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SteveH 4th March 2001 02:21 AM

Looking to buy suitable heatsinks for Zen - prefer surplus to get a better price - anyone know of a good source?

tms 4th March 2001 02:46 PM

I too had this problem, in the end I stooped for the Farnell IMI Marston extruded ones.

Anybody thought of or tried any really different designs for heatsinks? I'm thinking water cooling or the like! Would be interested in pic's of any such implementations.

Oh, the IMI Marston cold cubes look quite good, (good degC/W/Łor$), although it may be quite a bit of effort to keep the required fans quiet).

GRollins 4th March 2001 06:02 PM

Funny you should mention water cooling...
I mentioned in another post elsewhere that I'm in the process of building a modified Aleph 2 and that I had something odd planned for the heatsinks. Water is what I've got in mind. I've got a length of the 2x4" rectangular extruded aluminum like you see framing windows and doors which I will be cutting down to four lengths--one for each bank of each channel. The trick, of course, will be to seal off the ends decently. For taps, I plan on NPT brass barbs tapped into the aluminum. I have a pump on hand that I use when brewing (RIMS system, if anyone out there is a brewer...), and being an incorrigable pack rat I have the heat exchanger out of a heat pump on hand. No reason a radiator out of an old Chevy wouldn't do as well or better, this just happens to be what I have 'in stock' in my junk box.
Brief discussion on attributes (all hypothetical at this point, as I'm still matching gain devices).
Advantages: Given enough line, I can put the heat anywhere I want: in the same room, in the next room, the basement, even outside. Also, there's no real limit to how much heat you can dissipate, just scale the system up and down--or, more elegantly, run the pump up and down. The pump was moderately expensive (food grade), but that would not be neccesary for someone starting from scratch. The aluminum extrusion wasn't expensive, either. Overall, it should be comparatively cheap compared to buying heatsinks.
Disadvantages: Huge amount of thermal mass. It'll take this sucker about ten years to reach thermal equilibrium. The easiest way to get around this will be to set up a thermostatic control to vary the water flow (same concept as the thermostat on a car engine--get up to nominal operating temperature more quickly). There is the possibility of mechanical noise from the water flow. The pump is an impeller type, so it shouldn't produce gross ripples that throb through the heatsinks, but there could be other things. And...holy mackeral, what if you develop a leak? Not a system you should consider if you have a puppy who likes to chew on things!
I am open to ideas, particularly on sealing the ends. I have two different ideas in mind, but don't yet know whether either will pan out. Unless someone's a masochist, let me play point on this one. You can learn from my mistakes.
SteveH: Have you considered visiting your local junkyard? The ones here sell aluminum by pound weight, and you don't have to pay postage on having all those heavy critters shipped in from Nebraska or wherever. I once saw two (yes, two, good for a stereo pair) heatsinks about 18" by 36" in an industrial power controller. The bad news...they'd been dropped together by the forklift and both had crushed fins. Curses! Anyway, the prices are good (that Al extrusion mentioned above was $6), although it's a matter of luck as to what shows up.
Jason: Thanks for putting previous postings back in the reply window. It makes it easier.


Petter 4th March 2001 06:40 PM

Watercooling, computer surplus and sheet cooling
Watercooling "hot ends" can be bought from or Aavid have coolcat which is software to go with it ...

I too have been thinking about the radiator solution. Way to go! I have seen it on a Japanese site (amp built into speakers, more of a hot-end physical volume thing).

I just bough 27 nice (in that they were transverese + slotted + rippled + black) Pentium II heatsinks. I plan to strip off the fan and fix them to my box.

If you put sheets of alu with spacers, you can build your own heatsink very easily, especially if you place them on top of the whole deal as a "lid" and have a low power centrifugal fan running at nearly zero revs in the case (or holes on bottom + 2" feet.

GRollins 5th March 2001 12:28 AM

I've seen bent aluminum heatsinks (Ham radio operators have been doing it for years). For small amounts of heat they work well and you can custom fit the metal into bizarre shapes that will fit between components on a board. My problem with the idea of stacking multiples together is the unpredictability of heat transfer between adjacent pieces. I was never able to convince myself that I'd be able to get a tight enough fit. So then what do you do? Smear heatsink grease on each and every piece? That's going to get expensive, fast. I've got some .040" Al 'in stock' but have never used it for anything other than small sinks for that reason.


SteveH 5th March 2001 02:01 AM

Guys - Thanks for the info - but I don't think I will be getting into water cooling - a bit too esoteric.

Grey - I have just checked my local junk yard - they have lots of scrap aluminum, but nothing with fins.. so I have to look elsewhere. I'm not prepared to spend a bezillion bucks on new extruded stuff from Wakefield or Aavid - much as I would like to have it.

I am trying to keep the cost of making a Zen down as much as possible. I plan to mount is right inside my speaker with the fins on the back of the box.

I was hoping more for resources I could order from off the net. Please let me know if you know of any good suppliers.

GRollins 5th March 2001 02:56 AM

There are, of course, the usual suspects:


gehlhoff 5th March 2001 01:08 PM

apex jr
Check out the new arrivals catagory at they have a 6"*10"*.75-1" thick maybee 1 or two of these/channel if you have room. $7.50


Petter 5th March 2001 04:27 PM

More on Alu fins
You don't need to go far:

and the transverse which is what I was talking about:

vdi_nenna 5th March 2001 10:32 PM

Home-made heat sinks

My brother is a machinist. He's been doing metal work for years. I showed him the plans for a home made chassis and heat sink and he said he can do that kind of work in his sleep. I'm going to have him make me 2 large heatsinks (2"x6"x15"). He said that he can get the materials from a an aluminum supplier.

If any of you guys are interested, he'd be willing to do something to your specs. He said he'd just need to get a materials/job estimate. You can email me if you are interested.

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