Introduction: Make a Removable Laptop Water Cooler! and Other Cool Devices

Picture of Make a Removable Laptop Water Cooler! and Other Cool Devices

This Instructables will show you how to make an awesome water cooled heat extractor and pad cooler for your laptop.
So what is this heat extractor really? Well it's a device designed to make your laptop cool - in every meaning of the word. It can also make the fan obsolete and therefore completely silent. The pad cooler is intended for your HDD, graphics card, CPU or other devices that run hot.
This technique can also be used to make custom radiators in almost any sizes. Be sure to check every picture for more details!

This video shows you how easy and quick it is to install the pad cooler on a laptop HDD!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

You will need:

Copper plating (0.5 mm)
Copper tubing (I used 4 x 6 mm copper brakeline pipe)
Plate scissors (type straight)
Solder and flux
A stove or a blow torch
Laser printer and normal paper
6 mm Lip and spur drill ("centre tapped")
Power drill
Plastic tubing
Aluminum tape
Bilge pump (or just run it from the tap)

Step 2: Making the Template

Picture of Making the Template

Clean the copper plate using alcohol or just soap and water. The templates are made in MS Paint and laser-printed on normal paper. Soak the templates in water for a couple of minutes and place them face down on the copper, making sure there are no bubbles or creases.

Make use of that old T-shirt and place a single layer on top of the template. Iron at max temp making sure that the centre of the iron covers all areas. After a while the water dries up and that's your cue to apply some more pressure. When you think you're done, do it some more.

Step 3: Peeling and Drilling

Picture of Peeling and Drilling

Remove the template immediately after ironing while it's still hot. This is important!

You are now ready for drilling and cutting. This method can be used in the exact same manner to make printed circuit boards (PCB's).

Drilling precise holes can be a real struggle when using handheld power tools, even when using platinum coated HSS drill bits. The reason for this is that the copper can easily warp and the holes will then be misaligned. Remember that only a 1 mm off at the centre will result in a noticeable skewed fin at the end. The solution is to use a lip and spur drill, the "centre tapped" kind normally used for drilling in wood. Be sure to use slow speeds and drill on a flat wooden surface.

Step 4: The Final Cut. Almost

Picture of The Final Cut. Almost

Cutting is pretty straight forward if you have a plate cutter. You could also use a regular pair of scissors -it only takes a bit more patience.

Cut the pipes and insert them into the fins. They should make a snug fit.
Inserting coins as temporary spacers will give you that professional finish I know you're looking for.

It's now ready for soldering (last picture). You could use a hot plate on a stove or a blowtorch. Make sure you clean the parts well before soldering and use a solder that contain flux.

Step 5: Making Ends Meet

Picture of Making Ends Meet

This is a "end loop" made from a piece of plastic tubing. To make it, insert a length of wire (or any other flexible rod etc.), heat it gently and bend. The end flare is made by treading the tube over a piece of copper tubing and again heating it gently.

Step 6: Now Chill

Picture of Now Chill

This one has 7 blades. It protrudes about 9 mm out of the chassis which isn't bad at all. The pad cooler in the last picture is really a great way to keep your data and lap happy.

Now all you have to do is to hook it up to a bilge pump, or the tap water, or your local cryo lab, or... Use your imagination. Running some tubes on the back of your screen will make for the coolest most silent laptop in your neighbourhood. Please also have a look at my
other Instructables and rate them as you like:)


JamesF7 (author)2014-11-23

Alright, so I know there's tons of comments already, but I am really keen to do this as my HP (grrr) laptop gets it's cores up to around 90C when running intensive games so i would like to give this a try. I have access to my school's laser cutter/engraver which can pretty much vaporize anything into any size you want, which should be extremely useful for cutting out the finsJust a few questions first. Considering that the fins are only really touching the fins of the laptop, it wouldn't really extract too much heat from what's important (CPU,GPU) would it? (Just a guess, I don't really know too much about this stuff. wouldn't it just cool the air? (or is that an intake vent on the example laptop?)

It is a heatsink. It is connected to the CPU/GPU/Both through copper heatpipes. It will make a difference.

OpenSourceF (author)JamesF72015-02-08

my computer gets 90C in bios(Basic Input Output System) configuration menu...

MayurY1 (author)2016-06-04

what if i use mild steel sheet instead of copper sheet ?
would it work ?

imrank49 (author)2016-02-17

Please tell me where to buy the copper sheets and copper pipe(and cost) and how did you maintain the water regulation.Please tell me in detail. Thanks in advance.

Chrisd85 (author)2015-09-07

CyberHawk001 (author)2015-04-08

how could it works to make your cpu cool...

CyberHawk001 (author)2015-04-08

how does it works & it makes cool to your cpu...

ipgrp1 (author)2014-10-18

What's the science behind this?

sulistiyoekop (author)ipgrp12014-11-12

alien science is....

mousr (author)2014-09-08

great idea! gonna make it soon :)

prateek.sharma.106902 (author)2014-07-26

can u make a video or explain in detail how u solder the copper plate with the tube?

xtank5 (author)2007-10-19

would this work with aluminum foil? if you made your own tube and melted other foil for solder I think it might. just wondering because I can't find any copper tube or copper plating anywhere. if any one can tell me thated be great i have a friend with an overheating laptop.... Anyway nice Instructable.<:D

Johenix (author)xtank52008-04-09

Aluminum is notoriously hard to solder due to two facts: 1.) Aluminum is covered with a thin transparent layer of oxide. 2.) Aluminum reacts violently with acid flux that will remove the oxide. The answer is to this is to cover the aluminum with a heavy layer of oil, then scrape the oxide off and solder with ROSIN core solder before washing away the oil. The cooling system using plastic tubing in the "U" loop is inviting leaks. An all copper "U" can be made from soft copper tubing without kinking the tubing while bending by taping one end of the tube shut, filling the tube with salt or fine sand, then bending the tube. After bending the tube shake the sand out or wash the salt out. (During WWII tubing for aircraft was filled with low melting point "WOODS METAL" that was steamed out after bending.) Best Surplus Stores in Mimmeapolis- St. Paul, Minnesota (USA) area: "Axe Man Surplus" on University Ave., St. Paul, MN. Everything from an old studio TV camera and an Iron Lung to reject "Teddy Ruxpin"s.

shomas (author)Johenix2014-07-06

Cool store when I lived there, but the spelling is Minneapolis.

tanntraad (author)xtank52007-10-19

Foil won't work, It's too thin. Also note: Aluminum melting point; 933.47 K
(660.32 °C, 1220.58 °F)
Copper tubing is easy to find; ask for copper brake pipe

rasta_bhoy (author)tanntraad2008-03-08

But if you really, really can't find copper plating, what material can you substitute for the copper plating. The tubing is easy because I live in the Philippines and motorcycle shops here are everywhere. It's the plating which I am concerned about where to get some because I really want to try this out since you really made an effort to post sound statistical evidence (the graphs) to prove that this cooling device really does work.

tisla (author)rasta_bhoy2011-03-21

i too cant find copper plating here in my place...philippines..hmmm substitute?

tanntraad (author)rasta_bhoy2008-03-09

You could use steel plating but then you'd be better of welding it. Print out this Instructable and show it at a motorcycle shop. Maybe they can help you make it :)

rasta_bhoy (author)tanntraad2008-03-10

thanks for the tip. I'd definitely try this and I'll try to post some pics. I'm still planing on what my laptop station would consist of, but this would definitely be in it. I'll try to post pics when I'm done with it. Best of luck with your projects.

kinggo68 (author)2013-11-26

Good article. The principal advantages of a water cooler include multiple servings of water with a fresh taste. This will ensure an unremitting supply of colder water. Whereas the freestanding bottled water coolers have steel reservoirs attached to bottles of varied dimensions.  

The Marnix (author)2013-11-15

You would have to be careful not to cool the system water to much. If you drop the system temperature below dew point you will get water condensing on the fins and dripping into your case. The idea is to disperse the heat and not to add chilling which is what I suspect will happen if you packed a soda can in ice. You need to run the system to a second larger radiator with a fan which can disperse the heat (a CPU cooler) or build a cooling tower. I'm not sure how much more quite running additional fans or pumps would actually be. This is now so involved you may as well have a desktop.

7PieceMeal (author)2013-07-14

In an attempt to prevent leaks - do you have to use rubber tubing or can there be one long copper tube loop?

muddog15 (author)2013-01-05

i have a cool suggestion why not run your to lines to a submersible pump in a soda can put water in the can then put the can in ice it would cool off the water being ran throughout the system and eliminate wasting water by cooling the warm water instead of pouring it down the drain!!!

bigjeff5 (author)2011-11-30

Just thought I'd point out that aluminum is nearly as good as copper at conducting heat, and is 1/7th the price.

You know, in case you're on a budget.

Copper may have been cheaper when this instructable was posted, but it has been steadily increasing in price over the years.

Otherwise, pretty slick :).

junits15 (author)bigjeff52012-12-27

only issue is its hard to solder aluminum lol

ondrikczech (author)2012-06-29

wow,excelent work!

Asmodeous (author)2011-12-17

This insulated bake-ware sheet does wonders for cooling my laptop.

lamboi (author)Asmodeous2012-01-05

nice, what kind of pump did you use? I'm confused of which to buy for my laptop.

Mckye (author)2009-12-31

 I think I would like to do this project, however, I was thinking about putting Oil in the line, then I could take and mount a brushless micro motor inside a section of copper pipe and attach a propeller blade to it running the power cords out and possibly to a USB head, the oil wouldn't fry the motor and the motor would move the oil through the line quite fast without forcing you to attach a pump. also, it would keep the whole unit quite small. What do you think?

seabee890 (author)Mckye2010-02-28

i am not sure about the oil, I don't remember if glycol/water   or oild was better at transfering heat. maybe experiment by timing how fast a set amount of liquid heated up when exposed to a set amount of heat.. I like your oil idea and using a usb multi plug you can tap a line without wasting any ports. I wonder how much heat would be generated by the extra electricity needed to power the usb punp that will cool the cpu? 

_Scratch_ (author)seabee8902011-01-27

I'm pretty sure that the reason most people don't use oil in the water cooling line is the same reason antifreeze is a bad choice for water cooling. The liquids MAY conduct as much heat as water does, in terms of speed, but most don't hold as much heat as water can, so water is a good choice, and if you don't mind spending some money, you could get the fluid that is made for water cooling computers, as it is non conductive and holds about as much heat as water does.

bigjeff5 (author)_Scratch_2011-11-30

Pure water is non-conductive. What makes water conduct electricity are the impurities that are often found in it, particularly salts.

Therefore, one of the best liquids possible for liquid cooling is pure, distilled water. It is non-conductive and has one of the best thermal capacities of any liquid.

Incidentally, if you do depressurize the pipe properly you have a heat pipe, which moves heat far, far better than water and a pump can, though it doesn't give you that nice buffer of water's massive heat retaining abilities since a proper heat pipe won't have much water in it.

seabee890 (author)seabee8902010-02-28

WOW, god bless F7. I suck at spelling sometimes. First question would running oil help prevent condensation?  should we have a drip loop to prevent line following moisture from getting into the computer?  to the people who have created this project do me a favor?  i would like some data before i create the project.  run your computer with a control program under {x} conditions. then plug in the USB powered cooler {L} and run under the same set control conditions  without the cooler in position to cool off the computer. Find the difference in operating temp between these two conditions {X}  and {X+L}  then run your computer under {X} conditions with {L} in place to cool off the computer and find out how effecient your cooling system really is.  Your may be making your electrical system work harder to cool your computer down and shorten the life. If it just looks bloody cool and you don't care about a few extra months of service life, then turn up the rock an roll and party on. thanks

sqeeek (author)seabee8902010-06-03

 Well, I can answer one of those:
Condensation is caused by water in the air turning to liquid upon coming in contact with something cold. 

So, if the pipes are cold, then, 

Feel free to disagree, anyone, this is me pretending I remember physics class. 

jdpanchal (author)sqeeek2010-09-30

Condensation on a surface occurs when moisture in the air cools past the saturation point as it comes into contact with the surface. The saturation point(temperature) varies for different humidity (amount of moisture in air). Generally, if you are using water in your cooling system that is not directly from the cold tap/faucet, there should be no condensation because the water in the pipe (or oil if your are using it) will be at room temperature or higher. This will not result in condensation.

sqeeek (author)jdpanchal2010-10-02

Makes sense, that's along the lines of what I thought. @seabee: no, oil would not help prevent condensation. If your cooling system is cooling to the point you get condensation, try keeping it warm, not changing the coolant ;) (author)Mckye2010-02-28

 did you work that idea?

Gnutella (author)2011-10-22

bending the tube is the hardest part.

junits15 (author)2011-06-30

watercooling a laptop isn't smart economical or very useful......but this is still one of my most favorite instructables. :)

_Scratch_ (author)2011-04-28

I am starting to do this project, but i don't know whether to put the 2 pipes through opposite sides of the plate or close together on the plate like how it is done on this instructable.

_Scratch_ (author)_Scratch_2011-05-09

Edit- The pipe i was using was too big, so i instead wrapped the plates around the side of the pipe and soldered them there with a blowtorch, so there are fins that stick up on each side, alternating sides. Looks pretty sweet. Sorry for the bad picture, i was using my cell phone from 2006.

tisla (author)2011-03-21

i have an acer aspire 4745g the one with switchable problem is when i switch to its ati radeon gpu the cooling exhaust gets really hot..and wioth that i want to use a water cooling for my laptops Gpu...could u help me figure out hot to make one?? i also recorded high temps in everest..its quite alarming for me...hope for ur response..tnx

Matrix-technician (author)2011-03-21

It would be helpfull if you listed the dimensions or included the template as a pdf in this "ible".

drats666 (author)2010-02-28

I think instead of breaking the case your using that i'd simply remove the casing, add the tubing inside with a small radiator/box unit on the outside. I'd  replace the cpu heatsink, hd heatsink and memory and northbridge heatsinks with water cooled blocks. I'd have a case made of carbon fiber using the old case as a reference model, simply extending it a bit(lowering it to allow room for the tubing)

MicroK!D (author)drats6662010-05-24

carbonfiber really? sounds cool but lets see if you acually do it.

drats666 (author)MicroK!D2010-05-24

Actually, carbon fiber bodies aren't that uncommon. Several rugged business laptops have carbon fiber shells. my laptop (just a case replacement) is made of carbon fiber. you can go to most companies that deal with molding and carbon fiber, bring designs and measurements and your wallet and they will make it for you. mine for my old toshiba cost about 200.

if you dont want carbon fiber you could use one those 3d print services i believe, you'd simply have to find one that can support the dimensions of your product. an example of this service is

drats666 (author)MicroK!D2010-05-24

carbon fiber cases are nothing new, in fact alot of the ruggid business laptops have carbon fiber shells. you can go to a local company with design plans and they can make the product for you, or if you perfer you could have it made of plastic using hmm forgot the name of the technology it is, but here is a simular link to what they are  that one is mainly geared towards small prototyping but their are some larger ones.

HavsCritiria (author)2008-10-31

Hey, how drastically is the temperature affected?

tanntraad (author)HavsCritiria2008-11-01

Hey, on my system I got a nice 15-20 (Celcius) drop.

About This Instructable




Bio: Name: Bård Lund Johansen Engineer, Materials Technology
More by tanntraad:Controlling a keypad matrix via a microcontrollerMake an iPod Video ProjectorMake a remote controlled camera from a cellphone!
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