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Water Block Design / Construction Building your own block? Need info on designing one? Heres where to do it

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Unread 02-09-2004, 10:38 AM   #1
|kbn|
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Home made waterblocks

Ive been reading these forums for a while and made one block already for gpu and im going to make more blocks for cpu and change the gpu one a bit so i decided to register here so i could get some opinions on what sort of blockwould be best.

http://server5.uploadit.org/files/kbn2k3-wbfin1.JPG
http://server5.uploadit.org/files/kbn2k3-wbfin2.JPG
http://server5.uploadit.org/files/kbn2k3-9700np2r1.jpg
the block is made of copper pipe with a 5mm thick silver base. the silver has a brushed finnish on the inside, but has no fins or channels or holes to increase surface area - it relys on high flow rates a lot for good performance. it does acctually perform very well imo (well it is the first gpu block ive used...), as i can get my 9700np up from stock of 275mhz core upto 410mhz core without vmods (1.48v stock), and with vmods (1.8v is max i tryed) its artifact free upto 475mhz and the back of the gpu hardly gets warm.

this picture shows the cpu block ive been using (i got it for £10 inc postage )
http://thermal-management-testing.com/Atlantis.jpg
but ive recently found out that my slk800 that i had before is much better by about 5-10c even with a low cfm fan, this has really confused me.

i think the next wb i will make would be a fin based cpu wb with a silver base and 10mm tall copper fins silver-soldered onto the base. im not sure how to make the sides and top, though a copper block in the middle with a polycarb or copper top is probably the best way atm. i will try making some designs in truespace around this but i need more ideas
btw i dont have cnc, or a mill, not even a drill press. im limited to normal household tools unfortunatly

also somehting ive been looking for is a pic of the insides of a maze4 gpu block - i cant find one anywhere. im interested in the design used in it, as i think my block has better performance from comparing other peoples results

Last edited by |kbn|; 02-09-2004 at 10:50 AM.
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Unread 02-09-2004, 03:10 PM   #2
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Wow, I like your ambition in using silver... I could never do it because I usually make mistakes and a mistake with silver is costly

I wish I got a waterblock for 10 pounds (?), that would be awesome
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Unread 02-09-2004, 05:32 PM   #3
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Edited - too many typo's...

The silver was from where my dad works, so didnt cost much. We have quite a bit, but not in any useable shapes, just needs re-melting and pressing before I can use it..

The cheap waterblock acctually performs worse than a thermalright SLK800 air cooler in my testing and part of the poly top is cracked, though it doesnt leak - thats why it was cheap.

Last edited by |kbn|; 02-23-2004 at 08:57 PM.
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Unread 02-12-2004, 12:32 PM   #4
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Today i got more materials, hopefully the right ones for making blocks from

Kitchen cutting board - 450*320*12mm LD polyethylene, see this page http://www.mcmaster.com/asp/loadpage...E+Polyethylene - i didnt get it here, but it looks like same stuff...
I intend to use it for the lid of my cpu block, though im very tempted to just use copper unless i can think of some resons not to...

I also got some resin which might be good for something, dont think I can be arsed to use it though...

I also got some copper pipe (2m*1/2") with some 90 degree elbows, though I'll probably need more later on..

Last edited by |kbn|; 02-23-2004 at 09:01 PM.
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Unread 02-23-2004, 10:22 PM   #5
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Ive been thinking what i could use the 2 meters of copper pipe for and had a few ideas.

The first I have almost finnished making - which is the ram on my 9700 which needs cooling. All thats left to do is solder it together, and make it look shiny

Ive also started the gpu block today. Pics of old one in first post ^. the main reson i changed it was because the diection that the tubing was in when using it, aswell as looking very bad. The tubing direction could easly be fixed with two 90 degree elbows as shown in first pic, but I still dont like it, *opinions wanted*.

I also intend to change the base of the gpu block, at the moment its flat so there is no turbulence.
Any suggestions of how I could do it? I have a some 2mm drill bits, which i could go about 3mm deep into the almost 5mm base - I dont have a drill press so it wouldnt be very accurate... Then i could use a reforced cutting disk to make channels between them, much like the #Rotor style of blocks
FYI the copper lid of the gpu block is currently 12mm from the top of the base though that might go down to 10mm, is that to far? would he water move to slow through it? Ive thought about adding a triangular wall/channel between the inlet and outlet - that could force the flow through any changes i make to the base.

Aswell as the above, I have plans to make a watercooled heatspreader for my sticks of corsair xms3500c2cp - they overheat past 2.8v and I dont want to use a fan on them anymore.
another way to use up the rest of the tubing is to cool my hard disks, which would then be suspended with rubber bands and I would use lots of niose reduction foam around them aswell.
The last idea I had would be to watercool the mosfets on my NF7-S, much like as done here and here. The second link is the article that gave me the idea of how to alter my gpu block, as before I was going to use the polyethylene I have.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg gpu-old.jpg (26.4 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg gpu-new.jpg (34.1 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg gpu-comparason.jpg (31.3 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg 9700-GpuRam.jpg (40.3 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg gpu-silverbase.jpg (42.0 KB, 34 views)
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Unread 02-24-2004, 02:58 AM   #6
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dont know much about melting silver, but you could try to cast a pin grid block or something like that.

just an idea.
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Unread 02-24-2004, 10:05 AM   #7
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there are pictures of the inside of the Maze 4 here: http://www.h2okoeling.dk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=77
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Unread 02-24-2004, 12:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by |kbn|
Edited - too many typo's...

The silver was from where my dad works, so didnt cost much. We have quite a bit, but not in any useable shapes, just needs re-melting and pressing before I can use it..

The cheap waterblock acctually performs worse than a thermalright SLK800 air cooler in my testing and part of the poly top is cracked, though it doesnt leak - thats why it was cheap.

problem with that waterblock is its designed with flow rates in mind, so its not restrictive, adding other blocks to the loop, or a restrictive rad really hurts its performance. Mine is ok, although i have to use a Maze2-1 with my A64 setup due to my ghetto mounting system not having long enough screws for the atlantis

I might try my atlantis with a 5000lph pump....instead of a 1200lph pump
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Unread 02-24-2004, 12:50 PM   #9
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my loop didnt have that much restriction? the heatercore didnt look very restrictive, and i got a good flow rate when I tested it on its own. the nb waterblock i have is semi-restrictive, as the water goes in, hits a wall, round, then out again (atlantis nb block btw) and my gpu block was the least restrictive possible - just a 90 degree bend basicly... The cause of lots of restriction might have been that used 5 or 6 90 degree bends to make it easyer to connect together.. i was using an eheim 1250 pump which i assumed would be ok with that much, as at the time people recommended i used the lower flow 1048 pump :o
When i get round to testing it I will try to measure the flow rate with the same loop as before. what do you estimate your flow rate to be through the atlantis cpu?


Small update to cpu block progress - my dad took the lump of copper form the dragon orb 3 to work today and got it cut down, the pins are about 8.5mm and then the base thickness is 10mm, which is more than I wanted but less wasnt possible. The finnish is very shiny and smooth though, so I took a pic of it
Im not sure if this will definatly become a cpu block though, but i need a new cpu block, most, though I could use this for nb, but i think a few changes to the atlantis nb will be good enough

Edit - added pic of my nb block. id like to change the base a bit to make it perform better aswell as removing some of the flow restrictions caused by it. any ideas?
Also ideas for the silver base as to how i could make that better would be very much welcomed
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DO3finnish.jpg (41.5 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg atlantis nb.jpg (42.1 KB, 67 views)

Last edited by |kbn|; 02-24-2004 at 01:51 PM.
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Unread 02-24-2004, 11:55 PM   #10
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the reason your slk does better is simply because the Atlantis sucks
have a look at overclockers.com's charts, the Atlantis has a pretty high C/W- so its presumed inefficiency compromises whatever setup you have

nice design on the waterblocks, I envy your (or your dad's) access to CNC milling machines
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Unread 02-25-2004, 09:16 AM   #11
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We have no access really. the above pics are of a dragon orb 3 heatsink which im modifying, and next to that the ocpc atlantis nb block which I will be changing slightly with a dremel

Currently doing some research into *if* it would be economical to cast copper and silver into the shapes I want. If any one has any input to this idea its welcome by anyone thats tryed it, but I'd prefer peopple that have only researched it/read other threads not to argue the downsides of it, as that wouldnt be usefull to me....
Attached pic shows how I think i could get around most problems associated with casting (pic attached), for example, there would be no oxygen problems. After its cast the gas is removed, and the steel is hit from behind to knock the silver mould out. The main cost of doing anyhting like this would be the steel, gas, and fuel.
The gas would be pumped in before the steel is heated. Im not sure which type of gas would be best for this either...
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Unread 02-25-2004, 09:29 AM   #12
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Probably nitrogen for the gas, it seems commonly used for that sort of application as it's unreactive with most things and easily obtainable.
Out of interest, what are you planning to heat the steel with?
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Unread 02-25-2004, 09:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rundymc
the reason your slk does better is simply because the Atlantis sucks
have a look at overclockers.com's charts, the Atlantis has a pretty high C/W- so its presumed inefficiency compromises whatever setup you have

nice design on the waterblocks, I envy your (or your dad's) access to CNC milling machines
yeah but i dont think a SLK could run at 5volts on the fan and be totaly silent
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Unread 02-25-2004, 10:09 AM   #14
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my slk800 was run with a fan at 5v for a while. it was very alost silent and done about 13cfm. a fan designed to run at that sped at 12v would have been quieter and same airflow... currently have a tt smartfan2 on it doing about 25cfm...

Butcher - I thought abuot nitrogen, seems to be the most likely atm.
I was reading the thread about making a -100c cascade phase change in which they used butane to keep the copper pipe from blocking while they welded the evap block together... would that be better? I would prefer nitrogen though, but Im thinking why they used butane..

Also this question is one of the msot important that I need to find an answer:
When copper is melted in air, it will oxidise quickly and then when it cools down, the oxigen produces air bubbles in the copper.
Would silver do the same? I know it is less reactive and therefore would oxidise less, so would it be fine just to melt it in air instead of another gas?

To heat the steel I am assuming I would need temperatures of almost 1200-1500c to melt the silver inside. iirc silver melts at ~900c, and copper is 1085c. Im still researching how to produce the heat, so far im considering the different types of gas including the very cheap type used with cookers and charcoal which is also very cheap.
If I do this is will probably have to be done in my garden, and safety will be the most important thing to consider.

Last edited by |kbn|; 02-25-2004 at 10:15 AM.
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Unread 02-25-2004, 11:02 AM   #15
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H used butane because it was the best he had.
Quote:
In this case I used lighter gas (butane) since I lacked a bottle of nitrogen, argon or carbon dioxide
So if you can get hold of nitrogen it'd be better - one definite advantage is that you don't have to worry what happens to the nitrogen when it flows out of the chamber.
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Unread 02-25-2004, 11:10 AM   #16
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That would be an advantage
the idea I had was to have the chamber so the gas goes in, but doesnt go out untill the casting has finnished, so that there is a high pressure on the molten silver, which i can only assume would result in a better cast?
How much would nitrogen cost and where would it be sold/what is it used for?

Edit - Top of gpu bblock has just got back from being silver soldered. Pic is attached. It hasnt been cleaned up or anyhting yet so where the copper got hot and oxidised can still be seen. When finnished it will have a bright mirror shine from lapping and pollish, although It wouldnt affect perofrmance to leave it as is...
On the inside you can see there is a divider. this is to force the water to go into the channels that I have yet to make into the silver. If it is too restrictive I will make it smaller.
An alternate way I could have made the lid would have been to use 22mm copper pipe, cut along the pipe in half. Then the inlet and outlet could have been at the ends and would have reduced any dead areas from it. I did consider this but decided this way would look nicer and the ends wouldnt be in the way of the screws which will hold it down.
The channels I will make in the silver will Be about 3mm in from the edges of the copper going all the way along. they will be made with either a steel cutting disk which has teeth, as shown in the pic, or the other disk which is reinforced and a lot wider (steel = 0.25mm, reinforced = 1.3mm). the steel one would be better as i could make more channels, but it depends on how well it can cut silver, as it is designed for cutting wood, I assume.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg gpu-ss.jpg (31.9 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg gpu-ss2.jpg (36.9 KB, 47 views)

Last edited by |kbn|; 02-25-2004 at 12:10 PM.
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Unread 02-25-2004, 11:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by |kbn|
That would be an advantage
the idea I had was to have the chamber so the gas goes in, but doesnt go out untill the casting has finnished, so that there is a high pressure on the molten silver, which i can only assume would result in a better cast?
How much would nitrogen cost and where would it be sold/what is it used for?
I thought that casting was done in a vacuum in order to keep bubbles out. Wouldn't you just have nitrogen filled bubbles instead of air filled bubbles?
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Unread 02-25-2004, 12:19 PM   #18
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I dont think so. There are some techniques Ive found using vacumes though but i think that is just to force teh molten metal into the shape, for example in the counter gravity one which is detailed on the site I linked to.
Edit - seems I forgot to link to any in the above posts, so here it is:
Investment casting: http://www.hitchiner.com/himco/Basics.html
Counter gravity - http://www.hitchiner.com/himco/Advantage.html

Im looking for infomation on melting the metal inside the mould. I have not seen any information on that so far.. maybe steel doesnt transfer heat well enough and it wouldnt be econmical..

The reson copper gets oxygen bubbles (which can only be seen under microscope because they are small! - unless the mould is not made proeprly to allow air to escape) is because at high temperatures copper oxidises much quicker. When it is molten, and poured, there is a high contact between all of the molten copper with air, and not just the edges like when your copper waterblocks oxidise. This would make sence to me anyway, if anyone knows a better reson for the bubbles I would like to know!

Edit - Pic attached of teh channels I started to dremel into the base. Ive had to stop because the niose was annoying my parents
At the deepest point my vernier(sp?) measures 0.98mm. the gap between the channels so far is 1.58mm wide. and the only channel I have done so far is about 1.5mm wide. Hopefully i should manage 6 or 7 channels in there, and maybe do a bit deeper than I have so far.
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File Type: jpg gpu-basechannels.jpg (30.2 KB, 45 views)

Last edited by |kbn|; 02-25-2004 at 02:08 PM.
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Unread 02-26-2004, 03:34 AM   #19
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lmao Nice work. Atleast you gave it ago mate. I got to say that looks cool. It looks a little dangours.?
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Unread 02-26-2004, 10:18 AM   #20
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Ive just finnished making the channels - well almost. If you look in the pic you can notice the end channels are a bit deeper than the main channels. The drill bit you see in hte pic is what i hope to use to level the ends of the channels out, to reduce flow resistance. Instead I could have just went deeper in all the channels, but i didnt want to make the base tooooo thin.
Also, not sure if you can see in the pic, but I went slightly past the end channel when making the main channels deeper. I think i will have to fill those bits with some solder just to make sure it cant leak atall.. It probably doesnt need it but I will anyway...
The lid is a bit dark in the pic, so you might not see the divider in the middle which splits the inlet and outlet.
Im hoping this will beat a dd maze4 gpu by several C. Though I dont have one for testing.. so a comparason cant be done, unless someone would lend me one? (note - Im in the UK, not US..)

Edit - forgot pic
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Unread 02-26-2004, 09:13 PM   #21
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I'm new to the boards, but I know my way around a computer and am interested in watercooling the A64 system i'm saving up for, and intend to do it myself.
On the issue of compressed gas-Why not use Co2? You can buy 6 12-gram cartriges for about 3$ USD, and a 20.00 20-0z bottle intended for paintball guns can be refilled for about 5$. It's a nonflammable gas, and is what is used for MIG welding. Of course, I'm no metallurgist, but it's an idea.
To cast the waterblock, you could do lost-wax casting. It works by making a wax cast identical to that of the intended waterblock. You then pour a small amount of plaster of paris and water in the bottom of a disposable container, like a milk carton. After you let the plaster set, stick a straw into the flat bottom of the wax cast, and place it face down (straw up) and pour in enough plaster of paris to cover it by about 1 cm. You then peel off the milk carton, and place it in a fire or hot oven. This melts out the wax and the straw, so you can pour in the melted silver. After that, all you need to do is crack open the plaster and take out the waterblock, and cut off the small remaining nub of metal formed by the straw. Then, just lap the waterblock, and you're done.
I hope that I was able to help; I am new to watercooling, and do not even have my own rig yet. I'm not exactly rich, so help on making your own watercooling setup is a godsend.
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Unread 02-26-2004, 10:53 PM   #22
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Co2, hmm that might be useable. Though I think ive decided to scrap the casting idea now.. lost wax aka investment casting is the way my dad suggested a few days ago, which to do properly without air in the copper seemed expensive, so I thought about another way... My dad doesnt really like the idea of me plaing with 1500c flames in the garden though! and the gpu block made him think theres not much point in casting a block, and to be honest, id have to agree...
So instead hes been playing with about 5x more silver than I used in the gpu block, at work, and I have yet to see what he has created!

Id definatly recommend you try making your own blocks, rather than buy a DD maze4 like most ppl
Ive found that copper piping is a very cheap way to do it but as normal copper is cheap you might want to buy a big bit instead.. but it will take more effort to mill out!
another reson i wanted to use copper piping for my blocksis the tube is 15mm ID and 17mm ID for the fittings/bends, so slightly less low restriction compared to the normal 8-12mmID usually used.

My gpu block should hopefully be finnished and soldered up tomorrow. all thats left to do first is drill the second hole in the lid. I didnt have the right size drill bit (17 or 18mm) so i used the biggest I could find, 8.5mm! Then I used a round file to get it right, then I went to far.. so now it looks bad. Im hoping the solder will fill all the gaps, or Ill have to make another lid


Edit - tryed soldering the gpu block together. didnt manage to get it leak free though. its too dificult soldering the base to the lid at the same time as pipe to an elbow, and elow to the lid, while the holes in the lid arnt nearly perfect.
thinking about an easyer way...

Last edited by |kbn|; 03-01-2004 at 06:25 PM.
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Unread 03-06-2004, 10:05 PM   #23
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Todays update:

Last night I cut up a piece of polyethylene, and chopped the ends of the barbs off. Today I started by drilling three 8.5mm holes for the barbs, then filed them out to the 12.5mm od of the barbs. The drill was the biggest I had, and also was the same size as the ID of the barbs, which was nice.
Ive justed tested it with bluetack to seal the base, that part didnt leak atall. The barbs did though, but that should be easy to fix when I seal it properly.
In the test it wasnt too restive and I had a nice amount of flow even with only the middle channels used, and half filled with bluetack. The tubing from the Y connector gets kinked because the angle is too close together.


Yet to do:
1. The barbs are 8.5mm ID and so doesnt cover all of the channels. On the inside of the top I will make the holes long enough to cover all of the channels and slope into the barb. The inlet Hole will be made long enough for all of the channels aswell, but will be reduced in width so that the flow speeds up as it hits the area over the core.
2. Drill holes in the top and base to fix them together. In the pics I used the mounting holes for this.
3. Seal the barbs to the top, and the base to the top.

1 and 2 are now done pics attached.

I might add another layer of polyethelene on the top with some channelsin to combine the outer channels into just one channel, meaning I would only need one barb and no Y joiner. I think it would make it look better but takeup another pci slot. I have 5 unused pci slots, so it wouldnt matter
Doing this would not be easy though. I would have to buy a bigger drill (11.5mm probably) first. Then I would need many holes to about the same depth close together. then I would use a cutting disk and a 6mm milling bit (not sure on name, but can cut sideways unlike drills..) to remove the mess I would create. I would only go 7mm deep at most, so the layer would still be one peice with the center inlet going straight through to the middle layer.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg gpu-newtop.JPG (38.5 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg gpu-newtop2.JPG (49.2 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg gpu-newtop3-texture.JPG (38.9 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg GPUBlock-almostfin.JPG (36.9 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg GPUBlock-almostfin2.JPG (42.0 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg GPUBlock-almostfin3.JPG (34.3 KB, 10 views)

Last edited by |kbn|; 03-09-2004 at 08:12 PM.
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Unread 03-09-2004, 08:22 PM   #24
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Would anyone in the UK be able to sell me some copper? There are no shops selling it near me and I dont have a car..

I need..
~3/16th" thick (~5mm) +-2mm
~1 1/2 - 2" wide (~40-50mm) +-10mm
~3" (70mm) long or longer so I can make one or two, maybe three blocks.

Also need a 11-12mm drill bit and a 1/2" BSP tap, might get these from a near shop though.

I would pay all postage and enough to make it worth the effort
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Unread 03-09-2004, 09:21 PM   #25
Butcher
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www.metalsupermarkets.com will sell you copper and I think they deliver.
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