted grille, detail

Assembly

The fans are placed into the velcro-lined holes and gently pressed in, forming a removable connection.


Fan hole with fan

Fan hole with fan, detail

Fan hole with fan, from inside

Fan hole with fan from inside, detail

Fan from inside

Fan from inside

Fan hole with fan

Fan hole with fan

Fan connection detail

Inside side of shirt, with fans

Inside side of shirt, with fans

Inside side of shirt, with fans

Outside shot

Outside shot

Outside shot

Outside shot

Outside shot

TODO


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