FULL OF HOT AIR?
Ventilation…Does your booth need it?
Everyone knows in the voice over industry that home studio vocal booths can get HOT! REALLY HOT, STUFFY AND STAGNANT!! Ventilation systems can be great to move the old air out and bring fresh air in making the booth so much more comfortable. I did some searching for premade systems and they were all super expensive and most only move 50 to 80 CFM of air. So, I tested out fans running 50CFM which seems to be most common and it just wasn’t satisfactory for a 6×8 booth let alone a 4×4 booth, which is the most common size people have in their home studios. I’m a dude who enjoys AIR and 50CFM just wasn’t going to cut it, so I decided to build my own adjustable ventilation system 50CFM to 250CFM. I’ve had lots of people ask what I did, so I decided to put together a list of what I used on my system so it can help others out, in keeping fresh air in their booth.
Money doesn’t grow on trees…
Well at least not in my neighborhood. I decided to build my ventilation system on an affordable budget and to have as many fan adjustments as possible. Lets face it who doesn’t want as many bells and whistles they can get on and affordable budget – right? Below you will find a list of the materials (with link) and building instructions I used to build my system. Hopefully this will help anyone out who needs it to keep air moving and keeping the “swinging door-one arm workout” to a minimum.
2 – sheets of ¾ plywood (you could also use MDF if you prefer-thicker the better) – $30 a sheet
2 – 10ft flexible dryer vent tube 4in round or you can buy 25ft and cut in half (white vinyl or metal silver – doesn’t matter) – $13.99
Now for the 12volt fans. These can range widely in price from $8 a fan to $40 a fan based on its CFM output and noise db level. I suggest getting what you’re comfortable with in your price range. Look for fans that put out a minimum of 50 CFM, but I do recommend higher if you have a larger booth or if you need more air flow. 120mm fans can easily be found to push up to 200 CFM and ensure to get PWM 4 wire fans if building using this design. I have included a site below to help get you started on your fan choices and findings and of course there is always Amazon. I thankfully already had some 12v fans and the fans I had push out 132 CFM and were already PWM.
1 – tube of caulking – $1.78
1 – box of screws – $7
1 – bottle of wood glue – $4
1 – electronics enclosure – $9
1 – PWM fan controller (I chose to use Thermaltake touch controller, but there are others) – $34
3 – 4in blockers – $6.73
1 – bag of 1 in foam or 2 in foam
Connector for power (3 connection pins – I chose to use mini xlr style connectors such as below, but you could use whatever you prefer, as long as it has at least 3 pins.
3pin fan cables (10 pack but you only need 3 – I bought extra for my other project )
1 – Fuse holder
1 – IEC power connector
1 – Rocker power switch
1 – 4pin PC power cable (you need the female side)
Both my intake and outtake boxes were the same size. 48in long x 16in wide x 9in deep.
Cut 4×8 sheets of the ¾ plywood or MDF into box pieces below.
Assembly of both base boxes: (Build two of these – screws and wood glue)
Next cut out 4in cutouts in intake box. (If you prefer one fan – make two of the exhaust boxes) Also drill holes where you would like power to come in from. I used panel mount mini xlr style plugs and connectors.
Next I cut off with the connector I didn’t need from the 3pin cables.
Solder the ends to the mini xlr panel mount connectors – you will need to make 3 of these – one for each fan.
Black to pin 1
Red to pin 2
yellow to pin 3
Next cut out 4in holes in exhaust box.
Then add intake box barrier panels inside box as in images below. (If using one fan follow outtake box layout)
Next add outtake box barrier panels inside box as in images below.
Next modify air blockers like below. Do this mod to all of them.
They will look like below after cutting side off flush.
Mount air blockers to boxes.
Run vent tubing in path shown below:
You can now mount your fans into your intake and exhaust boxes. Connect the cables you made in the previous steps to your fans. (one for each fan)
Fan to mini xlr pin out
Black to pin 1 – GND wire
Red to pin 2 – 12 volt wire
Tie the remaining 2 wires (normally white and blue to pin 3) -Tach and PWM/Control
For additional sealing to lid of intake box you can add foam to top lip before adding the lid to top also caulk all seams in the area with the fans to ensure no air flow will seep around seams – like image below:
Next prep both lids with screw holes before covering your boxes with whatever material you like.
Cover you boxes and finish any detail work you would like to do them. I just felted my with charcoal gray material to match the outside of my booth and some chrome fan guards. Then I added 1.5in x 1.5in plates to hold my connectors and mounted them to the outside of the box beside fan grills.
Next cut 4in holes into booth like images below:
Next mount boxes to wall and line up hole from boxes to hole in wall and mount flush. (Screw to wall inside of intake and exhaust boxes)
Now you can felt the lids or whatever you like to cover them in and screw lids to the base boxes. (Boxes were built with removable lids for maintenance purposes – fan goes bad and needs replacement.)
CONTROL BOX BUILD
For this part I used a Thermaltake touch screen PWM controller. First, I cut a hole in the lid of the Poly case box.
Then remove the metal mounting frame from around the Thermaltake controller.
Remove fan cables #4 and #5 from the back of the controller as they are not needed for this build.
I then mounted the Thermaltake controller in the hole with adhesive.
Next I cut off with the connector I didn’t need from the 3pin cables.
Then solder the ends to the mini xlr panel mount connectors – you will need to make 3 of these:
Black to pin 1, Red to pin 2, yellow to pin 3
Then drill holes in your Poly case box on the side you want these to come out of.
Mount the cables you made in the previous step into the holes you just drilled in your box and connect them to the cables on the Thermaltake labeled fan 1, fan 2, and fan 3.
Next, power – There is a lot of ways you can do this. I used two small dc power bricks, one was a 5v and the other is a 12 volt because I already had them. You could use any standard pc power supply, but it would not fit into the poly case box, or you could get a dual power supply like the one below so it fits in the poly case box.
Next I added a fuse to my box – you know for safety stuff.
Next cut a hole for the power IEC connector
Next I cut a hole for a power button; I just used a simple rocker switch but you could use whatever you want here
Next mount all connectors and power supply into the box, then it’s time to wire it up. Red is 5 volts, Black is ground, and yellow is 12 volts.
Lastly, put together your control unit and plug it in and make sure it comes on without issue.
The next step is to make a cable from your mini xlr on your control box to your mini xlr on your fan boxes. *Important make sure to double check your wiring. *
Control box pin out on mini xlr Fan to mini xlr pin out
Black to pin 1 Black to pin 1
Red to pin 2 Red to pin 2
Yellow to pin 3 Tie the remaining 2 wires (normally white and blue to pin 3)
Finally enjoy non stagnant air and breathe better!