Introduction and Complete Steps for your DIY Heat Sink


You can complete this DIY heat sink project in less than an hour. It requires only basic tools and supplies, and the steps are straightforward. The only thing that might be tricky is determining how much metal to use for each step, but this is something you can learn through trial and error.

Ready to get started? Let’s begin!

Introduction to Heatsink

Introduction to Heatsink

Heatsink Purpose in a PCB

The purpose of a heatsink in a PCB is to lower the temperature of the circuit board. The heat can be directly absorbed away from the components or spread out over a larger surface area, which will in turn cool down the whole board.

These are critical components of any electronic device that requires a lot of power. A heatsink is a metal block or plate that absorbs heat from the electronic components inside your device and distributes it across its surface. The idea is that this distribution helps keep each part cool, so it can run at full capacity for longer periods of time without overheating.

Aluminum is by far the most common choice for heatsinks because it’s lightweight and highly conductive. It can absorb and distribute heat quickly and efficiently.

Heatsink Applications

Most people don’t know what a heatsink is or how it works. But that’s okay—we’ve got the answers to all your questions right here!


Component Density

Component Density

Component Density

The number of components per unit area is a key factor in determining heat density. The higher the density, the greater the amount of heat generated on a given surface area. This means that if you want to cool a device with high component density, you will need to use more powerful fans or more efficient cooling systems.

Power Components

Power Components

Power Components

These need to be cooled down altogether so that they will function properly. The heatsinks dissipate heat from the power components by conduction or convection. The heatsink has to be designed to handle the high temperatures generated by the power component while indeed optimizing its thermal conductivity and surface area.




This is an essential part of any computer. It is responsible for processing data and sending it to the other parts of your computer. This can include tasks such as running applications, sending emails, or surfing the internet.

Heatsinks are used to prevent overheating in processors. This is because the processor will get hot when it is working hard, which can damage it if left unchecked. The CPU is attached to the heatsink, which is designed to draw heat away from it using a fan or a water-cooling system

Where Should Heatsinks Be Placed?

The first step in determining the best placement for your heatsink is to identify the hottest area of your device. Usually, this will be the center of the processor. You should use some sort of thermal probe to pinpoint this area. Be sure to check that it is not damaged when you apply your heatsink.

Once you’ve identified where the processor is hottest, it’s time to find out where to put your heatsink. The best place will be on top of or directly adjacent to an IC or other component that generates heat. If possible, you should also try to place your heatsink near any kind of heat spreader or cooling fan so they can work together efficiently.

Types of Heatsink

There are several different types of heatsinks, each with its own pros and cons. These heatsinks are categorized by airflow, by material, by water use, and by its manufacturing process.

By Airflow

Different types of heatsinks have different airflow requirements. Here are some of the most common:

Passive Heatsink

Passive Heatsink


This is a heat sink that uses natural convection to dissipate heat. Convection is the process by which heat flows from hot regions to colder ones in response to differences in temperature. In a passive airflow heatsink, there are no fans or other active components involved in cooling the device. Passive airflow heatsinks are designed to maximize the amount of air that can flow through and around them.

Active Heatsink

Active Heatsinks


These heatsinks are designed to manipulate the flow of air to cool the device. They typically have a fan that moves air over the heatsink, which is what helps to keep the device cool.

Desktop and laptop computers can both be found with active airflow heatsinks. They may also be found in other electronic devices, such as servers or graphics cards. Active airflow heatsinks are often used in situations where heat needs to be dissipated quickly and efficiently, such as when you’re running a program that generates a lot of heat.

By Material

Heatsinks made from different materials tend to operate differently, so it’s important to know what kind of material you’re using before buying one. Here’s an overview of the most popular materials used in heatsinks:

Aluminum Heatsink

Aluminum Heatsinks


This is a popular material for heatsinks because it is lightweight, durable, and relatively inexpensive. It’s also not very electrically conductive, which can be an asset when you’re working with sensitive electrical components. The downside is that aluminum heatsinks have a tendency to overheat if they aren’t properly vented and cooled by fans or other airflow systems.

Copper Heatsink

Copper Heatsink


Because of its high thermal conductivity and excellent heat dissipation, copper is the most popular material for heatsinks. Copper heatsinks are generally made by extruding or casting the required shape and then machining it to the precise dimensions. The process is quite involved and involves a lot of labor-intensive work. This makes them expensive but also ensures that you get the best quality product.

By Water Use

Here are the types of heatsinks by water use:

Solid Metal

This is a heatsink that uses a solid metal block. This can be cast in one piece, or it can be composed of several pieces that are soldered together. The surface area of the metal can be treated in a number of ways to increase its ability to transfer heat.

This type of heatsink is made from metal and can be used in industrial applications. It can also be used in commercial settings such as data centers and server rooms, where large amounts of heat need to be dissipated.

Pumped Liquid

This uses a mixture of water and coolant to transfer heat away from the processor. The water absorbs the heat and is pumped to a radiator where it is cooled by a fan or airflow. This reduces the temperature of the device and allows it to run at a lower operating temperature.

This allows you to use a larger, more powerful pump and therefore move more heat per minute. This is especially important if you’re working with high-power CPUs or GPUs.

The downside is that pumps are noisy and require maintenance, but if you’re looking for a high-performance heatsink, this might be the way to go.


Two-phase thermal management uses a two-phase heat transfer process in which the condensation of a working fluid is utilized to remove heat from the source. In the two-phase heat sink, a phase change material is used to absorb heat from the source. This then changed into another phase with the application of heat, usually by changing its temperature or pressure. The resulting phase change causes a change in volume, which causes a movement of mass that can be used to remove energy from the system.

This type of heatsink is more efficient than other types because it uses less energy to move the same amount of heat away from the device. It also has an advantage over air-cooled systems because it can be used in any environment, even in places where there isn’t enough air to push through an air cooler.

By Manufacturing Process

There are different manufacturing processes used in the production of heatsinks. These processes are categorized by the material used to make the heatsink, and they include:

CNC Machined Heatsink

CNC Machined Heatsink

CNC Machined

These kinds of heatsinks are computer-controlled that allow for the creation of parts with extreme precision, making them perfect for creating heatsinks. The process begins with a design for the part being created in a CAD program on a computer workstation. Once the design has been finalized and approved by the customer, it is sent to the CNC machine where it will be cut from metal or other materials according to specifications provided by the customer.

Forged & Die Cast

Forged heatsinks are made by a process that involves heating metal to a high temperature and shaping it into the desired form. This is done with a hammer or press. The result is a solid, dense metal that can be machined to fit your specific needs.

Die-cast heatsinks are made by pouring molten metal into a mold that has been created by shaping a wax model in sand or liquid urethane. The mold is then filled with molten metal and allowed to cool before being removed from the mold.

Zipper Fin Heatsink

Zipper Fin

Zipper Fin

These heatsinks are manufactured by a process called extrusion, in which aluminum is melted and then forced through a die to form the shape of the heat sink. The extruder then uses gravity to pull the extruded aluminum down along its length, where it solidifies into a continuous strip. This process creates an even cooling effect across all fins, as well as a smooth surface on the base of each fin.

Skived Fin Heatsink

Skived Fin

Skived Fin

These heatsinks are a type of heatsink that is manufactured using a skiving process. The fins are cut using a skiving machine, which makes them thin and lightweight. Skived fins are often used in industrial conditions, where they can be attached to the heat source using a clamp or epoxy.

Bonded Fin Heatsink

Bonded Fin

Bonded Fin

These are a type of heatsink that is manufactured by bonding thin fins to a heat spreader. The heat spreader is made from copper or aluminum and has been extruded into an I-beam shape. The fins themselves can be made from aluminum, copper, or nickel-plated copper.

Bonded fins are popular with manufacturers because they are easy to assemble altogether and can be customized to match customer requirements. They are also lightweight and have high thermal conductivity, which likewise makes them ideal for small devices like smartphones or laptops.

Extruded Heatsink



There are a variety of methods used to manufacture heatsinks, but without a doubt, the most common manufacturing process is extrusion. This process as has been noted involves taking a block of aluminum or copper and forcing it through a shaped die. The result is a tube that has been shaped into whatever form you need for your heatsink.

Steps in Making Your DIY Heatsink

Making a DIY heatsink is a great way to save money, and it’s also a great way to put your creative skills to the test.

Here are the steps:

Step 1 – Prepare the Materials and Tools

The first step in making your DIY heatsink is to gather all of the materials and tools that you need. You will need:

  • Heatsink material
  • Heat shrinks tubing
  • Hammer
  • Tin snips or Nibbler Tool
  • Sandpaper

Step 2 – Cut Out the Heatsink

The second step in making your DIY heatsink is to cut out the heatsink. This is the part where you’ll have to get creative. You can use a saw or a Nibbler tool to cut out the shape of your heatsink, but it’s essential to make sure that you’re cutting out enough material so that the heat sink will be able to dissipate heat from the chips. You want it to be able to draw in air from all sides.

Step 3 – Add a Notch

You’ll want to make sure that your notch is big enough for the heatsink and small enough so that it doesn’t go past any of the components in the case. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re cutting along the lines of the heatsink base itself afterward so that you don’t cut too far into the board underneath.

Step 4 – Flatten the Heatsink

The next step is to flatten the heatsink. This will make it more efficient and allow you to attach it to your processor more easily an. To do this, simply place the heatsink face down on a flat surface (like a table or desk) and then use a hammer to gently tap it evenly until you have flattened it out. Make sure you don’t hit too hard or else you’ll damage your motherboard!

Step 5 – Assemble the Components

You’ll want to put the heatsink on top of your device and secure it with the four screws that come with your heatsink kit. Then you’ll want to attach it to your heatsink using one of the screws. If you still have loose wires hanging around, now’s the time to attach them to their respective ports on the PCB you are making.


To save some money or to satisfy curiosity, DIY heatsink preparation takes quite a bit of work, but it’s worth it. After that, you’re ready to go. Just make sure to test everything so that you’re getting an accurate reading when it comes to figuring out your device temperature and basically not letting the heat sink become damaged.

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