How to Make an Aluminum Shim in 30 Minutes for 59 Cents

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Having cracked two processors in a week, a Duron 600 and an Athlon 1.2, I set out to find a better solution. I ordered a shim online for $10, then the thought occurred to me: I could make my own!

Al Cap

First, buy a piece of aluminum. I bought a “aluminum downspout end cap” for 59 cents at Handyman Hardware. This one happened to be textured, but it really didn’t make a difference – still fits fine.

Drawing

Next, you need an outline of your processor. I considered scanning it in and printing it out, but figured it’d just be easier to make an outline with a pencil – worked great and only took a minute.

CPU

After making the outline, I darkened the areas that I would be cutting out and traced the outside of the processor.

Pen

Since I didn’t want to remove the felt spacers, I outlined where they would be so I would be sure to leave extra room for them.

Outline

Now I was ready to start cutting (I LOVE MY DREMEL!). I cut the center out first so the plate wouldn’t fall through and it was easier to hold in place while I was cutting.

I did cut a little too much from the center, but in the end it didn’t matter – most commercial shims have a huge hole in the middle anyway.

Finished

Ah yes, the finished product! After I cut it out of the aluminum end cap, I sanded the entire shim because the aluminum had a slight texture to it. I’m not sure if that was necessary, but it didn’t hurt. If I were to do it again, I would have bought a piece of aluminum that was not textured.

Detail

As you can see from this picture, the shim is just barely lower than the CPU core. A perfect shim in 30 minutes for just 59 cents!

As a side note: I am using the shim that is pictured and it’s working fine – didn’t crack my new processor.

James Hassinger

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