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Old 09-10-2012, 07:07 PM   #1
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Making a Wire Guard for Vintage Fan


I hope this is posted in the correct category. I bought an old cast iron-base fan at a flea market for $6 as a restoration project. I disassembled most of the parts to remove rust and clean them and was originally planning on welding a missing piece onto the very rusty wire guard but decided maybe I could try making a completely new, more stylish guard using the original as a starter reference.

I think I should have access to a proper gauge of wire and my dad has a large shop of metal working tools and machines; I'm just not sure how to go about bending it to give it smooth, accurate angles. The only abstract idea I've could come up with so far is to draw the circles/arc patterns on a flat surface, then fill these with several large bolts/nails standing upright and taping them together. Then I would bend the wire around the bolts and gently hammer it into shape (in case you couldn't tell, I'm a novice with hand tools). I'd like to make a simple streamline style guard which would probably require 3 full circle pieces, a few arched segments around the edges to hold them together, and a few linear segments for the front design.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Also, the switch along the base is missing and the three speeds are bypassed in the wiring, so it automatically runs on one speed when plugged it. If anyone could help me figure out how to rewire it for a 3-speed switch, that'd be great; although, I don't expect that to be an easy task...

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Old 09-10-2012, 07:40 PM   #2
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Making a Wire Guard for Vintage Fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleson View Post
I hope this is posted in the correct category. I bought an old cast iron-base fan at a flea market for $6 as a restoration project. I disassembled most of the parts to remove rust and clean them and was originally planning on welding a missing piece onto the very rusty wire guard but decided maybe I could try making a completely new, more stylish guard using the original as a starter reference.

I think I should have access to a proper gauge of wire and my dad has a large shop of metal working tools and machines; I'm just not sure how to go about bending it to give it smooth, accurate angles. The only abstract idea I've could come up with so far is to draw the circles/arc patterns on a flat surface, then fill these with several large bolts/nails standing upright and taping them together. Then I would bend the wire around the bolts and gently hammer it into shape (in case you couldn't tell, I'm a novice with hand tools). I'd like to make a simple streamline style guard which would probably require 3 full circle pieces, a few arched segments around the edges to hold them together, and a few linear segments for the front design.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Also, the switch along the base is missing and the three speeds are bypassed in the wiring, so it automatically runs on one speed when plugged it. If anyone could help me figure out how to rewire it for a 3-speed switch, that'd be great; although, I don't expect that to be an easy task...
*************************************************
In a large metal shop there may be a machine / tool called a slip roll and it would be perfect to form the circles. If you have the resources for brass wire / rod those guards look neat on those old fans in my opinion.

Sorry I can't help with the electric question. I've found that trade to be rather shocking.

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Old 09-11-2012, 05:58 AM   #3
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Making a Wire Guard for Vintage Fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleson View Post
Also, the switch along the base is missing and the three speeds are bypassed in the wiring, so it automatically runs on one speed when plugged it. If anyone could help me figure out how to rewire it for a 3-speed switch, that'd be great; although, I don't expect that to be an easy task...
Most of the older cast iron fans have a single speed motor with a transformer attatched to the switch base for speed control. Your best bet would be to find a parts fan if you really want 3 speeds. What is the approximate year, make and model?

Last edited by zappa; 09-11-2012 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:46 PM   #4
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Making a Wire Guard for Vintage Fan


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Originally Posted by Fairview View Post
*************************************************
In a large metal shop there may be a machine / tool called a slip roll and it would be perfect to form the circles. If you have the resources for brass wire / rod those guards look neat on those old fans in my opinion.

Sorry I can't help with the electric question. I've found that trade to be rather shocking.
Thanks, Fairview. Dad's got sort of a slip roll, I guess. It's got tractor wheels to turn the rollers. I'm not sure how precise he can be with it or if it can make arches in wire or not.

I am thinking of painting the blades black like the base and using brass wire for the guard. I'm a big fan of patinated brass; I read that you can cover a brass item in axle grease and let it sit outside a few weeks to quickly create patina, so I'm testing this on a brass screw right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zappa View Post
Most of the older cast iron fans have a single speed motor with a transformer attatched to the switch base for speed control. Your best bet would be to find a parts fan if you really want 3 speeds. What is the approximate year, make and model?
It's a Century Zephair fan, Model 601. I'm guessing 1940s-early '50s. Here's one on eBay:

Century Zephair Fan

The inner base was pretty lacking, just three or so sets of wires with some capped off. I'll keep my eye out for a parts fan but won't hold my breath on getting that fixed. Thanks though, zappa.

I'm also having a tough time cleaning hard-to-reach places. I can only disassemble so much of it and there's grease and dirt on quite a lot of it. Maybe I'll try WD-40 and a scrapped old T-shirt. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:52 PM   #5
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Making a Wire Guard for Vintage Fan


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Originally Posted by Caleson View Post
I'm also having a tough time cleaning hard-to-reach places. I can only disassemble so much of it and there's grease and dirt on quite a lot of it. Maybe I'll try WD-40 and a scrapped old T-shirt. Any advice would be appreciated.
Be careful if you take the motor apart as the insulation on the wiring has become quite brittle and will crack apart.

Q-tips, tooth brushes, small round test tube cleaning brush, hard felt sticks, WD40, hand cleaner without the grit, polishing compound.

Last edited by zappa; 09-11-2012 at 10:55 PM.
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