Make a Removable Laptop Water Cooler! and Other Cool Devices




About: Name: Bård Lund Johansen Engineer, Materials Technology

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!

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Step 1: 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

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

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

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

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

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:)



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    139 Discussions


    Question 3 months ago

    ok i have a dell G7 and im only able to run it at about 50% for about an hour before the cpu red lines at 200F. as fare nothing i have uses with air cooling has worked. any ideas on how i could apply this?


    9 years ago on Step 6

     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?

    9 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Try and tell us the result.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    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? 


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    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


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

     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. 


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 6

    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.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 6

    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 ;)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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 :).

    3 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    You dont need to solder it, you can make the shape as a whole with a pocket (like a candle). But its hard to melt at 600 degrees. Or you could weld it. Dont know if that will work!


    Reply 1 year ago

    Aluminium is better because its thin.


    6 years ago on Step 6

    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!!!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thats one option thats used sometimes. However its better to avoid having to pour fresh water. This is why the tube must run through somethimg on the outside so the water gets cooled and then goes back inside. You still have to change it, for such a small amouny I dont know, but maybe once per week.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Dont know if it will work, but aluminiun foil (from the food shop) will not work. You need real aluminium.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.