I surf year round but part of that means having to deal with wet suits that might otherwise not dry very quickly in cooler temperatures or even in hot and humid weather. The main issue is the inside of the wetsuit does not get much air movement so it will stay wet and damp longer. Putting on a damp wetsuit is not fun! Also the quicker the wetsuit dries the less likely it will smell bad because bacteria has less time to grow on wet surfaces.
There are commercially available wetsuit dryers that are basically a coat hanger with a fan attached to it. I figured I could build one very inexpensively.
The simple physics is to move air through the wetsuit, the more air that moves through the wetsuit the quicker it will dry.
Step 1: Parts
- A cooling fan, I am using this one: AC Infinity AXIAL 1238, Muffin Cooling Fan, 115V AC 120mm by 120mm by 38mm High Speed. It moves 110 CFM and is loud-ish but there is one that moves half the amount of air and is quieter.
- Wooden coat hanger
- Wood screws
- 3/4" x 1/8" aluminum bar stock
- Shapelock Plastic (Polycaprolactone polyester thermoplastic) or hot glue.
- Drill and bits
- Vise or a few pair of vise grips
Step 2: Build
This build is super simple but it does require a bit of design to make sure everything fits correctly.
If you can't find a wooden coat hanger that is sturdy enough to mount a fan on, it's very simple to make a hanger by cutting one from a piece of lumber and then mounting a piece of stiff wire for the hanger part.
Next you will need to make some mounting brackets to mount the fan onto the hanger. This really depends on the hanger and how you want to mount the fan. I made two brackets with two bends in each one that matches the width of the fan. The bends were made in a vise with a metal bender but using just a vise or large vice grips the bends could be made too. (another option is they could be modeled and 3D printed). The sharp edges were cleaned up using a file and sandpaper, this is really important as you don't want sharp corners catching on the wetsuit.
Holes were drilled so the fan could be bolted to the brackets and the top of the brackets had a hole drilled so they could then be mounted to the wooden hanger. See the pictures, as it's easier to see than to try describe.
Once the fan is mounted to the wooden hanger, I used some Shapelock plastic (this stuff is super useful, Google it) to cover the ends of the bolts to prevent them from catching on the fabric of the wetsuit. If you don't have or want to get any of that plastic you can always use hot glue to protect the ends of the bolts. It's also important to make sure to file and sand smooth any parts of the aluminum brackets so they do catch and damage your wetsuit.
Check out my build video too:
Step 3: Usage
Once my wetsuit has been rinsed, I insert the hanger into the wetsuit and hang it up. I make sure the fan fits inside the wetsuit so all the airflow is going through it. I plug in the fan into a GFI protected plug since we are using this fan around water.
After some usage, I am super happy with how well this works, I think it speeds drying time up at least by half, this of course depends on the air temperature and humidity. No more putting on a damp and clammy wetsuit!