Watercooling Radiator Drive

Ok all, here is a little project I did up today. Basically what Im doing is making a watercooling setup for my pc from scratch. I figured building a radiator would be the toughest part to do, but in fact it was fairly painless. Good thing I have a crappy job so I can draw designs up at work eh!

Also, I wanted this radiator to fit into a pc nicely, so I figured… why not make it fit into a cdrom slot? .. I drew up a few designs before deciding on which one to do, and bang.. the Bay Radiator is born!

Im gonna make this a pretty quick walkthrough, so If you’re good at building things you’re in a good place. For those of you who suck, POST QUESTIONS IN THE FORUMS and I or my other midget circus clowns will get back to you asap.

Total Project cost: $12.38 + tax.

This price is assuming that you have a dead cdrom drive you can snag the case from, and that you have all the tools, solder, and what not.

All of these parts can be found at your local Home Depot.
I needed the smallest copper tubing I could find, so I went with the 1/2″ tubing.

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5 feet of 1/2 inch copper pipe. $3.92 P/N = 632962015374

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[NO PIC]Quantity(2) 3/8inch barb that connects to 1/2inch pipe. $2.60 P/N = 048643071315
Quantity(2) 1/2inch female adapter that connects to 3/8inch barb. $2.56 P/N = 039923037336
Quantity(10) 90 degree 1/2inch copper Elbows. $1.90 P/N = 039923312723

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10 feet of 3/8inch Vinyl Tubing. $1.40 P/N = 703896

All these parts are real easy to find, they should all be in the same aisle.

Ok, so we got our parts from the depot, and our safety goggles on, lets start modding.

First, I needed to find out how the fuxor I would fit all this pipe into the cdrom drive. Bang, got that done, here’s what you gotta cut.

Whip out that 5 foot copper tube you bought and mark down these measurements on it.
Quantity(6) 5.3/4″ pieces.
Quantity(1) 4″ piece.
Quantity(2) 1″ pieces.
Quantity(2) 3/4″ pieces.

After cutting them all up yours should look like this.
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I found a hacksaw to work the best/easiest. Remember to also take all the burrs off the copper pieces that you just cut.. we need to have a good, smooth seal when we solder them together.

Ok, so you got your pieces cut and cleaned up, now look at how I set it up so everything fits nicely into the cdrom case.
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This is where it’s important to understand where all the pieces go, in the back bottom is where the 4″ copper tube goes, now towards the front is where the 1″ pipes go, and then the back top part is where the 3/4″ pipes go. You can see how the top part of the setup is squished more towards the middle of the cdrom case, this is because of where the screws hold the case together. I had to make room for those.

So hopefully you get the idea here, its pretty simple I think.

Now were ready to solder.

Tools required:
Lead free solder
Soldering Flux
Blowtorch
Some heavy work gloves
And Safety goggles

There’s nothing quite like hot solder burning through your retina! Make sure you wear safety goggles.

If this will be your first time soldering, here’s some quick guidlines to follow to get that perfect seal. If you’re a pro skip the next paragraph.

Make sure everything is clean, Now take the FLUX, get a small paintbrush and apply the flux to the parts of the copper pipe where u want the seal to be. So, put it on the outside of the copper pipe, and then coat the inside of the elbows and so on. Now, take your blow torch and apply heat to the tubing. DONT apply the flame directly where the flux is, put the flame on a part of the copper that is near the interconnect. You don’t want to burn off all that flux you just applied. Now when the flux starts bubbling get your solder and run it along where the joint. You should see the solder sort of dissappear. THIS IS A GOOD SIGN! this means that the solder followed the flux path and sealed the pipe good, don’t hold the solder there for too long or you’ll start to see a huge mound forming underneath the pipe. Let the pipe air cool for about ten mins then put it in water very slowly. Then test the seal and if its good move on to the next one!

After all that soldering of the pipe together, you should have a project that looks like this.
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Now slide the piping into the cdrom case to make sure it fits all nice and nice.
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Presto it works!

Before this beast of a radiator goes into my pc case, I should probably test it out for leaks.
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By golly it works!

Now after you got that all that piping soldered and fit into the case, were gonna have to have some fans on there, after all radiators would be useless without fans.
I used two 92mm Delta fans I had lying around.
CDrom case
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Where the fans will go
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Sketching out where the fans will sit.
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Finally, cutting and sanding the holes! For this I had to use a DREMEL and about 18 cutting blades, but it worked and I still have all my digits!
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So mount your fans and put the radiator in the cdrom case, and lock it up. Everything should fit well, I had to bang out a couple of nipples, but with a little finagling all was good.

Here’s what you should have when after all that hard work.
Oh, I aimed the fans so that they would suck air in from the open front of the cdrom case, over the copper piping, and then out the top of the cdrom case.
You could do it either way you want, but I think this would be the most affective as you would be taking cold air from outside the pc case instead of the air from inside the case.

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Lets see how it performed.

This is just a dry air test though, because this is the first part of my watercooling system, without having built the waterblock and mounting a pump, I can’t very well take live benchmarks.. Yet.

So, what I did was leave the fans on for about 15 minutes just pulling air across the copper pipe and here’s what I got in terms of temps.

Room temp is 80 degrees F.
After 15 mins copper piping temp was 75 degrees F, it fluxuated a bit but not more then a few tenths here and there.

Well that about wraps it up, I hope this guide helped you out some, and I’ll be working on the rest of the watercooling system so I can get some hardcore benchmarks for ya. My 2000+ XP is dying to be set free.