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Old 05-05-2012, 06:13 PM #1
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Lightbulb Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Probably the simplest thing to DIY that can save you some money..
Depending on the application, those small syringes of thermal epoxy can run
out fast..


I have tried this personally, and was pleased with the results.

Parts you need:

-Fine mesh aluminum powder, not the pyro type.. It can be found on ebay
or in some cases local paint supply stores locally.

ALUMINUM metal POWDER 1 lb Pound 99.8% Lab Chemical 1650 mesh 9 SUPERFINE | eBay

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ALUMINUM-met...item2ebc3c7708

-Any 2 part epoxy, weather it be 5min fast set, or the 3-4 hour stuff.

Devcon High Strength Clear 5Min Epoxy 503204 | eBay

Set time is not all that important other than the fact that the slower the set time
seems to result in a harder epoxy, appearing to be a stronger material over the 5min
quick set stuff.


Instructions:


1-Prepare a small amount of aluminum powder, and pour the 2 parts of epoxy.
2-Mix the epoxy as normal, be sure to combine your 2 parts well.
3-Begin adding the aluminum..

It is important to add enough, but not too much where you end up losing the
adhesive properties of the epoxy.

I like to use a clear epoxy.. This way you can get an idea of how much AL powder
has been added by texture and colour. You can also take it a step further, and
weigh your 2 parts of epoxy pre-mixing, as well as the AL powder. Once mixed
go back and weigh the remaining amount of AL powder, and note the difference.

Find a balance that suits your needs best, and write it down for future use.


You can also go the other route and mix the AL powder with both the resin and
hardener separately.. When you need to bond something, you then just mix the two parts
without having to weight it etc.

For most applications, simply 'eye-balling' while you add the AL powder is sufficient.

I have found that the AL powder makes for a stronger adhesive, appearing more
rigid, and now thermally conductive


The cost saved with this method is well worth it. I have tried this with epoxy that
is approx 2-3$ for a large 35ml double syringe. 1LB of the AL powder will only set you back
12$ or so, and will last you a long time.

You could even take this a step further and mix up your own silver or gold based
epoxy.. I have not tried this... yet.....


Any questions, feel free to ask


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Old 05-05-2012, 06:39 PM #2
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY

I assume that one pound of powder will last through quite a few of the one ounce adhesive bottles?

Arctic alumina 5G can be found for about $6 which I have always used. I actually prefer the porcelain base one for sinking drivers as I feel it ends up harder and I have never had a driver overheat because I did not pay twice as much for the micronized silver kind.

So this could cut the cost about in half if you can use that powder for many of the one ounce adhesive bottels which are about $5.

Good stuff, Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:46 PM #3
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

The difference between this and arctic alumina, is that you should obviously not be using this if you're trying to electrically insulate the part you're trying to heatsink. Aluminium dust + tiny circuitry might develop a mean little relationship together... but yeah, you just about got me grinding down the slab of silver I have.
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:47 PM #4
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Quote:
Originally Posted by DTR View Post
I assume that one pound of powder will last through quite a few of the one ounce adhesive bottles?

Arctic alumina 5G can be found for about $6 which I have always used. I actually prefer the porcelain base one for sinking drivers as I feel it ends up harder and I have never had a driver overheat because I did not pay twice as much for the micronized silver kind.

So this could cut the cost about in half if you can use that powder for many of the one ounce adhesive bottels which are about $5.

Good stuff, Thanks for sharing.


A pound should last a loooong time.. You can buy it in 100gr bags as well, but 1lb will
save you some dough..

I see a lot of people using the arctic AL which can get expensive.. I have always used
the silver, where 2 tubes run 15~20$ and don't last at all.

I was thinking of making a colloidal silver, filtering, and trying with a 5min epoxy..

Typically I don't use drivers that get very hot, so my applications differ a bit.
Have been meaning to try the porcelain, heard some good things about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cilegray View Post
The difference between this and arctic alumina, is that you should obviously not be using this if you're trying to electrically insulate the part you're trying to heatsink. Aluminium dust + tiny circuitry might develop a mean little relationship together... but yeah, you just about got me grinding down the slab of silver I have.
As well as the thermal paste, I would recommend keeping it away from any contacts..
I have had arctic silver paste (not epoxy) cause a short and emit smoke from the location
of the short. Thats not a bad thing though, its reassuring to know the content of silver is
high.. stuff's expensive.. You just have to be mindful of where its placed.

If you want a fine silver with consistency, put it in water with a pinch of salt
and use electrolysis. May take a couple of days, but you will end up with very fine silver..
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:56 PM #5
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Sounds like a pretty good idea if you are using a lot of thermal adhesive but If there is an issue with the adhesive being very conductive it may be bad to suggest for sinking drivers.

I never sink two surfaces together that need to be isolated from each other as either you either get it very well sinked and you fail on the isolation or you isolate it really well and the fail on the sinking.

With some of the drivers we sink the top of the chips we are sinking do not need to be isolated but if the adhesive can go up the sides a little and fill up the gaps on the chips prongs. With Arctic alumina this will not short it but it sounds like with this stuff it may if it gets in there.


Anyway the alumina can sometimes be found for $4-5 but all I see now is $6.40. just have to keep your eyes out and grab up all you can when it is cheap.

Arctic Silver AATA-5G Alumina Adhesive Thermal Epoxy 5g on eBay!

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Old 05-05-2012, 07:10 PM #6
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Ive never bought the 'alumina' type, only silver.. TBH, I dont use much
of the stuff.

I had a bag of the AL powder, and the epoxy I normally use for optics etc
and got bored one day...

Isnt the epoxy based arctic products capacitive rather than conductive? I dont
glue my drivers, so I have never tried it, though from what you describe I can see the issue..
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:08 PM #7
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLSE View Post
Ive never bought the 'alumina' type, only silver.. TBH, I dont use much
of the stuff.

I had a bag of the AL powder, and the epoxy I normally use for optics etc
and got bored one day...

Isnt the epoxy based arctic products capacitive rather than conductive? I dont
glue my drivers, so I have never tried it, though from what you describe I can see the issue..
According to the manufacturer, the Arctic Alumina thermal adhesive, is not electrically conductive, or capacitive.

The Arctic Silver thermal adhesive, if it is, even if only a little, it should be kept away from electrical connections.

Edit: Here you can buy the Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive for $5, but I do not know if the shipment is included or not.

Last edited by piferal; 05-05-2012 at 08:11 PM. Reason: Add info.
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:17 PM #8
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

doesnt this method get rid of the adhesive properties? or does it actually stay adhered to whatever?
BTW, good tutorial, i think it was you who told me this in a pm, and iv been dieing to try it out since
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:53 PM #9
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Quote:
Originally Posted by daawood123 View Post
doesnt this method get rid of the adhesive properties? or does it actually stay adhered to whatever?
BTW, good tutorial, i think it was you who told me this in a pm, and iv been dieing to try it out since
I first used this mix to fix a damaged mount on a pellet gun's scope. The epoxy
which is the same I always use (15 tubes in my drawer) hardened much better
seemingly more rigid, and unaffected by the AL powder other than improvements.

If you add too much, im sure it will reach a point where its no longer tacky,
but for the times ive used this, the bond is just as strong as the original glue and no AL.

The aluminum adds some structure to the epoxy by the looks of it.. So while making
it more rigid, it is also harder to break a piece of hardened epoxy in half..

If you want to try it out, and dont want to spend on a big bag of the powder,
PM me and I can send you a small packet for the cost of the shipping..

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Old 05-06-2012, 10:31 PM #10
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Thanks for this! I used arctic silver 5 last time but it doesn't seem to dry? Or is it me being silly?

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Old 05-06-2012, 10:35 PM #11
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Arctic silver 5 is a paste and not an adhesive. It won't dry and hardened.
I thought you know that by now. Use the silicone paste for glueing stuff that I sent to you.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:37 PM #12
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Quote:
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Arctic silver 5 is a paste and not an adhesive. It won't dry and hardened.
I thought you know that by now. Use the silicone paste for glueing stuff that I sent to you.
Yeah i used the arctic stuff only one time and didn't look at it anymore so this was just for extra clarification.... In all other stuff i build i use your stuff which works great!

so yeah.

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Old 05-07-2012, 01:38 AM #13
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

JLSE, would you be willing to sell a small amount of this
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:09 AM #14
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthoT View Post
JLSE, would you be willing to sell a small amount of this
Sure, PM sent.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:45 AM #15
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Some silver powder (is it worth the huge price difference?):

Silver Powder, Technical Grade 97%, 50g | eBay

Silver Powder - Metal - 25 grams - 99.9+% pure | eBay

Silver Powder - Metal - 50 grams - 99.9+% pure | eBay
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:53 AM #16
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Default Re: Low cost thermal adhesive.. DIY Tutorial

Is there is a risk of conduction when using this method?
one of the methods listed on the ebay listing is conductive paste
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