Intro: Mineral Oil-Cooled Old Laptop
I will start off with why I did this to a laptop in the first place so if you don't really care, skip to the other steps.
The Asus UL80VT served me well for two years until the screen started flickering with white lines and squeal with a high pitched sound inherent of a dying capacitor . For a while, I would just tap the screen and it would go away. Sometimes the screen would get increasingly more white lines until the screen would just be totally blank. I used it as a desktop replacement with an external monitor for a while until I actually needed to carry it around. The warranty on the machine was only two years so I ended up cracking it open to see if I could fix the problem. When doing so I, destroyed one of the WiFi antenna cables. The touchpad also stopped working (I have a horrible reputation of doing things like this).
I ended up building a new desktop during the holidays and attempted to sell the laptop. I put up an ad on an online classifieds site posted as working if you use it with an mouse, external monitor, etc. and almost immediately got a buyer. The problem was he didn't speak English very well nor read very well (my area is Bilingual). He didn't know that it had all the problems it did other than when he showed up at my house I showed him that the trackpad didn't work.
For reasons I will never know, when he got home he realized all the problems and tried opening up the laptop himself without knowing how to do so. The next day he came back and asked for his money back. When checking if he had done anything to it I realized he absolutely destroyed the keyboard trying to remove it. He got really upset at me for apparently not letting him know all the issues which was clearly stated in the classifieds.
Anyways, I returned his money and kept $20 for all the damage. The problem was I had a 'laptop' that I could probably not sell... so I decided to rip out the motherboard and do something fun with it...
Step 1: Oil
I used 7 bottles of unscented baby oil to which cost $3 per bottle. Each bottle contained 592 mL of mineral oil.
The only other mineral oil I found in my area was heavy laxative at $8 per 500 mL.
Step 2: Motherboard
I didn't document a dis-assembly but the chances are that if your laptop is (or once was) popular, there is guide to doing so.
To save the amount of oil I would have to buy, I removed the bottom I/O board in the bottom left corner. Nothing very vital was located on the board so it didn't matter. It had a ethernet port, a usb port, SD card reader, and the mini PCI-E which had a WiFi card in it.
Because the cables were damaged, I figured I'd hook up an external USB WiFi adapter anyways.
Step 3: Vase
I used a 8" diameter clear glass vase that cost $13.
I decorated the bottom with smooth rocks and a Intel stock heatsink to reduce the volume of oil I would need.
Step 4: Active Cooling
I had to widen the holes on the board to get the bolts I had to fit through.
I used rubber washers to prevent shorts from the nut.
Although this fan regularly runs at 12 V, I was able to connect it to the stock laptop fan's header with some modifications and run it at 5V. The spins significantly slower as seen in the video.
Step 5: Top Cover
The top cover will prevent any debris from falling into the oil.
I simply measured the diameter of the vase and milled a groove into a bamboo cutting board of the same diameter. The edge of the vase sits inside the groove. I also milled a 1.5" diameter hole to route all the cables through which include: DC power, HDMI cable, USB extension to a USB HUB, and a 3.5 mm audio jack extension cable.
Step 6: Final Assembly
LED lights from an old Christmas ornament were soldered to the leads on the CD drive power and connected to the second SATA connector on the bottom of the motherboard.
An OCZ Vertex 2 60 GB SSD drive was installed as the main drive which makes this totally silent.
This is a great addition to a living room as it has a unique look.