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Lapping the Arctic Freezer Pro 64 - Tutorial

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Clockwork_Apple

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Location
UK
I was bored today and I've been meaning to replace the stock TIM with some AS5, since I had the heatink out I decided to lap it aswell. The base of the AC64 isnt that bad to begin with, it's flat, but has large machine marks. It would definately benefit from lapping.

I decided to write a tutorial, as I found no guide on OCF when I searched. Hopefully someone finds it useful ;)

Here's what you need:

what_you_need2.jpg


For sand paper I used Halfords own brand, it was only a few pounds and comes in a pack with 240, 600, 800 and 1200. A lot of people use up to 2000 grit, but most tests show that past 1200 there is little impact on performance if any at all. You basically need a range from a low grit (~240) to a high grit (~1200).

For a sheet of glass, ask for an off-cut from a glass shop, or use a mirror. I've found that hand mirrors often are slightly curved, and so are useless for lapping. Big wall mirrors are usually perfectly flat, the same as glass.

Remove the fan and the retention clips from your heatsink...

remove_clips.jpg


Now, get your lowest grit paper (the roughest one) and place it on your sheet of glass. Taping down the edges to keep it in place helps, but you can just hold it there aswell.

Put a small amount of water on the paper and a few drops of washing up liquid...

water_soap.jpg


Rub the soap and water into a lather on the sand paper with your hand. Now place your heatsink on the sand paper...

lapping2.jpg


Now without putting any downward force on the heatink, move it side to side, only a few inches. If it catches or 'jumps' then you're putting too much downward force, or need more soap. Do about 20 passes from left to right then start moving it up and down using the same pressure. Repeat this about four times.

lapping21.jpg


When taking the heatsink off the sandpaper, make sure you do not twist it, try to pull it straight up in a vertical motion to avoid making more scratches than necessary.

With the 240 grit, you're just trying to make the heatsink surface as flat as possible. There will inevitably be some large scratches in the copper, but these come out later with the higher grits.

after240.jpg


Now move on to the next grit, in my case 600. You basically just need to repeat the process for 240, but using very little pressure. You may find it takes longer, as you're trying to remove the large scratches at this stage.

after600.jpg
 
OP
Clockwork_Apple

Clockwork_Apple

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Location
UK
Now, move on to your next grit. In my case, I found that the 800 was so similar to the 600 I decided to only do ten passes each way, four times. At this stage it's very important to remove the heatsink from the paper vertically, otherwise you may make a deep scratch and have to move back to a lower grit.

after800.jpg


Once you're happy with the finish, move onto your highest grit. Prior to this there should be no deep scratches, just lots of little ones. Your trying to remove these with the 1200, to leave a flat matt surface. If you desperately want mirror finish then use 2000 after the 1200.

As always, use no downwards pressure on the heatsink, let the weight of the sink do the work. After the 4 passes of 20/20 are done, inspect the base. If it still shows scratches, then add more washing up liquid to the paper and continue. The paper will slowly wear down, giving you a smoother and smoother paper to work with - free 2000 grit :beer:

After the highest grit you should end up with something similar to this, scratch free matt finish:

after1200.jpg


Time to test your work! :)

Get your graph paper and lay it flat on the glass (dry it first). Now wet the base of your heatsink with some water (this makes it reflective), and hold it close to the graph paper. Looking at the reflection tells you whether or not the base is flat. If you see any distortion, you need to move back to a lower grit and get it flat. If the reflection is all square then success! :D

reflection.jpg


Clean up your heatsink with some isopropyl alcohol and reinstall it with your favourite TIM. Kick back, open up coretemp and see that lovely drop in temps :bday:

Regarding metal polish: A lot of people use rubbing compounds or metal polish to achieve mirror finish. Personally, I would assume that the polish adds another barrier for heat and reduces performance. If you decide to use either of these for a mirror finish then remove them before installing using IPA or similar.

Thanks for reading, and please give me feedback. :)
 
OP
Clockwork_Apple

Clockwork_Apple

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Location
UK
To be honest, not much, before hand I was running at stock speeds, with load temps of 32C (18C ambient).

Now, at stock I'm getting basically the same temps, but at 260x11 1.5v I'm getting only 40C loaded! I only just did the volt mod to be able to get 1.5 so I dont know temps before the lapping for comparison :(

Thanks :beer:
 

Gillbot

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2001
Location
East Palestine, OH
Use toothpaste to finish it off it you want it smoother. Toothpaste = metal polish. It's just a step above and beyond 2000 grit paper.
 

HiProfile

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2001
Location
Random Dumpster/Alley
Toothpast = fine abrasive.

If you really want a nice finish, use Brasso (even finer abrasive). Its a very fine urea-based polish, and useful for the 'outside' surfaces of the block, as it cleans while polishes. It won't smell minty-fresh like toothpaste, but it will polish mostly any metal.
 

Susquehannock

The Mad Smelter
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Location
Maryland, USA
First off, I applaud your efforts making the review. Now on to some feedback.
Clockwork_Apple said:
Put a small amount of water on the paper and a few drops of washing up liquid...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v651/ptrlynch/water_soap.jpg

Rub the soap and water into a lather on the sand paper with your hand. Now place your heatsink on the sand paper...
Soap? :rolleyes:
I hate it when people give advice like that.

There are plenty of lapping posts & reviews which state why soap is a bad idea.
 
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Susquehannock

The Mad Smelter
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Location
Maryland, USA
HiProfile said:
Toothpast = fine abrasive.

If you really want a nice finish, use Brasso (even finer abrasive). Its a very fine urea-based polish, and useful for the 'outside' surfaces of the block, as it cleans while polishes. It won't smell minty-fresh like toothpaste, but it will polish mostly any metal.
Toothpaste = Aluminum Dioxide (aka - Alumina). A very common industrial abrasive.

Brasso is a very bad idea. Contains solvents & waxes which must be removed if you want the TIM to
work to maximum efficiency.

A proper lap job needs no soap or polishing compounds. Below is an example of 2k grit, nothing more.
And complete overkill on the finish. But it does show what is possible if you take your time and use plenty
of CLEAN water, nothing else.

http://img329.imageshack.us/img329/6242/dc25we.jpg
http://img329.imageshack.us/img329/4576/dc14ds.jpg
 
Last edited:

Gillbot

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2001
Location
East Palestine, OH
HiProfile said:
Toothpast = fine abrasive.

If you really want a nice finish, use Brasso (even finer abrasive). Its a very fine urea-based polish, and useful for the 'outside' surfaces of the block, as it cleans while polishes. It won't smell minty-fresh like toothpaste, but it will polish mostly any metal.
I use toothpaste for metal polish all the time. If you get the dollar store generic brands, they are usually unscented also. I've polished many metal parts to a mirror finish with toothpaste.
 

Susquehannock

The Mad Smelter
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Location
Maryland, USA
Gillbot said:
I use toothpaste for metal polish all the time. If you get the dollar store generic brands, they are usually unscented also. I've polished many metal parts to a mirror finish with toothpaste.
Works great on chrome too. Old school motorhead stuff there. :D
 

bing

Low Profile Senior
Joined
Jul 13, 2006
Location
Indonesia
What ever you used for for polishing or lapping, a final highly concentrate high grade of "acetone" swipes will eats all those organic subtances like oil, grease, perfume, epoxy, goop etc..... just becarefull though, don't even allow a single drop fall at your mobo ! :D
 

Susquehannock

The Mad Smelter
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Location
Maryland, USA
Not really a big concern in this context. Just thought I'd mention it.

Acetone is not the best choice for cleaning Copper. Acetone & water vapor
react photochemically with Copper to form acetic acid. Keep it in the dark.
 
OP
Clockwork_Apple

Clockwork_Apple

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Location
UK
Susquehannock said:
First off, I applaud your efforts making the review. Now on to some feedback.
Soap? :rolleyes:
I hate it when people give advice like that.

There are plenty of lapping posts & reviews which state why soap is a bad idea.
Could you link me to one please?

Thanks.

edit: A quick search seems to say that the soap makes it harder to remove the particles from the paper every so often, something I didnt do at all. I still have a lot to learn it seems. :rolleyes:
 
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nvidiaOCmaster

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Location
Chulak
I have to agree.. no soap, and for that fact, no water either.

Ive lapped everything in my computer, and I never use water after 600 grit. It makes it MUCH more efficient.
 

Susquehannock

The Mad Smelter
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Location
Maryland, USA
Clockwork_Apple said:
Could you link me to one please?

Thanks.

edit: A quick search seems to say that the soap makes it harder to remove the particles from the paper every so often, something I didnt do at all. I still have a lot to learn it seems. :rolleyes:
Yes, removing the particles from the previous grit is very important. Kind of hard to make any headway otherwise.

Lapping dry? May as well :bang head
 

Raptord

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Location
Canada
Very nice guide nonetheless, the pictures help you see the difference. A before-after comparison would of been nice though :p

I'll probably lap my freezer 64 soon too :)