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Old 03-28-2009, 07:20 AM #1
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Default People who make their own heatsinks - ?

What kind of tools do you use?

I would love to put together my own little workshop in the garage, but I'm not sure what machines I would need. I don't have a ton of money to spend, so if I can get away with getting relatively cheap/affordable machine(s) that would be great.

What parts exactly do you guys use to make the heatsinks? Such as cutting the piece first, drill bits, what part holds the aluminum piece in place as you drill? etc etc etc... I'm looking at mini lathes, 7x10, 7x12... is that all I would need or would I need a drill press as well?

Any guidance is appreciated!

Also, I'm in So-Cal... so if you know of good stores to pick stuff up from, please let me know.


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Old 03-28-2009, 10:39 AM #2
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

A small lathe and a pillar drill are the minimum requirement.
All my equipment came from ebay where you can get the best bang for your buck.... as long as you know what you are looking for.

Just an example the pillar drill below cost me $15 and a couple of hours driving to get it home.

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Old 03-28-2009, 11:50 AM #3
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

$15? good score.. that looks like a quality drill press.

so i take it the lathe is used to make the correct diameter for the heatsink, then the drill press is used to drill out the center? i thought that was done on the lathe as well....

what about for cutting the aluminum into the smaller pieces?

i'm gonna keep an eye on ebay, and craigslist... lookin at the prices of new mini lathes, i dont think i have enough $$...
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:05 PM #4
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

The lathe is used to turn the outside diameter and drill out the centre. The pillar drill is for the side hole which is tapped for the clamp screw.

I use the drill press much more frequently than the lathe, pressing LD's into modules for instance.

I have a power hacksaw for cutting up materials..... around $30 from ebay if I remember correctly

My first lathe from ebay cost me around $50, I earned enough money from it to buy a customer return C6 lathe and stand for $500 (half price)...... I sold the first lathe on ebay for $120.

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Old 03-28-2009, 12:23 PM #5
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

ok, cool stuff..

do you think mini lathe is capable of cutting harder metals like stainless steel?

what was the size of your first lathe? i'm thinking i should be ok with 7x10 or 7x12.. as long as it's strong enough to tear through harder metals if i feel creative...

btw, that C6 looks awfully nice! (i read a review on it, this guy is nuts for lathes: http://www.mini-lathe.com/C6_lathe/C6/c6.htm)
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:49 PM #6
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

As long as you have a sharp bit, coolant and take light cuts it will do stainless steel.
The only problem I have with the C6 is that it goes through motor brushes at a rate of knots and they are sods to replace.
My first lathe was a 1940's Drummond, cannot remember the size....
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:04 AM #7
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

That one's a beast! I'm sure it worked well enough though huh?

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it... the hunt begins!
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:26 AM #8
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

Stainless is tough metal --- use carbide tools. You can also cut off round stock in the lathe with a parting tool or a hacksaw while the work is turning slowly.

I have the 7x10 lathe from Harbor Freight and their mini mill which I use as a mill, drill and diode press.

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Old 03-29-2009, 03:40 AM #9
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

awesome, very helpful.. thanks for your post
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Old 03-29-2009, 02:47 PM #10
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

I got a lathe for free from my neighbor, he was moving and i saw the lathe in his garage, I asked if i could borrow it, he said i could have it ;D

I'll get a picture after work, It's pretty old, from the Sears catalog in the earlier years. Still, it gets the job done ;D
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:36 PM #11
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

I have a (Chinese Bengbu Machine Tools) 9 x 18 gear head lathe, power feed, with the separate vertical milling head. Basically a type of combination machine. Also in my shop are a Taig micro metal lathe, a US made 6 x 24 basic metal lathe, a Cincinnati 30 Taper vertical milling machine (3 phase beast weighs 6500lbs., was dirt cheap to buy, cost $$$ to move it to my shop), rotary tables and indexing heads for the mill,a metal band saw, several grinders, 2 drill presses, air compressor and air tools, Stick, MIG, TIG, and gas welding , measuring, marking, and layout tools, electric hand tools, wrenches, sockets, and a foundry that can melt and cast in aluminum, copper, brass, etc.

To think that I started out just wanting the Taig micro metal lathe ...

Warning - Machine tools and lasers are addictive !!! *

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Old 03-29-2009, 10:17 PM #12
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Default Re: People who make their own heatsinks - ?

Wow holy crap! You've got a nice workshop there for sure!

I've actually been thinking about going back to school for metal fabrication, so I'd learn how to use everything you have there... would be fun.

I want to be able to think of an idea, and go straight into my shop and build it without wondering "hmm... how am I gonna do this??"...
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