Introduction: Wooden Laptop Cooling Pad

About: Too much wood, too little time.

Because I have an obsessive video game addiction I thought "Why not fuel it by helping my computer run more intensive games." instead of just admitting I have a problem. And that's how we get here, with your very own laptop cooling stand and a miserable GPA.

My cooling pad ended up lowering my CPU heat by 60 degrees Fahrenheit. to get yours to do that, you're going to need:

  • Plank of wood at least a half inch thick,
  • 2 Computer Fans at minimum
  • Power Outlet or USB Cable
  • Extra Wire
  • Scissors? or like a pointy sharp thing
  • Wood Polish / Glue / Just wood tools really

Step 1: Selecting Your Fans

Almost all standard computer fans are 12 cm, which is what I went ahead with using. However not all fans are created equal. I specifically chose two extremely quiet but fast spinning fans. In case you want to use the same pair I bought you can find them here. Along side the fans I bought two protective cover cases for them so that I wouldn't, I dunno stick my fingers in them on accident.

  • Remove the 3 point connector with some scissors and identify which wire is your positive and negative and your tach. All you're going to want is the positive and negative so get rid of the tachometer.
  • Strip the wires of their covering and you're ready for the next step.

Step 2: Fan Direction

To maximize results figure out how your laptop already cycles air. I noticed my laptop sucked air in from the bottom, and blew it out the back. You can test this by holding a tissue next to the openings when your laptop fans are running.

Since computer fans only spin one way, I decided to simply flip the whole box. You can see in my design that the fans are upside down when you turn the cooling pad over. Test this for yourself though, as all computers are a little different. (Thank you Tweakerz for the photo)

I ran a few tests on what would work for my fan and in the end forcing the air into my computer was what worked best for me.

The only problem I ran into by flipping the fans was that the ugly underside was now visible. To make it less noticeable I placed the two layers of protective covers on it, which did not affect cooling temperatures at all.

Step 3: Connecting Your Adaptor

This is where you can get creative with your fans. Most computer fans run at a 15 volt charge so to get the most air current out of them you want to run that much electrical current through them. USB's run at a third that voltage, meaning you fan will spin just a bit slower than what you want.

I used an old computer charger that already ran at 15 volts for my project but if you chose to use a USB you will find 4 wires inside. Keep only the red and black.

Step 4: Turn Me on Baby, and Off, and On, and Off...

You don't want your fans running all the time, I hope, so to get a little freaky let's add this switch. Since every electronics store in the world is going out of business I found, a slightly bulky, lamp switch at the Home Depot.

Cut one of your wires, in this case it really does not matter, but you do want to connect both of them to screws in the switch. Don't forget to keep testing your fans that they work and all your wiring is solid.

Step 5: Lets Get Jiggy With It

There are many ways to do this but because I wanted the fewest amount of cuts I used a jigsaw.

  • Trace out your fans where you want them located
  • Slowly cut out each square, focus on the corners if your fan has rounded edges.
  • Test that your fan actually fits, who knows maybe your tracing skills deteriorated.

Step 6: Side Supports

Now that the top is finished we're going to raise the whole stand so that we can maximize airflow. Cut from the excess wood we have two very thin triangles. Test them on your board to see if you like the height.

I decided that my switch was going to go on the supports so that I could easily turn the fans on while I was playing games. measure the depth of your cut and make that ditch.

I also ended up cutting out part of the top board with a chisel so that the switch would be closer to my hands. That was just a personal preference.

Step 7: Wiring and Glueing

In an attempt to make the underside of my pad clean and neat I placed the wires as nicely as I could and then glued everything in one go.

A side note here is that I did not solder my wires. I did twist the life out of them, but I didn't have a soldering iron at home at the time of making this. So far I've had zero problems with the connections.

Step 8: Coating

Cover any parts you would rather not damage with masking tape and with a 150-200 grit piece of sandpaper gently smooth out your project.

I used Lacquer for this project because I wouldn't need to sand between each coat and it would give the wood it's natural and gorgeous shine.

Step 9: Benchmarking Your Fans

Laptops, and most computers usually fail at 100 degrees Celsius. My laptop was easily reaching 80 degrees after only an hour and a half of heavy gaming. With the fans going my laptop now stays at a steady temperature of 50 degrees Celsius overall, which is even better than anticipated.

Order of photos

  1. Computer idling, not doing any heavy work.
  2. Gaming for an hour.
  3. Fans on for 20 minutes.
  4. Fans on for 30 minutes while game ended.

So all in all the fans dropped my temperature by 60 degrees Fahrenheit, while still gaming. Which is freaking awesome! I hope your cooling pad works just as well. take some pictures of your own I want to see what y'all come up with.