Stock fans can be pretty noisy especially if your printer is set up to operate inside your house. One easy modification that you can do to quiet down your printer is to swap your heat sink fan with a quieter one.
Noctua fans are quite popular in PC builder communities and have been recognized to run quietly. This will be a major improvement to the cheap fan included in most printer kits as they are also designed in a way that they increase airflow.
Depending on your situation you might want to find a fan that either is the same size or bigger than your current one. If you want a bigger fan you might have to print a new shroud or fit an adapter at the existing mounting location.
Now if you are using a Noctua fan, chances are that you will either have 3 or 4 wires coming out of it. The three wires are for PWM control (Pulse Width Modulation), this usually allows your fan speed to be switched on and off and the RPMs can be controlled by computer. The fourth wire is usually for tach feedback (speed reference). This article will not get into more detail since we will not be using these features. We simply want to use the fan for constant cooling on the printer heat sink.
Project cost: 20$
Replacing the fan on a E3D Titan Aero heat sink was pretty straightforward since it hadn’t been mounted on the printer yet. The extruder comes prewired with Molex dual connectors for the fan and thermistor cartridge so the Noctua fan was fitted with a Molex plug, the unused wires were simply tucked into the cable sleeve and then heat shrink was applied to clean up the install.
This build is
planned to have both the heat bed and hot end running on 24v. The
remaining electronics will be running off of a separate 12v power
supply; the fan included in the extruder kit was rated at 24v.
Here is another example of a fan upgrade on a Monoprice Select Mini. The stock fan was snipped off and the original cables were used to power the new fan. A connector was then placed at the end of the fan and the mating end was then crimped onto the existing wires. This improvement reduced the noise and increased airflow.