Raspberry Pi Heat Sink

Introduction: Raspberry Pi Heat Sink

Project Difficulty: Easy

Project Time: Less than 5 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • Thermal compound
  • Small heat sink (I got mine form an on-board graphics processor on an old computer)

Tools Needed:

  • Hack saw (With metal cutting blade)
  • Vice
  • File (Optional)
  • Screw Driver (Optional)
  • Knife (Optional)

Step 1: Getting Your Heat Sink

1. You can find heat sinks that are 1/2 in x 1/2 in or larger.

• Old computers (on the on-board graphics processor or north bridge)
• Old video game consoles
• Old power supplies

2. Remove the heat sink with a screw driver or by hand

Step 2: Cut #1

1. Clean off bottom of heat sink with knife or file
2. Find the best place to cut

• 4x3 prongs was the perfect size on my heat sink (may be different for you)
• Pick a spot with no bent prongs just so it looks nice

3. Place heat sink in vice and make your cut

Step 3: Cut #2

  1. Find the best spot for your second cut
    • Some pins may bend while cutting, but it is alright
  2. Place in vice again and cut

Step 4: Cut #3 (Optional)

  1. You can cut the prongs of your heat sink off so it doesn't stick out from the Pi so much
  2. Place in vice and cut the prongs about 1/4 in

Step 5: Filing

  1. Start by filing down the bottom to make it nice and smooth
  2. (Optional) File down the sides and tops of the prongs to make it look nice

Step 6: Thermal Compound

  1. Lay down some paper of a cloth so you don't make a mess with the thermal compound (it is very messy)
  2. Apply a VERY small amount of thermal compound on the bottom of the heat sink
  3. Place the heat sink on the Pi's processor and push down gently to distribute the thermal compound
  4. Leave the Pi to let the thermal compound stick for at least 30 minutes

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    Unless the heatsink got warped during the hacksawing process, I would keep the bottom surface in its pristine smooth and planar state. You are unlikely to recover it to this state with a hand file. A last resort is to use some wet-paper on a piece of plate-glass. The aim here is to keep the thermal resistance between bonded surfaces to a minimum by getting the surfaces to matchi up exactly. Thermal compound has its limitations.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    You can use silicon on the edges to glue it to the RPI board


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yes you can! One of my friends tried it with hot glue yesterday, and it seemed to have worked although I still wouldn't suggest it.


    6 years ago

    This will really help to use your pi for a long time. Thanks for sharing this awesome instructable. Any plans for adding a small fan maybe?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I thought abotu adding a fan, but the smallest one I can find in my workshop is an 80mm. I know that you can buy very small heatsink fans on amazon if you would like to try it out.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    NIce idea for re-use of components. Do you have any before and after measurements of the processor temperature? In fact, can you explain why you needed to do this?