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Copper tape as a cooling solution?

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cultOfThinkpad
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Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#1 Post by cultOfThinkpad » Sat Apr 20, 2024 9:56 am

Today, I've been talking with someone about modding a Thinkpads cooling system to improve thermals (gluing new heat pipes and stuff like that) and they mentioned using what they call "gold tape" with a "gold/copper color" you can supposedly wrap around the heatpipes to "transfer more heat" between them.

I asked them what particular brand they recommend and whether they meant to wrap this tape around each of the heat pipes individually or around them all together but they didn't know the exact type or brand of tape - only that they seen it done before.

Does anyone know of any brand of thermally conductive tape and whether or not my friend is onto something?

Thanks.

axur-delmeria
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Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#2 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat Apr 20, 2024 11:57 am

I haven't tried this but seen the photos of others who did-- the idea is to wrap the pipes together with copper foil tape. The "proper" way would be to solder some copper plates/sheets to the heatpipes to improve heat transfer between them, but of course not everyone has the skill set and equipment to pull that off, so wrapping them together with copper foil tape is the "poor man's substitute".
Planned Purchase: T480s i5-8350 FHD Touch
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cultOfThinkpad
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Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#3 Post by cultOfThinkpad » Sat Apr 20, 2024 12:11 pm

I don't have the expertise to solder anything either but I have found what might be the next best thing (if not better).
https://www.techingredients.com/product ... rmal-epoxy

I plan to use this to bridge a pair of heatpipes between the CPU and GPU heatblocks of a 00HM903 heatsink for the T440p
then take these graphene-coated copper heatsinks (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/266691517624), saw them up into smaller segments and glue them all over the CPU heatblock and along the pipes.

How does that sound in comparison to what you just mentioned?

Then, if that works, maybe I could wrap the pipes with copper foil tape as a final step?
Do I wrap each of the pipes individually or wrap them both/all together?

axur-delmeria
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Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat Apr 20, 2024 12:39 pm

1. If you're doing that, there's no need to wrap them in copper foil.

2. I'd rather use bare copper plates--

3. The big question regarding thermal epoxy is its thermal conductivity, because it's very likely that it's worse than most pastes because of the presence of epoxy adhesive. I wonder if some kind of thin clamping solution would work, like those clips used in some aftermarket RAM heatsinks.
Planned Purchase: T480s i5-8350 FHD Touch
Impulse Buy: Thinkpad not named for safety reasons :lol:
RIP: X220 4291-C91 X61 7676-A24 760XD-U9E :cry:

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Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#5 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sat Apr 20, 2024 8:39 pm

Soldering on copper pipes is extremely tricky, it needs special low melt solder that isn't brittle and it needs loads of heat dumped instantly. If you dump way too much heat over a prolonged period of time on a copper pipe, it can actually bulge or at worst burst.
There are some sellers from China on Taobao that specifically sells flattened copper heatpipes of various thinness and length as well as copper shims to help you with that. Slap those heatpipes on top of your existing heatsink and guide it to the finstack, and it may dissipate like about 10W of extra heat. For me I just use thick thermal paste like thermal grizzly and use the thick paste's stickiness to keep the heatpipe in place. In more extreme cases I may use liquid metal but I also have trouble getting liquid metal to stick onto the walls of the heatpipes.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Precision M4300 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
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T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

axur-delmeria
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Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#6 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat Apr 20, 2024 10:06 pm

Liquid metal is too much of a spill hazard for that purpose. If I'm gonna spend on a project like this, I'd use PTM 7950 phase-change thermal pad, then somehow (gently) clamp the heatpipes together with anything I could think of (even twist wire). :lol:

I've seen heatpipes bulge firsthand when I used a flat iron to dismantle an old laptop heatsink. :lol:
Planned Purchase: T480s i5-8350 FHD Touch
Impulse Buy: Thinkpad not named for safety reasons :lol:
RIP: X220 4291-C91 X61 7676-A24 760XD-U9E :cry:

cultOfThinkpad
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Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#7 Post by cultOfThinkpad » Sun Apr 21, 2024 4:24 am

1. How would you use copper plates? Glue them as a bridge between the heatpipes?
Why wouldn't extra heatpipes work as a bridge just as well?

2. I plan to buy and use heavy duty clamps to keep the newly glued heatpipes on until the epoxy sets.

3. I know soldering is tricky. That's why I'm opting to use not just any thermal epoxy but the epoxy I just
linked to. There is a video by the manufacturer demonstrating how superior it is to regular epoxies.
https://youtu.be/8MOTMq9g8Nk

4. Thermal paste to stick new pipes on?! I'm using a laptop that I'm going to carry around all the time. That's a disaster waiting to happen. Paste could spill anywhere and the new pipes could get knocked around, hit the motherboard and kill the thing!

5. I'm fully aware of the dangers of using liquid metal and I already plan to use PTM7958, a more optimized version of the PTM7950. https://www.moddiy.com/products/PTM7958 ... Paste.html
But again, as an adhesive? I don't think so.

So to summarize. I know soldering is dangerous. I know liquid metal is dangerous.
I'm not using liquid metal. I'm using Honeywell PTM7958.
I'm not going to solder any heatpipes. I'm using thermal epoxy to stick them on and clamp to keep them together until it sets. I will not use thermal paste instead of thermal epoxy to stick the new pipes on because that sounds impractical for a laptop I will carry around a lot!

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Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#8 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:02 am

1. If you can get flat heatpipes of the same general shape (including the bends) as the ones on the heatsink, great.

2. Use just enough thermal epoxy to hold the copper plates (or added heatpipes) in place, then use PTM 7958 everywhere else.
Planned Purchase: T480s i5-8350 FHD Touch
Impulse Buy: Thinkpad not named for safety reasons :lol:
RIP: X220 4291-C91 X61 7676-A24 760XD-U9E :cry:

kfzhu1229
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Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#9 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sun Apr 21, 2024 1:05 pm

axur-delmeria wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:02 am
1. If you can get flat heatpipes of the same general shape (including the bends) as the ones on the heatsink, great.

2. Use just enough thermal epoxy to hold the copper plates (or added heatpipes) in place, then use PTM 7958 everywhere else.
Unfortunately it is not feasible for you to have flat heatpipes AND have it bent into any kind of shape. If it is a flat heatpipe (1mm or less) it'll always be straight, bending it horizontally will severely warp the copper since one end will stretch and one end will shrink on any bends and that effect is a major problem on really flattened heatpipes. The best you could hope for is to bridge 2 smaller flattened heatpipes and hence create 2 straight lines at an angle to establish the bend.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Precision M4300 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

cultOfThinkpad
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Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#10 Post by cultOfThinkpad » Sun Apr 21, 2024 2:13 pm

I'm not bending the pipes horizontally, I'm bending them vertically.
Sadly the CPU and GPU heatblocks aren't level with each other which is why I think
bending the pipes is necesarry.

Could I just bridge two pipes (one over the other) between the heatblocks?
Possibly but I suspect the few pipes there are, the more efficient, effective and less prone to failure the extra cooling would be.

I know it will be tricky and I don't plan to bend them with my bare hands.
I watched a video where someone added (and bent) new heatpipes to his T440p cooler and he bent his pipes
very slowly and carefully by bending it against a soft plastic toy.
https://youtu.be/YVGLJcOF_Pg

I actually bought one cheap along with a few pipes from eBay to practise this and I feel I managed to pull it off, mostly,
without kinking the pipes.

By the way, the pipes I could buy on eBay are 3mm thick but I found that the ideal lengths to bridge the heatblocks have to be 6 or 7cm.

kfzhu1229
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Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#11 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sun Apr 21, 2024 3:49 pm

cultOfThinkpad wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2024 2:13 pm
I'm not bending the pipes horizontally, I'm bending them vertically.
Sadly the CPU and GPU heatblocks aren't level with each other which is why I think
bending the pipes is necesarry.
Yeah bending vertically is almost harmless if you make sure the angle of the bend is not too steep. the flattened pipes are pretty easily bendable so that would help here. I do that to select AMD based laptops that have northbridge/IGP run so hot that it needs a copper heatpipe instead of a copper shim to contact so that it can cool through both the cooler and the heatpipe.
cultOfThinkpad wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2024 2:13 pm
By the way, the pipes I could buy on eBay are 3mm thick but I found that the ideal lengths to bridge the heatblocks have to be 6 or 7cm.
Yeah I bought mine straight from the Chinese Taobao which has a number of sellers that specializes in these sorts of diy cooling equipment that you'll not find anywhere else. Even if I spend the number of Yuan I spent on those pipes but in canadian dollars I would not be able to find a suitable alternative over here.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Precision M4300 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

cultOfThinkpad
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat May 14, 2022 3:37 am
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Copper tape as a cooling solution?

#12 Post by cultOfThinkpad » Mon Apr 22, 2024 12:23 am

Wonderful!

One last thing, I know I need to remove the paint from wherever my new pipes will make contact.
I did some research a while ago and the solutions I found include using high grit aluminum oxide sandpaper
to sand the paint off while also scoring the metal to supposedly improve the heat transfer or using some kind of paint stripping solution with a small spatula or knife to scrape the paint off.

Any thoughts?

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