DIY Radiators

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Surlyjoe’s waterblock gave me an idea to try some of my own engineering.


The finished product.

Since the last thing I wanted to do was sink some cash into buying a fancy radiator, I bought myself 2 bucks worth of 1/4″ copper tubing and took some tinfoil out of the kitchen to make this contraption. I tested it out by sticking it in the fridge and blowing air into it. Cool air came out the other end. Next, I tried dunking the thing in a sink full of hot water and I got warm air this time. Granted, it ain’t scientific, but it does seem to work.


Take some aluminum foil…


Fold and cut into strips…


Punch holes and thread onto the copper coil.

I was planning to put a fan on one end of the coil and attach it to the outside of my case just like a heat exchanger you find outside people’s homes.

Since the Radiator uses 1/4″ tubing, you’ll need to keep the flow low, otherwise you’ll build up pressure. Since I don’t know much about adding fancy connectors to copper tubing, I had to heat up the end of the vinyl tubing to make it malleable and slide it onto the copper tube. Then I used shrink warp tubing to secure the connection. I’m using a 60 gph fountain pump. The low flow rate is good since it allows more time for heat to be exchanged with the ambient temp. If you want to use a higher flow rate with this design, I would suggest larger diameter copper tubing.

I still need to make the water block and don’t even know where to find the beehive’s copper cap, let alone know what its called.
For now, I plan to put this rad coil on the front case fan and use a peltier based cooling reservoir outside the case.

This is just one design that popped into my head Macgyver style while lamenting over my dead K6. I have another more expensive, yet elegant, plan that involves buying a $80 peltier based igloo at Sam’s Club. I could cut up the top lid to fit the front face of the computer and drill a hole in the back for the wires. Those portable fridges look really slick and you don’t need any water.

Some joker at work told me, “Man….with all the money you spent buying the tools and materials, you could save it up and get a 1GHz system.” You know what I said? “Yeah dude, but then I would want to overclock that too.” It ain’t about getting something for nothing as what Intel would think. It’s about pushing the performance envelope.


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