The DIY Laptop Cooler




About: Im in the USMC im a tanker.... not the commen inventer but i just like to think of new things and build random stuff.

Build your own laptop cooler thats completely powered by your laptop for less than $18 USD This is not a simple instructable and unless you have a good set of tools you should probably not attempt it because its decently time consuming due to the type of lightweight wood you will be working with... many people would rather just pay the extra 25 to 30 bucks and buy a pre made laptop cooler but for the people who like a challenge and a cheap build read on...

unfortunatly due to my A.D.D i didnt take very many pictures during the build so ill do my best to describe what i didnt take pictures of..

Items Needed:

Power Drill.
Ratchet set.
Small clippers capable of cutting nails
Drill bits (sizes Vary)
Clamps or a very steady helping hand.
Soldering Gun (optional but recomended)
Electrical Tape or Heat Shring Rap. (or both)
Sand paper (optional)
Spray Paint (optional) - less than ($2)
Wood Glue (optional

Other Items-----
Small Nails ( I had these laying around )
Nuts and bolts... no longer than 2 inches long and preferably thin enought to put through a pc case fans grill holes ( I had these laying around )
PCI slot tower computer cooling fan (I used the MADDOG brand) - ($ 12.98)
USB Cable - (I used an extra so i didnt spend any money on this.)
Decently lage peice of Masonite (Compressed Cardboard) 1/4 inch thick (the reason im using this wood is because its extremly light yet its timeconsuming to work with because if your not careful you will split the wood easily) ($4.98) for my 6 by 6 piece.

Step 1: First Cut the Wood

Use a table saw to cut the approxamate shape of the box..

I made mine 16 inches Long by 12 high but you may choose diff depending on the size of your laptop.

Be smart and cut the long peices for the sides the same size at the length of the box but make sure to make the side for the hight of your box 1/2 inch longer because the wood is a quarter inch thick and you need to compansate for the extra length due to the side panels that run along the length of the box... if you dont understand now you will when you mess up and have to cut the pieces agian... ( i made this mistake.) make your box about 2 inches this so that you have room for your internal pci slot fan...

Step 2: Cut a Hole in the Top Peice

Now cut a hole in the top piece and add a fan grill to the underside of the board use bolts to hold it on...

Use a hole cutting drill bit

Step 3: Wire Your Fan Read Carefully

For a more detailed discription on this step there are instructables on this site that will show you how to do so...

its pretty simple.. just strip the red and black wire to the fan aswell as the round cable for the USB then find the red and black on it... Solder the black to black and red to red... BUT FIRST DRILL A HOLE IN ONE OF THE SIDE PANELS AND RUN THE WIRE THROUGH IT!!! then solder the wires together... look at the image for a better idea of where the wire should go through... (this will vary dependingon where your USB connections are on your laptop.

Step 4: Nail the Two Long Sides on to the Top Piece

as simple as it sounds this part was actually a little bit hard... i used some bent pieces of sheet metal and some clamps to do it myself.. but you might be able to do it with a pair of helping hands... good luck. Use the images for referance... also because of the thinness of the wood you have to use a drill to make the holes slightly smaller than what you will be nailing in... and make sure your nails are short enought that they wont crack the wood... this is dificult because the wood is thin so take your time... (you will most likely need to shorten your nails by clipping them... i did it as a precaution.)

Step 5: Nail the Back Piece On....

This part is difficult because you have to either use clamps and angles sheet metal to hold the back peice to the sides or devise another way to hold it in place while drilling your holes and then nailing the back piece to the sides that run longways...

(save the sides that run the hight way for last because you have to still mount the pci slot fan to one of the sides)

Step 6: Nail on the Hight Sides

Now your gonna nail on the side that has the usb cable run through it... if you want you can add a handle aswell to the side your about to nail on..

Next Flatten out the part of the usb fan grill that is bent and drill holes in both sides so that you can bolt it to the other side of the box.... you have to use a jigsaw to cut the square out of the side for the pci slot fan grill so the air will blow out of the box.... (your fan should already be wired to the other side and run throught the half completed box...)

Use the pictures below for referance..

The first picture specifies what area of the fan needs bent

Second picture is to show you how the square should be cut for the grill to blow air out.

The third shows the handle i made on the usb cable side

and the fourth is a diagram for help..

Step 7: The Final Product

Add paint to your box (prime first because this wood has a flakey texture if painted without priming and sanding) many layers is good so your box is better protected..

and this is what i got..



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    26 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    By the way, it is now Jan 29 2011 and this is still working perfect! Sitting under the very laptop im Typing on..

    Unfortunately I'm not building stuff these days, Mostly focusing on my music


    10 years ago on Step 7

    ok, now dremel off the excess bolts inside, throw some hinges on it and a lock and you've got yourself a case/cooler ;]

    2 replies

    8 years ago on Step 7

    How hard would it be to use some rechargeable batteries? or maybe, even better, to use a old cellphone battery... man, I getting some crazy ideas outa this... tks for sharing!

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 7

    Im not so sure a cellphone battery would do the trick so well, maybe use a nicad RC car battery that you can just recharge with a rc charger, im not sure what you would use to drop the current though so you dont turn the fan into a helicopter blade


    11 years ago on Introduction

    well, me being a cheap broke highschool student, i just sit my laptop on a old 3inch binder. i punched holes in the front of the binder to vent air and it doesnt burn my legs off too! =D

    2 replies

    That's a good idea, too. especially if you can put a fan in the binder. You might be able to scrounge up a fan from another piece of equipment.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    instantnoodle - I am posting this comment 18 months after yours so a bit behind but I did the same as you only punched more holes along the spine area as well and sit a $9.99 AUD desk fan (or pedestal-style) behind my laptop which blows air into the holes on the spine and circulates through the holes on binder front under where laptop sits. It keeps me cool too if I angle it slightly to either side. I purchased one too like others have, to find it does not cool laptop enough, especially in the hot months. Great instructable


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I had to do this to a notebook I got shafted on by circuit city. I bought the full warranty but what they don't tell you when you purchase it is that the warranty is not through them but a separate company. Tiger direct sent me a notebook that the company thought was comparable. Bunch of BS. Any way my design was not nearly as elaborate but much lighter. I just mounted my fan under the hole of the fan that was there and seeled the bottom so all the air being sucked is str8 from the inside. Kinda a double layer fan deal. At first I was worried about the fan inside burning out so I took it apart and found that they both operate at the same speed just the outtake built into the laptop is so small and barely any air was being pushed out. It used to be quite warm on the bottom and would shut down if it was sitting flat on my bed. It is now cool as can be and all i have is a fan the same size as the one you got on the bottom all cleverly matched and masked with electrical tape.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great instructable! No more cooked legs, no burnt desk... 5 stars!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    When I was living in college dorms, my roommate smoked in the room, so we'd always have a big window fan on, pointing out of the window on his side of the room. The other window was near my desk. I took a binder, sealed up one side other than enough space for some flexible tubing, left the other side open. The laptop was sitting on the binder obviously, with some holes drilled in the top surface of the binder. I opened the nearby window about 4 inches, but fit a cardboard insert into the opening, with a hole in it that the flexible tubing fit into. That way, when the fan blew out of one window, it sucked an insane amount of air through the flexible tubing hole in the other, and cool air from outside would enter the tubing, and flow through the binder that my laptop was sitting on and then exited the other side of the binder. Even at 100% CPU usage, the laptop stayed cool, and when it was cold out the palm rest was actually too cold to use comfortably for a long time. I bet this would be evenmore effective with a gaming computer/tower PC.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Brilliant! I love using box fans to pull negative pressure on a room, but I've only used it to check for gaps in insulation. Although this time of year I like using that toasty battery to warm my legs up :-P.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Great job. I'm thinking about making one similar. but wit my 6 port HUB built into the front. It would also be pretty cool with adjustable feet on the back so that you could adjust the hight of the screen.My desk is so high that when im sitting down I can barely read the letters on my keyboard, the feet would correct that ( I could buy a new chair but wheres the fun in that?)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    My laptop cooler was 20$ CAN, which is about 18$ USD. >_>
    Good job on making it look presentable, though. I find the similar instructables here look a little, barbaric I guess would be the right word. And who wants something like that under a laptop?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    very cool..but why such thick wood? it looks to be heavy. i like to sit with my laptop in my lap and i dont want to add so much to the weight. i have a store bought cooler made from plastic but i lost the power cord =/ but i love how it perfectly sits under my laptop..cant see it or feel that its there. maybe i will crack it open.. put in more powerful fans and add a new power cord. but anyways great instructable


    11 years ago on Introduction

    As far as instrucables go this one is pretty well written. One thing though is that this thing would work many times better made of or koated in metal. Wood does not make a good conductor for anything.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    That's a pretty cool laptop, but what is the brand?