Introduction: BASICON Machine Project: Homemade Computer Cooler
Computers, when being used, generate heat. Specific parts of the computer, such as its processor or graphics card, are some of the components that generate the most heat. Those usually even come with their own heat sink to prevent them from breaking. But most users, if not all, will eventually experience trouble with their computers due to overheating. The best option to remedy that, is of course, to remove all of the excess heat, and that's where you need to do something about helping your heat sinks to do their job.
There are various ways for you to cool your PC, one is through a PC cooler, and another is by the computer's heat sink/s.
A PC cooler is a device in the System Unit which caries heat away from the inside of the PC. It's usually a moderately sized fan located on an available space on the case.
A Heat Sink is a device that channels heat away from certain components. Those components may range from a single processor, or something not even related to computers, such as components of a car. The method of how Heat Sinks transfer that heat may vary, as some would use a fan (quite common) while others may utilize liquid.
Coolers and Heat Sinks are there in the first place since certain parts of the computer tend to generate lots of heat due to use, and they need something to dissipate that heat. As said earlier, examples of these are the processor and graphics card (some graphics cards don't have heat sinks though), which are some of the most worked-out components of a computer. However, it should be noted that most, if not all, parts of the computer generate heat.
Heat can have certain negative effects on a PC or Laptop, with the latter holding a more significant claim to that statement due to its structure. Common sense implies that heat can fry/melt/singe stuff in the PC, and that holds true, and that's what's making heat a big problem for computers. PC and Laptops are built with some sort of fail-safe or countermeasure (such as shutting the computer down without any prompt) to prevent heat from doing something significant to a PC but chances are is that when that triggers, it means that the heat generated by the computer can no longer be handled by its heat sink and/or cooler, and that would be dangerous if a user experiences that regularly. If a user experiences sudden computer shut downs or the like due to heat on a regular basis, then things inside the computer might start to break, and since heat travels from one place to another, a lot of other parts might break as well soon after. Therefore, when that happens, you need to do something to get that excess heat away (unless you really intend on sniffing barbeque, which we highly doubt).
Another problem because of that is when the computer's cooler and/or heat sink/s can no longer sustain a satisfactory temperature, additional heat sinks and coolers require quite a bit of money, and one also needs to take many things into account and consideration, such as if the thing will fit in properly, how much more it will contribute to the electric bill, if it's even available etc.
However, we've found a remedy to that last problem, that may even remedy any computer heat related problems a user may encounter without too much of a hassle. A homemade computer cooler will allow a user 100% control on what he/she wishes to implement on a heat removing device. It's one of the best things a user can do with little to no spending, since implementing a homemade heat sink can have potentially dangerous outcomes.
Step 1: Precautions and Materials
One might ask, "Can we make a homemade heat sink? And why is it dangerous?"
Firstly, of course, but we highly recommend that if you are indeed going to make a heat sink yourself, then it might probably be best to leave things that require a heat sink alone (in other words, don't). Heat Sinks are built in a way that requires quite some precision, since they're cooling specific components, of which most easily break. Chances are is that if you're going to make a homemade Heat Sink is that you might encounter serious problems when you integrate it to your computer, unless you really know what you're doing.
Now that that's dealt with, the cooler we will be teaching you to make can double as a laptop cooler, and any improvisations for that will be discussed along the way.
You will need:
Wood, preferably small, long blocks, though other hard materials can do, since this for the frame.
A small fan, though not too small, of course (unless you're planning on making a laptop cooler instead of a computer cooler). This is the only thing you probably have to buy, but it's rather cheap. You might probably find some in your house though. You never know. Oh, it's also recommended to have more, since it definitely helps
Small metal bars, this to protect the fan from objects that might for some reason try to go through it, or to protect other objects from the fan should it "decide to fly."
Heavy Duty Glue
USB cable, if you want to plug it on a USB port instead of plugging it on a socket or something.
Any measuring device, to know how big things are
Solder, for connecting wires.
Electrical Wires, for expansion or other stuff
Electrical tape, for holding them safely together
pliers, go crazy, but not too much
Step 2: Decide Where to Place the Cooler
You first need to decide where you would like you place your cooler, as it is not a good feeling to make one only to find out that you can't place it anywhere decent. This step may also help you determine how big your cooler will be. Find a spot on your CPU that has holes (which most CPUs have). But if you're planning on putting it somewhere with wires, then make sure that they will not in any way touch the fans of your cooler. If you can't find any place to put it, you can also try removing one side of the case. This alone will provide your CPU with significantly more ventilation. You can place your cooler in the place of the side you took off. You can also put it inside the CPU should it have space and there's a hole that a wire to go through, but BE ABSOLUTELY SURE that you be careful with that one.
Step 3: Make the Frame
Depending on the shape of and structure of your fan, cut and glue the wood together to form a square or rectangular frame. Place another strip of wood across the center of the fan, but make sure that the wood will not come in contact with the blades, or any wires. This will serve as a connector to your fan and your frame, and will also serve as a connector to other things, such as your PC's CPU. Should your fan have it's own frame, then only put wood on places necessary for placing your fan on your PC. As for laptop coolers, put cubes on each side of the frame to serve as a stand. Remember that the blades should not touch either the bottom of the laptop or the surface it's standing on. Oh, should you have more fans, put them in, that will definitely help.
Step 4: Repeating, and More Organizing, and Finalizing
If you have more fans and more wood, you can go ahead and replicate the frames, and join them together. Just make sure that the entire thing can still fit on the CPU's side. Same for laptops. We recommend having only small wooden dividers between your fans, and minimize the space in between everything. Also, if your fans don't have any bars of their own, make a makeshift one with any small metal bars you have around. Again, make sure that they don't touch the blades. As for the wires of the fans, use electrical tape (just to be safe, but you can use anything you want) to hold them in place on the wood. Should you require any extension, get unused wires around your house.
By the way, your fans will definitely need a power source, and they probably have their own individual wires for them. It's definitely not recommended that you find a socket for each and every extra fan you have, so what you'll do here is that you'll remove the ends of the wires of your fan using pliers, and expose the copper inside them. Find any similar colored wires you may have around and about and connect them to just one plug. Use a solder for connecting the wires together, then seal with electrical tape.
Once you've placed your cooler together and are happy with it, now it's time to put it on the PC. Attach the wood that you glued across your fan to the desired place on the PC. Use whatever you want, tape, glue (do you really want to?), and the like, just make sure it doesn't ruin the outside of your case should you decide to remove it. Most probably, your PC already has an existing cooler on it, so place your homemade cooler somewhere it can suck outside air, so the existing PC fan can suck it away when the air becomes heated. Or, if your existing cooler is heated, position it the other way around so it can suck air from inside the PC and exhaust it outside. By the way, you don't necessarily need to attach the thing to the case, as you can simply rest it on the case of the CPU, should the design of your frame allow you to do that. Laptops can be placed on top, but add additional wooden cubes if the fan should touch anything.
Simply plug it in to a power source and you're done.
Step 5: USB Improvisation
Note that this will work optimally if you just have 1 fan. Having more fans may or can lessen their overall strength.
The fan you have wil have a wire to connect to a power source. Use a pair of pliers to expose those wires, and then do the same for the other end of your USB cable. Connect their matching colored wires together with a solder (other fans will sometimes have more wires, they're not important in this case, as you will only need the ones that match the colors of the wires of your USB cable). Seal with electrical tape. Plug it in to an available USB port.
Step 6: Tips & Notes
To know if you really need some more leverage, you can download a program called Speed Fan. It is a third party software that uses the built in heat sensors of a PC or laptop. It's primary functions are displaying the heat of a PC, but it can do a lot of other stuff as well. According to a credibly source, known by the alias of CloneDragon (He doesn't want to reveal his name since this is the internet, things can happen), potentially dangerous levels of heat are around 90 degrees C or higher while idle (no other programs running), or as close to idle as possible. Components are known to melt at temperatures higher than 100 C for prolonged periods (GPUs can withstand higher temperatures such as that, but still). That applies to almost every temperature reading for any chip you can see (such as the cores, etc.). Oh, for some clarification, running heavy programs/software such as 3D games can make temperatures rise up to 90 C, that is normal if you're running games.
Having said that, there may also be a problem with the components when it reaches those levels while idle. It will be within your best interests to find out what's wrong with your PC should that be the case. Besides, it's definitely way better to have a problem fixed, rather than just compensating by adding more cooling mechanisms.
If your PC doesn't have problems, but its temperatures still rise because of heavy software or the like, then adding extra cooling systems is fine. Don't run programs that you don't use at the current moment (such as your Instant Messenger, which runs at startup but you're not planning on using it for your session, in this case, it helps setting it not to run at startup). Giving the PC a rest once in a while also helps.
Maintenance also plays a part on heat reduction. Cleaning the components of your PC on regular intervals can help with cooling the PC down, and more of course.
Also, if you're planning on buying a PC, it's highly recommend that you get what you really need, since aside from heat, it can affect a lot of other things as well. For instance, if you're a gamer, then search the market for components that are built for gaming. Those are designed to withstand the heat video games make the components produce. You will have lesser heat problems with a PC optimized for gaming, and you wont have to worry about the game slowing down at higher graphics settings. Compared to a PC that's, for instance, only used for making documents, you will have more problems with heat, and a lot of other stuff, should you run games on it (you might even expect it to die outright if you're a heavy gamer playing heavy games).
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