Space Heater Mod – Part 1

It’s cold outside, so it’s a great time to fix up this mid-40’s Arvin forced-air space heater we found in the hoard!

Sounds totally safe!

But, we won’t be using it to heat anything.

Well, technically it will generate heat because air vibrations will generate some friction and increase the temperature of the surrounding… well its negligible really. Disregard.

No, we are going to be gutting this device and making a dust collecting shelf weight with a smart speaker inside! Google Home Minis are nice and all but they do have a pretty bland exterior.


A quick survey of the device found that there is a shell over the top of the innards with 5 screws in it, four at the base and one at the handle in the back. I undid these and lifted off the top.

It is in pretty decent shape considering, but will need to have a bit of brushing to get it back to rust-free metal.

Would you believe that this was still plugged in?

All of this stuff can go. The heating element came off no problem, but the fan bracket was riveted to the base. No easy way to get those off other than drilling them out.

Poor form, AJ!

When drilling out rivets, you should really be straight up and down on the rivet and control the depth with a drill press. But, the bracket is in the way, and my drill press doesn’t have enough throw. So, we go diagonally.

Once the rivet was really mangled and falling apart, I tapped out the remainder with a nail.


The base and the top are now unfettered from their prior jobs and ready for cleaning. I’m not sure whether I intend to repaint the case or preserve the “patina”, but either way, it has to get spiffed up a bit.

You’re tellin’ me.

After a once over with a wire brush, we ended up with a smooth surface and a small pile of paint chips.

Well… it’s better.

Ready for fitment!

Handy power hole already included.
Hello, computer!

Perfect! The mini fits in the housing just fine, it can hear me alright, and music sounds good too.

I might add some kind of vertical mounting device so that I can see the lights a bit better, and I’m also considering adding a few amber LEDs to make it look more like a heater when it’s all done.

Hollow AF.

There’s also the paint vs preserve decision. Should I try to match the classic “machine green” avocado color and detail the nameplate in red, or spray the whole thing with a clearcoat to keep the age?


  1. Isn’t this too far gone? It’s like putting a band-aid on some of those parrots you’ve found. I can hear it whisper “kill me” from there haha

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