The PopCan Block

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Adapting a soda can to watercooling — Jon Fettig

PopCan Block

Pop Block

So many people have been asking me about my popcan waterblocks, I decided to write up an article about them! These things perform well and are very easy to make!

Materials needed:

  • Pop can – I prefer Mountain Dew! It tastes best;
  • Fittings – I used copper tubing;
  • Copper or aluminum barstock – 1/8″ x 1/4″ 2×2 or 2×3 for mounting;
  • Scissors – to cut the can;
  • Epoxy, JBweld, silicon adhesive; I use 5 min epoxy – works great;
  • Drill and correct bit;
  • Sandpaper and mirror for lapping; I use 600 and whatever it takes to get it flat and smooth.

Optional:

  • Leatherman, Gerber etc – use file and pliers, whatever else you need;
  • Pin – poke hole for the drill mark;
  • X-Acto knife – poke hole for the drill mark;
  • Etc – whatever else you find useful.

Use the scissors to cut the can apart:

Cut

Throw away the top and you get this:

Base

You might want to wash it out.

File and cut down the sides and edges:

Filed

Put it on your piece of aluminum or copper (2×2 aluminum and 2×3 copper); then drill mounting holes in the copper and the aluminum to make a hold down.

Lap one side

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and rough up the other with low grit sand paper so the epoxy has a good surface to grab.

Use the X-Acto knife or pin and punch a small hole for your drill guide in the pop can – one hole in the center and one off to the side (center: Inlet; off to the side: Outlet)

Drill the holes with the correct size holes for your copper tubing:

Holes

Dry assemble it look at how it’s going to be held together; look at the beauty:

Assemble

Epoxy the fittings in:

Epoxy

Make sure you don’t put them too low – the outlet should be barely thru the hole

Inside

and the inlet should be about 1/4″ away from the base so you don’t restrict flow.

Epoxy the can and fittings onto the aluminum or copper bar:

Bar

Both

Shown above are my old copper waterblock and the new one made of aluminum.

You now need some type of hold down for the block. For AMD motherboards, you can use the motherboard’s 4 holes for a very secure mount.

First, I found a 3″ diameter piece of acrylic; using a holesaw, I cut a hole in it to fit around the bottom of the popcan and on top of the aluminum base plate – it looks like an acrylic washer. Then I placed an 2″x3″ acrylic sheet (see below) over it,

Hold1

first cutting a 2.25″ diameter hole and holes to mount it onto the motherboard, so it goes on top of the ring. You could also use a 3×3″ sheet of acrylic or something strong and put mounting holes in it. For the motherboard holes, the center of each hole is 33mm by 66mm apart.

Look at how shiny this aluminum is!

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With aluminum, you don’t really get a mirror finish – but you can with copper.

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Picture of it in my computer and running

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What I used to cool my water, a big fish tank or Rubbermaid container using evaporation to cool.

Pump

My pump, that’s modded to be inline, but I took that off and put it in my reservoir – it is a Maxi-jet 1200 – these things rule! 295 gph!

Make sure you leak test your block before you stick it in and run it. First, stick it under water with a hose on it, plug the outlet and blow in it really hard – hope it wont blow or leak!
Then hook it to your pump and leaktest if for a day or so.

Conclusion

This is an easy, very inexpensive water block to make and it performs equal or better to the Maze 2, based on my results!

The copper one got a CW or 0.17 and aluminum one got CW of 0.18. As you can see with this design, there isn’t much of a difference in copper and in aluminum!

I like this block. On air with an SVC Golden Gate and a quiet 80mm fan, I was getting around 47C load and now it’s down to about 35C load on my Athlon XP 1700+ at stock speed! Very nice improvement!

Make yourself a nice clamp dress it up a little bit if you want. I like mine – it’s pretty! And I love how the hold down glows with my red light inside my case!

Jon Fettig

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