My personal Mods. (New D.I.Y. water cooling project)

Call me bored if you will, but that is the inspiration for my.. um.. creations. I do not spend hardly any cash because I want to see what I can do with a little patience, ingenuity, and spare parts. Call it recycling if you want.

This first image is a 3.5 floppy drive that has been re-purposed. The real thought behind this was the fact that I have several 2.5" SATA hard drives laying around. Instead of plugging them in, inside the case I rebuilt a floppy drive by ripping out the guts and using the leftover metal to create some rails for the drive to slide in. The power connection and SATA cable are Epoxied into place and will never move. This makes the drive Hot-Swappable and I can change out drives whenever I want, without having to have them all plugged in.

I have also coated the entire inside with Plastic (not plastic coated) playing cards that I cut to the correct size and glued into place. This prevents any metal on metal scraping and also leaves the Hard Drive labels intact, plus the "bay" is slightly tapered so the drives fit in much easier. The drives slide into place very smoothly and you can easily feel when it engages the connectors. The front is a blank 3.5" bay cover with the hole cut into it and bolted to the floppy case.

This next idea was born from seeing a direct touch heat sink (some of you have seen em I'm sure). Well I got the idea to bend up some copper tubing and create my own liquid cooling system. Keep in mind this project is in it's infancy and I have no idea what the exact results will be. The surface area that I have pounded flat (well not completely flat, water still has to flow through) is 1.25" square and I have the 1/4" tubing soldered together already. It might be a waste of time, but I don't think it will work all that bad. The image here is what I have made so far. The bottom is surprisingly flat but I am going to lap it anyway, it only makes sense to do so.

My next step to to install flare-nuts (I am choosing flare adapters because they are pretty much leak proof and easy to remove) on the ends of the copper tubes and create a manifold that will increase the tubing size up to 1/2" ID (inner diameter), perhaps 3/4", I am not certain yet. Four 1/4" tubes is close to the same capacity as 1/2" so it should suffice. The radiator is going to be a recycled heater core from an automobile, the one I am looking at is about 7"x7" and it will fit into the top of my case quite nicely (since I have a Full tower case). I have four 120mm fans from an old Apple PPC (found this on the side of the road) and at least 2 of them will be cooling off the radiator. Now I need to figure out what I will be using for a pump and reservoir. I also have to put a block of metal on top of the copper so the tubing wont flex, I have some stainless steel and will probably epoxy a metal slug onto it. I will also be adding a POT (potentiometer) to control the fan speeds in simple speed control circuit.

Just thought I would share my crap, have a good one folks. I will update this when I get more done with the second project.
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More about personal mods water cooling project
  1. Added an aluminum block with some JB Weld (epoxy of the gods heh). Tomorrow I.m going to the hardware store to get some fittings to build the manifold. I believe that I may use some clear tubing after all, it will be tons easier I believe. I will be also buying a magnetic submersible pump designed for hydroponics systems. The one I am looking at pumps 140 gallons per hour and only has one moving part, it is designed for longevity and constant use. Though it will be submersed it doesn't give off heat because of the design of the impeller and motor (since it doesn't have a real motor in a typical sense that gives off tons of heat). The pump will be in the reservoir and I will have fewer parts inside the case; I am not lacking room though.

    Just need to stop by the junk yard and snag a heater core and I will have the majority of parts needed. Then some mods to the case itself to direct the flow of air for the water cooling.
  2. I ended up finding a standard radiator for PC cooling for a good deal, about $20 shipped. The local junkyard wanted $20 for a heater core if I pulled it myself; needless to say it's a lot of work to yank out a heater core and I didn't think it was worth my time. Wish I could have found one cheaper locally but oh well.

    I have on order right now, Black Ice Micro Radiator, the same shown here: but like I said, I only paid $20 for it shipped. I hope it performs well, I intend on using two fans in a push/pull configuration.

    I also have an Eco-Plus 185 hydroponics pump on order, it only cost me $13 shipped. It's a variable pump that adjusts from 0-185 Gal/hr. Plus it is inline and submersible, which gives me more options.

    Here's a new image of what I have done so far. I epoxied some copper adapters (flare adapters required WAY to many fittings to make a manifold) on the end of the tubes. You will also notice that the pipes are bent to direct the lines better than them being straight up. The surface has been lapped completely flat with 400 grit sand paper. I'll be getting some 800-1200 grit to finish it up properly. It's shiny enough now to reflect light onto the table though. =)

    I got the 1/2" tubing from the local hardware store, I got the braided tubing because I can wrap it around my wrist and it doesn't flatten out much, and it doesn't kink unless I purposely try to do so.
  3. interesting stuff...looking forward to seeing the end result!
  4. Quote:
    interesting stuff...looking forward to seeing the end result!

    You and me both hehe.

    It will be another week or so before I update, since I ordered parts in the middle of the week and I choose standard ground shipping. Once the parts are here I have to design a reservoir and hook everything together. Then I'll let it run for a while outside of the case to check for leaks.
  5. Wow, if this works, tell us the instructions to do it please! :D
  6. So basically you are making a DHT CPU water block? Interesting.
  7. I was browsing through some heat sink reviews a couple months ago and I saw a direct touch heat sink somewhere. It came to me a couple weeks ago, why not make a water block that is direct touch but have water flowing through the lines instead. So I started looking for inexpensive parts that will help me complete my project.

    So far I've spent $5 on the pipe fittings, a little over $4 on the copper tubing, $20 on the radiator, $13 on the pump, and $5 on the flexible tubing. The epoxy and sand-paper I already had; I always have those laying around. The aluminum block that I added to the top is cut out of a heat sink from an old power supply, it's 1/4" thick.
  8. Package came today, they sent me a Northbridge cooler instead of a radiator. Gotta call em in the morning.


    grumble flerb bleep cuss, ok I spose I feel better now.
  9. ^lol, where did you order it from? Also consider using a heatercore (from a car) as it is usually MUCH better cooling than a normal PC rad. Since you happen to have skill with a blow torch you can easily get a heatercore to work.

    ^PA 120.3
  10. You will notice from my first post that this was my original idea. Here I thought that I might have had an original idea using a heater core hehe.

    I may just request a refund on this thing and go back to my original idea.
  11. ^Might as well. I mean you are getting better performence for less.
  12. Just looked over at Danger Den, they have a heater core for less than $20 before shipping, and the barbs are soldered on already.

    Junk yard wants $20 for a heater core..... Then I'd have to buy the barbs and solder them on. Seems like a good deal they have there.

    Well I called em, they are sending the proper part along with a return label for the NB cooler...

    In the end It should work just fine, the radiator is a double pass and I'll set it up with 2 fans in a push pull config. Just don't want to deal with any more hassle. Not to mention the radiator will fit very nicely without a ton of mods. This could be a negative though, I enjoy modding more than completion. :P
  13. I created a fan shroud/80-120mm reducer. The shroud is just sheet metal that I hand bent (ok I used vice-grips not my hands), left over side from an old case. The radiator came in as well. Took em long enough.

    I am not certain if mixing an 80 and 120 fan will have any ill effects but I will find out soon enough. The folks where I ordered the pump finally got the stupid thing in stock and it's being shipped right now. I'll have it by Fri or Mon. I've decided on a reservoir, it's made by Rubbermaid and fits nicely into my case, I'll punch a couple holes in it and call it good. More pics coming soon.
  14. I canceled my order for the pump and went up to Petsmart and just picked up an aquarium/hydroponics pump. The Quiet One 1200 rated at 296g/h, cost twice as much as the one that I originally ordered but $30 for a pump isn't to bad I spose.

    Finished making the reservoir, like I said it's a Rubbermaid. :P

    I didn't notice that the pump doesn't have barbs, so back to the hardware store tomorrow. sigh.....

    I'll be assembling it tomorrow and running a leak test.
  15. ^Did you glue(epoxy) down the lid? If not, do it. With the stress/water flow/pressure the lid will come off.
  16. Running a leak test now in the kitchen sink. I was a bit worried that the water churning might pop the top but it's not so bad. I'll probably put a tiny bead of silicone around the seal anyhow, just to be safe.
  17. Really cool. I don't have anything to add to the thread but I think posting is the only way I can subscribed to a thread.
  18. I got everything put together in the case. There were no leaks or a hint of a leak anywhere, didn't feel like waiting a long period of time to let it run the leak test.

    I have run into a problem, the temperatures are the same with or without the fans on the radiator. The fans plain out don't push air across the radiator at all. For now the temps are about 4C lower than the AC7 pro. I'll need to get some decent fans before I know exactly how well it cools.
  19. Get some high CFM 120mm fans.
  20. Very Interesting, I like everything you have done so far. I really like what you did with the floppy drive.
  21. Here are some more simple mods that i have made. The retention bracket has 2 cut-off plastic pen tubes epoxied inside to add lateral stability to the water block.

    I beveled out a penny to house the dimple in the retention bracket and epoxied that to the top of the aluminum block.

    I'll add the completed photos tomorrow when I get a minute. I also wanted to add that the water doesn't churn really fast; it does indeed churn more than a little bit but not nearly as much as I would have thought. I'm leaving my judgement on how well this actually cools for when I get decent fans.

    Went and looked at newegg found a 110 CFM Scythe fan for $9 - Looks like the one I'll get.
  22. And here it is completed. The reservoir is literally wedged into place, the rim around the top of bowl fit into the top rails very nicely; its not going anywhere. The actual color of the water is a very pale green, it looks MUCH brighter in the picture for some reason. It's been almost 24hrs and no leaks at all..

    I really want to test my water block with a better radiator and pump so that I know how well it performs. I'll start with a better fan and work from there though.

    One thing I didn't mention earlier, I did indeed get some 800 and 2000 grit sandpaper to finish off the lapping. I wonder if I should do the CPU as well; it's definitely a bit concave.
  23. Did you leak test after putting it on the PC?
  24. Yes indeed, call it paranoia if you want but I've checked it for leaks at least 10 times.
  25. ^Nah... better be safe than sorry. How long did you run it?
  26. 2:43AM now, I guess it has been nearly 36 hours now.
  27. Nice! No leaks right? (btw, can you post a pic of the rad?)
  28. There are at least 3 images here now bud?

    The first one I posted has an 80mm fan attached to it. Here it is again.

    And here it is at a website for sale, the place I got it from doesn't have the listing anymore. This is the same one though

    BTW I lapped the CPU and temps dropped 2 more degrees. Correction temps dropped about 4 degrees.
  29. Just so you know my temps are now as follows.... Please keep in mind that my temps only fluctuate 1 degree between 4 cores on a Q6600 overclocked to 3.0ghz (free OC, no voltage increase.)

    Cold Boot - 30c (idle temp after boot)

    It eventually warms up to (after about 45 mins idle)
    35c (idle)
    61c (100% all cores using Prime95 Large FTTs, maximum heat production mode)

    This is almost exactly 4 degrees cooler than my AC7 Pro, but the AC7 fluctuates about 2-3 degrees for core 1 and 2, core 0 and 3 maintain close to one another.
  30. If you have more time, you could add some fins to the pipes to remove more heat.
  31. I was also considering opening up the pipes at the top of my AC7 and running water through them. In fact I'll probably do that for my next project
  32. Well I went to the junkyard and grabbed a heater core out of a Chevy S10. I ran a little toilet bowl cleaner through the heater core and flushed it out. Then I filled it with vinegar and let it set for a half hour and flushed it again. I use a hose outside with a cut off end to flush it. The water flows through it VERY well. I did have to pick some pine needles out of a few of the fins :P

    I chased it down with a wire wheel on my cordless drill and the battery died, I have 4 other batteries but they are all dead as well lol. So while I'm waiting for them to charge I figured I'd post an image. I set two 120mm fans next to it for size reference. I'll post some more as I progress. It will be inside of an enclosure/shroud of some sort and attached to the rear of the case.
  33. How big are the inlets on the rad? Looks to me like 1/2 ". Good luck. Keep up the good work.
  34. 1/2' ID which makes a 5/8" OD

    I soldered on some fittings with 1/2" pipe threads on em. So now I can put whatever I want, for barbs, on it. In this case I twisted on a couple brass 1/2" hose barbs.

    I set the new radiator up quickly and for quick testing/reference. For the moment it has two 120mm fans just resting up against it and held in place with zip ties. They are old crappy fans that are barely good for anything other than just moving a little air, but they spin and are the only 120mm fans that I have at this moment. This setup is with no shroud and the radiator outside of the case.

    I'll be building a housing/shroud here soon.

    After my system warms up, the temps are as follows with an ambient of 77F.

    30c idle (warmest core the other 3 are 1c - 2c cooler.
    50c Full load, all cores, Prime95, large FFTs after an hour, the other cores are only 1 degree cooler and fluctuate a bit, up to -3c difference of the warmest core. Edit: I should have continued testing on Prime95 the temps were rising at this point and they probably would have went higher.

    This is a substantial drop from the other radiator and is bound to get better once I have better fans and a shroud. I'll post back when more work is done.

    I also have an E5200 and I will be testing how well this works with it as well, so I have some dual core results in the mix. I do not plan on testing the E5200 until I have the shroud built.
  35. Well it's back to the drawing board for the water block. The thing is that this doesn't cool better than the AC7 Pro. I decided to lap it as well and it's temps dropped to nearly the same as the water cooling setup, perhaps a degree or 2 warmer. So I'm gonna design something new. I must say though, the water cooling does a much better job when ambient temperatures are lower. The air cooling doesn't react the same as the water in lower room temps.

    I might get a degree or 2 cooler if the room temp is 5 degrees cooler. With the water cooling I get nearly 10 degrees cooler in the same situation (with all cores at 100% in both situations). Which seems to lead to the idea that a better shroud would help some, but I want to try a different water block design anyway. First I am going to try 5/16 tubing instead of 1/4. This alone will nearly double the water flow. Plus I'll only have to use 3 pieces of tubing which will give me more surface contact area.

    I've already built 1 mock up and figured out that I am going to need a tubing bender because the heavier tubing is much more rigid. Not to mention that I sorta messed up the first attempt while soldering the tubing together; heavier tubing needs more heat and my old jig for holding everything together needs some adjustment.

    I'll be posting more soon.
  36. ^You know I was thinking of making my own block during Spring break (from two weeks from today). Also adding more surface (esp via fins) should surely help. May be we could work some designs out for water blocks? Another thing I noticed was that the heat pipes can transfer heat just as well as water or if not better due to the fluid used inside it.
  37. Let me make a correction here, the water cooling is indeed better, I may have jumped the gun a little bit in my last post there. I didn't fully test the AC7 after reinstalling it. Though my initial design needs a tweak and I think using the 5/16" copper lines would help a bit. I am also going to order some flat stock (pure copper) and try a few things with it as well. I spose I could fire up a CAD program and draw up what I was thinking....
  38. ^Oh one more thing, can you tell me where you buy copper from? I usually buy copper ingots from Ebay for my projects (just received 2 1/2 lbs ingots 2 days ago). 1/2 LBS (3x4x.5 in) and 1 (4x5x.5) LBS. Cost about $16 with shipping.

    Note: Not all copper ingots are the same size even if the weight is the same. Contact seller for size.

    This is what I am looking at currently. I think I'll just buy 12" of the 3/8" thick flatstock. I'll be cutting pieces and drilling them out with a drill press.

    I'll add some details later on.
  40. My design will my somewhat similar to what I have now. I will use a 1.5" X 1.25" X 3/8" piece of copper. Drill 4, 1/4" holes through the 1.5" side. Then solder copper tubing on each side. So there will be 8 pieces of tubing total, sticking out of the copper block. I will then dimple the tubing close to the block at the 4 inlet points to create turbulence before the water enters the block.

    The block will resemble this..

    The copper tubing will only be into the block about 1/4" and soldered into place. I may dimple the end of the tubing where it goes into the block instead, I haven't decided yet. In fact I will probably just make the piece of copper as long as the retention module is wide. I can remove the little plastic pieces from it that way...

    Edit: Corrected dimensions of drill holes.
  41. Only 3/8" thick? That's about 9mm. Don't you think that's too thin?

    Thanks for the link btw.
  42. Yes definitely to thin for 5/16" copper tubes. Slight typo there, I actually meant 1/4" holes in the 3/8" block. I may end up using 1/2" for the block, dunno yet.

    But I am making a water block exactly the same as my original and using three 5/16" copper tubes. Hence my own source of confusion =P
  43. I've only just seen this thread. Good stuff, and very inspirational.
  44. Well I am having fun tinkering and perhaps I could come up with something that will sell. It is surprisingly cheap to make a water block, even out of nothing but copper.

    In case anyone was wondering. The watercooling setup that I currently have is nearly 7c cooler than the AC7 pro at idle and about 9c cooler full load. My initial thoughts were way off base because I had turned the system on from a totally cold boot with the AC7 installed and temps looked very low; after I gave the system time to warm up things changed a little.
  45. If anyone wants to read it, I have written an article about the basics of water cooling: What should I know before buying a a water cooling system
  46. Great thread!! Keep it up!
  47. sonac said:
    If anyone wants to read it, I have written an article about the basics of water cooling: What should I know before buying a a water cooling system

    It''s a nice simple introduction, but I think you need some mention of the dangers involved and the effort required.
  48. ^+1.
    sonac said:
    If anyone wants to read it, I have written an article about the basics of water cooling: What should I know before buying a a water cooling system

    Good work but the gray text on black background annoyed me. ;)

    Also put in some where that one should NOT use Aluminum + Copper on the same loop.
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