Thermal Control for VR Headsets

Introduction: Thermal Control for VR Headsets

Modern phones with large high resolution displays will put a high load on its CPU, and GPU. And as a side effect from the immersive VR experience, that will produce some heat. As long as the phone can get rid of the heat in the same rate as it is generated there are no problem. But when the heat builds up faster than it can be transported away, the internal temperature will keep rising. The phone has built in protection against that, and to prevent it from running to hot it will reduce the speed on the CPU, and the GPU. Its called thermal throttling, and when it occurs, it makes the frame rate drastically drop in the game, which is not what you want when playing in VR.

So the phone may need some help to get rid of the extra heat, especially on hot summer days, by adding this super simple heat sink just weighing 61 grams including the weight of the pads.

For this I used 0.8 mm sheet aluminium, and thermal pads for computers. Thicker aluminium will take care of more heat, but may be harder to cut, and bend. Also make sure so it will fit in the headset.


Sheet aluminium, 250 mm wide.

Thermal pads, for example "Thermopad Thermal Grizzly Minus Pad 8- Silikon", or "Thermal Pad, Tflex 300 Series".

Tools for cutting, and bending aluminium.

Pen, ruler, and a sharp knife.

Step 1: Mark the Cut

Measure the width of the phone, and draw the line for cutting on the aluminium sheet.

Step 2: Double Check the Measurements

Measure twice, cut once...

Step 3: Cut the Sheet

Cut the sheet. I used a hacksaw to make the cut. Its important the sheet is completely flat to make a flush fit to the phone, so try to bend it as little as possible when cutting. I also used a bucket as cutting table to collect the metal shavings, as I was doing this in the kitchen. Then use a file to make the cut, and the corners nice, and smooth.

Step 4: Cut Out for the Camera

The camera on my phone stands out a millimeter, so I had to cut out for that too. As this is the area of the phone where the most of the heat is produced, I just cut two sides, and kept the metal for extra heat dispensing.

Step 5: Add the Thermal Pads. DONE!

Check so it fits in the VR headset. Then add the thermal pad. Use a sharp knife to cut it in size.

Tip: Keep the transparent film, and put it back to protect the pads from dust when it's not used.

Tip 2: The performance of this passive heatsink can easily be improved by adding cooling Fins, and a Fan as described in this instructable:

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